Tree decorating

 Our ‘natural tree’ by Nightingale Gardeners

Our ‘natural tree’ by Nightingale Gardeners

We were invited by St James church (Wulfstan Way) to decorate a tree for their Xmas tree festival on Saturday 8 December. So, we did one for Nightingale Gardeners and one for Little Nightingales. Using some hazel ‘tree outlines’ we made a couple of seasons ago.

Lots of volunteers made or brought along a ‘bauble’ or few, some with messages. We gathered greenery from the garden, laminated pressed flowers from the meadow (thanks Gill) and pressed leaves from our recent group outing to the Botanic Garden. We decorated with raffia and tied on pine cones foraged locally. Added some sweets from the club hut - thanks Owen!

 Our ‘blingy’ tree by Little Nigtingales. Slightly more scissoring than tying on…

Our ‘blingy’ tree by Little Nigtingales. Slightly more scissoring than tying on…


Go wild for worms

 Wally the giant worm, stuffed expertly with part-composted straw and leaves.

Wally the giant worm, stuffed expertly with part-composted straw and leaves.

We had big fun in the sunny garden yesterday. Thanks to everyone who came along, and especially those who cooked, baked, made wormeries, hunted for worms, wrote or found poems. What worm heroes!

 We had two worm cakes, but I only remembered to photograph one. The other had scarily realistic homemade jelly worms on it.

We had two worm cakes, but I only remembered to photograph one. The other had scarily realistic homemade jelly worms on it.

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.