Friday 30 September 2016

School Gardening Club in Dubai with HDYGG

Next week I start running the after school gardening club where I teach in Dubai. I'm a keen gardener, but it's all hit and miss. I've successfully grown tomatoes, chillies, herbs, strawberries and peppers, as well as marigolds, petunias, nasturtiums and sweet peas. I've never followed a schedule, just kept an eye on the municipality planting schedule and visited their nurseries out in Warsan last week.

I've a few ideas for the sessions, but at this moment I have no idea of the numbers, the ages, the length of sessions and how long the club will run for, other than assuming till the end of term in December. I've been told I have a budget, but not how much and of course with no idea of the number of children and duration.

I can do all the planning and have a few ideas ready to run for the 1st week, until I know numbers, ages etc, but what I need is an order of planting. It's autumn in Dubai, but temps still in the high 30's and NO rain, so I can't follow a European planting scheme and the seed packets in the garden centre are imported so most, if not all seeds have to be germinated indoors until 30c and planting out isn't always that easy. No one will be around to water over the weekends and I'm not hopeful the other children will not mess with the plants at playtime.

So I'm thinking indoor plants, container vegetables and succulents with a bit of art and creativity thrown in.

If you run a gardening club in your school, particularly in Dubai, I'd love to hear from you to share some of your tips and ideas.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Week 91 - Photalife Animals and My Sunday Photo

I love photo prompts, without them I'd probably just be uploading photo's of the cat and dog all week.

We've been fostering Clyde (bottom right) for the past two weekends, he's a pit bull mix and the brother of Bonnie, who we fostered for two weeks in June. Bonnie found her forever home and was adopted in Abu Dhabi, where she has settled into a loving family with another dog and 2 children.

Clyde is energetic and was neutered last week, we had him immediately after the surgery for a few days before returning him to kennels, but his kennel was too big and allowed him to jump around and he's not recovering from the surgery as well as we'd hoped for. Sadly this means Clyde has to be crated most of the day and night, where he can rest, we tag team our cat and dog to allow Clyde to spend some quiet time out of the crate with me in the house and the garden where he is calm.

Bob the Dog and Pushkins and the husband have been forced to bond with being restricted to the lounge when Clyde is out of his crate. The cat is as nervous as anything, but that's pretty much her normal state and has been able to spend the odd night outdoors now the weather is cooling.

Bob has enjoyed more time outdoors at the lakes in the desert and evening walks around the neighbourhood.

A couple paid a visit to meet Clyde, yesterday and I'm pleased to say they have offered him his forever home and left with him, for a two week trial in Abu Dhabi, with approval from DAWS, Dubai Animal Welfare Society. Sadly the trail failed after 24 hours, Clyde just wouldn't settle and became dominant and firmly in charge, so back to kennels for him now while we'll come up with a new plan.

My next challenge is to spend the week driving around Dubai collecting donations of curtains, blankets, duvets and pillows etc to make dog beds for rescue dogs, like the one bottom left in the photo.

Saturday 24 September 2016

Week 38 - One Daily Positive and Project 366

It's autumn in Dubai, how do we know? The lowest temp recorded this week was 26c, you have no idea how much of a relief it is for every one. It means the cold water out of the tap is no longer too hot to shower in. We can sit outside in the evenings and we don't have to put the air con on in a room if we're only going to be in there a few minutes.

Sunday - Yes. Peter was away in Egypt, so I took advantage of some early nights all week.

Monday - Computer. I still prefer good old fashioned pen and paper to plan with.

Tuesday - Food. Spent the evening in the nail bar, this was all that was in the fridge.

Wednesday - Flexible. I'm not flexible, I just adapt. I've been pushed to the limits at work this week and I've said no more. I'm also struggling to get up off the floor in class and have been suffering with quite a few headaches recently.

Thursday - Mood. Feeling the same as the cat right now, just want to eat, sleep and for people to get out of my face.

Friday - Autumn. Cause for celebration, it's noticeably cooler first thing in the mornings and last thing at night.

Saturday - Colour. Knitted decorations for the Palm trees at City Walk.

Day out to Forde Abbey and Gardens

Forde Abbey in Dorset, with a Somerset postcode, just outside of Chard, is set in 30 acres of grounds, Forde Abbey was once the home, some 800 years ago to Cistercian Monks. After it's dissolution in 1539, it lay empty for 100 years before being transformed into a family home, the Roper family moved in, in 1905 and the 3rd generation remain there today.

We visited with friends on our last trip to the UK. The weather was gorgeous and we spent a good part of our time in the vegetable and flower gardens, everything was labelled and friendly gardeners were on hand to answer any questions. 

A series of ponds, leading from the Great Pond were laid out 700 years ago is an early example of landscaped gardening. The Mermaid pond is home to the Centenary Fountain, installed by the current family to mark 100 years of living at Forde Abbey.

Finally after 2 hours wandering around the vegetable gardens, followed by lunch, we made it to the back of the gardens and into the house.

Sadly we had to leave as we were driving back to South Wales, leaving a bit more of the gardens to explore on our next visit.