Summer 2020 Articles

Even though normality for us all, currently needs to be socially distanced, it's more important than ever that we support each other in our communities. This might be your neighbour, your family or someone you pass in the street. A smile or a ‘good morning’ goes so much further than it did before we all wore masks inside and life brought us a new consideration.

This week the weather has been absolutely beautiful, the perfect early autumnal sun. I’ve felt an almost magnetic pull towards our green spaces knowing they won’t be green indefinitely, the sun dancing through the leaves is pure magic, enough to lift us all. Plan to sow garlic or plant daffodils if you want to keep yourself busy and your hands in the earth this weekend but make sure to take time to absorb this beautiful change in season. The light is perfect and somehow these last rays always shine the brightest.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 19th September 2020

September is in full swing and as ever we are all thinking ahead in the garden. A constant balance of how to get the most out of these late summer, early autumn days before daylight is reduced, alongside initial considerations for overwintering the garden. There is much to do, and many of us may have a lot on our minds. Expectation is a funny thing in relation to gardening. Having expectations keeps us motivated and excited about growing. Enjoying the seasonal changes in our green spaces moves us forward in a positive way, gives us hope and allows us to fully immerse in the experience of gardening.

Of course, disappointment is included and as in life best held lightly! With life continuing to twist, turn and ramble, our gardens and green spaces are, as ever, there for us. Enjoying these spaces and watching them change with the seasons is soothing and groundin and we all need more of that!

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 19th September 2020

Why do we Garden?

When the tasks build, and life becomes busy it’s time to pause and remind ourselves why we came to gardening in the first place. This week I found myself feeling a little all over the place, like I know so many of us are, head in a whirl. Upon stepping into the garden, I quickly found I felt more myself again. The joy for me is all within the senses that envelope us when we connect with the earth and the seasons. That day, the breeze was calm, the sun was shining, and the air was quiet but for insects buzzing around. A sense of Summer winding down. I am all for the harvest, both fruit and flower, but there is something special in those moments when we find ourselves in sync with the beauty, we have around us. Through creating and nurturing these environments it turns out we also nurturing ourselves.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 12th September 2020

Why do we Garden? When the tasks build and life becomes busy it’s time to pause and remind ourselves why we came to gardening in the first place. This week I found myself feeling a little all over the place, like I know so many of us are, head in a whirl. Upon stepping into the garden I quickly found I felt more myself again. The joy for me is all within the senses that envelope us when we connect with the earth and the seasons. That day, the breeze was calm, the sun was shining and the air was quiet but for insects buzzing around. A sense of Summer winding down. I am all for the harvest, both fruit and flower, but there is something special in those moments when we find ourselves in sync with the beauty we have around us. Through creating and nurturing these environments it turns out we also nurturing ourselves.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 5th September 2020

‘THE GARDEN IN THE LATE EVENING SUN’

Sitting in the garden in the late evening sun

Cool breeze lingering after day is done

The heatwave has now long past

Thunder and lightening did not last

Summer rain then poured down

Drenching the dry, hallowed ground

Wet soil emits a fresh earthly smell

In turn creates roots to grow and swell.

Leaves and blossoms flourish there

As fragrant perfume fills the air

Butterflies and bees flutter by

As the sun sinks in the sky

Dead-head the roses and feverfew

Clip climbing Jasmine, next year to re-new

Collect seed pods of carnations and pinks

Gather strawberries ever trailing links

As Fushia's colourful blossoms be-calm

In-hale the heady Lemon mint balm.

And as night falls and you retire to bed

Slumber and rest your sleepy head.

By Irene Strange

There has been much appreciation for the rain here in Southsea over the past week. The heatwave was fabulous but it presented us gardeners with a real challenge to keep everything happy. If we didn’t water it, it definitely let us know rather quickly! Our style of gardening is do what you can with what you have, but with extreme weather comes the responsibility to act quickly. Some things can’t be prepared for, both when growing and in life, so we must roll with it like the waves of our beloved sea. Everything and everyone seems to have really benefited from that rain. Isn’t it amazing how the weather has such power to nourish not only our gardens but us as well. A few years ago I discovered the word ‘petrichor’, the name given to the smell after rain falls on warm surfaces. Summer rain is soothing for the soul, but let’s have some more fabulous sunshine again soon.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 22nd August 2020

THE GARDEN PATH

At the garden path I stand

Fork and trowel in my hand

Should I plant or should I sow ??

Deeming to make the garden grow.

Firstly I must clear the weeds

Before I dare to sprinkle seeds.

Persevere or hesitate ??

Cannot leave the garden in such a state !!

A rolling cloud drifts by

Darkening the grey / blue sky.

The wind picks up, it begins to rain.

Oh !! great, its ' cuppa tea time ' once again.

By Irene Strange
Saturday 15th August 2020

A wander through the Southsea Green garden at the moment is a gentle reminder that gardens are not always pristine and manicured. In fact the best of them never truly are and the garden is beautiful. The idea that things must be ‘perfect’ is what stops many people from having a go at gardening and is something we never insist on here! Flowers and branches may be twisting and twirling, vegetables may be wonky and rambling but this is what perfect means to us. I always say these stems are the magical ones, the ones with character and plenty of charm. We don’t use chemicals and always encourage things to grow in the way they need to. As it turns out this is often the best way with people too and all us humans ever need is gentle encouragement, perhaps now more than ever. Kindness costs nothing, seeds not much more. So let’s all grow, twirling, twisting and wonky and celebrate that in every possible way.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 8th August 2020

August! Month eight into a very strange year indeed. It’s only human to sometimes feel a sense of loss over the could or should have beens, but so many positives have woven and intertwined themselves through these challenging times. Like a rambling rose with thorns, we still see the beauty of the rose and so it is as life continues alongside covid. In our city new faces now understand how vital our green spaces are, truly the lungs, that belong to us all. The importance of access to outside space has never been clearer and the need for kindness, community and sharing so well understood. The rainbows still brightening windows and empty racks where there would have been seed at garden centres, remind us how things have been different and at times devastating but they also remind us how a love for nature, the outdoors and the wild has been truly re-ignited.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 1st August 2020

Turn your back for a minute right now and those courgettes will have become marrows! Everything is putting on masses of growth thanks to the classic, glorious, British summer weather. The combination of heat, sunshine and a little rain topped up by our volunteers’ supreme watering skills is keeping everything growing happily. Whilst we are all keen mindful gardeners here at Southsea Green, truly valuing the importance of gardening as being much more than the harvest, we too must continually look ahead. July is a month to get those young plants going, so that they can absorb the summer's energy before we head into autumn and growth slows down. So keep safe everyone and keep going, it’s not too late to grow your own this year.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 25th July 2020

PROSE - GREEN HEALTH FROM THE GARDEN

Brussels sprouts, sprout on the stem ------

Long string beans hanging on Hazel twigs -----

Broad beans grow in the Pod -----

Garden peas on clinging vines -----

Cabbages form with great hearts -----

Little Gem lettuce, tight and firm -----.

" EAT YOUR GREENS "

But after all the shouting

I go for Purple broccoli sprouting !!.

By Irene Strange
Saturday 18th July 2020

Time. Strange for many of us at present. We find ourselves in July and well into summer, our garden continuing to put on a show whilst embracing the classic line up of British summer weather. Solar powered days and gusty sea winds. Those seeds we sowed in March, when the world turned upside down, have put down strong roots and flourished. Harvest time for many of us has therefore truly begun, tomatoes, courgettes, beans and potatoes amongst others. Those months spent nurturing, all worth it for the joy of picking your own. I think this joy is more so now than ever. So if you’ve grown something, it’s no small achievement! Celebrate that first tom, shiny, bright and glowing and don’t give yourself a hard time if you eat it before it even glimpses your kitchen! These joys are the reason we grow, so celebrate the hard earnt little wins. Time has brought them and us here.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 11th July 2020

Water

A trees reflection on the water

Drink to me only with thine hose

The garden plants cry out

No rain for weeks

So do not cease,

Bring out your water sprout.

Fill up your ' Butt's ',

“ Carry the Can.”.

Shower and spray me over.

Flowers and fruit's

From our root's

We'll then reward you in ' clover '.

( ' Clover ' being an Old time dictionary word for " In Luxury " )

Written by Irene Strange
Saturday 4th July 2020
Image of the front gate entrance to Southsea Green

So today would have been my wedding day, but like so many couples we too have had to postpone. The decision broke our hearts, then we moved on, then it broke our hearts all over again to think about a day we had looked forward to for so long. This situation does still have its light and our silver lining has been the shift in time that has allowed us to truly nurture our own garden. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all valued our outdoor spaces, however small they may be, tremendously over the last few months.

Our community green space here in Southsea has always been a place for everyone, people come to us at various points in life some excited about growing for the first time, others retiring with time and skills to share and many who have no outdoor space of their own love the opportunity to grow here and often in more ways than one. Nature has the power to lift and move us on at a much better pace than we often force ourselves into and so it fills me with hope to think that maybe we can all move forward in a more considered and mindful way than perhaps we did before. Nature, along with love is not cancelled.

Shared objective to create a community,

Growing people not just plants

Recent times have reminded all of us what vital pockets of magic our green spaces are.

By Vanessa Goldbert
Saturday 27th June 2020
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