Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

Mr Middleton Calendar Boy of February 1940

July 18, 2018

middleton 1940 calendar

middleton 1940 calendar close up

Close up on this February 1940 Calendar page of Mr Middleton the famous veteran BBC Radio Gardener, broadcasting from 1934 until his death in 1945.

A random lovely item from our World War Zoo Gardens Collection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._H._Middleton

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 18 July 2018

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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

 

Remembering John Nicholls Winn Kew Gardens staff died of wounds 7 June 1918 WW1

June 6, 2018

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Some of our Ribbon of Poppies blooms at Newquay Zoo, today’s blooms dedicated to John Nicholls Winn of  Kew Gardens staff died WW1.

Some of today’s blooms in our Ribbon of Poppies patch at Newquay Zoo are dedicated to John Nicholls Winn, a member of Kew Gardens staff who died of wounds 100 years ago today on 7 June 1918 serving during WW1. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/our-first-red-poppies-towards-the-nationwide-ribbon-of-poppies-project/

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John Nicholls Winn, one of over thirty  Kew Botanic Gardens staff remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Kew WW1 War Memorial Staff Member No. 35. John Nicholls Winn
Signaller / Private John Nicholls Winn, 365004, C company, 7th Battalion, London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles), died on 7th June 1918, aged 20.

He is buried at Grave Reference X. 5629, Richmond Cemetery, Surrey.

‘Jack’ Winn is listed as the son of William Nicholls Winn (1868-1945, who worked as Assistant in the Curator’s Office at Kew Gardens for many years) and Bertha Winn, of 87, Mortlake Rd., Kew.

According to his CWGC record, there is no family inscription on this grave. This appears to be a private headstone, rather than a standard CWGC headstone, as featured in the picture on the TWGPP website.

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Thumbnail picture of Jack Winn’s civilian grave in Richmond Cemetery thanks to the TWGPP website.

According to the Kew Guild Journal obituary 1919, John Nicholls Winn was born at Kew in 1898, enlisted in Richmond aged 18 in May 1916 and went to France in Spring 1917.

Although he served in the 7th Battalion London Regiment (Civil  Service Rifles), he was formerly No.  533417 or  6682, 15th London Regiment, with whom he served in France from 16 April 1917 to 14 May 1917.

He then served from 15 May 1917 to 30 April 1918 in the 7th Battalion London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles).

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WW1 Medal Rolls entry for J.N. Winn

Signaller Jack Winn was wounded in the leg and died later of septic poisoning in hospital in Exeter.

This death of wounds back home in Britain is why he is buried near home and family in Richmond, Surrey.  He is remembered on the Richmond War Memorial, as well as the Kew Gardens Staff War Memorial.

You can read more about the 36+ casualties from Kew staff and Kew trained gardeners in WW1 at our previous blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

John Nicholls ‘Jack’ Winn, Remembered with poppies 100 years on.  Floreat Kew!

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.

Remembering Lost Gardener John Leonard Veitch Kew Gardens WW1 21 May 1918

May 21, 2018

One of the Veitch Nursery Family, famous sponsors of plant collectors and plant hunters, was killed in the First World War.

Major John Leonard Veitch, Military Cross, 7th Battalion attached 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, died on 21st May 1918, aged 31. Mentioned in Despatches.

His death must have seriously affected the future of the Veitch Nursery, as happened to so many lesser-known plant nursery firms in Britain and across Europe.

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Vietch is buried in the tiny Thiennes Cemetery. (Image: CWGC website)

He is buried at Grave Reference Row A. Grave 1, Thiennes British Cemetery, France.

A photograph of his headstone can be seen on the TWGPP website. According to CWGC records, the inscription on his headstone chosen by his family is “Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit thee”.

The German offensive of April 1918 pushed the front line back almost as far as St. Venant in this sector and this was one of the cemeteries made for Commonwealth burials arising from the fighting in the area. Thiennes British Cemetery was started by the 5th Division in May 1918 (when Veitch was amongst the first to be buried) and used by the 59th and 61st Divisions before being closed in August 1918. It is a small cemetery of only 114 First World War burials in the cemetery, Veitch’s grave being the first A1.

He is listed as the son of Peter Christian Massyn Veitch, J.P. Esq, and Harriett Veitch (nee Drew) 11 Elm Grove Road, Exeter of the famous Veitch nursery family.

His Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary lists him originally enlisting in August 1914 in the 7th Cyclists Battalion of the Devon Regiment, his local regiment.

He was in France from 1915, noted as being on front line duties since December 1915 and fought through the battle of the Somme in 1916. He was wounded in the shoulder at Vimy Ridge. After service in Italy, Veitch was killed by a stray machine gun bullet in the Nieppe Forest area of France on May 21, 1918. Another Devonshire Regiment man, Private Harold Harrison, lies buried beside him, killed on the same day.

A month earlier Veitch had received his recommendation for a Military Cross “for his excellent defence of the Lock, just east of the Forest of Nieppe, in the middle of April, when he stopped five attacks. He had the honour of dying in temporary command of our famous battalion.” (letter to Veitch’s father from his Colonel).

He was at Kew from 1908 to 1910, before joining the family nursery business in 1910. Educated at Exeter School, he spent time studying horticulture in Germany and Holland before entering Kew.

Veitch  Nursery history and links

John Leonard Veitch’s  father was Peter Veitch, and his sister Mildred was the last of the Veitch family to continue the Nursery business until 1969 when she sold the last Veitch Nursery site in Exeter to St. Bridget’s Nursery, who still run this today.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Veitch

“The firm of Veitch had by the 1914/18 war been responsible for introducing an astonishing 1281 plants which were either previously unknown or newly bred varieties. These included 498 greenhouse plants, 232 orchids, 153 deciduous trees, shrubs and climbing plants, 122 herbaceous plants, 118 exotic ferns, 72 evergreen and climbing plants, 49 conifers and 37 bulbous plants. In the years to come, more plants followed.”

Quote taken from St. Bridget’s Nursery website https://www.stbridgetnurseries.co.uk/about-us/veitch-family-history/, the Nursery being on a former Veitch Nursery site.

Had John Leonard Veitch survived and had a family, the history of Veitch’s Nursery may have continued longer, even up to the present day. A story no doubt similar to many nurseries, estates and small businesses across Britain and Europe.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veitch_Nurseries

Other Kew Gardens staff casualties had worked for Veitch nurseries such as Gordon Farries (died WW1 20 April 1918). The Veitch Medal of Honour (VMH) is still a prestigious award for gardeners.

You  can read more about Kew Gardens staff in WW1 at

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

https://www.theexeterdaily.co.uk/news/local-news/chiefs-launch-search-ww1-players

Blogposted on the Centenary of John Leonard Veitch’s death by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project at Newquay Zoo, 21 May 2018

The Dambusters Do A Bit Of Gardening

May 15, 2018

dambusters-gardeningYou may have noticed news stories about the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid in May 1943 on the Ruhr Dams.

Hard to look at this photo  and not think of the theme tune to The Dambusters movie. (Duh Duh duh duh duh duh de duh duh …)

I picked this wartime photo up as a copy from an online source, as it shows a little off-duty R&R and Dig For Victory, although it is hard to see exactly what is being planted.

These airfield gardens are the kind of ephemeral gardens that sprung up briefly in wartime, remembered today only in photographs or ‘ghost marks’ on the ground (as such traces were called by Kenneth Helphand, Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime).

Obviously not all of these RAF Bomber Command crews would live to see these gardens flower and vegetables harvested, given the low life expectancy and high casualty rates of such bomber crews. Such wartime gardens also gave pleasure and rations to downed RAF crews, gardening in POW (Prisoner of War) Camps in Occupied Europe.

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Guy Gibson, his black dog mascot and some of the Dambusters crews of 617 Squadron gardening between sorties.

This curious (posed propaganda?) photo shows one of Guy Gibson’s Dambusters crews gardening for relaxation in between bombing  sorties.

Interestingly it  looks possibly like flowers rather than vegetables during the WW2 Dig For Victory campaign.

In the background, you can see their iconic and famous  Lancaster bombers.

The Dambusters crews No. 617 Squadron are famous for taking part in the attack on the Mohne and Ruhr Dams as part of Operation Chastise.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Chastise

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._617_Squadron_RAF

This picture is likely to have been taken at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Scampton

This Wikipedia entry also shows the grave of his famous black dog mascot who died the same night as the raid.

The Commanding Officer of 617 Squadron  Guy Gibson (1918-44) has local Cornish connections to Porthleven, near to us here in Cornwall. Some of the local road names in Porthleven have Gibson and aircraft connections, and there is a plaque to him on the famous Porthleven harbour tower.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Gibson

http://www.rocassoc.org.uk/open/items/gr10/guy_gibson.htm

The Dambusters have a memorial garden in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire commemorating those who took part in the raids. http://www.dambusters.org.uk/commemoration/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 15 May 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.

 

 

Remembering the March 1918 German Spring Offensive

March 21, 2018

Dawn on the 21st March 1918 saw a surprise German attack on a massive scale using specially trained Stormtroopers and almost early Blitzkrieg tactics. This caught the British and Allied troops unprepared and the German Army made huge gains in captured land, prisoners and equipment.

The Kaiser’s Battle, as it became known, saw Field Marshall Haig issue his “Backs to the Wall” order on April 11th 1918 which ends dramatically:

“ … Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.”

“There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.”

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/backstothewall.htm

Into this chaos were flung scratch regiments of any men available to fight, including troops who normally served behind the lines. Artillery lines were overrun, base camps and supply lines.

During this fighting two  Kew Gardens staff  James William Clark  and Charles Hubert Brown were killed both on 26 March 1918.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

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Charles Brown and James Clark’s names on the Kew Gardens Staff WW1 Memorial 

Gunner / Private Charles Hubert Brown, March 26 1918
Private Charles Hubert Brown, Royal Garrison Artillery (and Royal Sussex Regiment) died on the same day as a fellow Kew Gardener and gunner, James William Clark (see below).

Brown entered Kew from the gardens of Court Close, Eckington in September 1914, possibly as result of vacancies created by enlistment of Kew men. He had been rejected as medically unfit for the army owing to heart trouble. He tried to enlist twice more whilst at Kew, finally succeeding at the end of 1916. He died in hospital in France on the 26 March, 1918 as a result of shrapnel wounds to the head, according to his Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary.

In the Kew Guild Journal it mentions “we had no further news of his movements” – so maybe this is why his regiment varies in listings. Charles Hubert Brown, 290133, 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment died on 26 March 1918 and is buried in plot VII.AA. Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

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Gunner  James William Clark, 26 March 1918
Gunner James William Clark, RMA/1656(S), Royal Marine Artillery, Howitzer Brigade, died 26 March 1918, aged 26. He is buried at Grave Reference VI. D. 8, Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras. He joined the Royal Marine Artillery in January 1916.

Clark is listed as the son of James William and Elizabeth Clark, of The Gardens, Torre Abbey, Torquay where James also worked before Kew amongst a number of Torquay posts at Braddon’s Hill Nursery and Normount Gardens.

He was born on August 24, 1891. Clark entered Kew in January 1913, working as a seed collector in the Kew Arboretum before working as Sub-Foreman Decorative Indoors at the end of 1914.

Clark is also remembered on his local primary school memorial, which Margaret Forbes-Hamilton and other ‘churchyard friends’ in Torquay are having restored. This memorial stone of Carrera marble in the churchyard in Torre to the fallen from the local primary school includes James William Clark, who was a young gardener at Kew and whose father was the gardener at Torre Abbey.

Clark was an only child, though had many cousins, and his parents must have been devastated at his death; the inscription on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone chosen by his family reads: “Thy will be Done. Dear Boy.”

Looking at the Graves Registration documents and Faubourg cemetery records for Plot VI or 6, Row D amongst the several thousand headstones and many thousands more names on the Arras Memorial (over 37,000 names), it is possible to see that James Clark lies in a row with comrades in a small cluster of burials from No. 6 Gun, Howitzer Brigade, Royal Marine Artillery who all died on 26 March 1918.

Clark lies alongside Gunner A.E. Skuse (or Skuce), Pte E.Jones, A. Lambert (Armourer’s Crew Royal Navy “HMS Excellent”) showing the strange mixture of units, ranks and nationalities (West Country English, Welsh, Scottish) that made up the crew of this one gun in a strange Royal Marine or Navy unit. Other Officers and Gunners from the Royal Garrison Artillery Siege Battery brigade are buried in the same row from the same fighting.

Remembering all the men lost on both sides in the March 1918 offensive.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 21 and 26 March 1928 / 2018.

 

 

 

 

Remembering Arnold Duley of Kew Gardens died WW1 POW 14 March 1918

March 20, 2018

 

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WW1 Header section, Kew Gardens staff war memorial Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (Image source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Remembering the sad story of Arnold Duley, Kew trained gardener and formerly of Cardiff Parks Department, who died in WW1 as a result of being a German POW  on 14 March 1918.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

Lance Corporal Arnold Edmund Duley, M.M., 17583, 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (died as a Prisoner of War).

Arnold Edmund Duley (Edward or Edmund Arnold in some records) died as a Prisoner of War on 14 March 1918 aged 33 in hospital at Tournai in Belgium, probably from being “badly fed and probably had to work in a weak state” by the Germans.

Food parcels from the Kew Guild through the POW fund probably never reached him in time, his Kew Guild Journal obituary in 1919 laments. He is buried in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, plot IG1, his headstone pictured on the TWGPP website.

Other kew trained gardeners became POWs, their accounts featuring in the same 1919 issue oif the Kew Guild Journal as Arnold Duley’s obituary.

A.W. Maynard was a prisoner from 24 March 1918, presumably captured in the famous March 1918 German counterattack. His story is told here:

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Equally interesting is the account of his internment in Ruheleben internment Camp by Guy Neville, who was a friend of fellow Kewite Arnold Duley.

 

 

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Guy Neville mentions Arnold Duley in the first part of his account of internment life at Ruheleben Camp in Germany, famous for its Horticultural Society.

Arnold Duley, Gardener, Soldier, POW, not forgotten.

N.B. A scheduling error means that this blogpost has gone out a few days late, rather than on the Centenary on March 14 1918 / 2018

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo.

 

 

Wartime January Gardening Advice

January 26, 2018

 

middleton calender coverA wet but mildish start to the year with nothing much happening in the World War Zoo wartime garden at Newquay Zoo in January.

What would Wartime gardening expert Mr. Middleton have to say about January gardening?

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/mr-middletons-january-gardening-advice-1943/


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