Spring Articles

Dig for Vicotry bed - South East in Bloom

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Thursday 20 th June

I’m feeling sad thinking, 200,000 of us have not had a chat lately with anyone and am missing the camaraderie of our D Day celebrations just a few weeks ago. Our garden, over the years since 2013, has seen so many lovely, older visitors, who have brought their stories, spare plants and extra veg to share. And we’ve learnt so much from them.

Sometimes, we’ve been lucky to keep them as volunteers, and they have been part of the magic in the community garden. At times we’ve struggled to keep the garden going and growing, but we have had good company from people, old and young, and all the talents and time they bring. This Sunday, 23rd June, we are celebrating with anyone and everyone, and all our old friends, next to the ‘Dig for Victory’ bed, built in Canoe Lake park with the council, for SE in Bloom. Our thanks to all our volunteers. Music from the era and tasters of wartime food will be served up, and we are dressing up as the Land army. Why not come and join us - 10am-4pm

By Sue Stokes

‘Calendula Officinalis’, or ‘Pot Marigold’

craft art among the greenery
Friday 14 th June

In the garden ‘Calendula Officinalis’, or ‘Pot Marigold’ is a great help to us gardeners. Repelling whitefly from tomatoes and luring aphids away from our beans. Attracting ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, we have our own little army of helpers, so we don’t need pesticides, which means we’re also helping the bees, and improving our produce. Down at Southsea Green garden, we’ve had a message from our favourite Marigolds:

“Every Friday, term-time we'll be opening up the gates to run free craft sessions for little hands. ‘Marigold Loft’ will be rummaging through reusable materials for all sorts of ideas to make fun and creative activities, using things which usually get thrown in the bin. Plant your own seeds and nurture them or get making with our 'Mini Maker: Remake' sessions in the community garden from 11am - 1pm. Everyone welcome, even if you just want to come into the garden to enjoy what’s growing inside. There are many things you can help with too from weeding to watering. Join us Fridays”.

More info from Sarah and Vik Marigold Loft https://www.facebook.com/themarigoldloft/

By Sue Stokes

Dig for Vixtory

Dig for Victory artwork with lady
Tuesday 4th June

As part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we are recreating a World War Two, ‘Dig for Victory’ allotment bed at Canoe Lake Park. The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, encouraged householders to dig up their flower beds and plant vegetables. Even Buckingham Palace rose beds were dug up, and people were encouraged to take up allotments. There were allotments on Canoe Lake Park.

In our mini allotment in the park, we are growing varieties which would have been grown in WW2, copying a chart issues by the Ministry of Food, with Painted Lady runner beans, Home Guard potatoes and Uncle Bert’s Kale, among other things.

On Sunday 23rd June we will be celebrating in a marquee next to our mini allotment and serving up tasters of WW2 recipes, made with produce from the plot. We have forties songs and WW2 music with a swing band playing. Go and see the veggies growing now, and then party with us 1940s style on 23rd June 10am-4pm - Free entry.

Dig for Victory Party Facebook event page

By Goff Gleadle

Watching them fly

Dandelion seeds blowing in the wind
Tuesday 28th May

"As a child I used to love blowing dandelion seeds and watching them fly like so many little Fairies However, I’m not Top of the Pops at the Romsey allotments right now for being a dandelion fan, and was scolded last week for my dandelions which had gone to seed to the irritation of my neighbours, who do not agree with my silver lining, that dandelions are good for the bees. “

We grow veg here they told me not weeds”. I had to promise I’d keep them under control. I’ve since read in my little green book, that Dandelion leaves have higher beta-carotene levels than carrots, and more calcium and iron than spinach; and that all parts of the dandelion are edible, nutritious and healing. They contain vitamins B1, B2, B5, B12, C, D, and E, flavonoids, biotin, potassium magnesium and zinc. Their leaves are good in soups, the flowers are sweet and delicious in salads, and can be brewed into wine, and their roots made into an herbal tonic - Isn’t Nature clever? Now I shall be needing a clever disguise if I’m to grow them on my allotment.

By Sue Stokes
May half term crafty fun image

calendar_today28th May - Half Term Crafty Fun! {Finished}

All crafts are 50p a go, make your own cheeky seagull, design your own plant pot friend garden fairy or leprechaun or create your very groovy windsock to take home to your garden.

Find us »

Link to Facebook event page

D-Day - Dig for Victory

Wartime animation of a lady and 'dig for victory' written next to her
Friday 24th May

You might notice a new garden growing at Canoe Lake Park. It was planted by Goff and our volunteers to celebrate D-Day and show how the British people helped with the war effort and grew good food, despite rationing during the war. This anniversary garden celebrates them all and demonstrates how to grow on a budget. Have a look next time you’re passing by...

Pause and visit us today, just by the Canoe Lake Cafe.

You really must step out and see, our War Time garden “Dig for Victory “.

Potatoes sprouting through, Carrots and onions too.

Pea shoots clinging to a Hazel twig, as gardener's plant and dig --

Vegetables to supply during times of the War

Brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower galore.

Nutritious and tasty, good food for all

Grown in God's earth, answering the call.

Every household did respond to the War effort, far and beyond.

That's how we are still here today

“Growing together”, come what may.

All welcome to our AGM at the Community Garden 12 noon, Saturday 15th June

Get in touch if you’d like to get involved.

Poem by Irene Strange

Is it still Spring?

About 10 blue Bluebell flowers close up
Tuesday 14th May

We’ve had warm days then freezing cold days with winds knocking down plants. I’ve lots of bluebells in my garden after a severe prune last autumn. Pink, white and blue bells that must have laid buried for years. They are taking over a little and may have to be culled. But my sweet peas are planted out with something to put off the slugs. The birds are visiting, nesting and feeding their families, and thankfully, they do not go anywhere near the plants, although they like routing around when the grass has just been cut. I do try to be organic, but I love my hostas and sweet peas too much to see them chewed down to the ground.

I’ve enjoyed the blossom of cherry and magnolia trees nearby. You can understand why the Japanese have viewing days and festivals at this time. I’m planting Peonies, Astrantia, Cosmos and Dwarf Lupins which I grew from seed. I can’t walk so well now to get around the garden centres, so my greenhouse will have to work harder. More soon on my planting plans for the autumn. Enjoy your gardening and hope to see you all at the D Day celebrations.

By Pat Brian

a frog on a lily
Friday 10th May

Last weekend our sleepy garden was buzzing with visitors who popped in for our open day. Our craft shack is up and ready for our arts and crafts. Vik was making paper ladybirds with visitors, and our gardeners brought cakes, cookies and their usual smiley faces. The sun was shining, and Irene wore her red hat, she is looking marvellous at 86, we gave her a pink cake and sang Happy Birthday.

Also, this week we heard that our diversity is under threat. ‘Extinction Rebellion’s point, that we are overdue to take action to reverse this natural disaster is evident - It’s a climate emergency, and we need to wake up, change our lifestyles and help with plans for ‘nature recovery’... We will be making plans to help with this at Southsea Green - planting more trees; wildflowers; building beetle banks; leaving water for pollinators and birds and increasing diversity everywhere we can! as well as campaigning for more intelligent farming.

Here’s a link to the UN report.


and a short animation


By Sue Stokes

Spring Get-Together

Event Date: Saturday 4th May

Join us for some springtime fun. Gardening Crafts and Cakes

Event on Facebook - Link to page

Get directions

We are Digging for Victory!

Cartooon lady with a pitch fork
Tuesday 30th April

To commemorate the 75-year anniversary of the D-Day landings, Southsea Green is recreating the WW2 Dig for Victory campaign in Canoe Lake Park. This campaign encouraged house-holders to dig up their flower beds and lawns and plant vegetables. Even the Buckingham Palace rose beds were dug up. People were also encouraged to take up allotments.

There were allotments in Canoe Lake Park. We have a mini allotment in the park, where now and for the next few months, we are growing varieties which would have been grown in WW2, copying a chart issued by the Ministry of Food, with Painted Lady runner beans, Home Guard potatoes and Uncle Bert’s kale.

On Sunday 23rd June we will be celebrating! In a marquee near the plot we will have posters and stories from the campaign and be serving WW2 recipes with produce from the plot. There will be a singer singing 40’s songs and maybe a swing band. Go and see the veggies now and party with us on the 23rd!

By Goff Gleadle. Southsea Green’s Head Gardener

A old rusted lock with a plant growing in the keyhole
Tuesday 23rd April

Several years ago, I wrote saying we needed to cut down on weeding (we are now in our 80s), so we dug over some of our beds, laid down black ground covering, and pegged it into place. Then we bought 20mm gravel Lots of it! (any smaller gets used by cats). We had several shrubs removed, (no more clipping). Now, we can sit and plant up our pots to stand on the new gravel beds. An old friend made us a small wooden wheelbarrow to display pots, which looks lovely.

We have bought grasses and ferns, and plants which come up every year, and planted them through the covering. We are going to try growing wild-flowers in an old wheelbarrow. We tried last year, but it wasn’t very successful, so we will try again. It’s better than weeding anyway and we love it. We hope you find a way to enjoy a little gardening because it’s so good for you. May 4th, from noon, drop into Southsea Green’s Community garden at Canoe Lake for our open garden day.

By Trish and Nev Moyle

Wild Garlic soup

Tuesday 9th April
Garlic soup, bread and agrlic bulbs

If you have some of this wonderful flower in your garden, try this recipe


50g butter

100g onions roughly chopped

200g potatoes peeled and roughly chopped

300ml of hot stock, veg or chicken

1 bunch of fresh wild garlic chopped

2 tbsp double cream


Melt butter in pan and lightly fry onions and potatoes, cover with a lid and cook for 10 mins.

Gradually add the stock and combine well l and then cook until the onions and potatoes are tender.

Then stir in the garlic leaves and cook for one minute, add the cream and stir…

Season and wiz until smooth. Serve with a few chopped garlic leaves on top.

Simples! Very good for warming you up!

Visit the beautiful Porters garden in the grounds of our historic dockyard -lucky us see website for more info and their opening times


by Pauline Powell
Information regarding Easter craft workshop for kids

Easter Holiday Crafty Fun

Monday 8th April 2019 from 11am till 2pm. Easter Holiday Crafty Fun in our lovely garden with Jennifer 'jppyro' Plested Artist - Come join in the fun »

Cabin makeover!

Tuesday 2nd April

If you go to Canoe Lake this week and the community garden gate is open, pop inside and see. Our busy bees were busy doing a makeover of the portacabin. Now it’s a bright and accessible workspace for the community, a place to kick off our wellies when we need a cuppa or a rest.

Vik Burnand told us about it:

“We had the pleasure of working with young people, staff and volunteers from Enham Trust's S2A programme and The Marigold Loft on our 'Cabin Make-Over Project' (the final flourish of our Solent All Stars adventure). We had a paint splatter party in the cabin, furniture upcycling under the gazebo and general garden sprucing in the sunshine! Plus there was birthday cake too!”

We are delighted with our dream team of young people and gardeners, and all the work that has begun in the garden. Gardening club is Tuesdays, 11-12 noon, and we have get togethers every1st Saturday of the month. If you see the gate is open, pop in and say hello

by Sue Stokes
Portsmouth Friends of the Earth Logo and Link
Portsmouth Friends of the Earth - April Updates
View Events
poster for cabin makover
Southsea Green Cabin-Makeover

As part of our 'Solent All Stars' project, we'll be working with local young people to revamp our cabin and prepare the graden, ready for spring!

Thursday 28th March ~ 10.30am-14.30pm
Poster Full Version

A warm Spring sun shines

Picture of the white flower of wild garlic
Tuesday 25th March

As the warm Spring sun shines eloquently on the tight buds of plants and shrubs all around the garden, just which will be the first to show their true colours? White Jasmine clinging to the trellis on the garden wall hosts clumps of white tipped buds still covered with red sheaths at present.

Three young Cherry Whips planted just last year given by the Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens are heartily bursting with new buds and Bluebell leaves in abundance have pushed through the cold earth.

So too has the Wild garlic overtaking that corner of the garden and bursting un-reservedly all over the once lawned area.

Buds on the Rosemary bushes are ready to burst open their blue florets with their delightful fragrance just as the wild daisies smile through the new green grass. So let us count our Blessings and Praise be., to Nature's earth and all that be!!

I have wild garlic in my Southsea garden to share, send a message to Southsea Green Facebook if you’d like some or to join us in the community garden.

By Irene Strange. Poet. Southsea Green

Spring is near

A Robin on a blossoming tree in Spring
Saturday 23rd March

So spring is very nearly upon us and the garden is good to go for another growing season.

The polytunnel has been cleared of over-wintered stored tools and equipment and its groundprepared for early sowings which will including some heritage seeds for a planned “Dig forVictory” plot that is hoped to be created in the Canoe Lake Park as a part of the City’s D-Day 75​th anniversary commemorations. The cabin will be given a make-over later in the month courtesy offunds remaining from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight grant that was awarded last year and therefreshment facilities will be moved there freeing up more space in the tunnel.

The pond was cleared and cleaned over the winter and is now host to copious quantities offrogspawn and its proud parents, so we look forward to seeing tadpoles again in the coming monthstogether with damsel flies and other aquatic fauna as the days grow warmer.

So exciting to see the start of a new year of nature, weather and our volunteers working together to create the annual miracle once again.

By Graham Newcombe
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