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An Anzac Day like no other

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This year, Anzac Day will be remembered like no other. ‘Lest We Forget’ – and we won’t allow a virus to deter us from our remembrance.

Light a candle or wave a light at dawn this Saturday 25 April so we will never forget the fallen. During my years of writing garden columns, it has been a pleasure to cover gardening stories of exceptional men, now deceased.

One of them, Alf Stone, was renowned for his work with the Red Cross and known for his garden full of Flanders Poppies (Papaver rhoes) which is bright red with a dark centre, while another, Jim Oliver, perpetuated ‘Springsong’, the most beautiful poppy. 

Jim and his wife Shirley went out at the crack of dawn to tie up selected blooms to prevent the bees from cross pollination to keep this strain of poppy for future generations as it was a legacy from 
the life of George Dent.

On Anzac Day, hundreds of gardeners lined up at George’s home in New Lambton to observe the tradition of planting poppies on Anzac Day as a memorial to those men and woman who fought wars for our country.

Poppies prefer an alkaline soil, hence they like the soil to have been limed and poultry manure dug in and new seedlings do require a little TLC until they become stronger – it helps a week or two after planting to lift up the delicate leaves from the soil, carefully turning over the soil to aerate the plants.

Footnote: there are other varieties of poppies available but, unfortunately, ‘Springsong’ is rare now and not grown commercially.

Although many taking part in previous Anzac Day marches and ceremonies wore medals and badges with great pride, a sprig of rosemary was worn by many Australians and, this year, even at home in isolation, we can wear a sprig of rosemary. 

Rosemary originated on rocky hills of the Mediterranean, where many battles were fought. This hardy plant has been valued for centuries for its perfume, medicinal and culinary uses. It can grow up to 1.2 metres, bearing dark green needle-like leaves, making an ideal hedge.

Many readers may remember the old Vera Lyn song We’ll Meet Again One Sunny Day – and we will.

…….

This week:

* Lift corms of gladiolus that have finished flowering.

* New season cyclamen, now in bloom love to be freshened up at night outside in a sheltered spot.

* Keep those winter vegetables well dusted, especially broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers.

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