Welcome to Golden Hill Community Garden

 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.

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!

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
 
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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