Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Saturday 29 January 2011

Working in the snow on 27th January

Did you realise that it snowed in Nottingham last Thursday? It was extremely cold, but our intrepid band - Ellis, Helen, Matt, Hugh and Wayne still managed to do stirling work. Full marks to Hugh, as he turned up in his good clothes to see how we were doing, and managed to get quite a bit of work in whilst still staying clean and tidy.
Hugh - looking pristine, despite the hard work!

At the moment the site is a bit of a mess because Jake's team is preparing the area for the new, super-duper polytunnel. It will be much bigger than the old one, so it keeps its heat better, and it will have roll-up sides to improve ventilation in the Summer. The amount of rubble and other rubbish in the ground is making it heavy work, but on the plus side, we've got enough bricks out of it to build a barbeque (maybe even a new shed, come to that!). I'd like the guys to dig me a 1m cubed hole to fill with rubble to make a heat-store in the polytunnel. Jake thinks my idea is over-ambitious given the site conditions (not quite how he put it!). We'll see how it pans out after they get the initial dig-over finished. The team have managed to get a lot done - taking down the willows that were shading the beds, (so we can have coppiced willow next year), creating dead-hedges with the smaller branches and stacking the larger wood so we can use it in our clay oven once that's built. They've also dug-over all the new beds to get the roots out - no mean feat as many of the roots were growing through plastic that had been used in a failed attempt at mulching sometime in the past.

 Matt battles with a Himalayan Giant Blackberry...
Helen plants the jasmine

The Thursday group concentrated on doing planting - putting in blackberries (var. Himalaya), goji berries, a tayberry, a jasmine and 2 honeysuckles. These should all grow through the dead-hedges on the site or the fence, to give us a fruiting and scented boundary. After that, we started to sort out the piles of materials that have been stacked by the gate. I'm hoping that we can avoid having a skip as the pile has got quite a bit of usable stuff in it. Ellis did sterling work rooting out all the useful bricks that were hiding there, and Wayne and Matt worked out a great way of sifting weed roots out of some of the dumped soil (we then discovered that Jakes group had had the same brainwave - clearly great minds think alike! ) - see below for what they did... We also covered some of the raised beds, to help heat up the soil for some early planting. It's exciting to think of getting planting in soon. I've ordered a nice warm February. We'll see if it turns up!
Ellis tracking down all the stray bricks on site 

Wayne and Matt work out that a bread-basket is a perfect garden sieve!

What we did on Thursday 20th January

Apparently the Victorians loved a "stumpery" - a collection of artfully arranged tree stumps and logs which could be home to lichen, mosses, ferns and fungi, adding a bit of woodland style to their garden. We've just got one at Windmill, courtesy of Dan and Simon. We had a whole lot of logs that used to be stump-seats, together with a few trunks with their roots still on, so I decided a stumpery would be just the thing to liven up the wild corner of the garden. Dan and Simon got to work and soon had the stumps and trunks in a few neat rows. We looked at it. I said, "It's not really supposed to be that neat." There followed a short discussion on the merits of the layout which ended with my comment, "You'd almost get a better effect if you just threw the stumps into the corner." Dan waded in and dismantled the whole lot. I thought I'd really annoyed him at this point, and he's massive, so that wouldn't have been too clever, but no, he was just lining himself up to take me at my word. One by one the big stumps and logs were lobbed into the corner. Sometimes the effect wasn't quite right, so he retrieved a few and threw them again. A bit of soil and some smaller logs to knit it all together, and we have a really elegant stumpery. All it needs now are a few ferns to set it off.

We got a lot more done too, moving a big pile of brash into the wild area to create a deluxe nesting area with plenty of fox-proof pockets, and making a start on moving the soil pile beneath it. I worked with Ellis to sort out a pile of broken tiles to make mosaic slabs when the weather warms up.

Monday 24 January 2011

All About Windmill Gardens and the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project

Windmill Gardens is literally a secret garden. We're hidden away behind Bobber's Mill in the heart of Nottingham, nestling behind the Speedo Factory, next to the railway line. The Gardens have been around for a while, but fell into disuse until last year when a very enthusiastic volunteer took them under his wing in 2010(thanks Ron!). This year, 2011, we have managed to get funding to help completely revamp the area as part of the "Climate Friendly Gardeners" project, and now all the main re-landscaping has been done, we can start using it. We're aiming to run the site in a really environmentally friendly way, and we want to use the site to help people succeed in growing fruit and vegetables in a changing climate.

We will be doing all kinds of activities on the site. As well as gardening, there will be plenty of woodwork, craft activities and of course, cooking what we grow - we'll be creating a clay oven to help us do that!

If you are interested in finding out more, we'd love to have you along. At the moment our main volunteer days are Wednesday and Thursday. Call 0115 9788212 and ask for Claire or Tracey to find out more.