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Veg Plot

Encouraged by a little warmth and some late Spring sunshine our vegetables are starting to grow. Here the broad beans are sprouting under the support of traditional birch pea-sticks. The tall plant in the background is a Globe Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) which will produce its thistle-like flower heads later in the year.
Stripping the Willow
Joy with Jenny, garden manager , at work
Willow Support for young Woad Plants
On a very wet day the volunteer gardeners found a job that enabled them to seek legimate shelter! Here they are preparing the slender pliable willow branches for use as support for the tall herbs. The outer bark, the living part of the willow is stripped before the supports are stuck into the ground.This prevents them from rooting and then shooting which they would do very easily.

Normally hazel would be used, as in the seventeenth century but it was in short supply this year. Willow did not in fact reach England until 1734.
Recipe for a Happy Hotbin
Garden manager Jenny Hill thinks that the Hotbins are not being used to their full potential as low temperatures and worms have been detected. Melanie has therefore written new guidelines to improve performance. Hotbins rely on bacterial systems that produce high temperatures to promote maximum bacterial activity and should be at around 50'C at all times. They require mixed waste and should be added in the proportion of one part full of weeds, twigs, leaves or grass cuttings to 1/2 trug of food waste, torn paper and card and1/4 trug of woodchip.
All the bins are being emptied and are to be monitored using the new guidelines.
Spring is on the way and Philip has plans for the vegetable garden.

Drawing at the Physic Garden    
Under the auspicies and encouragement of Vicki Ostersen aspiring young artists have been busy in the exhibition room of the Physic Garden during their half term holiday. On day one of the three day course, the class of 8-10 year olds were given pencils (and rubbers!) and objects from the world of nature to copy. They have been working both individually and colaboratively and two examples of their individual effects are shown here.

                Hidden Rocks
Little Elsie who is aged just 2 is a big fan of Hidden Rocks.
She recently took her bucket to Petersfield Heath and seached for the stones which she then brought to the Garden.
She is seen here hiding two of her finds - a bee and a smiley face - amongst the Snowdrops.
Elsie managed to plant 7 stones and took away 3 leaving the Garden with a bonus of 4 for other children to find.
The craze for Hidden Rocks continues. It is a simple idea, get a pebble, paint it and hide it, and possibly leave a hint on Facebook so that others can find it. Finders then have the choice of either keeping the rock or moving it somewhere else.They may also share their finds on social media.
Rocks are left in a variety of places, woodlands, parks, hidden paths and many have been left and found in Petersfield.
Projects for 2018  
Renewal of the Pathways
It is proposed to renew the gravel pthways throughout the Garden. This job was last completed in 2002 and wear and tear is starting to show especially after the heavy winter rains. Special attention will be applied to the drainage and the materiel used to make a suitable durable surface.
Extension of the Office
It is hoped to explore further the possibilities of extending the office in order to develop a bespoke visitor centre.
Volunteers' Lunch
As a thank you for all the hard work provided by the numerous volunteers an anonymous wellwisher, with the help of the Physic Garden committee, organised a luncheon party to bring cheer on a cold January day. Thirty of the volunteers attended, these included gardeners, wardens and other helpers.
They were rewarded with a delicious two course hot meal and wine. Non-chairperson, Colin Mattingly gave a brief address of welcome and thanks and said how essential the voluteers were to The Garden which had very limited means of raising income.
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