Potato days are here again … and colour clips of postwar Bristol Zoo Gardens

Dig for Victory advert Smallholder Magazine, 1940/41 (World war Zoo gardens collection)

“Potato Pete, Potato Pete, see him walking down the street …”

or at a garden centre or gardens near you.

Look at http://www.potatoday.org/potatodays.htm   for dates and venues.

Set up mostly by Garden Organic, as well as Potato Days, there are some good factsheets on growing potatoes and other veg on their website and regular e-newsletter. http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/factsheets.   

The period around 30th January 2011 has lots of potato related events going on around the country.

Here at the World War Zoo gardens project at Newquay Zoo we are busy chitting a few of the following, and preparing the ground (which was frozen this morning). Such great and often stirringly patriotic names for the humble spud: Sharpe’s Express, Arran Pilot, Home Guard, Duke of York, King Edward. These should be in, earthed up  and doing well in our wartime allotment by the time of our next wartime gardens week May 28th to June 5th 2011 at Newquay Zoo http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk . This May half-term week coincides with the national BIAZA Love Your Zoo week events http://www.biaza.org.uk

Here are a few more wartime varieties, available from major seed suppliers and heritage seed sites that would suit your 1940s allotment.  

ARRAN BANNER (EARLY)

ARRAN PILOT (1ST EARLY)

ARRAN VICTORY (MAIN)

DUNBAR ROVER (2ND EARLY)

DUKE OF YORK (1ST EARLY )

EPICURE (1ST EARLY)

GLADSTONE

GREAT SCOT (2ND EARLY)

HOME GUARD (1ST EARLY)

KING EDWARD VII (MAIN)

MAJESTIC (MAIN)

MAY QUEEN

SHARPE’S EXPRESS (1ST EARLY)

If you are stuck indoors  planning your garden, you can catch a glimpse of the amazing postwar footage of Bristol Zoo Gardens from its archive of 175 years work on the Bristol Zoo Youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/bristolz00

including some colour footage of c.1948 elephants, with the famous gardens restored from veg production to flowers, and Army and RAF servicemen in uniform wandering around. There’ll be more about this in Alan Ashby and Tim Brown’s forthcoming book on 175 years of Bristol Zoo, published with the Independent Zoo Enthusiasts Society IZES around  March 2011.

Nice to see a zoo taking good care of its archives as well as its animals!

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