November 12, 2020

Hi folks

Another lockdown!?!  Until December 2nd?? Well maybe it’d be nice to have something outdoors and creative and wholesome to look forward to….how about Wreath making??  A friend told me that making plans this year was an act of hope so in that spirit we are planning two wreath making days on the 5th and 12th December!  No they might not happen but it’s nice to plan as if they will, and then accept it when they don’t.

These days are always some off my favourite of the year and I’ve thought long and hard about how to make sure it is safe to run them.  It’s been soooo popular in the past few years and over the years become a part of local families Christmas tradition… but 2020 is not the year for the usual merry scrum of folks so this year we will taking bookings and small groups of folks will be very spaced out.   The garden is huge so we can easily social distance and our ‘indoor’ spaces couldn’t be more well ventilated if we tried!  It will still be a fun and informal session and you’ll be shown how to weave a hoop out of willow and then decorate it with glorious winter foliage.  It should take about an hour (you will be booted out after 90 mins) and every wreath is unique and gorgeous.

Book HERE and come make something beautiful (hopefully)

If you have your own gloves, secateurs and scissors BRING THEM.   Dogs on leads are welcome and so are children.  We have put the price up to £15 this year -£10 was a bonkers cheap price!. Also as we are extremely limited on numbers on the day we are charging for extra people that are coming in.  Sorry!  This is the only event we’ve been able to run and so it’s an important fundraising activity for the garden.

And if lockdown continues all is not lost!  You can come and get your materials in a safe and distanced manner in the time slot that you book and then there will be an online tutorial.

 

And what about the rest of the garden?  Our parent and toddler group will be cancelled for the next four weeks but we’ve been lucky with some glorious Tuesday morning for our fab sessions last term.  Our afterschool club is OFSTED registered childcare so we’ll be continuing to provide that throughout lockdown as long as the schools are open.  This is the term when it gets dark whilst the children are in the garden, it’ll be cold but BRILLIANT and if I was 8 there would be nothing I’d like to be doing more than running round shrieking in the dark then having a hot chocolate by a fire.

And the Wednesday group volunteering sessions will carry on as a formally organised support group providing mutual support and so we’re all pretty relieved about that. We’ve got good at sitting in our big socially distanced circle for tea breaks and the session mean a lot to people.  We’ve still got plenty that needs harvesting and there’s always more things that need, fixing and cleaning, beds that need weeding or plants to propagate ready for next year.

 

 

 

 

See you in the garden (sometime)!
Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394 ghcgarden@gmail.com

Please note I work part time usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, but only do admin on Mondays and Thursdays 

We’ve got a Facebook page with lots of pics and info on so come and be our FRIEND AND we’re on Twitter @ghcgarden (though we’re a little more quiet there)

Finally! An update about everything

August 27, 2020

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while! How are YOU?!? and us? Well the garden is still here and as I look out the open door the rain pours down of the self seeded sunflowers that survived the storm are bobbing around, the damsons are ripe, the kale is gorgeous and everything is very green and a little bit wild.  We were closed all through lockdown and I was furloughed but the rules allowed me to do essential maintenance (like emptying the compost loo!). One volunteer came in at a time on a rota and got things planted and watered and kept everything ticking over.   Folks often came in stressed and left feeling better and with some peas,carrots and a bunch of flowers.  We all felt very lucky to have the garden as a small but important life raft in turbulent world.

   

Now we have opened up a little more. I became partially unfurloughed at the end of July and though the gates are still closed our existing volunteers can come in small groups, again on a rota and just for a morning or afternoon.  So in August for the first time since March we could sit round the table in the shelter and be together.  This month we have been enjoying melon moments with our fantastic high summer harvest.  It may have been a terrible year for lots of things but it has been a great year for  our veg with some especially  lush harvests of carrots, onions, grapes, chilli, melons, toms, cukes and more and our flowers have been fantastic.  We’re not yet able to welcome everyone in again on a drop in basis on a Wednesday or run events but we are able to take small, sensible and safe steps in that direction.

  

This summer we were also able to run our holiday club for 5-12 year olds again. We put a lot of thought into how we could follow the government guidelines whilst still offering a space to be wild and spontaneous.  Luckily the garden is big enough for the groups to spread out, and with some jiggling round how we do things  and lots of hand washing they went really well. It was brilliant to have the garden full of noise and nonsense again, we’ve had waterfights and whittling and all sorts of silliness going on.

And now suddenly it’s September next week and we’ll be running our after school clubs and they’ve booked up nicely for the new term.  We’re only able to run one toddler group for the moment on Tuesday at 10 and that’s all booked up as well.

What does the future hold? Who knows but we plan to still be here for the foreseeable, and as soon as it’s manageable in a safe way we’ll open up our Wednesdays to new people again.  I very much doubt we’ll have a bonfire night in November but I think we’ll manage a much-more-spaced-out-than usual  wreath making day/s in December

And I’ll leave you with the personal tale of a surprisingly joyous lock down afternoon I spent emptying the compost loo . It was the original chamber so while everything in there was at least four years old some of the  ‘solids’ were from way back in 2012 – when we were young and the garden was a baby.   I’d always imagined we’d have some sort of party the day we emptied it but instead it was just me, a mask and a specially shaped spade.  It smelt fine and was a lovely rich colour and none of it recognisable as poo as it had rooted down with the added saw dust.   As I dug out the layers.  It made me think about all the people who’c all played a part in making with beautiful place.  Is there better example of a how a collective effort combines produces beautiful results? Or how with some effort some problems can become the solutions and how we all need to deal with our own shit.  Anyhow it’s gone on to our flowerbeds and our sweet peas are all the sweeter for it.  Many thanks you to everyone who has contributed to the garden in any way over the years!

See you in the garden (sometime!)

Lucy

ucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker

07506 905 394
ghcgarden@gmail.com
 
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST!  CLICK HERE

 

An update about C19 closures and cancellations… but also tadpoles!

March 24, 2020

Hi everyone!

Well it shouldn’t be a surprise that the garden is closed, the Spring Fair is off and we have cancelled all our children’s activities for the unforseeable future which is really sad but we’ll survive.

As we’ve got no plans in the pipeline coming up I’ll tell you all about what’s already happened….

The sunny weather is surreal and almost unbelievable after what has been a soggy and wet winter. It was definitely the wettest season we’ve had with the pond path under water for weeks and weeks and much of the garden deeply squelchy under foot.  I always try to use the really wet times to remind myself that if we the ground wasn’t so wet here we couldn’t have a well and in fact there wouldn’t be a community garden as the site wouldn’t have been left to go derelict… so hooray for the bog!(?)!

  

And then the wind came. And such wind! For those who haven’t been to the site or don’t see our facebook page the big news is from winter… THE TOWER OF POWER BLEW OVER!  It was Storm Ciara what did it, but mainly the thick wooden supports had been sat in our wet ground for seven years and had rotted.   But while not a ‘good thing’  it means they we (by which I mean Pete) could look at setting up a system from scratch which actually properly fits the needs of the garden and the allotment site.  The tower panels were enough to power the our needs but didn’t have enough oomph to get the pump going and the water going up the hill so we’d been relying on a cable coming from a house for that for some time.  So plans are afoot for a whole new system and it’s farewell to our lovely tower.

And finally tadpoles!  Back after we first redug the pond 8 years ago we had huge numbers of frogs that came, and each year we’d know it was truly spring when a seething mass of piggy backing frogs filled writhed in the pond and the air was full of their sounds like a giant purring cat.  We loved it! Anyone who saw it can attest that it was incredible.  But over 8 years the frog numbers have been going down. And each year we stand on the side of the pond and speculate to why. As the numbers of frogs went down I’m sure the number of fish when up so I have always blamed them but each year it is very clear that as soon as the frogspawn is laid the newts come and eat it.  And they just get there faces right in and munch away and just keep munching.  Frogs come back to spawn where they were spawned and each year less and less have made it to frog hood.  Well this was the year I only saw three frogs in the pond and so we finally decided to really try and do something about it.  We hoiked out a big load of spawn, Lizzy and Ollie painstakingly removed any potential predators and then placed them in a lovely big bath full of pond water, and thats where they are now.  We have taken out spawn before and put them back as tadpoles which immediately totally disappeared, but this time we’re hoping to bring them on to little froglets – which means getting them past the carnivorous stage! Anyway for now they wriggling away without a care in the world.  And I find it cheering to think about them 🙂

I hope everyone is well, and taking care and staying safe and as sane as can be expected.

See you in the garden once the crisis is over!

Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394

ghcgarden@gmail.com

 

 

 

Wreath making! Soup season! Bonfire pics and MORE!

November 18, 2019

Hi folks
It’s feeling VERY wintery and wreath making is just around the corner. We’ve been so popular in the past few years that we are running the day twice! It’s a fun and informal session and you’ll be shown how to weave a hoop out of willow and then decorate it with glorious winter foliage.  We have secateurs and gloves so you don’t need to bring them, but you if you do some then bring them along so we don’t have you share as much.   Also we’ll have heaps of lovely winter foliage but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you have a garden with nice berry bits, or evergreen branches, or pretty twiddly ivy, or see any on your way that is available then please bring a bag along so it’ll just make the day more lovely for everyone OR if you can dehydrate an orange or two OR if you have a big tree with berries (holly or any red berries!) on in your garden that I could come and give a haircut then get in touch.   Dogs on leads are welcome and so are children, and if younglings want to make their own wreath then it’s just £5.  It should take about an hour and every wreath is unique and gorgeous.

Thanks to everyone who came to our bonfire!  After some absolutely atrocious weather somehow it all cleared up so Pete and co could get the fire built on the afternoon and then we could enjoy a dry and still evening of samosas, mulled drinks, cake and a great view of the amazing Bishop Roads Fireworks!  With over 300 folks and over £1000 taken it was a lovely event. Thanks as ever to the fab folks of the Bishop Rd PTFA – their event sold out and so we remain a happy but harmless parasite/fringe event.

AND soup season is here at last! Frank got us kicked off with a delicious spicy squash and lentil one.  Every week at our Wednesday volunteer day we harvest veg and soup it up into a lovely big pot of hearty warming soup to keep us all going with our winter work.  We don’t close in winter except for Christmas and New Year and we’ll be busy tidying, weeding, painting, harvesting and more and we welcome new volunteers – but it does get dark and cold so we do close at one hour early 3pm not 4pm for December and January.

And finally we’re starting a new Monday after school club!  The waiting lists for our current clubs have become ridiculously long like some uber trendy New York prep school. Wit the new club we’re hoping to make the wait shorter and have more happy children hooning round the garden in the dark, climbing trees, making dens, light fires, using tools, baking in the frog and toasting round the fire.  I’m opening it up to the waiting list first but let me know if you’d like to go on the list!

See you in the garden!
Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394  ghcgarden@gmail.com

Please note I work part time usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, but only do admin on Mondays and Thursdays 

We’ve got a Facebook page with lots of pics and info on so come and be our FRIEND AND we’re on Twitter @ghcgarden (though we’re a little more quiet there)

Bonfire night!

November 4, 2019

Hi folks!

It’s our bonfire night on Saturday 9th December!  6-7:30

All welcome! Entry by donation!

We don’t put it on Facebook until the Bishop Rd Fireworks display tickets aren’t available.  The organisers know that we run our ‘fringe’ event next door and don’t mind as we make sure none of their fireworks set fire to any of the allotment sheds.

 

We’ll have a fire, hot drinks, cakes and delicious samosas!  Wrap up warm, bring a torch and a resuable cup would be great!  Please don’t bring sparklers.  We normally fill up by 6:30!

Cake donations are VERY welcome.

See you there!

Lucy

07506 905 394

October 21, 2019

Hi everyone!

Well autumn has very definitely arrived in our windswept, soggy and slightly flooded garden!  But we’re still enjoying the last hurrah of summer with all the colour from our polytunnels as we’re still picking tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, tomatillos, cape gooseberries and our weird but wonderful achocha. Achocha is from South America and in the cucumber family which you can eat raw or cook like a courgette and tastes a bit like a green pepper.  In previous years we’ve grown ‘fat baby’ which looked like little hedgehog but was bitter when bigger. This year we’ve growing ‘Bolivian Giant’ which looks like elf shoes and last week we made the happy discovery that these stop being bitter when big – so there lot’s of good eating on them and we’re letting them take over the polytunnel like a jungle as our cucumbers and melons finish and die off for the season.

 

THANK YOU to everyone who came along to the fair!  Despite a morning of AWFUL weather, after a week of rain and an iffy forecast somehow the weather gods smiled upon our event and it was dry between 1-4 so we could enjoy apple bobbing, apple pressing, rat batting, pizza munching, drumming, veg monster sculpting, willow weaving, wood carving and MORE.  One child fell in the pond but was hoiked out still mostly smiling and one gazebo nearly blew away so thank you to the members of the public who held it down til we could dismantle it.  The punk badger – Badgertrap – was back with a vengence and rocked out on the Tower of Power stage, entertaining and confusing in equal measure as always     It was a lovely day and a special heart felt thank you to our fabulous volunteers who go above and beyond to make these days extra special.

  

Our next event will be our bonfire  6-7:30pm Saturday 9th November, where we’ll have a fab view of Bishop Rd Fireworks. As ever we don’t advertise this slightly cheeky fringe event but you are all very welcome! They will be samosas and cakes and hot drinks and a FIRE!

And I’ll leave you with some pictures of our after school clubs that help fund the garden. These run on Tuesday and Thursday and as we are a small club with loyal bunch of long time attendees we’ve ended up with a waiting list a bit like an exclusive New York prep school.  It’s been a great opportunity to get to spend so long (our longest serving members have been here since we started in 2016!) with such a great bunch of kids that make us laugh and every week impress us with their creativity, ingenuity, kindness and teamwork.  We’re currently making the most of the last of our light sessions as after half term we’ll be here as its gets dark. Though this hardly lot are seemingly undeterred by the cold and the dark.  So here’s to our fab Golden Clubbers! here shown reviving the art of conker playing and using a mallet to make a mallets.

 

See you in the garden!
Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394

ghcgarden@gmail.com

Please note I work part time usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and some Thursdays. 

We’ve got a Facebook page if you’re into that AND we’re on Twitter @ghcgarden

 

 

 

 

Summer! Melons! Potatoes with faces and More!

August 22, 2019

Hi everyone!
After a turbulent summer of hot heat and wet wet rain the garden is looking ABSOLUTELY great and the harvest has gone WILD! A dedicated team of weekend waterers have ensured the polytunnels are full of tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, cucumbers as well as laden with our best grape harvest. And it looks like our best year for melons since our fluky first attempt 2013 (which led me to think they were ‘easy’) so now we can start the tasty speculation of ‘Is the melon ready?’.  With a solemn series of taps and sniffs and probes we attempt to determine the right time for one of the precious beauties to be picked, sliced and shared so all the Wednesday volunteers can enjoy a magic melon moment of maximum sweetness.  We’ve also been enjoying that we’ve grown lots of potatoes that look like little people wearing balaclavas.

We’ve also had a BRILLIANT summer of kids activities at the holiday club. Jam packed with woodwork, silliness, singing, tree climbing, ridiculous costumes, elaborate cakes, new friendships, hobbits, elves and giant spiders.  We love running these days and are really happy to see children coming back again and again even as they get older and still haven’t decided that are too cool for all our happy, wholesome nonsense.

And the SEN family adenture days have been great and one parent was kind enough to say this – “What a wonderful day! Thank you so so much – we loved every minute! It was all so thoughtfully planned and prepared with so many exciting things to try in such a beautiful environment.  On the way home Poppy said:  “I learned a lot today! That nature can tell you something: it helped me feel happy and calm! I liked picking vegetables for lunch and then eating them together. Alice was so kind and made potions with me – I’d like her to be my friend forever! The hammock was cool and the den and the Wendy house. It’s quite a magical place with lots to explore. Everyone was kind and helped me.” Thank you Lucy and your wonderful team – what an amazing place you have created!” We are VERY proud of these days and we have our last one next week with lots of fun planned and still a few places left if you know anyone who might like to come let them know and you can book HERE

Have you followed the saga of the plucky sunflowers that self seed and thrive each year in the hardstanding path in the area of heavy foot fall by our shelter? Well I have news….Back in the spring they germinated again and we felt much joy!…then someone pulled them out in a weeding accident and we were gutted, honestly, truly, sincerely upset! BUT undaunted we had some saved seed that we’d already planted so transplanted them into a pot with a hope to start the cycle again. They just started flowering! Will they drop their seed on the hard ground and grow from gravel again? Time will tell. All I know is sometimes miracles need a little help

And
IT’S The HARVEST FAIR on the 28th September!  1-4!
AND we’ve got space on our 11:30 Golden Buds toddler group so come and get involved in digging, munching, singing, stories, crafts and MORE – free tasters sessions 5th Sept!

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394
ghcgarden@gmail.com

 

Please note I work part time usually on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday, but only do admin on Mondays and Thursdays 

We’ve got a Facebook page with lots of pics and info on so come and be our FRIEND AND we’re on Twitter @ghcgarden (though we’re a little more quiet there)

NEXT OPEN DAY SATURDAY 22ND JUNE 12-3. COME EAT PIZZA :)

June 10, 2019

Hi everyone!

Ahhhhh June!  The garden looks more lush everyday and the volunteers have been working their socks off to get everything in the ground and get the tunnels planted up.  And now we’re got sweetcorn, aubergines, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, swedes, cabbage, courgettes, squash, tomatillos, melons, achocha, celeriac, peas, mange tout, strawberries and more merrily growing away.  It’s our eighth growing season and with our new sign, cleared new areas and the riot of colour from our flower beds I honestly think the garden is looking the best it ever has.  The willow ood is going great guns and trees in the edible forest are maturing,  this year it looks like we might have out first mulberries- yum!

Would you like to come and see it in person??? You can!  We’ll be open again as part of the city wide Get Growing Trail and the Bristol Food Connections Festival on

Saturday 22nd June   12-3pm

when can munch a pizza, do some pond dipping, play in the digging bed and enjoy the garden. More info about the whole month is here https://www.bristolfoodnetwork.org/get-growing-garden-trail-2019/ and here https://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/ and we’d love to see you!

And we had a BRILLIANT time with our half term activities holiday club and adventure day for children with SEN and there siblings. There were rafts and perfumes and hammering and pizzas and swords and rhubarb crumble and more!  Booking is now open for the middle earth themed siummer Tuesday holiday club HERE ( we’re still fixing the dates for the SEN days that should be sorted soon)

Thank you everyone who came to the fair, it was our biggest yet! We counted nearly 900 people through the gate though the folks with the clicker send they could click fast enough so it was probably more!  The pizza king sold all his pizzas, the plants flew off the the tables, the cake stand was left with only crumbs and we were very chuffed to take nearly £3000.  Stick friends were made, newts were found, crowns were worn and the garden was full of smiling people and gorgeous music. Bliss. ..

 

And I’ll leave you with a picture of….. a leech! Like a hungry baggy shape-shifting constant wriggling angry sock the length of my finger. Found by 8 year old Remy and like nothing else we’ve ever seen in the pond before. I’m almost completely sure it couldn’t get through human skin but it definitely looked like it would try!

See you in the garden!

Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394
ghcgarden@gmail.com

The Fair! the sign! the veg! and half term stuff!

May 3, 2019

Hi everyone!

Just 8 days until…. THE FAIR!  Saturday 11th Mat 1pm- 4pm. They’ll be lots of wonderful plants for sale, drumming, the Gert Lush Choir (!), the wonderful What the Folk? and pizzas, crafts for children AND grown ups, cake and indoor sensory space and MORE!  And even you you can’t make it please tell your friends!

We’ve been very busy planting, pricking out and potting on so have a wide range of lovely plants ready for sale and the volunteers have worked really hard making the site look GREAT.  The blueberries are blossoming their socks off, and even as we finish off our winter harvest the first spring veg are ready – that’s right!  It’s the magical time when you can take a leek AND have a pea in the garden

  

AND…….. some big news ………….  we’ve FINALLY put up a new sign and it is GORGEOUS!  and only 4 years or so since the last one blew down.  Hats off to Diane for drawing it out, George for the posts and chisel tutors and all the folks in the carving crew who did a letter each.

And coming up at the end of the month we’ll be back in the garden for childrens’ activities over half term.  We’ll be setting sail on the Good Ship Golden Hill for faraway shore, losing limbs and trying not to get eaten by sharks on Tuesday 28th May – 10am -4pm aimed at 5-12 year olds booking HERE  . And on the 30th May we’ll be back with our family adventure for any families with a child/ren with SEN and their siblings which will be a usual mix of building, cooking, harvesting, munching, crafting, singing and sensory play.  Sounds great?? Of course and here’s a picture of a recently made egg catapult to convince you!  There’s more info on both the children’s pages  and book HERE.

See you in the garden!

Lucy

Lucy Mitchell
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394
ghcgarden@gmail.com