Archive for the ‘wartime garden’ Category

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.

dambusters-gardening

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.

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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/

Gertrude Jekyll’s Google Doodle

November 29, 2017

google doodle

Great to see a colourful Google Doodle celebrating Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle), famous Victorian and Edwardian garden designer on her 174th birthday.

Gertrude Jekyll was a friend of Herbert Cowley, a slightly forgotten garden writer, photographer  and magazine editor, who trained at Kew Gardens and was invalided out of the WW1 trenches with serious injuries.

Herbert Cowley died  in Newton Abbot, Devon 50 years ago this November 1967.

Herbert Cowley 1885-1967

Herbert Cowley (1885-1967) from his Kew Guil journal obituary 1968

Herbert Cowley (1885 – 1967) took photographs for Gertrude Jekyll including many of her in her Munstead garden. this like many late WW1 gardens was sacrificing sections to produce food for the war effort.

The Fate of The South Border

The Fate of The South Border, Gertrude Jekyll, January 20, 1917, The Garden magazine

The Google Doodle of Miss Jekyll, featuring her tiny portrit amongst colourful borders of flowers, reminds me of a lovely article by Judith Tankard for Country Life (a magazine that Herbert Cowley worked and wrote for), blending the famous image of Gertrude Jekyll in her Munstead Garden in 1918 with how it has been restored today.

gertrude jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll photographed by Herbert Cowley, back in her garden in this article / photograph by Judith Tankard in Country Life, 27 April 2011  

http://judithtankard.com/_pdf/contry_lif_427_11.pdf

 

Gertrude Jekyll would be involved after WW1 with architect Edwin Lutyens and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  in the planting and design in some of the many cemeteries they maintain for Allied casualties, creating that little bit of a country garden or English garden all over the world.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll has an official website http://gertrudejekyll.co.uk/

Herbert Cowley does not have an official website, however some of his books on Alpine or Rock Gardening are still in print almost a hundred years later.

There wasn’t much material pre-2013 about Herbert Cowley, lots about Gertrude Jekyll, so I researched enough to write this blog article and the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Cowley.

Gertrude Jekyll, happy birthday! 

Herbert Cowley, remembered 50 years after his death.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 29 November 2017.

 

 

Laggard Spring 1917

March 21, 2017

Spring 1917 Wartime – March 21st , uncannily like the weather today a century later. Hail and sunshine.

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Homeland A Year of Country Days by PWDI (Percy W. D. Izzard) 1918

Here in the preface, Percy Izzard sets out the structure for his year of inspirational short pieces about country life. These are  made especially poignant or valuable as his work was read not only by “war-workers … men and women of country heart who are pent now for England’s sake in the reek of great towns” isolated from the countryside but also  “amid the cruel distractions of war” by troops in the trenches who obtained a Daily Mail from friends and families.

Based on letters received from soldiers, Percy Izzard realised that his daily entries  provided to “soldier lads in France and Flanders, in rough notes pencilled on the battlefields … glimpses of the Homeland  for which they long and fight.”

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This book of nature writing by Percy Izzard,  reproduced from his nature  column in the Daily Mail, begins unusually not on January 1st but on the first day of spring 1917, the spring equinox, March 21st.

It finishes a year later on March 20th and Izzard’s preface, written after preparing them for publication in book form, was written on April 21st, 1918.

Having checked the obvious date references, like references to Sundays etc, I am fairly sure this is written from March 1917 to March 1918 onwards as the First World War raged across Europe.

It finishes documenting country life in Britain during this year of attrition and killing, on March 20 1918  just as the Western Front collapses with the German onslaught of late March 1918.

The Writer Percy Izzard?

I have previously written about Percy Izzard and this Homeland book on this and a local history blog:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-april-1915-primrose-day-and-percy-izzard/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-died-20-april-1915/

Percy W. (William) D. Izzard OBE (September 1877 – 1968) was the well-known gardening correspondent on the Daily Mail newspaper.

He was author of several books on gardening including Grow it Yourself: Daily Mail Practical Instruction Book on Food from the Garden in War-Time (1940), one of the  Dig For Victory books in my collection of WWII gardening books.

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

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 21 March 2017

 

Doctor Carrot and WW2 secrets

October 18, 2016

carrots-ww2

Secret carrots – part of our wartime zoo schools workshop trail.

 

Read more about the exciting wartime history of carrots on the Carrot Museum website (I don’t get to type that sentence very often!)

http://carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html

Another of our blogposts on the interesting story about how diets and rationing were linked to WW2 through the pioneering work of nutritionist Elsie Widdowson:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/elsie-widdowson-and-ww2-rationing/

Sadly I believe that the Tomato Museum on Guernsey (mentioned in the BBC TV 1990s The Wartime Kitchen Garden series)  is no more.

It’s amazing what  you find when you’re researching animal nutrition …

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 18 October 2016

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.

 

Happy Wartime Christmas?

December 22, 2015

wartime garden PZ  Christmas 2010 009

A rare survival of a cardboard Christmas stocking toy in our World War Zoo gardens collection alongside the excellent Christmas on the Home Front book by Mike Brown

Happy Christmas to all our World War Zoo Garden blog readers, another very busy year at our project base at Newquay Zoo.

Past Christmas blogposts

2015

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/peggy-skinners-wartime-christmas-1940/

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/happy-90th-birthday-peggy-jane-skinner/

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Our trial War and Peace Christmas Pudding – before pretasting by keepers – at Newquay Zoo.

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/war-and-peace-christmas-pudding-rationing-recipe-ww1-ww2/

oxfam unwrapped ecard

We have continued our tradition of buying an Oxfam Allotment gift again this year 2015 on behalf of the project:

2014

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/a-corner-of-a-foreign-field-football-gardening-and-oxfam-allotments-for-christmas/

2013

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/not-just-zoo-animals-get-adopted-even-wartime-allotments-get-christmas-presents-2/

wartime garden PZ  Christmas 2010 006

Noah’s Ark handmade by Ernest Lukey for his daughter (in our wartime collection) alongside a cocoa tin and wood pull along train. Wartime Christmas presents.

 

There’s always the tradition of handmade or recycled presents as well. One of my favourites remains this simple puzzle, handmade for a little girl.

Handmade sliding puzzle World War Zoo Children evacuation suitcase items 003

Handmade sliding puzzle made by a man for his daughter in wartime, from Australian Butter box wood and cut out calender dates, 1940s, Newquay Zoo wartime life collection

This featured in our  2010 Christmas blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/wartime-christmas-past-and-presents-from-the-world-war-zoo-gardens-newquay-zoo/

World War Zoo Children evacuation suitcase items 004

Back view of the wartime handmade sliding puzzle showing the Australia butter box markings

Remembering Mr. Middleton, died 18 September 1945

September 17, 2015

A Titchmarsh before his time ... C.H. Middleton, the radio gardener. This original wartime paperback has recently been reissued.

A Titchmarsh before his time … C.H. Middleton, the radio gardener. This original wartime paperback has recently been reissued.

18 September is the 70th anniversary of the sudden death in 1945 of BBC radio celebrity Dig for Victory gardener Mr Cecil Henry Middleton.

World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Mr. Middleton rightly placed alongside our wartime garden, World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

First TV gardening programme?

Mr Middleton, 21 November 1936 – Middleton was an early pioneer of TV gardening before WW2, but sadly he died before the BBC gardening resumed on television.

Recently many of his simple and readable garden guides and radio talks have been reprinted for a whole new generation.

middleton calender cover

We have previously covered some of his garden advice – look through our blogposts earlier this year.

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

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/mr-middletons-february-and-march-gardening-advice-1943/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/more-wartime-garden-in-bloom-pictures-and-a-little-mr-middleton/

Life, Work and Tributes

There is a very good Wikipedia entry Mr. Middleton for him, covering his life and published works.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/historyofthebbc/research/programming/gardening

There is also delightful  Pathe newsreel of his ‘chats over the garden fence’. 

This film footage is reused in the 1945 Pathe Newsreel “Passing of an Old Friend” which ends with Mr Middleton walking away up a country lane – becoming  his last farewell to his audience –  then footage  of the flower-bedecked funeral procession of Mr Middleton moving away from St. Mathews Church, Surbiton.

An animated cartoon Mr Middleton on Pathe Newsreel talks compost in wartime.

A comic 1938 gardening song “Mr Middleton Says it’s Right” by trio Vine, More and Nevard on Pathetone Pathe newsreel. Proof of his celebrity …

In 2012 an interesting Mr Middleton inspired modern gardening blog began with lots of links to his surviving media archive.

His memorial gates erected in 1955 at his original BBC plot at Langham Gardens are now outside the BBC written archives at Caversham.

A floral tribute (now lost?)  was a dark red Hybrid Tea Rose named after him, Registration name ‘C.H. Middleton’ was bred by Benjamin R. Cant & Sons (United Kingdom, 1939). This Hybrid Tea Rose was described as “Crimson. Strong fragrance. Large, very double, high-centered bloom form. Blooms in flushes throughout the season.”

Middleton Jan week 1

“Hasten slowly”: Mr. Middleton, fondly remembered.

He was and is the inspiration to our wartime garden:

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And our own attempt at being Mr. Middleton, albeit in modern podcast form in 2010: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/from-bean-pods-to-podcasts-the-first-world-war-zoo-gardens-blog-podcast/

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Garden project, Newquay Zoo

 

 

 

 


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