Updated: Mar 4
It's early morning and I'm loading up the car with trays of home-grown plants to sell in September's Long Ashton Village Market. There's always a flutter of tense anticipation due to unknown variables. Will the weather hold? Will people come? Will anyone buy any plants? It's taken hours of careful nurturing to raise tiny seedlings into well-established plants like the lovely field scabious (pictured below).
We've also prepared information pages on each plant so people know how to look after it, as well as how it's used by wildlife. Having a successful day will make the time and hard work all worthwhile. Sam and I have joined forces with a young lad keen to help The LANCE Trust for the volunteering part of his Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
We've all contributed native, wildflower plants to the stall, grown them without peat and, in the main, used home-made compost and recycled pots to make them ultra-sustainable and wildlife-friendly. We hope that raising funds in this way will give our on-going projects a helping hand, but it also gives us the chance to engage with local people and spread the word about The Trust, the LA Council Every Garden Counts Initiative, and increase the number of wildlife-friendly plants within the village.
It's been fun and interesting working with Jack too and we already successfully sold some of his plants earlier in the year outside the Co-operative.
As it turns out, today the sun shines and we meet lots of lovely people who not only buy our plants but also tell us about their wildlife-friendly initiatives within their gardens. We swap stories about what goes on in our gardens and advise people who are just starting on their own journey to help wildlife thrive in their plot. For instance, why struggle with delphiniums when you can get pretty much the same effect with the wonderful stress-free blue spires of viper's bugloss? It's pictured below, along with the creamy lemon spears of common toadflax. A stunning combination visually but also magnets for all sorts of pollinators.
If you want more inspiration right now, have a look the synopsis for the book Gardening for Bumblebees by Prof Dave Goulson who is an informed, inspirational champion for bees. You just might be tempted to buy the book too! Alternatively, watch his video on how you can make your garden wildlife-friendly on YouTube.
Meanwhile, we all had such a great time on the LANCE Trust stall, that we're already growing more plants and looking forward to selling them, as well as meeting more people, at the Village Market in March 2022.
Hope to see you there!