We are starting to gather 'wishes' and ideas from our regular gardeners and tea drinkers and researching how to achieve them. Here are a few to start us off, in no particular order:
- New storage shed so we can make the club hut more homely: we have a plan, which is with Streets and Open Spaces (update: 9 March 2018);
- Making a 'what to see in the garden' noticeboard: in the short-term, we think we can use the back of the club hut door for this, paint it with blackboard paint (update: 9 March 2018);
- More planting of native plants, especially chalk grassland and pretty native grasses: we have quite a lot of native pants in the garden but can look at how to encourage more (update: 9 March 2018);
- Attractive paved area with raised beds next to them: this would make a lot of difference to our around-the-table socialising. So much mud. We have had a couple of attempts at fundraising for this without success so far. Need to b a bit careful the raised beds don't get in the way of paths across the area by wheelchair users - could work well in front of the club hut, in conjunction with a covered area but we don't have resources or funding for that (yet) (update: 9 March 2018).
- Not using weedkiller: we try not to use 'chemicals' but, after an experiment last year, we have decided to spray five of the meadow beds this year with glyphosate because they have become over-run with grass - we will convert two more to perennial meadow beds so, hopefully, we won't need to do those next year. We might spray the edges of the tarmac paths too - they are full of bindweed and it is tricky to get it out manually (update: 9 March 2018).
- More fruit bushes etc: would be great... have a potential space (update: 9 March 2018);
We are trying to use second-hand and donated materials as much as possible. The City Council have been able to provide some funds and materials but we also need, and want, to do our own fundraising and sourcing.
If we are offered things we can't use in the garden, we can often find good homes for them in other community projects - for example at Rock Road Library or in a school project nearby.
Here we will list things we'd really like and you might have 'spare':
- Chalks: children have really enjoyed writing and drawing on our tarmac paths. It is fun to see the path decorated and it washes off with rainwater.
- Exterior paint: suitable for metal or wood. We can let you know what colours and quantities. Black 'exterior blackboard paint' for signs (we really like Bedec multi-surface paint but Wilko seem to do one suitable for outdoor use.
- Exterior plywood - we are always short of this and can store off-cuts until we need them. We can use it for signs, repairs to the club hut and also habitats.
- Gardening gloves - it is really useful to have a generous set in different sizes for people who don't bring their own along.
- Plants: some won't do well in the garden soil and some we aren't ready for. Contact us before you buy or bring them along. List of potentially harmful plants.
- Refreshments for garden groups - we offer 'Gardeners tea at 3' for people volunteering but also visiting the garden on Sundays and Mondays. It doesn't cost a lot each week (a bit of milk, tea, coffee, biscuits but we also like to have some fresh fruit for those trying to resist the 'bad stuff'). And we especially like to enjoy home-made ones (or grown fruit). Some people bring things along and some drop some coins in our 'kitty tin'.
- Scaffolding planks: for simple low raised beds. Corner pieces too. We can store these before use and cut them on site.
- Featherboard: this can be second hand from old fencing. We need some to make a woodstore.
In the future:
- Green roof materials: but we need a plan first.
Skills and time
This is a list of some of the skills and time we will need to get this project to work in the long-term. In the meantime, a few of us are rushing around between other commitments, trying our best. If you don't have these skills or time, we would still love you to join our team - having people 'around' to chat to park users and enjoy the space is also really useful - and delightful:
- Accessibility and inclusivity - it would be really useful to have someone take responsibility for ensuring that what we do, within our resources, is accessible and inclusive. And help us apply for funding to make what we can't afford yet. We have been given £100 by the South Area Committee to spend on tools that enable more people to take part in gardening. We spent a little of this on kneeling pads for dodgy knees and ankles and a good wheelbarrow because they are better for the back than using tubs. With some other donations, we think we have a good kit for gardening now for all abilities.
- Archiving: we would love someone to take responsibility for sorting and archiving the bowls club items left in the shed, and soon, in the old pavilion. This could include working with others to do some oral and local history and sharing it, including online. Queen Edith's Community Forum have a new local history project and are working with the Museum of Cambridge - and especially their Capturing Cambridge online resource.
- Ecology: we would love someone/people to take long-term responsibility for organising wildlife activities, help with habitat design and planting. And finding people to do it.
- Fundraising: we would love someone to take responsibility for fundraising. This could involve applying for grants, approaching local businesses, organising fundraising events. This needs to be done in a co-ordinated way and needs promotional materials developing, which could include managing this website and social media. We have a really nice video now (see resources page).
- Garden co-ordinator: we need at least one other person, to share responsibility for co-ordinating all the gardening that goes on in the garden, making sure it is safe and effective. So one person doesn't hoe out all the seedlings planted by another. In the meantime, two volunteers from the Queen Edith's Community Forum are muddling along, acting as garden co-ordinators, and asking everyone they know for advice - under supervision from Streets and Open Spaces.
- Gate rota: we have a wonderful set of people opening and closing the gates everyday. We now have some spare keys, in case someone would like to take responsibility for a day or evening a week (the rest of the group provides cover when people are away).
- Sustainable gardening: we would love someone to take responsibility for advice and sourcing materials for sustainable gardening - including using organic and 'permaculture principles'. Working from the soil (which is very odd in places) upwards. It will require some experimentation, which is often exciting.
- Tools: we have quite a few tools now but are very happy to receive more. We have also been contacted by TAG community garden project in Huntingdon who clean and repair tools to sell to support their project. We would be happy to be a drop-off point for them. If you want to contact them direct, their shop is at Huntingdon Community Centre, Ambury Road Huntingdon; open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm Tel: 01480 377 697.
Do contact us if you can help with any of these.
Things we might not want
We have had a request from some garden neighbours for 'no wind chimes'. I think many people find these infuriating, so maybe we will enjoy the sound of birds and rustling leaves instead.
See the new Cambridge Wild page for links.
Last updated: 9 March 2018