Welcome to our website! We are a community garden in Horfield, Bristol (map here). We are open every Wednesday 10-4 and welcome anyone and everyone to come and get involved, get growing, drink tea and share the harvest. Our site is accessible including our toilet.
If you’d like to come for a look around and maybe get involved please come at either 12 or 2:30 on your first session on ANY Wednesday and after that you can drop in when you like. No need to let us know you are coming – come in by the second gate down the lane behind Horfield the prison wallls.
We also run a toddler group, kids’ playscheme, an afterschool club, community events, rent out raised beds to community groups and more! Have a read of our latest news below.
See you in the garden!
How are you all doing? This is always one of my favourite times of year, I’m always ready to see the back of winter and after the year we’ve had this year the green shoots and leaves of spring feel especially hopeful. The warmer weather and the longer days are lovely and this year I’ve more grateful than ever for the garden and all the folks that make it possible. So if that means you THANK YOU and a special thank you to the parents of our children groups who were able to be hugely patient with us waiting for refunds and have been fantastically generous with their support and really helped keep us going in a year when we lost nearly all our income.
The garden is busy bursting back into life, the birds are singing and the polytunnel is filling up with little seedlings. This is usually there time of year I start shouting about our Spring Fair. We aren’t having one this year of course BUT we are aiming to have a socially distanced plant sale on Saturday 8th May (time to be confirmed but most likely 12-3). We’ll have a lovely range of vegetable and flower seedlings as well as herbs and lots of tough slug proof perennial flowers. So if you haven’t got space at home or a sunny windowsill to get seeds going then don’t worry we’ve got you covered. And if you haven’t got any growing space a plant is a lovely thing to give to a pal to have in a pot
All our kids’ things were cancelled over the winter lockdown but we’ll start back out toddler group tomorrow! Our afterschool clubs opened when the school went back and it was GREAT to have the kids back. We’ve had some really beautiful golden evenings full of hooning around screaming, laughing, finding newts, falling in the stream, baking cake, building a tree house, light fires and just having all the space and freedom and nooks and crannies of the garden for general good times. I think I’ve enjoyed it as much as the kids. And thank you to the lovely plotholders of the Horfield and District Allotments Association who’ve tolerate us shattering the peace three times a week, especially our extremely wonderful and tolerant nearby neighbours! And if you’ve got any overgrown kids tools, toys or dinosaurs with some life left in them that you could donate for the toddler then please get in touch!
We aren’t yet back to running like we did before. Our Wednesday volunteer days have been a couple of small groups of volunteers coming in and doing a fab job of getting all the essential work done.. Last week a volunteer told me “It’s really kept me going and even when I feel awful I’m always glad I came” . And when will be able to open ‘properly’ again? I’m not sure. We’ll take it slowly like we’ve done all year. But if you’d like to volunteer please let me know your email address we’ll have new volunteers starting one or two at a time. This way we can keep an eye on our numbers and make sure it’s not too overwhelming and everyone still feels safe.
It’s been really hard operating behind locked gates and turning away people who’ve been off work/struggling/bored/lonely and lots of people who might have really benefitted from some garden time. And if you are reading this and suffering the effects of long covid then please know we’ve always welcomed people with varying health and energy levels. You don’t have to be fit and well or to be able to lug around a wheelbarrow to come here. If you think you would like to get involved but would only be able to only come for short while and do a short and gentle sitting down job and then have a cup of tea then that’s fine! You wouldn’t have to commit to coming every week or staying all day and you could just come along when your health/energy levels and schedule allow it. If you’re not sure just get in touch and I can tell you more about what we do.
See you in the garden, hopefully sometime soon!
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394
We are still closed due to the pandemic. Currently our toddler group and afterschool clubs are not running. Within the guidelines we are able to carry on running our volunteer Wednesdays to support small groups of existing volunteers and to keep the garden ticking over but we can’t take any new volunteers at the moment. If you’d like to get involved please get in touch and let me know your email address or phone number so I can let you know when we are able to open up more.
All the best
07506 905 394
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)!
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394 firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
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!)
Community Project Worker
07506 905 394
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST! CLICK HERE