|Cycalmen hederafolium - blooming in the gloom
We began this blog two and a half years ago when we were in the throes of the first Covid outbreak. Guessing that the enforced leisure might turn the attention of many friends to their gardens, we hit on a way raising money for charity - turning necessity into virtue, so to speak
Several thousands of pounds later, we have reached the point where increasing domestic demands - and a certain diminution in our own personal energy levels - demand a rethink. (Hint as to age: I was born during WW2 and celebrate a big zero this very day)Since we are subject to the same laws as the flowers of the field, it seems sensible to reshape our way of working. Sadly, the blog has to go - but our gardening will continue as long as the creaking joints allow. In place of the blog we plan to communicate via WhatsApp. Around 20 friends have already signed up so that makes running a group a worthwhile exercise. If you wish your name to be added to the group, please let me know. You won't be unindated (or even inundated!) - just a few messages each month - mainly during the growing season
There is a really a three-fold purpose in having a targetted group. First, it will allow me to keep you informed (the very next blog item is a prime example). Second, it will help me to remain accountable as I intend to provide regular financial updates. And third, it will faciltate information exchange between members - answering gardening questions and the like. So, in some ways, the change could well be to everyone's advantage
The first WhatsApp missive is planned for Sunday 4th December - the date that I'm planning for this final episode. You will have worked out by now that I'm writing this final episode in stages - so here we go
|A church damaged after shelling in a residential district in Mariupol
at the beginning of the invasion. Photo by Evgeniy Maloletka
The Russians talk about General Winter, implying 'if we can't beat you, the winter will' - witness Napolean's retreat from Moscow and Hitler's failed invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. The present vicious and sustained attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure is obviously meant to bring the country to its knees by denying the civilian population protection from the freezing winter conditions. And this among many other evils being perpetrated at the moment
|An unmistakeable historical figure in retreat
- beaten by General Winter
As mentioned above, we shall continue to give financial reports via the WhatsApp group. And this serves as a reminder: we are so very grateful to everyone who has continued to support the Garden Codger project
|This how the RHS do it. I'm afraid my pots are that posh
Mine are shown in the next photo
Not in flower yet, of course!
The bulbs are planted lasagna-style in a range of planters. Layering the bulbs in this way produces a succession of blooms. I use tulips in the bottom layer, daffs in the middle and either crocus or iris at the top
I'm very glad to report that we have had a good number of orders - but Codger can do some more! They make great Christmas presents. Of course, you can do your own - it's not too late nor is it very difficult. Click here and you'll get step-by-step instructions from the RHS
|Here is one of mine, a three litre pot
with two layers: daffodils and crocus
The whole thing is finished off with a layer of grit. Not only does this look good but it helps prevent the grow of algae. We have a good supply of top quality bulbs so more orders appreciated. And all for an excellent cause, of course.
Perhaps it is appropriate to mention how Codger has sought to be better informed about the situation in Ukraine and, in particular, the Russian invasion. The chequered relationship between the two countries cannot be understood without some knowledge of its history so I joined the history class at Yale - yes, the top American ivy-league university. And, I'm not swanking - you can join, too - as the series - The Making of Modern Ukraine - is on YouTube. I'm told there have been around 5 million views from 70 countries! The lecturer is Professor Timothy Snyder. You might find the first lecture hard going but a warning - it can become addictive:
Because of my long standing interest in Poland (we first visited friends there in 1968), I expected that the history would be complicated. And I was corrrect - like the borders shifting around fairly often - but it's worth the effort trying to understand the forces that have shaped modern Ukraine. Did you know that Kiev (Kyiv) was set up as a trading post by the Vikings? Or that four millions Ukrainians died from starvation or malutrition under Stalin in 1931-1932? We tend not to know these things. The web is such a great resource. As an alternative to the Yale series you might find the more popular style of a another YouTube well-researched resource more helpful. Try this one:
Three incidental snippets
|I could not resist a quick look inside.
Amazing, utterly amazing!
|This shot was taken today. Already potted up and ready to go
As you can see, this white variety flowers early
|Don't take the risk - use a mask!
(Also available from Wilko's!)
|Help from the Bartered Bride courtesy Bedrich Smetana
Ukrainian Christmas by Nadiyka Gerbish and Yaroslav Hrytsak is informative, moving and pertinent in equal measure - beyond my abilities to characterise in a few words. (You can obtain more information here)