A small group of volunteers started work on Monday to ensure the acre was at its very best this week with two judging days looming and a picnic to host. A few nettles and brambles were cut back where they encroached on to paths or caused problems in our maze, a good number of plants were allocated spaces in our beds as they were deemed to be healthy enough to make the step from our potting on table, and the lawn was weeded.
Tuesday dawned and we were back on the acre bright and early to await the judges from Farnham in Bloom who were there to score us as a wildlife garden and judge our vegetables too.
Many were on hand to highlight all the hard work put in by the volunteers in both categories and I think the judges were impressed. The garden is a haven for all kinds of flora and fauna, and this is clear to anyone who visits and hears the birdsong, peers into the pond and watches as a myriad of insects go about their work. However it can often be the smaller things that can go unnoticed; the straw hedgehog hotel hidden deep within the bamboo, the logs underwhich a host of creepy crawlies scuttle out from if disturbed, discreetly hidden bird feeders and a compost heap that hides our slow worms. All of these were pointed out and we really hope we do well as the wildlife element is very much at the heart of the acre.
The vegetables were full to the brim; plump broadbeans, courgettes, potato's, stunning fruit bushes, leeks and lettuces, all favourably commented on and both judges left suitably impressed.
We hosted a " picnic on the acre" this Wednesday and thanks to all those volunteers who came along and made it such a tremendous success!
We welcomed parents and children from the local primary School, young carers and their support group, regular volunteers and their friends together with supporters and user groups. Incredible! To see all age groups represented, people who have overcome issues from all walks of life, all enjoying each others company, was our vision for the acre at the start and here we were experiencing that at first hand.
It was a joyful afternoon, a lovely way for local children to end their summer term and for us to share our wonderful garden with friends and family. Salads had been prepared from our vegetable patch and many enjoyed a wonderful treat of a gooseberry from our fruit bushes. The blackcurrants and redcurrants were cropped as well so hopefully we might see a pie, cake or jam on the acre next week. The judging also continued as we also had Iain and Graham judging us for the community garden element of Farnham in Bloom and I think they could see just how much we do to improve the lives of those that we are able to reach out to.
The acre was open to the public on Thursday until lunchtime. We placed our sandwich board outside the door in the morning and attracted a small number of local residents who were shown around by Libby. Meanwhile, the volunteers planted out our remaining Nasturtiums and pricked out the last of our foxglove seedlings.
A busy but brilliant week for our acre.