Rekindle your gardening mojo

Who can resist the lacy sparkle of a frost-coated tree, the ember-glow of dogwoods and the hopeful anticipation of snowdrops, aconites and primulas?

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 12:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 10:26 am
A flower bed.

If you’ve taken a walk around Coronation Park (Tommy the Millers) and Castle Vale Park recently, you’ll have enjoyed all those sights – and no doubt taken a moment over the wonderful sculptures installed this time last year.

However, for many of us the motivation to garden at this time of year is as elusive as a winter hare on a beach in Ibiza. The ground’s too hard or too wet, the leaves you kept for all those hedgehogs look like piles of brown crisp packets, and the autumn growth you left to harbour insects and feed the birds is a wasteland of tangled twigs.

Coronation Park in Berwick. Picture by Peter Bistram

Friends of Castle Parks are determined to help restore your gardening mojo with a couple of fascinating evening talks to motivate and inspire you.

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First up on February 27 is Alison Tymon’s Soil & Soil Processes, which includes the invitation to bring along a soil sample for analysis.

As a geography and geology teacher, Alison visited field centres and studied soil pits, exploring the complex and tricky science of soil processes.

Alison says: “Since retirement, I have spent more time learning to garden and I can now grow vegetables as well as keep flowers and shrubs happy. Some years ago, a small gardening group near Huddersfield asked me to talk about soils. They brought along samples of their own garden soils and we enjoyed the session enormously. It is a pleasure to pass on the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to others.”

The second talk is Peter Watts’ Japanese Gardens on March 27. If you’ve taken advantage of the Friends’ Open Gardens event over the last three years, you’ll almost certainly have enjoyed Peter’s bijou and beautifully curated garden spaces at his home on Scott’s Place.

Peter used to be rather nonplussed by Japanese gardens but admits: “During a trip to Japan, we realised how ingenious, subtle, meticulous and thoughtful they are.”

Peter’s talk will open your eyes to the still and precise beauty of Japanese gardens and encourage you to try out a few techniques at home.

Both talks are at the Parish Centre from 7.15pm-8.45pm, £3 entry on the door with light refreshments.

The Friends of Castle Parks calendar of events poster is up around the parks and includes regulars such as the Easter Bunny Hunt, the Dawn Chorus Walk, the Big Beastie Hunt and Open Gardens on June 9.