Saturday, September 27, 2008

September open day - sunshine and mellow fruitfulness

Blessed by gorgeous weather, the open day was particularly successful, if we say it ourselves. 1,800 people – accurately counted for once – visited the gardens and made many appreciative comments. Following a couple of weeks after a major feature in The Garden magazine, and mentions in several national newspapers, locals and visitors from further afield took this last chance to see the Kitchen Garden in its current state.

We also kicked off our major art project - a huge mural of the whole park, painted tile by tile by participants - held in conjunction with Open Chiswick. The schoolchildren will keep working on this until the end of the year, and it is shaping up to be quite something.

This picture is taken across the cutting bed, showing red amaranths (love-lies-bleeding, bronze echinacea, blue echinops, white cosmos). On the very left of the image is the solitary pink cosmos flower that self-sowed itself into our marigold hedges, while his colleagues somehow missed their turns in the sowing timetable, leaving us deprived of a valuable source of late flowers, although some of his cousins have been guerilla planted in the tree bases along Sutton Court Road. In the background are two runner bean pyramids, with a selection of different runners - all equally uninmpressive this year - including Enorma, Hestia, Painted Lady, Prizewinner, Scarlet Emperor, Sunbright, Sunset. The large mad clump in the left background was Tree Spinach, mistakenly sown instead of Strawberry Spinach; we have cut this down about a metre but it just keeps on growing, and no-one seems keen to take it home to try, so we won't be growing this again. If anyone has any recipes, or would like to have a few bushels, let us know. Just in front of the mad spinach is an overwhelmed row of beans, and in front of that is a nice little row of late peas under netting. And in the far background is a selection of the people who came to the Kitchen Garden, meandered around, sat and looked or just sat, and enjoyed it.