Glynnis Mayes - a tribute

GlynnisMayesGlynnis was born at her grandparents home in Wolverhampton; she is the eldest of Bill & Mabel’s four children, followed by Robert, Bridget and finally Jeremy. Her father was in the RAF and as a result, Glynnis spent her early years living in a tent in a field and then a caravan at Witcombe and finally the family home in Bentham at the bottom of Crickley Hill. As siblings, they all got on really well and had a great childhood playing together in the garden at Bentham and taking long walks up Birdlip Hill.

They all had their own patch of the garden to develop as they wished and this is where her love of gardening developed. Glynnis attended Witcombe Village School and was the first girl to pass the 11+ and from there she attended Pates all girls school in Cheltenham.

Glynnis did well in school and left home when she was 18 to travel to London to undertake training to be a nurse at Hammersmith hospital, she did a four year course qualifying as a Registered Nurse and Health Visitor. She then went on to do midwifery training at Birmingham maternity hospital and after qualifying she took up a post in Worcester and worked as a health visitor for time. She went to Cornwall to Treliske hospital as a midwife and there met a lifelong friend Ann Skipworth, or Skip to everyone. Glynnis returned to London, applying to LSE to undertake a degree in Economics and Sociology; she obtained a 2.1 and whilst studying, the need for money brought her to do night duty at Whipps Cross Maternity Hospital.

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Greenfingers - December 2018

The early November frosts have finished off most of the flowers in the garden, but the Autumn leaf colour has been great. My route off the common has changed to take in the spectacle. We could do with a ‘Best Seasonal Walks Book’, for Minchinhampton, describing a few walks for each month, addressing where to see interesting local flora.

The wildflower ‘meadow’ created a few years ago has been formally declared a failure, and has been converted into a conventional flowerbed, with spring bulbs and a newly planted hawthorn tree. The problem with the meadow was too much grass which was flattened by any rain or wind, plus the bindweed and nettles which were difficult to control. The bed will be planted with some fairly vigorous perennials to try to keep order, and the hawthorn will encourage wildlife.

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Poppy Means - Red Poppies and White Poppies

Poppies2018Most of us probably think we know what the red poppy stands for: but what’s all this about the white poppy?

As it happens, white poppies go back nearly as long ago as red ones, but the two have somewhat different origins. The ‘poppy appeal’ was launched in 1921, by the Royal British Legion, with the aim of helping military veterans with employment and housing. Its focus then was on the surviving soldiers returning home and trying to rebuild lives shattered by war.

When in 1933 the Cooperative Women’s Guild began to sell the white poppy, they wanted to symbolise a further message: After the ‘war to end all wars’ and the years of public victory parades and private hardship, they chose it as a symbol of the determination to work for peace and to emphasise the urgent need for international peace building.

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Greenfingers - November 2018

After a bit of research after last month’s item, it is clear that the hummingbird hawkmoth does land occasionally, and is well camouflaged when it does. Generally, eggs are laid on bedstraw (galium) plants.

It’s well into October as I write this, and from a distance, the garden is still looking very colourful, and I’m particularly pleased with a combination of a few late flower spikes on a verbascum, cream with purple centres, alongside a purple salvia. I only wish it were planned. Other contributors are campanula, dahlias, fuschias, hesperanthus, salvias, roses, canna, rudbeckia, alstroemeria, cyclamen, and annuals in the form of marigolds, zinnias, cosmos and nasturtiums.

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Greenfingers - October 2018

I’ve seen two humming bird hawk moths this summer, and whilst they remind me of dragonflies with their ability to hover and dart, I have yet to see one land. Photographing dragonflies is relatively simple when they perch on a prominent twig, but the moth is trickier. It’s more like the swift of the moth family – it never lands.

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Greenfingers - September 2018

Whilst relaxing in the garden one evening last month, I experienced an Edward Thomas moment – well I think that’s what it should be called, or perhaps just a Thomas. A silence descended on the garden, no traffic nor aircraft, nor steam trains, and even the wheezing wood pigeons were quiet. Nothing happened.

We’ve had plenty of opportunities to enjoy warm evenings outside this summer, in between the watering duties. All the container plants have needed regular watering, and anything newly planted in the beds also. A couple of plants were lost, but whether that was due to the very cold spring, or the dry summer, I’m not sure. One was a Salvia, and the other a Lobelia. As a result, I’m inclined to pot up the other salvias in the late Autumn, and overwinter them in the protection of the greenhouse.

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Greenfingers - July 2018

The recent lure of the pop-up pub helped to drag me into the church for an orchestral concert, where I enjoyed comfortable seating without the damp smell, the creaks, pops and bangs from the pews and pipes which would have previously accompanied the very fine solo violinist. May I add my congratulations to the 6P’s team for an excellent result.

In the garden, it’s time to remove excess apples, pears, plums, and peaches from the fruit trees, and although only the apples apply in my case, there’s room for improvement. The vines have been thinned though, and shoots re-moved, leaving a few leaves to feed the reduced quantity, but hopefully improved quality crop.

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Greenfingers - June 2018

We spent several days during April clearing the beds of weeds and applying a mulch. The mulch consisted of one section of the compost heap, which had been ready to go out since last autumn. The ‘middle’ section was then turned into the empty ‘ready’ container, and the ‘green’ compost turned into the middle. The green container is now filling rapidly with weeds, stalks, grass clippings and cardboard. I find the cardboard, torn into ~4” pieces, really helps the composting process, but not quite enough to destroy the weed seeds.

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April 27 2018 from the Churchwardens' Point of View

Easter is in many ways the main festival of the Christian year. As such, every effort was made to have Holy Trinity in the best possible state, but the building project wasn’t quite finished – there had been earlier delays caused by the finding and removal of asbestos. There was a lot of effort put in by many people to sweep, clean, polish and otherwise prepare for the Easter festival, but we knew that the Lady Chapel wasn’t finished, the area around the high altar looked like the contents of somebody’s loft, and a deep clean had not been possible. Nonetheless, we felt that an event was needed to signify the end of Stage 1 of our repair and reordering, and that turned out to be April 27th.

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Greenfingers - May 2018

It’s early April as I write this, and as we crawl out of winter into a reluctant Spring, it’s difficult to remember gardening in dry soil under a warm sun. But by May, hopefully, this will be the case. All the gardens we have visited over the last few weeks have suffered from the long winter, growth running 2-3 weeks behind the average. We heard our first chiff-chaff on 29th March last year, but this year we have yet to hear one by 9th April.

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Greenfingers - April 2018

It’s early March as I write this, watching swirls of powdery snow blow horizontally across the garden, eliminating any thoughts of gardening until warmer westerlies arrive. Trays of water for the birds were frozen within an hour of going out. But I’ve seen a song thrush bashing a snail, lots of sparrows on the seeds, robin, dunnock, pied wagtail and a very smart fieldfare, pictured, which enjoyed the berries on the sarcococca. The dense evergreen leaves of the shrub provide some protection from the wind and predators, and it will be interesting to look out for sarcococca seedlings popping up randomly in the garden over the summer - as is the tendency with holly seedlings.

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Greenfingers - March 2018

Space in the greenhouse becomes something of a premium during March, with seed trays, pots of cuttings and dahlias, and tender plants waiting to go out, and is crammed by the end of April. The lemon and lime have been overwintered in the greenhouse to try to deter the scale insects, as they don’t like its higher humidity. Inspecting the leaves in early February, as I write, seems to confirm this.

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