FUN in the garden

 We made these from pallet wood for Funpalace 2017, and then used them at the Share Fair on Saturday. Rather than propping them up against a tree again until the next event we thought we’d attach them to the club hut. A reminder that the garden is a place of FUN, or at least if you are in the mood… multi-coloured paint (as tester pots) from Cambridge Community Scrapstore.

We made these from pallet wood for Funpalace 2017, and then used them at the Share Fair on Saturday. Rather than propping them up against a tree again until the next event we thought we’d attach them to the club hut. A reminder that the garden is a place of FUN, or at least if you are in the mood… multi-coloured paint (as tester pots) from Cambridge Community Scrapstore.

New hose for watering

 A happy plant kept alive with careful use of mains water when our water butts dried up for several weeks.

A happy plant kept alive with careful use of mains water when our water butts dried up for several weeks.

Recently, we were delighted to be donated a new, 50m long, and beautiful, Gardena hose and all the connecting and spraying bits. This was funded by Flymo and McCulloch, who are sister companies of Gardena.  

This started, after an e-mail to us, and when we were really suffering from the Summer drought. At the time, we were having to connect two shorter second-hand hoses to reach most of the garden and our 'vintage' hose end was leaking too so the volunteers were getting almost as damp as the flower beds.

Of course, since, we received the hose, we have had a surprising amount of rain - so my plans to publish a photo of it in use have been a bit thwarted. I will add a photo when it stops raining, hopefully, not next Summer.

But I did promise Michael we would write a  blog post thanking them. He requested we use this text:

"Flymo has been established since 1964 and is still situated in its original factory in County Durham. Since inventing the original hover lawnmower, Flymo have continued to be at the forefront of innovations within the garden care industry, making them one of the most trusted gardening brands today. "

In his original e-mail he said: "a big part of the brand’s philosophy is to promote gardening for all and the positive impact of being outdoors", which sounded pretty good to me.

Thank you Michael and Flymo - we will really enjoy using the new hose and it will make a massive difference to the garden when our water butts next run dry.

In early September 2018, I completed an online survey about insurance for Social Gardens and Farms and there was a competition with prizes from Flymo and McCulloch - and I have just found out we won… always nice to win a mystery prize…

 

Rainfall in Cambridge

 Another night when we didn't get a thunderstorm. I don't think there will be any Spring rain in the bowling green area, it is extremely free draining because of the hardcore and clinker under the thin and very sandy top soil. I hear, traditionally, it starts to rain when the state schools break up (this Tuesday).

Another night when we didn't get a thunderstorm. I don't think there will be any Spring rain in the bowling green area, it is extremely free draining because of the hardcore and clinker under the thin and very sandy top soil. I hear, traditionally, it starts to rain when the state schools break up (this Tuesday).

15 August 2018: we finally got some rain - and then some more. It is very exciting having full water butts again. We forgot how wet rain can be and three of us got VERY wet on Monday's garden session... weeding in drizzle is OK but not in thunder.

New constituted group: Nightingale Gardeners

In May, we started a new group to 'enable community gardening' in the garden. Membership is open to anyone who is reasonably regular as a volunteer gardener or tea drinker at the Sunday or Monday sessions. It is free to join. It aims to be 'light' on admin, not over-burden the volunteers and be easy and enjoyable. All the papers are on this website in the gardening page.

It means we can fundraise and manage our own finances but we will also need to raise the cost of insurance each year. If you'd like to contribute to our running costs, do contact us. Or drop some coins in the tin during our weekly sessions.

Green-roofed veranda area

In June, we were successful in a recent bid for S106 'developer' funding for a green-roofed veranda. On 16 July, we had our first planning meeting with Guy from the Council (who will hold the budget) - aiming to create it in Spring 2019.

Our thoughts so far are to:

  • Make a flat, paved area immediately in front of the club hut. Have it open, and accessible, on at least two sides. Make a sturdy wooden structure above it, with a biodiverse green roof, overlapping the front of the existing club hut roof. This would be seeded predominantly with native (chalk grassland) plants ('wildflowers') with some sedums and maybe bulbs for extra interest.
  • Make a fixed bench, simple moveable table and have some cheap garden chairs. So people can sit and enjoy the garden at any time in the shade.
  • Re-clad the club hut and add a serving hatch, for regular volunteer sessions and events. This would help ventilate the club hut too.
  • Make some small raingardens at the base of some drainage chains at the front.
  • Add some more bug hotel 'infills'.
  • Add some noticeboards and chalkboards.

We still have some homework to do...

The Nightingale Gardeners Group will discuss this on Sunday 22 July at their second meeting (1pm in the garden). Let us know if you have any ideas.

Dome making

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One of our group has donated the funds to buy a Hub dome-making kit, and another couple have donated the broomsticks (from Ebay).

Over the past few weeks, Julian and Justin have spent a lot of time cutting the sticks and leftover plastic wood blocks to size and drilling holes in the ends for the connectors.

Last Sunday, we assembled it for the first time with help from some local families. It is quick to assemble - about 20 to 30 mins.

Next step is making a doorway, and also we think we will paint the short and long sticks different colours (or stripes of). Then it will be ready to play with over the summer in the garden and also at the Share Fair on 8 September at Wulfstan Way. We won't leave it up unattended though because it is very tempting to try to climb on and isn't build to withstand that. They can be used in gardens and plots as fruit cages or greenhouses. 

 September update: so we painted stripes on it and decorated it for the Queen Edith’s Share Fair, which we had to do inside a local sports hall because rain was forecast. Thanks to Emma, Sophie and Lucy for the exuberant and joyful decorations, including tiger disguise masks.

September update: so we painted stripes on it and decorated it for the Queen Edith’s Share Fair, which we had to do inside a local sports hall because rain was forecast. Thanks to Emma, Sophie and Lucy for the exuberant and joyful decorations, including tiger disguise masks.

Japanese moss balls with the cubs

Last week, we had two evening sessions with the 28th Cambridge cubs. They completed their gardening badges learning about food growing and seasonaility, some did other badge activities (environment?), we made simple watering devices with plastic milk bottles and learned how to water plants. And we also made these Kokodama (moss balls), with succulent cuttings, John Innes No 2 compost, sphagnum moss and string. We have also made the with garden volunteers since then too. They are big fun.