Winter Articles

Vegetables on display in the garden

Shortage of veggies after Brexit?

Wednesday 13th March

Unlikely but why not grow your own instead? Tastier, healthier, and easier.

Only got a window box? You can still grow herbs like mint, thyme, parsley and cress, salad leaves or pea shoots (75p pack of dried peas from the shops).

Small patio? Carrots grow well in bucket size pots (sow thickly; thin and eat them as baby carrots and let the rest grow on).

Dwarf beans, dwarf peas, cut and come again lettuce and salads such as radish and spring onions do well in pots. Put a tumbling tomato in a hanging basket or bucket size pot, fastened to the wall for cherry tomatoes that take no space at all!.

One chilli plant loads of chillies! A larger tub and you can grow potatoes. Try an early salad potato like ‘Swift’ or ‘Charlotte’.

Plant vegs amongst your flowers. Swiss chard Bright Lights has yellow, orange and red stems. Try a wigwam of runner beans Painted Lady (red and white flowers) or French beans Blauhilde (purple pods) or Bergold (yellow pods).

Dig for Brexit! You know it makes sense!

By Goff Gleadle
Pink astrantia flowers

Spring is here!

Wednesday 6th March

Spring is really here, so after long and dark days, I can now get back out in the garden and do my morning inspection to see what has popped up in the night? It is really lovely to see little green tips and trying to remember what should be growing there.

I had tree surgeons attack my trees and shrubs before winter. It’s given me lots more ground and air space. So, more spring flowers are appearing where they had been obstructed by branches or leaves. Even the birds seem grateful for more space. Now I can go and buy more plants too.

I’ve already received astrantia and spoilt myself with 3 new peonies, which seem to do well on the hill slopes. I’m always surprise at what survives the winter. I noticed red dianthus flowers in full bloom on the path this morning, and little daffodils are appearing.

As the sun is now shining, and, as my grandmother used to say, “The roads have been aired”, so I will take my coffee outside, and spend a little time enjoying what nature is showing us.

By Pat Brain
Happy busy bee on blue cornflower
Tuesday 26th February

I have always loved gardening, but as I’m now 80, it’s getting very difficult to keep it all looking neat and tidy. So I did a rough design to try and do something about this.

I had several shrubs removed (no more clipping), and graveled over a bigger area where I now have pots to stand where it looks nice (much easier to sit and plant up pots!)

A friend made me a painted wheelbarrow to stand smaller pots in, and we have a paved area for the children’s sand pit, and a little seat, so we can chat while the children play.

I bought a little Tamerisk tree and under-planted with various ferns and gravel edging. I think the Tamerisk is quite beautiful, especially when it’s breezy.

The garden is beginning to be much more manageable now. I may even find time to sit in it and read!

Our next get together at the community garden, Canoe Lake, is March 2nd from 11am till 1pm.

By Trish Moyle
Picture of Rosemary growing wild

Rosemary and Daisies

Saturday 23rd February

The Rosemary shrubs are in full bloom

Despite the cold of winter's gloom.

The winter's sun shone down at last

To warm the buds from the cold past…

Flowers so delicate with petals so blue,

Stems of the shrub’s fragrant hue.

ROSEMARY... if a girl is so named,

Soft feminine gentility fame

With a store of patience and goodwill

Standing strongly through the winter chill.

Daisies many of them, white petals

Hail the Daisies that can be seen

As you tread the grass to Southsea Green.

Free and persistent as they thrive and grow

Whether wild or cultural their beauty show

Field or Moon daisies they hold their beauty,

White, Pink and colourful as they perform their duty.

DAISY... girl's endowed with this name,

Are joyful and confident with ' full of life ' fame,

Loves the attention as you gaze awhile

So, glance to the Daisies and give a smile.

Don’t forget Jenni is in the community garden Sunday 24th Make a greenhouse, sow a seed; Make a mini bunch of daffs or a Green man mask to celebrate Spring

Poems by Irene Strange
Raspberry bush

Snow’s gone, time to think of Spring!

Sunday 17th February

There’s plenty to do now. In the ornamental garden there’s still time to cut back shrubs and trees and is a good time to plant them too. Pansies, primroses and bulbs in the garden centres. Best time to prune roses in our part of the country.

In the vegetable garden, now is the best time to plant bare root raspberries and other bush/tree fruit. Buy your seed potatoes to chit in a cool, light but frost-free place to give them a head start.

You can sow sweet peppers and chillies in heated propagators at home but leave tomatoes until later. Prepare the ground for the March rush. Then you can sow parsnip, carrots, early peas, broad beans and much else. Don’t panic though, long growing season ahead. Sow a row or two and repeat a few weeks later. This is easier, staggers the harvest and avoids gluts. Ready for the March madness?

Jenni is doing family crafts in the community garden Sunday 24th February

By Goff Gleadle
Blue butterfly

‘Hello Sunshine’

Friday 7th February

Sunlit leaves tipped with gold

Ah it’s good to think of summer and butterflies when it’s so chilly outside. So I spoke to Robertwho organises the butterfly survey in Romsey, to help find out how we can attract butterflies andreverse their declining numbers. Butterfly facts: More natural habitat needed for butterflies.Theyare a valuable part of the food chain; valuable pollinators yet 75% of species are in decline. 4species have become extinct. Environmental change due to damage to their habitat and use ofpesticides is not helping, but we can make a difference by:- Sowing plants for butterflies andcaterpillars to feed on; reduce using pesticides. Provide nooks and crannies for over winterers.

Robert who recorded 2018 survey data for Romsey allotments, noted most species were on thewing for the first few weeks of April; mid June to mid August; and last few weeks of September.With only Whites appearing in the gaps in between. ​Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and RedAdmirals were seriously depleted, maybe due to the cold snap in March and April. For more infoon the Butterfly count email:

By Sue Stokes
A winters green tree image with snow
Friday 1st February

Sunlit leaves tipped with gold

Nature’s beautiful illumination

Snake of a river curling south arriving with big ships overnight

Thoughts fade like the setting sun

Moonbeams dance on a silver sea

Faeries work throughout the night

Weaving an enchanted tapestry

Seeds you planted - have forgotten

Surprise you when you least expect

Winter’s chill still keeps us wrapped

Tucked in duvets or fleece - all quiet

Spring is coming - earth already

Time for planting the new season

By Sue Stokes
purple flower
bee on a purple flower
purple flowers

A New Garden!

Tuesday 15th January

From kitsch garden gnomes and overgrown ivy, to vibrant pansy plants and numerous attempts at growing chilli peppers. It was a place of joy which I was sad to say goodbye to.

Last summer I said farewell to my first garden. For nearly ten years I had looked after the little courtyard space, albeit mainly in the summer. I can safely say, I’m a fair-weather gardener! Every Spring I would peer out of the conservatory doors, eyeing up what work needed to be done, looking forward to filling it with colour.

But 2019 brings a bigger garden, with actual grass! There have been whispers of sheds, shrubs and what we will fill our newly-acquired vegetable patch with. This weekend I attended the monthly garden volunteer meeting and learnt all about heritage potatoes and companion planting. So, with my head swimming with ideas, I’m looking forward to getting started... let’s have a cup of tea first though, it’s a bit chilly out there!

By Vik Burnand
Yound deer

A Garden to Me

Wednesday 9th January

A garden to me is the most fun if you can throw a ball as hard as possible along the length of it and still not touch the edges. While away recently, my puppy enjoyed playing games with me in our holiday garden. The grass underfoot was soft, green and mossy. There were shelters to explore along the edges of the garden and a child's Wendy house built out of wood covered with overgrown brambles and climbers. A tree at the end of the garden was steeped in a layer of crunchy brown leaves it had shed for the winter. Each morning I'd climb into my wellies and take a ball out to play with the dog in this new, exciting space which had plenty of new scents to investigate. A gate at the end led to the forest beyond. One morning we awoke to see a baby deer in our garden, my most magical memory of the week which has stayed with me since coming home.

By Sar Clark
Cartoon strip for the new year 2019

Happy New Year

Wednesday 2nd January

Ah thoughts of ‘Newness’ as the year turns. My daughter just told me “gardens are like families, they need be planted together so they can lean on each other and be able to grow”.

So little wise one, what else do you know? What of our climate dilemma? Solutions for untangling ourselves from years of converging nation states? Wonder how our 16-year-old future selves, might re-organise the whole shenanigans, and what future they would grow? We might be surprised at their cleverness and implicit benevolence for those we share our world with?

We shared the community garden this year with creatures, great and small. Wildlife, plant-life and bug-life, and all. Wonderful thing is, that what Elle says above, is true for us too. Every step we take up the garden path, each change caused by every move, everything we say, every seed we sow, helps to make things grow. It is just the way of it – Fabulous Nature - that awesome thing we don’t quite understand yet cannot live without!

May the rain fall softly and the sunshine on you all in 2019.

By Sue Stokes
image of a pink camelia

Happy gardening hours in 2019

Thursday 20th December

From one gardener to another at Southsea Green garden, or wherever you are, and no matter the size of your plot or garden, this is the time of year to sit in your armchair with all your seed catalogues etc you’ve gathered over the year. I’ve been ill and in hospital, so unable to visit as many gardens, but I’ve lots of enthusiasm and ideas for 2019.

I’ve bought my first pink daffodils which may horrify some of you but am keen to see them in my daffodil collection. Another first is scented tulips which I will bring into the house later.

I’ve sheltered my camelias and fed them coffee grounds - produced beautiful blooms last summer. I’ve filled my hanging baskets with pansies for colour and prepared for winter, not forgetting the birds’ seed and meal-worm. I’ve placed a hedgehog house in a sheltered spot and will leave a little dried cat food out for them. Hope the winter won’t be too horrendous! Wishing you all best wishes for Christmas-time, and many happy gardening hours in 2019.

By Pat Brain (Patron of Southsea Green)
collage of hands twigs, Sue and Irene

Never be lonely

Thursday 13th December

What a turbulent time we’ve had this year, in so many ways - wondering where we’ll be in a few weeks’ time? Well we can be sure most of us will be cosy in a place we call home, but as we known for some, the homeless and the isolated, that’s not a great place! A lot of what we’ve done this year, steps beyond growing plants and sticking up for our oldest trees. It’s been in providing skillshops to give people a taste of things they’ve never tried, but also to say hello to those who perhaps have not many family and friends around them.

The community garden is much more than a garden gate. It’s a welcoming smile and a hug for anyone sad or lonely. I’m very proud of this, and of all the gorgeous people who have helped with providing company and help to those who pluck up the courage to step inside the gate - wishing you all the cosy-ness and peace of Christmas, however, you celebrate it -never be lonely! Keep in touch.

by Sue Stokes
Highbridge Farm sign

Winter Arrving

Wednesday 5th December

As Winter arrives the colours in our gardens change from the Autumn landscape glow of Lavenders, Michaelmas daisies, Hydrangeas and the Buddleia Butterfly bushes. Say ' Hello ' to the yellow Winter Jasmine shrub and the Evergreen Holly covered with red berries, or the yellow variegated, ( Golden Queen ) Holly and the colourful foliage Holly leaves of ( Marginata Pendula ) Crowned and covered with red berries.

View the pretty Cordate ( Chameleon ) perennial with it's exciting, almost heart shaped leaves flashed with red, yellow and green, or the Acer deciduous tree ( Flamingo ) with its variegation of leaves distinctly marked white and green, edged with pink, so eye-catching. So!... Open your eyes and notice the glorious changes in the Winter sunshine, along the Street gardens and hedgerows as you wind your way to our own Southsea Green garden at Canoe Lake. Enjoy....

Big thanks to Awards for All and Canoe Lake Leisure for our lovely venue, and Peta who coordinated our Skillshops for so many local families, and thanks to all who came, and for your Foodbank gifts. You can contribute directly to Foodcycle

by Irene Strange