Archive for the ‘Wiggly Wigglers’ Category

Definitely our number one garden journalist – Dawn Humphries lets us have her latest comments.

But before that, she has noticed the wonderful beehive composters which are in residence in one of Lanyon Bowdler’s meeting rooms at the Shrewsbury office and wondiers if they will need a home after the Show!

Beehive Composter

On Loan from Wiggly Wigglers - a Beehive Composter

They are rather amazing pieces of wood – larger than I thought they would be.  The plan is to house the speakers for the Podcasts in them.  People, wandering round the garden – either inside it or on the outside, will be able to listen to how and why the Garden came to be.

Diary entry

“Two weeks to go and things are hotting up and competition is fierce amongst the plan sitters.  I hear whispers on the Lanyon Bowdler grape vine, that replacement plantings have not only been contemplated but already purchased, I name no names…

Julie brought hers in today (all home grown) as an early delivery.  Alas, they are all much bigger than mine, but size isn’t everything!!!!!  Still there is much to be gained… plant food that, will be my weapon of choice.  I must keep my eye on the ball and an intensive watering and feeding programme will follow… (still will not be up to the polytunnel professionals.. of which I have already been shown comparative photographic evidence, of the much superior virtues of the said tunnel…not sure how I can fit one in for next year……).  My little pots, are however, bred on love, encouragement and the odd curse.. I shall carry on gladly watering and feeding look forward to the big day…..   This is all on top of watering Kathryn’s plants, who had gleefully gone on holiday and left me in charge of watering her 94 pots, now should I feed hers too or not?

“I must remind myself it is the taking part that matters (and it has been enormous fun and very worthwhile).”

Thanks Dawn – to you and everyone else who has helped with this project – ‘we couldn’t have done it without you’!!


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Wiggly Wigglers very kindly delivered the vegetable plots this week – shame the weather couldn’t have been nicer, I think everyone must have got soaked.  Those taking the plants also had the joys of finding snails and slugs amongst the plug plants!

Vegetables Arriving

Delivery from Wiggly Wigglers

Rachel was in charge of distributing the plug plants to some very enthusiastic and helpful  Lanyon Bowdler staff – what we would do without their help I don’t know.  She then took what was left home to start potting.  When I walked into the office yesterday morning she looked tired….  I soon discovered why – she’d been potting plug plants until 10pm the previous evening!  With an assortment of cauliflower, tomatoes, calabrese ironman (which we think are really broccoli), courgettes, pumpkins and parsley to bed in – it’s no wonder it took her hours.

Dawn is proving to be a real star with her ‘garden journal’ – her latest entry follows:

“Diary entry

Mike  Russell arrived yesterday afternoon with the veggie plots from Wiggly Wigglers just before the heavens opened, it was great fun choosing which selections we would all take to pot on and care for.

Unfortunately due to the rain that evening I had to get up at 5:30 – before work to pot out… what seemed a relatively small selection, amounted to 100 odd veggies and herbs, however all now rehoused …

I did vow never to touch a brassica again, but now find myself nurturing sprouts cabbage and broccoli, all of course are potential victims to the dreaded air borne attack of the innocuous white cabbage butterfly, laden with killer caterpillar eggs, (in years gone by, the whole of my plot has been stripped off by munching hoards of caterpillars. the joys of being organic!!!).

So not only am I under siege from the ground by the dreaded slug, but from the skies too!!!  I must spend the weekend constructing defence mechanisms…  (sound enough to keep out children, chickens, cats, dogs and husbands, let alone the silent enemy too….how many weeks to the Flower show?…)”

Back at Headway Shropshire there is more evidence of wonderful artistic creations.


A Shimmering Butterfly

The copper has been used to create leaves.

Copper Leaves

Some Leaves made using Copper

And out in the greenhouse, it is good to see some healthly seedlings growing.   There are only 63 days to go to the Shrewsbury Flower Show ………………


A Full Greenhouse

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The support for this project is fantastic, with volunteers within Lanyon Bowdler running into double figures, we are truly grateful to everyone who is helping us.

As previously mentioned, the podcasts will feature extracts from the ‘garden journals’ being written by some of those involved.  Lucy Swallow recently provided the following details of how her ‘garden grows….’

“30 May

The seeds have now been planted for well over a week and lots of green shoots are appearing already.  We have had our garden open to the public yesterday and today as part of a village open garden scheme to raise money for charity.  I put a notice up explaining the reason for the large number of pots and trays gracing our window sills and people have shown a lot of interest which has been nice.  I have been watching the Chelsea coverage on television and am now worrying that as the seeds are making such good progress, they could peak before the show and I will have to employ the measures of the Chelsea professionals, such as cold storage to arrest their development and ensure optimum flowering at the right time – I never realised the business of show gardening was so scientific.

3 June

There I was thinking the slugs were going to be my main enemy and the first attack on the plants has turned out to be by my husband of all people!  We have a long window sill running around the outside of our house which is a real sun trap. Thinking I was being clever and getting one up on the slugs, I placed all the pots and trays of seedlings along the window sill on the basis that the 3 foot of stone wall between the pots and the ground was going to be a significant slug deterrent.  All was going well until the lovely weather yesterday caused my husband to throw open one of our windows and send all the pots outside that window crashing to the ground.  He was extremely apologetic and spent a long time sweeping up all the soil and compost and painstakingly attempting to extract the seedlings and replant them.  I am sceptical as to whether they will now take but we will see. Thank goodness that as so many of the seeds took we still have a good quantity of undamaged ones.”

Another colleague – Dawn Humphries, has this to say:

“Diary entry.

Very disappointed, no major developments, in fact no sign of life at all.  Not sure if this is compounded by a lack of water on granddads behalf last week while we were away. However, have resown another batch, in curves and sways (as recommended on the instructions, obviously straight lines is not good for plants….. don’t ask me why, but I have now done what is says on the packet).  Duly watered, and whispered sweet words of encouragement… well actually did give them a bit of a serious talking to.

The veggie plots are arriving today, so am now officially on slug patrol, wonder if they have anything to do with the lack of production??  I may need to start night time vigilance, and counter espionage strategies in my war of attrition  against the dreaded enemy.”

As Dawn mentions above, today we are taking delivery of the salad gardens – courtesy of Wiggly Wigglers – so some serious growing is about to start!

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We were delighted yesterday when Heather from Wiggly Wigglers pledged massive support for our garden, by agreeing to provide vegetable plot kits, bee hive composters, fruit bushes and honeysuckles.

Not only that – Heather, who is a keen blogger and user of Twitter, has offered to provide  an interactive element to our garden by way of a podcast!  It is envisaged visitors will be able to press a button and learn a little about who has grown that particular part of the garden – a sort of ‘garden journal’ – together with information about the types of vegetables being grown and what they need to nourish.  This really will give our garden another unique element.

We are all keen to see these vegetable plots grow as you would expect – maybe a few weak looking leaves and straggly specimens, rather than a perfect ‘show garden’ – after all this is supposed to be a realistic working space, reflecting ordinary gardener’s challenges.

So onto the 3D view of our garden.  Mike Russell has now created this sketch view – it’s certainly looking good!

3D Sketch

Getting a Feel for the Garden

As mentioned in previous posts – there is going to be a central water feature – which, recognising the connection with Headway Shropshire, will incorporate the sculpture of a head.  Looking for something a little different we’ve found metalwork designer, Emma Alston who is thrilled to be joining our group of talented designers.  Below she provides a little background about herself and explains why she is so pleased to be getting involved, plus she gives us a little insight into what ideas she has.

Emma says; “I am really excited to be involved in this labyrinth garden project with Mike Russell.  My initial connection with Headway began 15 years ago when I sustained a head injury during a bike accident whilst working for Waterstones in Boston USA.  I then came back to Britain to recuperate at the Head injury unit in Cannock, West Midlands.  During my time at this hospital I began Carpentry, as therapy, and this led me to think up ideas for furniture that incorporated both steel & wood.”

“I trained at Shrewsbury College of Art & Technology – (in both Carpentry & Welding).  I then set up my own bespoke metalwork business (thanks to the Princes Youth Trust), here in Church Stretton in the beautiful Shropshire hills.  Self employed people know that no job should be turned down so I began to weld anything I could… from farmer’s gates and railings, to vehicles.  I then spent 6 months creating sets for The Bristol New Vic Theatre.”

“My life then took a different direction.  I had the chance to go travelling, after which I worked for a while in my family’s business.  A part of me was happy for the steady wages & security but deep down missed the creative challenge of metalworking.”

“So here I am 2010, happily settled with my husband and 4 yr old son. I work part time at my local bookshop (books being another passion!).  Imagine my delight when I met up with Mike who persuaded me that this is exactly the sort of project I could be involved in!”

“I will be creating the sculpture with Jack Taylor an experienced metal smith whom I first worked with about 12 years ago.  The sculpture we are working on will be based on using recycled components – (a huge part of my ethos involves recycling!). It will be in the shape of a head – the head being central to everything in all of our lives.  Mike will help us incorporate the water element within the sculpture.”

Finally, Emma says; “I am thrilled to be on board – after so many years – it will give me a chance to revisit and give back something to a great charity that helped me out after my own head injury.”

Thanks very much Emma – we are looking forward to seeing the sculpture!

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