Archive for the ‘allotment gardening’ Category

A ribbon or tiny bow-quet of poppies, flowers and vegetables?

July 3, 2018

 

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Ladybird poppies at Newquay Zoo’s  World War Zoo Gardens allotment July 2018 

 

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Poppies popping up all over our wartime zoo keeper’s vegetable garden now!

Our Ribbon of Poppies #Ribbonofpoppies is popping up in unexpected places in our World War Zoo gardens allotment at Newquay Zoo amongst our vegetables, edible flowers  and scented herbs grown for animal food treats and scent enrichment.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/part-of-the-worldwide-ribbon-of-poppies-planted-at-newquay-zoo-for-the-ww1-centenary/

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Poppies and Poppy seedling pop up amongst the Rhubarb chard. You have to be extra careful with the weeding!

 

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Edible Blue Borage flowers – a monkey treat! 

 

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Garlic seed head in flower – a delicate treat for our monkeys, great for visiting bees too!

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Edible nasturtium leaves and flowers – and Poppies!

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‘Rhubarb’ Chard flower and seed heads and Poppies.

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Cabbages and Poppies: A wild mix of poppies for remembrance and edible vegetables for our zoo animals.

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Think this might be  Victoria Cross type of Poppy!

Lovely to see that our colleagues at Wildplace in Bristol have gone ahead with their 100 poppy varieties for the 1918 / 2018 Armistice Centenary – I hope to see this before the flowers fade.  http://wildplace.org.uk/news/poppy-garden-flourishes

Blog Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens, Newquay Zoo, 3rd July 2018

 

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Our first red poppies towards the nationwide Ribbon of Poppies project

May 22, 2018

 

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Ladybird Poppy – the first of our poppies to flower, ahead of the Flanders Poppy seedlings. 

 

Our first red poppies of 2018 have flowered!

Last month we wrote about joining in with the Ribbon of Poppies project across Britain and worldwide to mark 2018 as the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 in 1918:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/part-of-the-worldwide-ribbon-of-poppies-planted-at-newquay-zoo-for-the-ww1-centenary/

Today we have our first Red Poppy of the year in flower – a beautiful deep red and black Ladybird Poppy.

It attracted lots of admiring glances and comments from visitors to Newquay Zoo, overheard as I was tidying up and watering our tiny garden plot here near the Lion House at Newquay Zoo.

It’s not too late to plant some poppies yourself and join in the Ribbon of Poppies event:

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/.

 

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First of our Ladybird Poppies to flower for the Ribbon of Poppies event 1918 / 2018 in our World War Zoo Gardens keepers’ allotment and WW1 / WW2 memorial project at Newquay Zoo. The  big clump of garlic behind the poppy is throwing up flower spikes which create a great wildlife attraction and edible oniony flowers for monkeys to eat. 

 

 

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A yellow (Welsh?) poppy turned up in flower last week. Curious  – I didn’t plant this one ! 

 

 

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Borage – edible flower head treats for our flower eating animals such as the monkeys. These have self seeded and returned each year from our first planting in 2009. 

 

Even the veg has joined in the deep red colour scheme this year with bright red Rainbow Bright Lights or Rhubarb Chard fooling lots of our visitors into thinking it is sweet rhubarb. ‘Rhubarb’ Chard is a cousin of spinach and beet. 

Real Rhubarb leaves are of course poisonous or toxic to humans and many other animals. 

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Borage flowers intertwined with deep red Rhubarb Chard leaves. Some Big Cat Thyme grows alongside – good for scent enrichment of animal enclosures including Lions. 

 

I cut a whole bucketful of this colourful red  Rhubarb Chard (a cousin of spinach and beet) for keepers to use as fresh animal food and enrichment today!

I also cut back the thuggish Rosemary herb / bush planted ten years ago. It gets  regularly pruned by keepers using the clippings to scruff around animal enclosures to safely introduce interesting new smells. This should give more light and space to other enrichment herbs such as Lemon Balm and Mint (also useful for the odd cup of Keepers’ herbal tea). Delicious!  Cold herbal mint tea can also be sprayed around enclosures for animal scent enrichment.

I found a small batch of  chitted late potatoes at home which came to work with me and have now filled  in any planting gaps between Broad Beans, Cabbages and Leeks.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Education Department , Newquay Zoo, May 21 / 22 2018.

Growing vegetables above and under ground – a strange wartime connection

May 8, 2018

 

 

messynessy underground growing

screenshot from Messy Nessy’s blog piece on Growing Underground 

Interesting blog post on the Messy Nessy Chic travel blog website about Growing Underground, a novel use for London’s old deep air raid shelters from WW2.

 

http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/02/11/london-has-a-subterranean-veggie-farm-in-an-abandoned-wwii-bunker/

messy nessy growing underground 2

The blog post about reusing London ‘Deep Shelters’ as  hydroponic salad farms also shows several  interesting archive photos of their original air raid use by civilians.

https://www.facebook.com/growingunderground

http://growing-underground.com/

Billed as Zero Carbon Food, the underground London project cuts down on food miles and ‘plot to plate’ food minutes, but they are not quite as close to their consumers as our tiny zoo allotment to its animal customers here at Newquay Zoo. Admittedly they have 2.5 acres underground in London, we have a postage stamp tiny plot of a few metres as a display garden on a once scraggy old lawn edge near our Lion House.   Jersey Zoo (Durrell Wildlife Trust) has also used an adjacent market garden for many years.

This Growing Underground idea reminds me of the Verticrop hydroponic experiment hosted at Paignton Zoo  c. 2008/2009 for a couple of years during a fascinating trial period. An innovative way  for growing fresh salad on site for the zoo animals?

https://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0784/

http://www.cityfarmer.info/2009/11/20/time-magazine-names-valcents-vertical-farming-technology-one-of-top-50-best-innovations-of-2009/

Verticrop (by Valcent) was put in experimental place at our sister zoo, Paignton Zoo in 2009 around the same time our above-ground World War Zoo garden allotment was set up here at Newquay Zoo.

I think I prefer to garden above ground and I have just planted the next lot of Ladybird poppies (for The Ribbon of Poppies Initiative). I’ve also planted  more leek seedlings, cabbage, broad beans and  rainbow chard to replace the snow and ice damage of February and March 2018. The planting areas are filling up nicely.

Maybe gardening underground you don’t get the peacocks and pigeons alongside snails as a plant eating ‘pest’ that I have to withstand here at the Zoo.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/part-of-the-worldwide-ribbon-of-poppies-planted-at-newquay-zoo-for-the-ww1-centenary/

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World War Zoo Garden planting areas, Newquay Zoo – after the snow and ice of the Beast from the East, March 2018, not much survived except colourful Rainbow or Rhubarb Chard. 

 

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Looking leafier – May 2018 after replanting 

 

 

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Poppy seedlings coming through, Ladybird poppy flower heads forming. Our part of the Ribbon Of Poppies for Armistice 1918 / 2018 is now in parts growing well. 

 

However and wherever you garden, enjoy your day and your garden!

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens, Newquay Zoo, 8 May 2018.

 

 

National Allotments Week August 2017

August 21, 2017

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A little corner patch of our wartime zoo keeper’s allotment, Newquay Zoo, August 2017 

National Allotments Week 2017 has just come to an end  (14 to 20 August 2017) – some great historic images on this history of allotments website:

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/gardening/blog/the-history-of-allotments

World War Zoo Gardens hits its 8th Blogaversary 2017

August 14, 2017

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WordPress my trusty blog host have left me a happy blogaversary message that this weekend was the 8th anniversary of signing up to WordPress.com and starting our World War Zoo  Gardens blog at Newquay Zoo in August 2009.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/

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My garden’s eighth blogaversary surprise present, a yellow poppy poking out amongst sneaky ferns (I love ferns!) that thrive in the shade below  beautiful Globe Artichokes – great enrichment for our macaque monkeys. August 2017 

 

Our wartime zoo garden left me a surprise this weekend, a bright yellow poppy! Nothing traditional like a red one …

Over 270 posts later, near 100,000 views and around 40,000 visitors so far, this is not a bad little blog footprint for a very tiny patch of dug up lawn in eight years.

Looking back at the first entries in August 2009 is really interesting as we hurriedly prepared for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend in August 2009.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-%e2%80%93-newquay-zoo%e2%80%99s-wartime-garden-2009/

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The reproduction wartime garden signs are little rusty now and difficult to replace but the wartime zoo garden is still going strong August 2017

 

This launch weekend in 2009 was well timed to link with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in late August / early September 1939, remembered here  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/70-years-today-on-from-the-outbreak-of-war/

Some early thoughts on how European zoos survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/long-ago-and-far-away-%e2%80%a6/

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The blitzed remains of Berlin Zoo’s elephant house and its surviving elephant during the bombing raids of 1943/44 (Original photo in our archive collection).

 

 

Familar pest control problems August 2009 that have not changed

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/disaster-strikes/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/slaughter-by-torchlight-but-not-in-the-blackout/

Personal memories and family stories August 2009

A family story in August 2009 from my late mother about scrumping for apples in Vera Lynn’s Garden. Vera Lynn is still with us, her centenary this year, my wartime evacuee mother sadly not.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/scrumping-apples-in-vera-lynns-garden/

Some early research on how London Zoo survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/zoology-gave-way-to-first-aid-and-fire-fighting-courses-%e2%80%a6/

“But with the beginning of 1939 reality was brought home at last. Beneath its canopy of blimps [anti-aircraft or barrage balloons] London set about evacuation, the building of underground retreats, the distribution of gas masks.

Zoology gave way to first-aid and fire-fighting courses…

When on September 3rd the long expected blow fell, an emergency committee was set up. With a big cash balance in hand the [Zoological Society of London] was confident that it could “see it through” …

In deference to public hysteria the poisonous snakes were decapitated … The panda, elephants and African Rhinoceros were evacuated to Whipsnade …

In company with all other places of entertainment etc. where crowds might gather to the risk of public safety, the zoo closed its gates …”

The Zoo Story,  L.R. Brightwell, 1950s, p. 225-6.

Breaking ground and digging  up the lion house lawn  August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/digging-up-the-lawns-at-newquay-zoo/

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Richard (our then zoo gardener) or his legs “Digging for Victory”,  removing the first turf for our wartime zoo garden August 2009.

Double Trench-digging for beginners August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/double-trench-digging-for-beginners-or-how-to-dig-a-trench-for-vegetables-the-1940s-way/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/sweat-toil-yes-but-thankfully-no-tears-or-blood-yet/

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Our World War Zoo Garden after eight years 2009-2017 (August 2017)

 

An early link to our sister Zoo at Paignton Zoo and their strange wartime experiences, stories that we have followed up over the years. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/please-do-not-eat-the-peacocks-when-visiting-the-zoo/

https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/more-strange-wartime-zoo-stories-sent-to-us/

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Fine Abbott Thayer disruptive colouration camouflage on a Newquay Zoo peacock, 2017 – this didn’t stop hungry American GIs eating their ancestors at Paignton Zoo just before D-Day 1944. http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/4/hiddentalents.php

 

 

The outline of plans for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend at the end of August 2009 remind me how busy we were preparing everything in time:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/wartime-zoo-garden-launch-next-weekend-bank-holiday-30th-and-31st-august-2009/

World War Zoo exhibition photos and garden launch 30310809 garden box 2 027

Winter garden work – in the library or armchair, planning your coming year’s crop plans and trying new plants using handy wartime advice even in cartoon / strip form from the papers. Items from part of the Newquay Zoo wartime life collection, garden launch weekend, August 2009

The wartime garden launch weekend in August 2009 went well and also saw Vera Lynn back in the album charts!https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/first-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-gardens-display/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/successful-second-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-life-exhibition-and-vera-lynn-back-in-the-charts/

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Beautiful Rhubard Chard, great favourite of our monkeys, growing August 2017

 

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More edible leaves and colourful, tasty flowers of our Nasturtiums – a treat for some of our animals and visitors, August 2017

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/last-strawberries-of-a-slug-summer/

This 25th August 2009 blog entry had the hopeful postscript about a new US president:

“One day hopefully all zoos will have their own Victory Gardens. They have one I hear at The White House now to mark Barack Obama’s arrival. I think we have a long way to go in the zoo before we get to self sufficiency, but from small acorns …”

Then to finish our look back at August 2009 with one of the fantastic images we uncovered of life at London Zoo in September 1939

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/shelter-from-the-storm-ahead-wartime-zoos-3-september-1939/

sandbag sheletr London zoo 1939

Taking shelter at London Zoo in September 1939, a sandbagged tunnel under the road (Zoo and Animal magazine, November 1939)

If you go to the Archive dropdown menu to the right, you can sample some of the last eight years of delights from our 1940s allotment gardening, wartime zoo and wartime gardening research from WW1 to WW2 and beyond.

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Not forgetting that this colurful and scented garden is a practical and peaceful memorial to the many zoo and botanic gardens staff affected by war since 1914, many of whose stories we have uncovered since 2009. (photo August 2017)  

 

What next for the World War Zoo Gardens and its blog?

Since 2009 many school garden and wartime garden projects, thrift and recession allotments and their blogs have come and gone, gardens and blogs both being  ephemeral things.

Education changes, which led to a new primary  National Curriculum in 2013/14 in England and Wales, have sadly seen, at one low point, no WW2 content in the primary history curriculum. This uncertainty  has greatly affected  uptake of wartime zoo workshops for schools. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

Thankfully primary schools can still, with a little creative curriculum imagination,  study WW2 as one of the “turning points in British History since 1066″ and we are rewriting our workshops to reflect this.

Workshop talks in action

Mark Norris delivering one of our World War Zoo Gardens workshop days in ARP uniform, 2014. Volunteer Ken our ‘Home Guard’ is shyly sitting out of the photo!

It has been a great eight years so far since 2009, working with and meeting a wide range of people, amongst the highlights of  which I think of talking to pupils in our wartime zoo school workshops, attending re-enactors weekends, meeting former landgirls and evacuees,  linking with staff at Kew Gardens, Chester  and London Zoo and chats with thousands of zoo visitors over the allotment garden fence.

nicole howarth chives wwzg

Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives as enrichment for monkeys, 2012. She  returned in August 2017 from the Dutch zoo where she now works to see how Newquay Zoo and its gardens are doing  (Image: Mark Norris)

 

The wartime zoo garden has been a great practical resource for our Newquay Zoo keepers since 2009. It has provided scented herbs, edible flowers and leaves and many fine fresh vegetables to feed and enrich the lives and enclosures of many of our most endangered zoo animals. None of the animals were that fussed about our 1940s potato varieties though.

Eight years of blogposts, articles, talks and conference papers has led to lots of interesting links with other zoos, botanic gardens and historians. http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0729/

We have even won a national zoo award from BIAZA for “best use of planting in a zoo landscape feature / design” in November 2011.

wartime garden BIAZA award, Mark Norris

Newquay Zoo’s wartime gardener and blogger Mark Norris with wartime issue spade and  BIAZA award for best plants in a landscape feature and design, November 2011.

Hopefully our garden project will still be here in two year’s time for our World War Zoo Gardens Tenth Anniversary in 2019.

May 2019 is also Newquay Zoo’s own 50th Birthday, which will keep us busy  https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

2019 will also see the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2, many of its participants rapidly passing away and also the wrapping up of the WW1 centenary 1914-1919.

Plenty to blog about, plenty of new stories to uncover.

Thanks to all the Newquay Zoo staff and many many others who have been involved so far with our World War Zoo Gardens project since 2009.

WWZ gardens June 2011 002

Hundreds of thousands of zoo visitors  have stopped to read this attractive World War Zoo Gardens sign at Newquay Zoo since we put it up in 2011.

 

This post (No. 275)  sums up perfectly what  World War Zoo Gardens is about, being  a little bit of looking back to the past, an update on the present and a glimpse towards the future.

Happy Blogaversary!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 8th Blogaversary weekend of the 12th / 13th August 2017.

Country Life 1986 article on WW1 Wartime Gardening

August 10, 2016

country life 1

Not my usual read but these two pages are  an interesting article from a thirty year old copy of Country Life  (Jan 23, 1986) that was passed to me because of my interest in WW1 and wartime gardening.

country life 2

This is an interesting article by Audrey Le Lievre , especially for me having been involved with Kew Gardens wartime stories and also researched their staff war memorial stories. Audrey Le Lievre as a garden writer is a new name to me but wrote Miss Willmott of Warley Place: Her Life and Her Gardens (Faber, 1980).

Lots of interesting links and names for garden historians to follow up here (the Worcester Fruit and Vegetable Society?) through the online scans of garden journals. The photographs have come from the Lindley Library.

I came across  information about WW1 food shortages, rationing and dig for victory style campaigns of WW1, focussed around researching former Kewite and  garden writer Herbert Cowley. Invalided soldier gardener Cowley worked as an editor and garden writer, as garden photographer and friend of Gertrude Jekyll and at one point for Country Life.

Full circle back to Country Life there…

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More on WW1 Gardening here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/remembering-ww1-in-zoos-and-gardens/

and also an article I wrote for a local village in Cornwall about WW1 life and food: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/life-in-wartime-devoran-in-world-war-1/

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WW1 Ration books (Author’s collection)

 

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

 

 

 

 

 

Digging For Victory

August 2, 2016

dfv postcard

Fairly random WW2 photographic postcard from our World War Zoo Gardens collection entitled “Digging For Victory”, the name of the Government backed drive to encourage all from schools, scouts, workplaces, families and even zoos to grow their own food.

The back gives really not much more for information, other than the jokey family tone and the cub scout hat.  It reads “Your daft-in-law, doing his turn. Good Scout”.

dfv postcard 2

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project. Newquay Zoo

 

Download my IZEA Journal article on World War Zoo Gardens Project (2014) as a pdf.

June 28, 2016

Check out my recent article on our  World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.in the International Zoo Educators Association  IZEA  journal, this past copy is now available in pdf download form:

http://izea.net//wp-content/uploads/2015/03/World-War-Zoo-Gardens-wartime-zoos-the-challenging-future-and-the-use-of-zoo-history-in-visitor-engagement.pdf

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

A riot of vegetable colour in Newquay Zoo’s wartime garden

May 17, 2016

chard 2016

Just a few photographs to celebrate our World War Zoo wartime garden project here at Newquay Zoo, May 2016, entering its eighth summer.

A 1940s stirrup pump lies hidden amongst the colourful  Chard and Garlic, rusty but  still in fine working order.

The gardener’s  wartime steel helmet hangs on the garden gate, ready to grab in case the air raid siren sounds …

chard stirrup pump 2016

Bright Lights, a collection of colourful Chard overwintered and ready to cut as colourful edible bouquets for enriching our monkey diets. Delicious.

chard artichoke 2016

Another year of Globe Artichokes awaits, another monkey favourite, complete with earwigs.

The strange bird table affair is not mounting for an air raid siren but where we place our portable speakers for the 2.30 Lion  talk a few yards away.

Sparrows dustbathe between the Broad bean rows. The Meerkat section Robin follows the hoe or watering can. Pesky Peacocks nibble emerging shoots.

Rosemary, Curry Plant, Thyme, Mint, Lemon Balm, Nasturtiums,  Leeks and Broad Beans  are all waiting their turn, their moment and their edible or sensory enrichment use.

Dig for Victory, Dig For Plenty and  ‘Hasten slowly’ as Mr Middleton would say. Happy Gardening!

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 17 May 2016.

 

Herby Harvest Home at Newquay Zoo for Monkeys

October 19, 2015

Squirrel Monkey exploring scented herb enrichment, Newquay Zoo, October 2015 (Image: Nicole Howarth, Newquay Zoo)

Squirrel Monkey exploring scented herb enrichment, Newquay Zoo, October 2015 (Image: Nicole Howarth, Newquay Zoo)

This weekend I was busy clearing some of the World War Zoo Garden Allotment crops at Newquay Zoo to prepare for the autumn season. I dropped off a pile of fresh herb clippings (Lemon Balm, fresh  Mint)  in our animal food preparation room  for Carnivore and Primate sections to use to scent mark and enrich some of our enclosures.

Primate Keeper Nicole Howarth grabbed a handful of these herbs and dropped some Lemon Balm and fresh Mint bundles off along our Monkey Walk enclosures. You can see one of our Squirrel Monkeys  exploring this new scent and probably bug-hunting through the bundle, harvested minutes before.

Squirrel Monkey exploring scented herb enrichment, Newquay Zoo, October 2015 (Image: Nicole Howarth, Newquay Zoo)

Squirrel Monkey exploring scented herb enrichment, Newquay Zoo, October 2015 (Image: Nicole Howarth, Newquay Zoo)

We’re harvesting the last of the Rainbow or Rhubarb Chard ahead of the first frosts. This colourful bundle was thrown to our Critically endangered group of  Sulawesi Macaque monkeys by this Sunday’s Junior Keeper (who coincidentally had the unusually planty surname of Chard) with a few small Globe  artichoke heads for good measure. A lot of the leaf holes are not snail damage, I discovered, but peacocks! Apparently the Macaque monkeys enjoyed it all with great gusto, sap, leaf and stem!

A colourful bundle of Chard in our 'Victory' Harvest 70 years on, Newquay Zoo, 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

A colourful bundle of Chard in our ‘Victory’ Harvest 70 years on, Newquay Zoo, 2015 (Image: Mark Norris

Keepers are free to come and raid the allotment as they wish, just letting me know what they’ve taken and which animals benefitted. Keepers  have been known (as I have on odd occasions) to grab some of this fresh  mint  for the odd cup of soothing fresh herbal tea, one keeper swears by Lemon balm tea which I have yet to try.

Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives, 2012 (Image: Mark Norris)

Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives, 2012 (Image: Mark Norris)

Nicole Howarth gets the whole sustainability thing of the garden, albeit 1940s self-sufficiency in response to gunpoint and jackboot. She has recently finished a pioneering MSc in Zoo Sustainability, focussed on Newquay Zoo, ‘Assessing environmental impacts in zoos to inform sustainable collection planning a case study at Newquay Zoo’ by Nicole Fenton Howarth for an MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology July 2015.

This isn’t the first time that Nicole on our Primate section has used our garden produce. Some herbs and vegetables we harvest in their seed or flowers stage to make them a little more unusual ‘picky’ and tactile enrichment for our animals. Not the kind of things you can easily buy in the shops!

Globe Artichoke in flower silk stage, Newquay Zoo, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Globe Artichoke in flower silk stage, Newquay Zoo, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Some of the veggies in flower or colourful chard are so attractive, it’s tempting to leave them a little longer to be admired in flower by visitors. Thistly looking Globe Artichokes sometimes spring into ‘flower’, these ‘flower silks’ prove another interesting challenge to monkey fingers.

On the lawn next to the lion enclosure, bundles of herbs and some garlic seed heads for our monkeys, October 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

On the lawn next to the lion enclosure, bundles of herbs and some garlic seed heads gathered for our monkeys, Newquay Zoo, October 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

Garlic flower seed heads for picky Monkey fingers Image:  Mark Norris

Garlic flower seed heads for picky Monkey fingers Image: Mark Norris

Overall it has been a reasonable 2015 growing season with a few failures – broad beans,  peas – probably from dryness or tired soil. At least the garden has added a small amount of colour as well as fresh animal food to Newquay Zoo’s overall gardens this year which we are proud to have seen win a Newquay in Bloom award 2015 for the Leisure Attraction Class following our  2014 win for our ‘Restaurants and Tea Gardens’ area.

The Wesley Trembath cup at Newquay Zoo, Newquay in Bloom 2015. Image: Mark Norris.

The Wesley Trembath cup at Newquay Zoo, Newquay in Bloom 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Black Gold – Compost

The wartime allotment garden is going slowly to bed for the winter. Buckets of rich dark humus from part of our fabulous Newquay Zoo compost heaps have been scattered all over the plot to break down and add texture to our slaty clay soil through the frost season.  The really big bundles of hoofstock bedding straw and green waste go offsite to local farm composting, otherwise Newquay Zoo would be a towering huge compost heap of Dickensian proportions. It’s all a not so  glamorous part of our ISO 14001  green or environmental certification going on in front and behind the scenes at Newquay Zoo.

Surprisingly we did manage to get a perfect balanced  Ph reading (not too acid, not too alkaline) last year through on soil testing of our allotment.

Compost bucket of rich loveliness - weeds in, compost out. Image: Mark Norris.

My battered compost bucket of rich loveliness – weeds in, compost out at Newquay Zoo, 2015. Image: Mark Norris.

Our Powerhouse! Site and Gardens section's Compost heaps behind the scenes and the towering platforms of the Macaque monkey enclosure at Newquay Zoo. I just add buckets of weeds and old veg bits to the mix. Image: Mark Norris.

Our Powerhouse and peacock haunts! Site and Gardens section’s Compost heaps behind the scenes and the towering platforms of the Macaque monkey enclosure at Newquay Zoo. I just add buckets of weeds and old veg bits to the mix. Image: Mark Norris.

Modern Growmore next to the campaign signs of what replaced the National Growmore Campaign, Dig For Victory! World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, January 2015

Modern Growmore next to the campaign signs of what replaced the National Growmore Campaign, Dig For Victory!
World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, January 2015

One half of the garden  has had its ‘Dandruff shampoo advert’ dressing of wartime National Growmore Fertiliser, the other half is again seeded with autumn mix Green manure (Crimson and Broad Leaf Clover, Rye Grass and White Tilney Mustard). This year’s half and half  ‘Dandruff style challenge’ seemed to show no noticeable difference throughout the 2015 growing season. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/national-growmore-fertiliser-a-brief-history/

Our tiny wartime garden plot emptying out with the Autumn harvest, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Our tiny wartime garden plot emptying out with the Autumn harvest, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Not enriching the soil too much is important in the herb patch sections of the garden, but they do tend to merge and get tangled up in each other  in a small garden plot as you can see in how the poppies (first flowering here this year) are flowering and seeding amongst the last of the Chard.

A reminder that in less than a month, it will soon be Poppy day, Armistice or Remembrance Sunday, our garden having a simple memorial function for all the zoo keepers and gardeners lost in both World Wars:  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/ww1-related-posts/

Poppies amongst the Autumn harvest, World War Zoo garden project, Newquay Zoo, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Poppies amongst the Autumn harvest, World War Zoo garden project, Newquay Zoo, 2015. Image: Mark Norris

Our temporary keepers' memorial plaque, Newquay Zoo, 2015

Our temporary keepers’ memorial plaque, Newquay Zoo, 2015

Sharing plant knowledge with Keepers

In my 2014 ABWAK journal RATEL article for keepers,  I used this garden  as an opportunity to promote to keepers that BIAZA Plant Working Group has compiled a Wikisite listing of animals and plants www.zooplants.net with reference to various aspects of plant nutrition, enrichment or toxicity for each animal. Any adverse reactions including death in the past have been noted by keepers on this worldwide wiki page / forum.

The BIAZA Plant Working Group has also in the past compiled a database of browse and poisonous plants. This was also mentioned in my article Enrichment, visitor engagement or history your zoo animals can eat? The ongoing role of the Wartime Zoo Keepers’ Garden at Newquay Zoo article for ABWAK journal RATEL 41(1) March 2014, pp  5-9.

Here is the plant list of veg, fruit and herbs grown successfully or not so far since 2009.

Plants list – World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo (2009-15)

  • Allium cepa    – (Spring) Onion
  • Allium sativum – Garlic
  • Allium schoenoprasum – Chives
  • Allium tuberosum – Garlic Chives
  • Allium ampeloprasum    – Leek
  • Anthriscus cerefolium – Chervil
  • Borago officinalis – Borage (blue or white)
  • Beta vulgaris – Beet varieties (rainbow, rhubarb chard)
  • Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla – Perpetual Spinach
  • Brassica oleracea – Kale & cabbage varieties,Savoy & Pak Choi
  • Calendula officinalis – Pot or English Marigold
  • Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus – Globe Artichoke
  • Eruca sativa – (Salad) Rocket
  • Fragaria × ananassa – Strawberry
  • Foeniculum vulgare – Fennel
  • Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff
  • Helianthus annuus – Sunflower
  • Lavandula angustifolia   – English Lavender
  • Lactuca sativa    – Lettuce
  • Melissa officinalis – Lemon balm
  • Mentha x piperita – Peppermint
  • Mentha spicata   – Spearmint
  • Nepeta cataria – Catnip / Wild Catmint
  • Petroselinum crispum    – Parsley
  • Pisum sativum   – Pea
  • Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary
  • Rubus fruticosus – Bramble or Blackberry
  • Rubus idaeus – Raspberry
  • Taraxacum officinale – Dandelion
  • Teucrium marum – Cat Thyme
  • Tropaeolum majus – Nasturtium
  • Vicia faba – Broad Bean
  • Zea mays – Maize or Sweetcorn

At some point we will update our slightly chaotic 2010 list of heritage 1940s vegetables: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/a-first-abc-of-wartime-vegetable-varieties-our-%e2%80%98free-gift%e2%80%99-to-you-to-celebrate-plant-conservation-day-2010-18-may-2010-from-the-world-war-zoo-gardens-at-newquay-zoo/

A big thanks to our Keeper and Site / Gardens Teams again this year. Happy Harvesting!

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo.

A Dig For Victory cartoon in my cuttings collection celebrating Harvest Home 1941 from Punch by Thomas Derrick, Punch, Sept 17, 1941.

A Dig For Victory cartoon in my cuttings collection celebrating Harvest Home 1941 from Punch by Thomas Derrick, Punch, Sept 17, 1941.


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