Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Secret Gardens of Oxton 2017

Our Secretary Peter de Figueiredo
This year The Friends of the Arno and Oxton Fields took on the responsibility of organising and running the plant stall for the Secret Gardens of Oxton event.

We had a great many plant donations from local residents, together with some plant divisions from the long border of the Arno rose garden. Some of our members also grew plants from seed for the stall.

The weather was mostly sunny and warm on Sunday 14th May. We arrived at 8am to set up the stand. Alison Clarke, head of our gardening group, was a little concerned there would not be enough plants but many people came in cars to drop off trays of plants for the stall. We needn't have worried.

Alison Clarke (left)

We started to sell at 10am when the event began and during the first few hours we were rushed off our feet. People were keen to see what was on offer and were very generous.

By the end of the day nearly all the plants had been sold. We were informed a few days after the event that the stall had raised an impressive £974!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Phase 4 Rose Planting.

Phase 4 of our rose planting program was arranged for Saturday 4th March. Despite the weather forecast predicting rain, it was a beautiful sunny morning, albeit rather chilly.

Many volunteers arrived at ten am, spades at the ready.  There were 420 bare- root rose bushes to be planted into four large beds. The ground was heavy after the previous week's rain, but we were keen to make good progress while the sun was shining.
In the picture to the left we were busy planting up the first bed with a variety called Esperanza, a coral pink shrub rose. Amazingly, after only one hour this bed was complete.This called for a tea break, served by our membership secretary Sally.

We worked efficiently, some volunteers digging and planting while others dipped the roses in a solution containing Rootgrow, to help establish a good root system and give the roses a head start.

The second bed took just over an hour to finish planting up. This bed was a pearl pink coloured rose called Bloom of Ruth.

At lunch time many of the volunteers had to leave. The cavalry arrived, so to speak, in the form of two Oxton Society members, armed with spades, but still our numbers dwindled to seven. With another two beds remaining to plant and the weather starting to turn, we had a small snack break and then made the decision to carry on, despite the odd rain shower.  The next two rose beds seemed a lot harder, working with heavier clay soil and already tired from the morning's digging.

The third bed now contains saffron yellow coloured roses called Henrietta Barnett.  There were four or five healthy roses already in the bed which were also yellow, so they remained in situ.

Last but not least, the final bed was completed by half past three. This bed is now full of a rich red rose variety called Deep Secret. We were relieved that all the bare- root roses were safely in the ground and we could all go home for a well earned rest!