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:
Having a 'what to see in the garden' noticeboard: we have made a chalkboard on the back of the club hut door and are waiting for a proper one to be delivered;
More planting of native plants, especially chalk grassland and pretty native grasses: we have quite a lot of native plants 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. Update: we are planning a new covered area with paving and small raingardens - hopefully for Spring 2019.
Not using weedkiller: we try not to use 'chemicals' but, after an experiment last year, we decided to spray five of the meadow beds this year with glyphosate because they had become over-run with grass. Two are being converted 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: 14 May 2018).
More fruit bushes etc: would be great... need to make a new bed for them (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 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.
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'.
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 think we have a good kit for gardening now for most 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 - we don’t need much to keep the garden going but would beed more to fund activities in the garden. 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 Nightingale Gardeners Group 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 are short of spare keys, but could ask the Council for some more 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: 6 January 2019