Welcome to the SRT blog No. 61

16th July 2021 – Welcome to our blog post No. 61

The month of July……

Sometimes the hot, long days of July are called the “dog days of summer”. It’s also a great point to start working on any of those new year’s resolutions that you’ve put off attempting for the first half of the year!

The Anglo-Saxons had multiple names for the month of July, including Maed-monath and Hey-monath. Respectively, these translated into “the flowering of meadows” and “hay month.”

On July 4th, 1776, the 13 American colonies declared their independence from the British monarchy. The 4th of July, formally known as Independence Day, has been a federal holiday since 1870 in the United States of America.

On July 25th, 1909, Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly an aircraft from one country to another successfully. He took off from the coast of France and landed across the channel near Dover, England.

There are two star signs which fall in the month of July. If you’re born before July 22nd, then your star sign is Cancer. If you’re born after this day, from July 23rd onward, then you’re a Leo. Those born under the sign of Cancer are said to be loyal friends with great emotional depth, and those born under the sign of Leo are said to be very proud people who display great leadership

If you’re doing everything right, then crops of corn are meant to be “knee-high by the fourth of July.” It’s also in July that crop circles start to appear in fields of corn. For the most part, Crop circles have only started appearing since the 1970s, although there have been a number of cases sporadically reported throughout history.

July has two birth flowers – the water lily and the larkspur. The water lily is a symbol of a pure heart, while the larkspur (especially its white form) represents the lightness of the heart.

The birthstone of July is the ruby, considered by many to be the king of gems. At one point in time, it was considered to protect warriors on the field of battle if it was embedded in their armor. Nowadays, as a birthstone, it’s said to protect against evil.

July was an important time for the space race of the ’60s. The first crewed mission to the moon, the Apollo 11 Mission, launched on July 16, 1969. Four days later, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong made history by taking the first step on the moon while declaring, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”.

Yesterday it was St Swithin’s Day – did it rain? Folk lore says if it did then it will rain for forty more!

Hope not…it’s summer!


Our week at RHS Hampton Court ended on Sunday. The stand came down and the Sunnyside grown perennial plants were lifted for their last journey to RHS Wisley in west London. They are being planted out in front of the bicentenary glasshouse garden to rejuvenate this area, last designed 15 years ago.

We had a great message from Matt Pottage, curator at Wisley.


“thanks so much for the plant material. It’s absolutely fabulous, we couldn’t be happier!”

Well done everyone.



Some more photos of the teams at the show during the week.



Team Tuesday








Team Wednesday plus Charlie Harpur from Tom Stuart-Smiths team – if you wondered who got into the pictures as well






Team Thursday




  Team Friday – and Charlie AGAIN!




Team Saturday






Team Sunday




A *Big* Sunnyside thank you went out to Stephanie Hafferty & Charles Dowding who donated some of their awesome veg from the RHS allotment – no dig stand at RHS Hampton Court on Sunday. These were used in a Hemel Food Garden cook up session with the trainees for lunch. We use the no dig method at our 3 sites in the polytunnels and on the allotments as it works and it’s easier for our trainees to work and reduces the time spent weeding, which means we can do more, of other worthwhile things.
















These were the  first recipes, inspired by the Stephanie Hafferty cook book, prepared and tested by trainees at Hemel Food Garden. They made humus, kale chips and veg pickling with carrot and kohl rabi sticks.

Then pizza day using up some of the No Dig Allotment donated veg for veggie pizzas.
























Carrot harvest on the allotments for the veg box with trainees doing quality control, enjoying trying baby carrots after their hard work growing them.













The perennial bed next to the courtyard at Northchurch are looking good and the seating areas are being used by trainees at break and lunchtimes, when the weather allows.






Terry comes in on Wednesday mornings to help with the harvest. He cleaned the mud off of the beetroots and washed the kale leaves and took off stalks that are too long.








Harvesting herbs for the veg boxes accompanied by Crosseyes the cat.








Beefsteak tomatoes are taking shape.








The first sunflower is opening at the front of the shop!








Northchurch made plant labels which we sold at Hampton Court and are using some in the herb circle in the perennial bed. Mush easier to work out which is which for the veg box harvest.








The pigs are having a mini holiday. Not going too far they have been moved to a new area nearer the goats whilst the team work in the pen next to the mess room. What’s there will be composted and then new crops will be sown & grown ready for their return. They will have clovers and grasses, root crops such as turnips, parsnips and swedes and cabbages when they get back in a few months time.







And the chickens have been busy – laying sooooo many eggs!!










The Activity Centre have been working hard on the allotment contract.













Continued weeding back on site – it’s never ending.




















And Thursday mornings market stall in Berkhamsted high street.