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?

Wednesday 29 February 2012

The Wonders of Willow Weaving

This weeks session was an epic double session which took place at Hogarth School, near Carlton, Nottingham as opposed to Windmill. The whole two days were especially devoted to the construction of a large tunnel-like structure woven out of willow sticks. The structure was to be situated on the Hogarth School playing field and would give the children a great new feature to play in and an asset for the school because the new growth can be used to make more features or for crafts. The intention for the structure will be for the supporting sticks to sprout while being watered regularly making a glorious leafy green tunnel come the Spring and Summer. At different points over the two days, Tracey was joined by Rosy, Dan, Chris and Helen who all worked like troopers to complete the structure within the allotted time. The GGN works team lead by Nick Rhodes were also on hand on the Wednesday to lend a hand with the more physical aspects of the task including digging the trench out of extremely tough ground and bedding in the upright supporting sticks.

Nick and his team tie the diagonals onto the upright supports
Helen weaves in one of the diagonals to help create the main body - and the starry wellies are back!

Rosy poses nicely with a stick while Chris weaves in the horizontals

Tracey firms in the uprights and diagonals hoping to prevent a disasterous collapse!
Each of us  took turns in each aspect of the weaving process which included threading in the interlocking horizontal supports along the length of the structure, constructing the body of the structure by weaving the diagonal sticks into a net-like form and cutting the sticks to prepare them for use.  It turned out to be a very long and exhausting task but it was well worth it in the end - the final product looked fantastic and we had some great feedback from the teachers and children. We look forward to making further visits to the school to see how the growth process of the structure is progressing!

Work in progress - Helen with the intact framework

Im the king of the tunnel! Dan in similar pose to Helen with the framework

Almost there bar Tracey's final touches!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

All thawed out and back to reality

After the icy conditions of the previous week, today there was very little sign that the snow had been there at all - what a difference a week makes!

Craig did a brilliant job of covering the session in Tracey's absence and was joined by Ellis, Dan, Chris, Rosy and Philippa to resume the usual duties involving planting, weeding and bed tidying.

The first task involved planting some of the seeds which could be sown as early as February and labelling them according to type. They included many different types of vegetables and fruit in anticipation for a (hopefully) bumper crop come the summer. The other major planting task was to prepare and transplant all the strawberry plants from the runners of the previous year and relocate them to the polytunnel.

The warmer conditions also meant that we could resume any maintenance task around the site including weeding and tidying the beds ready for planting and also watering any plants which needed it.

Finally we began to discuss plans for the Steering Group - this will involve volunteers from the allotment teaming together to help run sessions independently when Tracey is unable to attend and this may include sessions over weekends. Plans for tasks which should take place in future sessions were also discussed.

Thursday 9 February 2012

The Big Freeze 2012

After a week's break from Windmill, Tracey, Helen, Philippa, Rosy, Chris, Hugh, Ellis and Dan all turned out in force in what would be the coldest visit to Windmill so far for many of the newer volunteers.  When we arrived in the morning, we were greeted by a total white out, completely undisturbed snow which has lain there since the heavy falls of the weekend. This was a stark contrast to the middle of the city where there has been a steady thaw of snow over the past few days and was very unexpected indeed! Temperatures would have remained consistently below freezing since the snowfall, partly due to the fact that Windmill is situated away from the city centre and any roads and buildings.

The Windmill Iceberg - snowdrift along the side of the polytunnel
The extreme conditions meant that we could not do many of the tasks involving digging and planting so we devoted the whole session to tree felling, log sawing and pruning - work which would help us to keep warm - in between tea breaks and snowball fights it should be added!

Girl power! Helen and Phillippa sawing logs for the fire pit
Tree felling - Chris demonstrates brilliantly how to take down a tree with the extendable saw
Ellis and Dan cut the felled tree branches down into managable sizes
Tracey poses with the extendable saw

Despite the weather conditions, we could all agree that it had been a good day's work and we had made use of the time and activities available to us. Even the warm up in Collin's Cafe proved valuable as it meant that we could have an informal meeting to discuss and plan out dates when we would be holding our community events.

Arctic conditions - Windmill Gardens