Community garden (c) Rianne Mason

September garden journal

I’ve got back some time after sitting my RHS exams so I’ve returned to the community garden and I’ve missed it so much!

Weeding the pumpkins

Weeding the pumpkins (c) Rianne Mason
Sat amongst the pumpkins at Inspire Community Garden (c) Rianne Mason

You can’t help but feel lost in a fairy tale when you’re sat amongst the pumpkins. They even create their own forest of huge leaves. These guys seem to have some powdery mildew but the crop is un-harmed. I cleared away some weeds to help ventilation and to give those leaves a better chance to soak in the last of the sun.

Taking in the harvest

Garden produce (c) Rianne Mason
One of many harvests at Inspire Community Garden (c) Rianne Mason

Picking produce has to be one of the best things about being a gardener and look at the beautiful variety! I feel a little guilty that I haven’t been around to help grow this lot but the wonderful thing about the community garden is that I’ve been welcomed back with open arms, it’s as if I was never away.

Discovering this incredible trombone squash

Trombone squash (c) Rianne Mason
Trombone squash at Inspire Community Garden (c) Rianne Mason

This was the first thing that greeted me when I got back to the garden, what a welcome! It’s at least a meter long.

Getting entranced by this sunflower head

Sunflower (c) Rianne Mason
A huge sunflower head at Inspire Community Garden (c) Rianne Mason

Look at all of these tiny flowers turning to seed! They’ll be a welcome treat for wildlife.

Taking in the moment with my watering can

Community garden (c) Rianne Mason
Taking in the garden as I wait for my can to fill (c) Rianne Mason

I was having a moment taking in the garden as I waited for my watering can to fill up, and I happened to spot Pauline – a fellow volunteer – capturing it. I was so happy, my exams were over and my head started to clear again. Nothing brings you into the moment like nature does.

Hauling tree branches

Hauling branches (c) Rianne Mason
Moving tree prunings out of the way (c) Rianne Mason

Sometimes things just need moving from A to B! That was my job at the garden this day, it was uphill so it felt like a workout but I had a well deserved beer afterwards 🙂

Taking the garden global

Community garden (c) Rianne Mason
Having an international call at the Inspire Community Garden (c) Rianne Mason

I met some great people at the permaculture design course in Thailand in January and we still stay in touch. I decided to show them the garden on our video call so it was seen in Japan, Portugal and America!

Identifying a tomato disease/disorder

Tomato disease (c) Rianne Mason
Un-identified tomato disease or disorder (c) Rianne Mason

I wasn’t sure what this was but I knew it wasn’t right! I spotted it when watering the tomatoes. Following a bit of discussion we think it might simply be the tomato naturally breaking down because of the time of year. Does anyone else know what it is?

Visiting chickens

Chickens (c) Rianne Mason
Happy chickens (c) Rianne Mason

Some of the RHS practical group I studied with met at my tutors house as a mini celebration and goodbye. She happens to also be a permaculture teacher so I was pretty excited to see her place. These chickens are one of the many delights that welcomed us.

Respecting the cabbage

Cabbage (c) Rianne Mason
One big cabbage (c) Rianne Mason

Back at home dad’s cabbage seems to be taking over. I like to think of it as The Godfather of the garden.

Identifying pear tree rust

Pear rust (c) Rianne Mason
Pear tree rust (c) Rianne Mason

When I first saw this I thought it was an insect taking over the pear tree because the pustules looked like little eggs! But after a photo confirmation from my RHS tutor I now know it’s a fairly new disease called pear tree rust. Which, on reflection, makes way more sense.

Picking the pears

Pears (c) Rianne Mason
Freshly picked pears (c) Rianne Mason

Luckily the pear rust hasn’t impacted the crop in any way. Thanks to Monty Don I knew these were ready to pick because they came off when I lifted the pears upwards. Easy!

Picking raspberries

Raspberries (c) Rianne Mason
Raspberries (c) Rianne Mason

Our raspberry supply seems to be never ending because we have a couple of different varieties. I’ve taken up a new hobby of smoothie making to make good use of the surplus of berries and kale that we have and I’m loving it. Don’t ever put the two together though. Trust me.

Making comfrey tea

Making comfrey tea (c) Rianne Mason
Making comfrey tea (c) Rianne Mason

I was tasked with looking after my friend’s kale plants this month as they went on holiday, so I thought I’d give them a bit of special treatment with some comfrey tea. We have plenty of comfrey growing so it makes sense to use it as a nitrogen feed. Simply chop loads up and add some water before leaving it to stew for a week or two.

Smiling at the Cosmos

Cosmos (c) Rianne Mason
Cosmos (c) Rianne Mason

As the sun goes down there’s a special moment where the light catches certain plants, for us it’s this Cosmos. The bees love it, I love it and at times like this it makes me smile.

Hunting the spiders

Spider web (c) Rianne Mason
A web of treasure from a morning walk (c) Rianne Mason

It might sound odd but one of the habits I picked up in my time living in Nepal was admiring the frosty spider webs on my 6am walks to the digging site. At this time of year I get to do the same thing in our garden. They’re incredibly beautiful and you can’t see them at any time, so a morning stroll with a cup of coffee to hunt them down is the best way to spot them.

Exploring the un-seen

White ivy (c) Rianne Mason
Pure white ivy hiding in the shade (c) Rianne Mason

There’s a spot right at the back of our garden, behind a structure, that never gets any attention and barely any sun. Every now and then I remember it’s there and I check it out. This time I was rewarded with this beautiful pure white ivy – something I’ve never seen before.

I felt like one of the great botanists of the 19th century. I know I haven’t discovered a new species, but to me this was completely alien. You don’t get to experience that every day.

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