Thursday 23 June 2022

It's Plant Sale time

Peace at twilght - see item on Ukraine
towards the end of this episode
It's Midsummer Day tomorrow, so Codger is determined to get this edition out before we turn this particular page on the horticultural year. If you check out Wiki you'll find that the the occasion is celebrated in surprising ways (even hair raising ways) in different cultures - trying clicking here if your appetite is whetted

Speaking of whetted appetites, I'm glad to report that our first harvests have taken place already. So far, we have enjoyed delicious broad beans, juicy strawberries and delicious cucumber. Excuse me if I have said this before but I think broad beans are well worth growing as a) they are rarely in the supermarket, and b) they taste infinitely better when cooked on the day they are picked. There's a further advantage - they tend to crop early leaving the opportunity to re-use the growing space for another vegetable crop - or flowers if you prefer

Our strawberries have been sweeter than ever this year. I've a few plants left if anyone is interested. Oh! - just remembered - we've got raspberries and loganberries, too. The latter good but the raspberry patch was replanted in the winter and the new plants are a bit disappointing

We have had our first cucumbers from  a variety not previously tried - Socrates. Perhaps brain power will be enhanced. There are still quite a number of cucumber plants available - mainly a German variety called Delicatessen. We also have quite a few squashes of various sorts

AND - dare I say it - we can still help you out with some really nice tomato plants. Not all the fourteen varieties we planted this year but quite a few you might try to your advantage

Quite understandably, flowers are popular
However, we are keen to promote veg as well
Much easier to grow than you may think
Beat inflation - grow your own!
A big Thank You
It has been good to welcome many friends to our garden - to the extent that our plant stocks have been halved. That includes the crates we have sent to the annual charity plant sale that Codger supports - please see the next item

All of our visitors have made generous donations to the funds we are about to send to Poland for humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Those donations in cash are carefully logged and safely stashed away. Other donors have kindly agreed to transfer funds online and are waiting patiently to do so. The technical issues mentioned previously (and completely outside Codger's control - though we chase!) have still to be resolved - please bear with us, we know from your messages that you are keen to give!
Calendula - I've sent some of these to the sale

Charity Plant Sale
Folk who have supported us from the beginning know that the Codger project was inspired by the plant sale organised annually by Angela Webb with help from her husband Keith. Together they have raised thousands of pounds to support the work of Birmingham City Mission. If you are a new reader you can read about BCM here

This year's plant sale takes place on Saturday 2nd July from 11:00am to 3:00pm. As well as a vast range of plants, you'll find lots of tasty goodies, too

We always return laden with cakes, marmalade and chutney. As a one-off, this year, there will also be a plentiful supply of genuine Nike football shirts!

A tip from old Codger - the early birds catch the worm. If you need the address of the plant sale (Angela does the sale from her home garden) - then drop me a line. (Bots are at work so you have to decipher the gmail from Garden Codger - but without the space - just supply the monkey tail. Got it?)

Squash large and small available
reay to grow on at home
Codger's Nursery
If cannot see what you want at the sale - just give me a call. There's a wide range but we also gets plants to order. In addition to the usual range of perennials and annuals I'm making up some grow-your-own squash - including cucumbers and courgettes. See the photo (right) for the set-up. Why not have a go?

Helping Ukraine
Readers will know that, plant sale apart, we are raising funds for Ukraine. The money will go to friends in Poland who are staging a magificent effort getting relief out to where it is most needed in the East - as well as supporting many Ukrainians who have relocated to Poland

Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas
You may have noticed that the conflict in Ukraine has dropped down the news agenda - 'Ukraine fatigue' Boris calls it. And, true enough, those under the greatest pressure are fatigued, frustrated and depressed by the awful suffering inflicted upon them. But so many reports continue to emphasise the utter determination not to capitulate to tyranny. Their fortitude is absolutely remarkable

Do you remember the bit of history we did a few weeks ago where I mentioned the 1.7 million forcibly deported from Poland to the Siberian gulags in 1940? Soon after researching this piece my ears pricked up when the premier of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, gave a forthright speech referring to the experience of her own country. Not only were there forcible deportations during the WW2 but after the war as well. Taken together, thousands upon thousands of nationals were removed by the Russians from the Baltic states. (If you wish to check this out yourself at gulagonline, click: here). Or you could watch the introductory video, which will also give you access to a 30 minute documentary:

The Estonian Prime Minister's point was it is possible to seek a peace that is not peace. It is salutary to note that many of these treacherous expatriations took place in 1949, that is, long after the peace delared in 1945

I am reminded of Churchill's words: the farther back you look, the farther you can see into the future. I understand that this quote is favoured by our own Queen - or so I heard during the Platinum Jubilee

Well, much more could be said. But for our part we are glad to support the people of Ukraine at this momentuous period in their history. Gardening must seem a strange way of doing so, but we will press on. Thank you for your kind support. For now ... wishes from Garden Codger

PS. I'm still getting ready for the plant sale so just a few shots to close off this week. Hope to see you at the plant sale

Codger (aka Captain Birdseye) was delighted to be invloved in the Brigade Awards at our church recently
The image of an anchor is associated with Brigade - perhaps you know why (?)
Anchors were once forged in Tipton - this one can be found at the aptly named Neptune Health Centre

It is possible to grow some tomato varieties in hanging baskets. As you can see, this is Garden Pearl and already in fruit


The rose Peace has been prolific this year

Here's a tip. During high summer you can move plants into what might be shady areas at other times of the year
These are positioned at the front of our house - the variety of the pink/white geranium is Apple Blossom
(a few still available - well worth having)

Thursday 9 June 2022

Well done, Paddington!

Seems impossible that it has come and gone so quickly. The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, that is. It must have been inattention on Codger's part but he was expecting a two-day job. There was much in the four days that was really enjoyable - we certainly had significant reasons to celebrate Her Majesty's record-breaking reign

What most most memorable? I can't help admitting that I enjoyed Paddington's audience with the Queen. For me, that look the well-poised biscuit - or, rather, the marmalade sandwich

I even wondered if there was a hidden message in support of Ukraine - but perhaps that was pure coincidence. Did you know that the Ukrainian voice-over for the original Paddington film was done by none other than Volodymyr Zelensky? In somewaht happier times for him as an actor and TV personality - he can have hardly planned to be a wartime leader of an invaded nation

His appearance on the world stage has been truly remarkable. May he serve as well as our own Queen has done. And draw strength in the way that she does - see endpiece

This amazing young lady staged her very own Jubilee
fund raising event. Well done, Violet!
Supporting Ukraine
Before we turn to gardening matters, a quick update on donations for our Polish friends who are very actively supporting Ukraine. You may remember that we wish to set up a giving channel that works in a similar way to the one we did for BCM. There were unexpected delays at the very busy Polish end and then we ran into our own national shutdown for the Jubilee. I'm very much hoping that I can write again next week annoucing that the giving page is well and truly open!

And thanks to her mom, a Codger reader
In the meantime we wish to thank all those who have given during the last couple of months. I am currently sitting on £350 that has been received in small cash donations. More significantly, a number of friends have agreed to delay their donation and to do an online transfer as soon as the giving page goes live - this could mean that we will be touching our first one thousand. (These good friends will be testing the system for me, thank you!)

Meanwhile: essential assistance
I hear frequently from Henry Krol who is leading the relief effort within his organisation - the one we are supporting. Since we last wrote four vanloads of essential supplies have gone out. That's 700kg each time and they are reaching the East where the need is greatest. Readers will be aware of the intensification of fighting in the Luhansk area

Henry says the key needs for the Ukrainians now staying in Poland is mainly housing and a job. So his team are running a scheme to help Polish hosts to extend and adapt their homes to provide accommodation. Six individual projects have been completed and nine more are under way. This support is really needed. (Something easily overlooked is that Poland has an historic housing need of its own dating back to the ravages of WW2 and the subsequent years of Soviet domination.)

In addition to meeting physical needs, much is being done on an emotional and spiritual level. A residential long weekend is being planned for lone mothers with teenage children. Obviously, the menfolk are back in Ukraine serving the country - usually in the military

A little blossom soons attracts the bees
Lockdown over - gardening continues!
Codger's own project started over two year's ago when folk had unexpected time on their hands and started to dabble in the garden. Well, many are back in the workplace but garden dabbling is still allowed. Here are some ideas where we may able able to help ...

Posh up the patio! We have pots of flowers that will go on flowering for months. Shown here (below right) are petunias - always a good bet

We also have marigolds, nasturtiums and zinnias. All will produce an instant lift with a buzz of colour. Sweet Pea wigwam: these have been hugely popular (is it the scent?) - out of stock at the moment but more on the way - I've had to do an extra sowing of sweet peas but they are doing well so you'll get late flowering

Tickle the taste buds! Yes, it's tomato time again. If you have children, or grandchildren, why not try Garden Pearl

Look carefully - see the fruit!
These come ready-potted-up and are about to produce fruit. I beleived the advert and it was correct - they are a very early variety. Small plants that pack a punch - lots of bright red cherry tomatoes. We have plenty of other varieties - just ask and I'll advise

Bang up a basket! hanging baskets are now coming on stream - in a range of sizes to suit most requirements. The basket shown here is small but packed with colourful calibrachoa. I tried these for the first time last year - a great addition, sometime known as million bells

Small hanging basket with colourful calibrachoa
Perk up the border! Doing some weeding this weekend? Rather than leave bare soil why not try a new plant? The list is endless - you are welcome to drop in and see what we have - from low-growing heuchera for the front to delphiniums at the back

Do remember that these are example - we have a very wide variety of plants that might find a place in your garden - or any space you have. Strictly speaking, we don't sell - but apprecaite any donation you care to make (no expenses taken, of course)

Looking back

Perhaps I was just a little flippant in my recollection of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations - although I do think the Queen's readiness to exercise a little humour was a sign of true humility. (and carried off remarkably well)

I was freshly encouraged when, at church on Sunday, we were reminded of some of Her Majesty's sentiments expressed in various Christmas messages:

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. 
God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are) – but a Saviour, with the power to forgive. (2011)

This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. (2012)

He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served. (2008)

Back to the garden
There's plenty to do at this time of year so I'll draw a line there for today. I've just checked - half-a-dozen Garden Pearls left - so I want to pot them with a little supporting bamboo, ready to go. But hope to be with you again very soon ...

... best wishes from the Garden Codger 

I've said little, if any, about the garden which is looking fairly good just nowa few photos to follow ... ...

Photo copyright Garden Codger: supplier to loyal readers

"Two dozen cosmos, ma'am?"

We can oblige

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Peonies are a bit special - yet so easy to grow

This is Colin. I'm his temporary custodian. He may slow but he can certainly eat fast!

A warm spot on the patio - great for tomatoes in pots

Sweet peas - can you smell them?

Hardy geranium or cranesbill - a really useful plant

Roses looking good just now - and this one has even escaped blackspot