Do you have any photos of your family’s wartime vegetable gardens or allotments?
If so, the RHS is calling on people to submit pictures to be included in exhibitions to mark 80 years since the outbreak of the Second World War and the Dig for Victory campaign.
Advisory material and propaganda that inspired people to grow more food will be on display at its library and its four gardens in the autumn.
The RHS began working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the Dig for Victory campaign when war broke out in 1939 – detailed plans began in 1938.
The advice was distributed in pamphlets, leaflets and exhibition packs that toured towns and villages and included guides to cultivating vegetables all year round, storing produce and making a compost heap.
Gardeners had to be creative – workers at Wolsey Motors in Birmingham made cloches out of scrap car windscreens for their workplace allotment.
By 1943, about 55 per cent of households were growing fruit and vegetables.
Fiona Davison, head of libraries and collections at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “RHS information and advice helped get a nation growing at a time when food supplies were at an historic low.
“Many are likely to recall parents and relatives turning previously unloved plots into efficient and prolific green spaces.
“We’re asking the public to share those pictures and memories with us so we can celebrate the contribution of gardening to our wartime history.”
Dig for Victory will be on display at the RHS gardens, including our nearest at Harlow Carr, Harrogate, from Monday, October 14, to Sunday, November 17.
For more information, visit www.rhs.org.uk
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JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
If your Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata and S. x buckleyi) didn’t set flower buds, it may be that the temperature was too high (above 18°C/65°F, or had too much artificial light. Move it into cooler conditions away from night lighting. Encourage bushy growth by twisting off outer segments after flowering. These can be used as cuttings if dried and kept warm for a week before potting up.
Take hardwood cuttings of shrubs such as Cornus, Salix, Forsythia, Weigela, Escallonia, Rosa, Ribes, Chaenomeles and Elaeagnus and deciduous climbers such as Fallopia and Lonicera. Check last year’s hardwood cuttings, for planting out or potting on.
Phytophthora root rots can cause dieback on mature trees and shrubs. Wet winter weather and poorly drained soils will make the likelihood worse on susceptible woody plants.
Bracket fungus on trees is often noticed this month – if the tree is suffering, call in a tree surgeon.
Mole activity increases from now until February, due to mating and nest-building. Remove the largest hills from your lawn and firm before seeding it in spring.
If there is snow, brush shrubs and conifers gently with a broom to prevent branches getting damaged. Packing the branches of borderline hardy deciduous trees and shrubs with straw and securing this with fleece and ties, will protect them from frost.
Snowdrops can be lifted and divided as long as you re-plant them straight away.
Make sure protective straw or fleece is still in place on vulnerable plants overwintering outdoors. In cold spells, protect non-frost-proof containers with bubble wrap, hessian or fleece. Group pots near a south-facing wall to give extra protection.