Archive for November, 2017

We left Broadwater Farm last week, a much improved and increasingly popular estate, but police-community relations were in a state of simmering tension and exploded catastrophically on the night of Sunday 6 August 1985. One day earlier, police had raided the home of Cynthia Jarrett. This lay some way off the Estate but her son […]

via The Broadwater Estate, Tottenham, Part II: ‘a strong vibrant community’ — Municipal Dreams


To Walter de Grasse

Dear Walter,

Having finally completed this years work at the local church I can now turn my full attention to Old School Garden. But I’ve been feeling a bit tired and lacking strength recently, perhaps a hang over from the chest infection I couldn’t seem to get rid of, or that and all the physical efforts at St. Peter’s?

The restructuring of the Kitchen Garden is progressing, albeit rather slowly. I’ve completed the boxing in of the oil tank, and in the last couple of days have dug up the remaining old raspberry plants and cleared away a site and replanted the blackberry bush….this will now be positioned to run along the edge of the wood on our northern boundary.

I’ve also laid the remaining slabs at the rear where the new shed will go (I’ve made a start on cutting the wood for the base and frame for this, but I’m thinking it may be the Spring before this is completed). I’ve also repositioned the compost bins so that they take up less space in the working areas of the garden.

The ‘great leaf collection’ has begun too..a job that seems never-ending as the last trees to lose their leaves (usually the oaks) continue to shed their golden foliage.

The western boundary has been fully cleared and there are just a few bits and pieces of wood etc. that need tidying up, this will open up the edge of the garden to more light so opening up new planting possibilities.

I hope that if the weather is kind, I might get the trellis work relocated in the next month or two, which will also enable me to prepare the old raspberry bed for a new planting of potatoes in April.

My input at the local High School continues and even though the lunchtime sessions are short we manage to get a reasonable amount of things done. Last week  I  joined two lads in constructing a low raised bed which will expand the planting possibilities at the Allotment Project.

I’m still doing about a day a week at Blickling Hall, and am conscious I haven’t posted much about this of later. needless to say there is a lot or repetition as the seasonal jobs roll around. I’m looking forward to visit the gardens nearer Christmas, having seen the enormous effort being put in to lighting up the grounds- it should look spectacular.

I’ve run my two shredders over the Grow organisation as I think they will make better use of them than me, and it wa pleasing to see that the project is really taking off now that it has a steady set of staff and a good number of volunteers and participants on its ‘green therapy’ sessions.

As you were there you know how successful our Remembrance Day event at the church was, with nearly 300 people attending and wide range of activities and features. You can see photos a report and also an ITV Anglia News item on this on my sister site Having realigned a few of the trees in the ‘Avenue of Remembrance’ the setting of the church is much improved and the ornamental pears ‘Chanticleer’ have begun to turn a cockscomb red as their name suggests.

Well Walter, as the days shorten and the weather worsens I guess it will soon be time to curtail my gardening activities, but hopefully we will still have some days when- if other activities allow- we can get out and continue the restructuring of the Kitchen garden so that its ready for the finishing off in the spring.

I hope that you and Ferdy are getting prepared for Christmas. we visit my mother in Law shortly in devon for a few days and after that we will be into December and the preparations can seriously begin!

Old School Gardener














Ellina Webb looks at the likely impact of virtual reality on our world. Last week my colleagues and I took a trip to the arctic to discover the melting polar caps and look in awe at the northern lights. The trip however didn’t require us to travel thousands of miles into the snowy abyss of…

via VR: from environmental awareness to product placement — Specifier Review

Cape persauders…

A while ago, while my parents and I were touring the wine district of the Western cape, we had lunch at the Waverley hills estate situated between Tulbagh and Ceres, close to Wolseley, South-Africa. This estate entered the organic wine market in 2002 and now has hectares of vineyards and olives they grow organically. We […]

via The gardens of Waverley Hills estate — Janaline’s world journey

On the Web…

Her we are back with another short post in my very occasional “Simply Beautiful” series where I share a few photos of something that catches my eye, something simply beautiful! For number 13 I want to show you pics of some beautiful early morning spiders’webs, covered in dew, which I found on a cotoneaster shrub. The […]

via Simply Beautiful – 13 — greenbenchramblings

Lighting up time…

Leading-edge lighting design consultancy Nulty, has recently completed work on the regeneration of Leake Street Arches in London’s Waterloo, including lighting 300m of dramatic street art. Originally brought to fame by notorious street artist Banksy, Leake Street, also known as the iconic ‘graffiti tunnel’, links Lower Marsh to the South Bank and is one of London’s…

via Leake Street: Waterloo’s Iconic Graffiti Tunnel Gets Lit — Specifier Review

Photo via

Guest post by Maria Cannon

At the top of the list of healthy hobbies is the quaint, peaceful pastime of gardening. According to one source, gardening actually ranks just second in the list of hobbies that could positively impact your quality of life. Aside from eating the natural produce that grows in your own garden, there are a number of health benefits to gardening. So the next time you pull on your gloves and fill up your watering can, keep all of these health benefits in mind.

1. Physical Exercise

Every time you stretch or strain your muscles in physical activity, you are strengthening them. That’s why gardening counts as such a great form of exercise. You have to stretch your muscles when you trim tall tree limbs, bend down to pull weeds, and work your entire upper body when you are tilling the soil. Just by handling general gardening tasks, you could burn a substantial amount of calories each hour, depending on how much you weigh.

2. Stress Relief

Sometimes, it’s nice to be around living things that are not demanding anything from you but your time. Sure, plants require nurturing, watering, and pruning, but gardening provides a form of accomplishment that isn’t full of stress by the end of the day. While working in the garden, your muscles can relax and stretch, while your mind can simply be focused on the task at hand. Since exercise releases endorphins in the brain, you maintain a positive mindset during activities like gardening.

3. Treatment for Depression

For many who struggle with depression, gardening might be an ideal treatment plan. When you are growing another living thing, nurturing it, watering it, and watching it thrive, you feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Some studies have also proven that when your hands are in contact with soil, it can cause a release of serotonin in the brain. This chemical can not only boost the immune system, but it is a natural antidepressant that can cause you to feel happier.

Gardening doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. You may find that gardening with others can help you overcome depression and relieve anxiety. A great way to meet people is by volunteering. There are gardening volunteer programmes available, and such opportunities may also exist at your local botanical of historic garden; for example through the National Trust.

4. Personal Quiet Time

We all occasionally need time to relax and regroup with some personal, quiet time. By setting aside time to garden, we are committing to putting down our phones and stepping out of the digital world to enjoy nature. Laying down the to-do list and picking up the spade can be the best way to give yourself some much-needed peace and tranquility.

5. Physical Wellness

The positive effects of sunlight and fresh air might surprise you. The vitamin D your body produces when you are soaking in the sun, helps to strengthen your teeth and your bones. Having enough vitamin D can also help prevent certain diseases, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis.

6. Monitor What You’re Eating

Clearly, one of the biggest advantages to gardening is the produce you grow. Homegrown fruits and vegetables are the best kind of produce for you because you get to be in control of exactly what you are putting in your body. You can maintain your garden with natural methods and avoid the chemicals that are often found on supermarket produce. Also, with a garden right in your backyard, you can have healthy snack options readily available so that you aren’t tempted to grab junk food or chocolate the next time you are hungry.

Now that gardening is at the top of your healthy hobby list, head outdoors for some rest and relaxation. Get in your physical exercise and quiet time, all while filling your pantry with healthy food you’ve successfully grown. Relax and enjoy your garden as well as your health.

Thanks to Maria for sharing this with us on Old School Garden!

Further information:



Wine route…

It was a week full of discoveries. We met Manuel Malfeito, a wonderful enologist with a gift for explaining the mysteries of wine. Manuel told us about Beira Interior, “a wine region around the Estrela Mountain that has a great future.” He introduced us to João and Lurdes Carvalho, the owners of Quinta dos Termos […]

via Discovering the Beira Interior wine region — Salt of Portugal

Living and dead…

November is a funny time of year. Certain plants remain in flower across the garden — mainly salvias and roses but also Acanthus mollis, pelargoniums and Cerinthe major — and their bright blooms look quite out of place beside those that are dying back. In July I harvested all the spent allium seedheads, and plonked them in a […]

via The Living And The Dead — Edinburgh Garden Diary

A Weather Eye…

A new weather satellite is circling the earth. The JPSS-1 satellite, launched this weekend (18 November 2017) will provide a huge array of observational, near real-time, data which will be shared with US national and international partners including the Met Office. As well as gathering day to day weather data the satellite will monitor a […]

via New eye in the sky to help UK weather forecasts — Official blog of the Met Office news team

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