Scrumping apples in Vera Lynn’s Garden …


Blog 4: A bit of wartime colour ( and an unsolved crime)

Some sweet peas and sunflowers are already in bloom around Newquay Zoo. Being environmental or sustainable today or a thrifty victory gardener in wartime didn’t mean dull with no colour at all. Flowers, like a visit to a zoo, were inspiring and a boost to morale. Sunflowers come in handy as animal enrichment still, one seed head feeding a wartime chicken for a week.

One variety of sweet pea will have to wait another  few months for planting, the appropriately named “Vera Lynn” for some much needed colour.

I look forward to this flowering next year as I’ve always had a soft spot for Vera Lynn and her songs. It’s all down to my mum as a tiny five year old child being lookout for a gang of fellow evacuees scrumping apples out of Vera Lynn’s orchard in Ditchling in Sussex. (The truth is now out and the statute of limitations suggests she can no longer be hunted down by the police or television’s Inspector Foyle for this wartime crime!) Appropriately we’ll have a small apple tree in the keeper’s wartime garden, to be planted in late Autumn.

You’ll be able to see a picture of my mum as a child sitting on her back garden Anderson shelter, covered with vegetables,  on part of the display panels for the wartime zoo garden at Newquay Zoo.

Our World War Zoo gardens project will be a practical living memorial, almost history that you can eat in the form of a wartime “dig for victory garden” being recreated at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. This lauches to visitors on 30th and 31st August, 2009 commemortaing the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war.

More news of this project follows over the next few weeks as we prepare the ground and get planting.

Watch this space! Follw us on twittr:  worldwarzoo1939 or log on to the Newquay Zoo website and look at events and ‘what’s on’ sections

Mark Norris, World War Zoo Project team, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

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