Issue 21

Compost Corner Winter   watercanPair

pumpkinIt is that time of the year. The clocks went back (and I'm truly sorry for those of you that were on night shift and had to work the extra hour). The nights are drawing in. Drawing in so much, that it is now dark at 4pm. meaning that we go to work in the dark and come home in the dark.

So what does this all mean! Winter of course. Not that by reading my last article, did we really have much of a summer. Rain, builders, out of bounds and more rain, come to mind. It is very hard to see in front of you when it is dark. Many people feel sad over winter. Many get colds and flu. But winter has it own purpose. It's a time to take stock, a time to rest and prepare, a time to gain strength. Because all around you see dead leaves and bare trees, doesn't mean that nature has stopped working and for gardeners' it is a time to plan for the future. Now is the time we plan our spring beds, the time to plant bulbs. Let me show you in the words of one of my unusual poems:

Winter's Hope.

When the greens, browns and gold's of autumn fall,
Dead, dieing leaves, decaying,
Remember then summer's promise,
Birds singing, springs morning chorus,
And a dawn Sun sits on the horizon,
Ready to journey across a blue sky,

Lawns speckled, like confetti, wild flowers fill the view,
Petals in yawing stretch, to greet the new day dawning,
Droplets of dew, hung fast on green blade grass,
Like tears of the night, crying as it gives sway to day.

Then to dream some more, in my minds eye,
I see a silvery mist move slowly across the land.
It's but a magic carpet,
Casting an enchanted spell, in its wake.
A promise... almost seen.
Spring, is on its way.


cuccmerI guess what I'm trying to say is to have hope, trust in your dreams and above all, have faith.  Well I have been with you all now for nearly a year. I know that this is the Compost Corner, but I first must say a very big thank you to all the staff on Cardigan Ward for their help and support, and an extra big thank you to my manager, without whose support, this year would not have been possible. Thanks again team, it has not gone unnoticed. Special gratitude must go to the members of the OT Gardening Group. All have been pleasant and polite to work with, hard working, eager to learn and all have been valued members of the group. You have all meet the many challenges we have faced, with great merit and those of you who took part in the Open College Network course in Basic Horticulture Garden Skills, I send you all a very great, Well Done and congratulation, you should be very pleased and proud with yourselves, it was a great effort by all. Of course a special thank you must go to Paul and the rest of the OT team, who helped make this course possible. The bad news boys and girls is, that I have just completed writing next years course, so see Paul to get enrolled and add extra points to the credit that you already have. We very much welcome new comers. Eight patients gained their certificates and earned credits, last year. Can we do better this year? Well as I started this article with thoughts of winter and that tells me it is time to take stock. I started out with great dreams and promises. Now is the time to see if I have delivered? Only you can be the real judge of that but I can make assumptions I guess, after all, I'm only human.

toms07Many may judge us on our performance, having a great harvest. But we lost many crops to the bad weather and to the great slug invasion and not being able to get out into the grounds, to tend to our crops, due to the building work. Two thirds of what we put into the ground where lost in way or another. Nevertheless we had some success, a great harvest of early potatoes and board beans. Tomatoes and cucumbers were a great success and also for the first time the group managed to grown squash and pumpkin. The greenhouse at one stage looked like a jungle with climbers growing up into the roof and tentacles growing all over the ground. One person thought that we were growing triffids. One of my dreams was to grown at least five large pumpkins, one for each of the five wards, ready for Halloween. But my plans went pear shape, not growing big enough and then only a few were good enough to harvest, one of which I took home and eat. It tasted great, by the way. But I feel that success is not in the amount we grew. The real success comes from the true effort the members of the garden group put into this project. They learnt about crop rotation, sowing seeds in trays, sow seedlings on out into the ground and transplanting seedlings, as well as learning to take care of their plants. Weeds, pest and diseases became a lesson unto itself.

Much is planned for next year. I will cover that in the next addition of Compost Corner. I like to end by telling you that I have fully enjoyed working with the gardening group with the patients and OT staff, and look forward to the New Year. I hope that all have been pleased with my efforts, as a gardener and a teacher and I hope that you will want to work together again next year. As they say; Next year will be better.

AlanT.Cardigan Ward.