Southsea Green

Community Garden | Canoe Lake

Spring Articles

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Twitter Updates for the Weekend

Tuesday 11th September

This weekend was a joy in the garden, where families came in on the sunshiny day to make Peg dollies and leaf crowns, and the most beautiful scarecrows that we’ve ever seen to finish our Greenfingers projects - see our Twitter feed:

Big thanks to our Marigold girls, Sarah and Vik, and our Redhat Garden fairy Irene for a wonderful family fun afternoon in the community garden, and a rhyme from Irene.

Gardening Tools –

Forks and spades, hoes and rakes, our gardeners know just what it takes.

Fork the soil and spade the earth, hoe weeds clear ready for new birth.

Rake stones away for use elsewhere, to make a rockery if you care.

Plant potatoes in a row, and place cabbage plants at equal space.

Winter variety is the choice, come springtime, make our hearts rejoice.

Tender loving care is strong, hands and feet can do no wrong.

Nature's way of rain and shine, brings forth goodness so divine, for heart and body to survive

– keeping our very Souls alive.

By Irene Strange

A Garden Robin

Autumn Colours

Tuesday 11th September

Autumn colours blowing past us as we begin clearing the garden of old crops and begin to sow winter veg. The garden is changing with the seasons, but you will still be welcome to walk around whenever you see the gate open. Our little red robin was hopping about near us last week as we were making our way towards the gate, such a friendly little thing. We are lucky to have this lovely wildlife haven so close to the sea.

Our friends at Greens cafe planted our fruit trees in their cafe garden, and you will find more fruit when you walk beside the cricket ground, we planted last year. In the community garden there are apples and fig, peach, damson, and plum.

We also have cherry trees, a hazel, am fruiting olive that was planted first of all, and we can pick elderberries and figs from overhanging branches of age old, protected trees in this lovely green-space at Canoe Lake. We have more Free family workshops in gardening and crafts coming soon. See our Facebook page for updates

Blackberries on a bramble bush

By Joanne Castledine Sleuth of Monkey Puzzle Nursery

Tuesday 4th September

As a child I often spent weekends with my Grandma and Grampy in Leicester. They had the longest garden in the whole world. Part ornamental and the rest full of fruit and vegetables with a greenhouse at the end. Grampy was up early tending the beans, peas, carrots, onions, potatoes, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, black currants, then newspaper and a nap in the afternoons. Grandma took us out afternoon, we’d see geese and walk alongside the canal, identifying birds, flowers and trees. My love of nature comes from being outdoors with grandma.

My grandparents paid such a big part in who I am today. This blog is for them and to share my interest in nature all around us.

We went to Hilsea Lines foraging for blackberries. Here’s a recipe for blackberry crumble

  • Wash blackberries
  • Chop 4 cooking apples
  • Stir in a tablespoon of sugar and a glug of water
  • Topping 3oz marge, 7oz plain flour, 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Rub ingredients together until they look like bread crumbs
  • Bake in medium oven approx. 25 mins
  • Cool and serve with custard or ice cream - DELICIOUS!

Greenfingers Big Lunch

Thursday 30th August

Picture of Drumnation Tribe and children at skillshop

Drum Workshop

Tuesday 28th August

DrumNation Tribe were delighted to have been invited to support Southsea Green for their event this Saturday, which evolved into a wonderful Community Event, involving and engaging with all visitors to the Southsea Green Garden Project and their Skills Workshop that was taking place in the gardens on Saturday afternoon.

The Tribe rocked up early, set up a PA System to play some great summertime background Latino music, bringing African Drums and Percussion Instruments galore and setting up their performance area under the Southsea Green’s Gazebo just outside the entrance.

And then as the Tribe members began to arrive, it was time to start drumming and draw in the visitors...

Inbetween performances, there was a fabulous picnic lunch for all to share, including our many visitors and participating drummers and friends of Southsea Green Community Project.

The two Drumming Workshops for Children and Adults alike were very popular and interactive, with everyone able to enjoy using all our percussion instruments and workshop drums. Some of the adults and older children were also invited to join in with the Tribe playing the many Djembes that were provided, and jam along with us during our performances – the age range of our participants were from 1 years old to a magnificent 93!

It was a very colourful spectacle with everyone joining in almost involuntary, as they tried to ‘walk’ on by, but couldn’t help looking, listening, smiling and jiggling along as they passed by. Many stopped to watch and many more stopped to join in and take part.

It was great to have this opportunity to perform for such a worthy cause, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day, and talking to all the visitors to the garden. We look forward to being invited to return in the future...

A picture of a few yellow sunflowers

Sunflowers by Freya Perry

Tuesday 21st August

Way back in my life - about 50 years ago - my then husband and I planted Sunflowers in our front garden. We talked lovingly to them. We watered and nurtured them. They grew as tall as our bedroom window and greeted us each morning as we woke; though it was their rear view we saw! Most neighbours loved them, but we often heard scathing comments from non-gardeners. I never understood that.

These days I don't grow them in my tiny Eastney garden, but I have a favourite sitting area and have written about them. Sunflowers have found their way into my heart again and into a delightful fairy story.

I love how these golden yellow saucers follow the sun. The young fairy in my story is forced to dry out an angry old bedraggled fairy on a sunflower head with amazing results. The healing energy of plants runs deep. We know and accept the benefits of lavender, but sunflowers have their very own open-hearted joy and Light. I know many have enjoyed the sunflowers fields recently. Me too.

Greenfingers Big Lunch poster at Eastney Community Centre

By Peta Sampson

Tuesday 14th August

We’ve been even busier than usual lately. Having won a customer vote at Tesco, we have been delivering a range of workshops in crafts and gardening with Eastney Community Centre. The workshops aimed to share skills, build community and raise awareness of the environment. We’ve grown veggies, arrived at the perfect compost recipe, looked after worms and learned how to relax in the garden whilst enjoying playing our own mini harps. We’ve made seed bombs, learned how to grow in small spaces, and taken unloved items and recycled them for the home and garden.

Now we are almost ready to harvest the veggies planted early in the year, and, despite the best efforts of slugs, we have a lovely crop! So, we are coming together to enjoy a shared meal, grown with our own hands. We will be enjoying, Cucumber, courgette and onion soup served with potato and green bean salad and a green salad, tomatoes, peppers and more cucumber. Thanks to Gemma and Tesco and everyone who gave us their tokens, for this opportunity to celebrate our community growing spaces.

Lots of different veg in a basket

By Irene Strange. Poet.

Tuesday 7th August


Brussels Sprouts, sprout on the stems

Cauliflowers flower as white Gems

Cabbage greens grow with rain

Cabbage white, purity to gain

Curly Kale swirl as they twirl

Broccoli florets solid and tight

With graceful stems as they catch the light.

String beans grow as they cling

Pea pods swell, sweetness to bring

Lettuce, let us ' chew the cud '

Asparagus squeeze through the mud.

Marrows stretching along the ground

Melons rolling round and round...

With aching muscles and hearts lain bare

Providing healthy food with tender care

Gardener's work and dig the soil

As onwards they sweat and toil.

Do you have extra beans or tomatoes or potatoes, sweetcorn, broccoli, or herbs? Bring them down to the garden and swap them from something you don’t have.

Our gardeners will be pleased to see you at our monthly get togethers, or at us.

Free Skillshops held at the garden and other local gardens and community places.

See what’s on and book yourself and a friend in here:

Skillshops or call Peta on 07818 063428

Field of grass and sun beaming down on it

By Sue Stokes

Tuesday 31st July

And the rains came, after a beautiful summer’s day full of carnivals and weddings, summer fairs, singing and harps sessions in the beautiful pavilion, part of our Skillshops programme. Time for the grass to get a good soaking and the water butts topped up. A welcome pause in an otherwise relentless few months of heat, long, hot days, and sleepless nights.

And so, the rivers grew as it poured, and the bathers changed their flip flops for loafers, those who hadn’t fled the country as soon as School was out, went shopping at West Quay instead of skinny dipping or dozing in deckchairs or walking by the prom, or the harbour wall.

If you listened, it was possible to hear tennis balls hitting astro turf, and children playing in the kiddy park across the green. Time has a way of blurring the edges of our memories, of airbrushing moments we have shared. Seven years have passed in a blink since we built the red and white shack on the prom. ‘What comes around goes around’.

If you have a story, please share it with us, contact

The sune beating down on the grass

By Sue Stokes

Tuesday 24th July

Gosh ‘Scorchio’ and still no sign of rain, so now we are rising earlier, working earlier and later, and napping (if we can) in the afternoon. Here’s 3 cool tips for summertime

One: Take a breather, don’t waste it, relax and fill up your lungs whilst you chill out, and breathe away your worries and cares. Bit hot for huffing, so save your breath for some magic mindfulness

Two: Plant a meadow. Bees love wildflowers and wildflowers love any old soil, so no need to splash out, but if your soil is rich, try poppies, cornflowers, and marigolds. Gardens are full of herbs and shrubs that pollinators love, ask any Bee. Our hedgerows feed pollinators too, Meadow Cranesbill, Selfheal, Ox-Eye Daisy, Bugle, Yarrow, Cuckoo Flowers, Goat's Beard, Agrimony, Meadow Buttercup and more on »

Three: Stay cool and try our Skillshops. See website for our FREE taster sessions in gardening and crafts especially for you, or if you know someone who might like a little company or to learn something ne

Skillshops »
Dandelion blowing in the wind

By Sue Stokes

Tuesday 17th July

Thought for the day was the importance of openness and humility for good leadership, observing testaments of deep respect paid to politicians with integrity, who had died. We have a little white rambling Peace rose, which we planted in the rose gardens a few years ago, with a simple stone, dedicated to Jo Cox MP, remembering her unswaying belief in humanity and the strength of community, “Stronger Together”, she said.

This principle of togetherness lies beneath and beyond our community garden too, at Canoe Lake. Beneath, because we have always believed, that people come through the garden gate with respect and a love for gardening, and the community. Beyond, because sometimes that simple sign of community is lost, when we don’t understand each other, or if we disagree. As is true in life, our road from the prom to the community garden, is long and winding.

Like wild flowers ‘blowing in the wind’, we bend, and we break, and we grow -has never been a walk in the park, and yet still we rise “Stronger together” she said

Bumblebee on a dandelion

By Goff & Helen/h2>

Wednesday 11th July

Summer time and the living is easy’, but gardening never is! A cold wet start to the year, warm late spring, and now, a drought - even watering our lawns isn’t easy. Don’t panic, lawns recover quickly. You can still water all your plants if you follow these tips.

  • Don’t use sprinklers or fine spray hoses, particularly mid-day, much of this evaporates.
  • Watering morning or evening to the base of the plants is best.
  • Mulch compost, and use decorative stone around your prize blooms, will help keep the water in.
  • Keep a washing up bowl in your sink so that water from washing pots, your hands, or running the tap for a drink, can go on your garden.
  • Plants don’t mind soapy water!
  • Sounds simple but surprisingly effective. You’ll be surprised how much water you can collect in a day in a bucket near the kitchen. When it’s full, just throw it over the garden to give it a good soaking!
  • Hopefully, by using water sustainably through the hot spells, we can keep our plants thriving with minimal impact on the environment.

Finally, pray for some rain!

Poster for Gardens open day

By Irene Strange

Wednesday 4th July

Summer came a-racing in HOT HOT HOT Gardeners tended the earth on their PLOT PLOT PLOT. Fledgling Robins fluted from their nests .Flapping and Hopping to show their Red vests .The Horny Toad croaked to see Frogs spawn come alive so rapidly. As blue Dragonflies hover overhead green pond weed crowds the water bed. Pink water lilies open their cups For Bees to savour the pollenup.

So come along and join our friendly band Perhaps to help water or lend a hand Enjoy all this and more to be seen, when you visit our community garden at Southsea Green. Pop in and see how the garden has grown; paint a pebble; and listen to Drumnation tribe. Leave the car behind and bring your bike to the Cycle Club’s bicycle hospital, at our open garden day on July 7, from 12 noon-3pm - join us in a minute’s silence at 2pm to remember all victims of aggression, and Jo Cox MP, to whom we dedicated a peace rose in the rose gardens, and for whom our beautiful blue gates are painted.

“We are stronger together”

Picture of Canoe Lake at Southsea

By Sue Stokes

Tuesday 26th June

Who doesn’t love our parks and kicking off your shoes on the grass or walking amongst the trees and flowers which have grown or been planted there to feed the birds and bees and our insatiable appetite for nature.

We are thinking of getting together with other city gardeners, to celebrate and help plant up our beautiful parklands at Canoe Lake, Southsea, and to enter South East in Bloom, 2019. They say, “Public Parks & Gardens and our Green Spaces are important places for everyone... Just sitting and enjoying the scenery, for sport, children’s play, for gardening and horticulture, for walking the dog, for sustaining our wildlife, Parks and open spaces provide it all...

So, in partnership with our friends at the seafront, from our local kiddy groups to businesses and our City council gardener allies, we hope to take inspiration and get some togetherness going for this campaign. If you’re interested in getting involved, call us 07484 197065

More info on South East in Bloom at: