It was a cold and gloomy Saturday afternoon at the end of last month when locals from Deptford and further afield ventured out to a community seed swap.
Alison Marsden (who answers gardening questions for Woolly Green on Thursday evenings) travelled up from her snowy town in Kent, armed with lots of plants to attract bees, butterflies and other wildlife, which we modelled here. She talked to visitors about plants they could grow to attract wildlife, and dotted pictures and books around the gardens to spark people's interest even more.
I took buckets of flowers, vases, a tray of autumn-sown plants, and pages of notes that I ended up ignoring because it didn't feel quite right talking to people with pieces of paper in front of me the whole time. I left out plenty of things I'd planned to talk about, but the audience were wonderfully engaged and asked lots of questions - covering several of the points I'd missed out! The lovely Lewisham Gardens (who organised the afternoon) and Kitchen Buddy (who runs local foraging walks) can be spotted here.
I talked a little bit about how I came to grow my own flowers, how people can find space for them and decide which flowers to grow, and how to condition them when cutting for the vase. Then I demonstrated a handtied bouquet, followed by a small arrangement in a pot with a sellotape/clear pot tape grid on the top.
It was quite dark in the shed at the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, so I took more photos of the two arrangements in the morning, when the light was better. I also used another Portmeirion Botanic Blue container for the handtied, as the shorter, white and china-blue plant pot seemed to suit the spring flowers better than the tall vase I used on the day.
If you've thought about doing a talk or a demonstration, give it a try - once you've faced the fear, it's much more exciting and less scary!