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In The Garden

For those of you with some extra time on your hands, here’s some great tips to help your gardens flourish this summer!

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Photo: Heather and Viv Pratt

There are many types of iris that make a good display in the garden but in late spring, the tall bearded (pogon) iris come into their own. Sir Cedric Morris, the Suffolk artist and plantsman, introduced many new varieties. He is credited with propagating the first truly pink bearded iris at Benton End in Hadleigh, including Strathmore, which he exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1948. To quote the late Beth Chatto whose famous gardens are at Elmstead Market, “Cedric’s garden was an extension of his palette”.

However, the rhizomes tend to become overcrowded which stops the iris flowering. Dig up the rhizomes and discard all shrivelled and diseased parts and trim leaves by two-thirds. Then replant the divided sections six inches apart allowing the rhizomes to be partly visible to benefit from the sun. French ‘flag irises’ have more frilly edged flowers than the English varieties but also come in an exquisite colour range with a delicate velvety appearance.

Many plants benefit from division particularly if they become overcrowded – e.g. hemerocallis (day lilies), hostas, michelmas daisies, sedums etc. Remove the old lifeless parts, replant the divided healthy bits and water well.

Camellias, ceanothus, choisya, forsythia, hebes, lilac, ribes and other shrubs that have already flowered should be pruned where necessary. Decorative evergreen shrubs like coprosma, corokia griselinia and pittosporum can be trimmed to shape to stop them outgrowing their space. Any new green growth appearing in variegated shrubs, e.g. elaeagnus maculata, euonymus harlequin, etc should be cut out completely to prevent it becoming dominant.

The spring flowering clematis alpina, clematis armandii and clematis montana should be pruned after flowering. The large showy flowers of the Jackmanii group are about to burst into action brightening up trellis and weaving through roses and other climbing plants.

Prune wisteria to encourage formation and cut laterals and side shoots to 5 to 6 buds after flowering. The stems of the fragrant Japanese wisteria twine clockwise whereas the Chinese varieties twine anti-clockwise.

Buxus (box) plants need trimming during the first week of June. Hopefully your plants have not been defoliated by the Chinese moth caterpillar that has in recent years caused devastation to box hedging and parterres around the UK.

Golden marjoram and purple sage make good edging plants to a south facing border. These herbs need cutting after flowering to keep them tidy. Bronze fennel adds interest and height to any border with its feathery foliage but seeds freely so collect seeds for cooking or scatter them in a restricted space. Oenothera (evening primrose) with its bright yellow flowers in summer is another statuesque herb seeding prolifically so deadhead after flowering to prevent unwanted seedlings. The purple, pink and white flowers of digitalis (foxgloves) are a haven for bees but the leaves are poisonous. This herb too self seeds around the garden and easily adapts to its surroundings. Dead head foxgloves before they seed if you do not want seedings springing up next year or collect the seed for use in the future. Melissa (lemon balm), another freely seeding herb, can be used for cordials and tea as well as a lemon flavouring.

Written by Felixstowe’s gardening twins, Heather and Vivian Pratt

Heather and Vivian Pratt

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

142 Opens in June!

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Dear fellow artists and art enthusiasts,

We hope this message finds you well, that your family is safe, and that recent months have been kind to you. We are pleased to announce the gallery will be reopening in June, with social distancing measures in place.

The 142 Team recently had a meeting (at a distance, photographic evidence above!) to discuss future plans for the gallery and spoke of our personal experiences during lockdown. 

Lockdown has allowed us to reflect on our artistic endeavours, connect with nature, to embrace a slower pace, cycle, create music, bake, and binge on boxsets! But jokes aside, we are all very grateful to the hard work, dedication and support from the NHS and all the key workers. Without them, these last few months would have been a lot tougher for us all.

Thank you to everyone who has played their part in social distancing, staying at home, following the government’s advice and staying safe. Together, we can get through this.

Reopening 142

As you will be aware, from mid-June, some retail units are allowed to reopen, as long as appropriate social distancing measures are in place. With this new governmental guideline, we have decided to reopen the gallery from Thursday 18th June 2020.

Our first exhibition since lockdown will be Lisa Berry and Jim Nind. You may have seen them in the gallery before, but since their isolation and lack of interaction with fellow artists, it will be interesting to see what artworks the pair create during their residency at 142!

More details will be announced in due course, including a layout of how the gallery will operate from 18th June 2020.

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Community

A Family View

#SpreadHappiness #HomeLearning

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The Seesaw app has kept communication open with Scarlett’s teacher, as well as providing support for the family if they are stuck on a task. Scarlett is able to feel connected with her teacher and class during lockdown which has helped with her well-being.  We love the interaction aspect of it. Particularly that we can make videos and send them to the teacher. We also like how tasks are able to be completed over the app with voice, video and completing the written work without having to worry about too much paper and confusing worksheets. We love getting feedback and my daughter loves messaging her teacher to tell her what she’s been up to. It’s important to engage with Seesaw because it helps with maintaining a routine at home. My daughter’s like to sign in and say hello to their teacher encouraging them to do some activities. It’s a great source of support for the whole family and helps us feel less alone during lockdown especially when we can’t see our own families.  It also takes pressure off me as a mum to be a super teacher as well because quality teaching is still going on with the app. It’s clear the teachers love and deeply care for the students and want them to be ok and happy.  

My part 

Since going into lockdown using Seesaw to communicate with the children has made all the difference to me as a teacher, I can still teach them and see what they are up to. It has been lovely to see all the work that my class has been doing and learn new things about them. So many are great cooks and this week they tried their hand at being PE teachers and made up their own PE lessons to video and share. I have also seen a new confidence in some of the children when they have shared videos and recordings of them completing tasks or reading books. It is lovely to see that with the support of their parents they can still progress and we can still be actively involved in their learning journey. 

Miss Hay, SET Maidstone Infants School

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

New Skills Learnt in Lockdown

A little thought from the lovely Penny Parker.

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Well lockdown has certainly given some of us time at home we hadn’t planned on and if you were like me you dived straight in with gardening, baking, cleaning everything etc. Now I guess it’s almost time to do all that again, except the baking as I’ve eaten way too much cake.

Many I’m sure had plans to learn or do something new, but did we actually do it.

I did dabble in baking cakes, scary thought for the neighbours and the fire brigade I know, as I do manage to burn most things. However they weren’t bad, looked and tasted ok ( except the garlic bread, let’s not mention that!). What wasn’t on my to do list was sewing… I hate sewing, I blame my teacher at high school who shouted at me rather a lot for my lack of skill. I usually leave sewing to my sister unless it can be glued then I’ll do it. But glueing face masks wasn’t an option.

I’d got material, odd I know for someone who doesn’t sew but it was Disney and who doesn’t like a bit of that!

I dredged up my ancient cast iron sewing machine, chuffed I hadn’t dumped it in the clear out. Swept out the cobwebs and spiders and plugged it in, well so good so far. Funny how using a sewing machine is like riding a bike, you never forget. I threaded her up, remembered my teachers screams about keeping your fingers away from the needle and off I went, slowly. It was rather like riding a steam train as it rattled about on the table making so much noise we had to turn the telly up. Never mind the ancient beast churned out almost 100 face masks for people. I lost count of the number of times the cotton snapped or the needle jammed but we made it.

Now she back in her case and back in retirement, not because I’ve stopped sewing but because I’m using a new machine!! It’s only borrowed from Recreate social enterprise who very kindly brought me some fabrics, thread and elastic from their shop but it’s helped me find a love for sewing. This machine is quiet and doesn’t shake the table, it even threads the needle, and the cotton hardly breaks. Masks are now being made so much faster and yes I’m loving it!

I’ve fallen in love with sewing… please end lockdown soon I can’t afford another hobby!!

Written by Penny Parker

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