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?

Thursday 27 February 2014

Green Art with Green Bottles and Other Stories

Another very productive day today, despite a hail shower with blobs as big as chick-peas (yes - bigger than normal peas!). The main aim of the day was to do more work on our mosaic apple sculpture, which has been sitting sadly waiting for some attention for quite a few months now. It has survived gales and torrential rain, so it only seems fair to help it live the dream and turn into the apple it's intended to be.

Our regulars were joined by some of the lovely folk from Gateway to Nature, who very quickly got the hang of the controlled breaking of bottles, to make their own bits of glass to create the mosaic. The aim is to crack the base out of the bottle and then remove the curved top, so you are left with the largest possible tube of glass. This is done by scoring a circle around the bottom edge of the bottle with a diamond wheel cutter, then holding it over a lit candle. If the bottle is fairly cold to begin with, the heat from the candle flame is enough to cause the hot part of the bottle to expand a little, which then causes the bottle to crack along the score-line because of the stress, so the bottom should just neatly pop off. After that, you need to score another ring around the top of the bottle, just below where it curves in for the neck. The cutter has a weighted ball on the end of the handle that you can use to tap the glass from the inside which causes the score-line to crack and the neck should then come off in one piece. After that, it's simply a case of scoring lines down the length of the remaining tube of glass, and tapping inside until it breaks in 2 halves. The glass can then be scored again to make squares, curves or other shapes. We'll try to find a "how to" that uses our method, or make one ourselves to add to the post. Just a note if you are thinking of trying this for yourself - you need to wear gloves to help keep any glass shards out of your fingers, and whenever you are cutting glass, you need to wear safety glasses in case any chips fly off the surface.

Cutting glass mosaic pieces.

The aim of the exercise is to turn waste bottles into art - as the glass makes good material for mosaics, though you need to stick it on with white tile adhesive, so that the colour shows up well when it's finished. If you use grey or brown, the final colour will look muddy

Guy adds some green to the apple

Most people had a go at adding the green glass, and some added some extra decorations, so our apple now has a new butterfly and a ladybird, as well as some other interesting flowers and beasties.

Lizzy and Guy hard at work on the apple 

Whilst the mosaic team were doing there thing, those who like a bit more physical exercise were getting on as well. Joyce helped new volunteer Chris to plant more lavenders in the sensory garden, and to take cuttings from them. Other Chris, Hassan and Lizzy helped to process more of the wood we have cut for fuel, though they had a go at the arty stuff too.

Hassan working his way through the wood pile

Joyce & Chris about to prune the newly planted lavender

All the while, we were aware that the birds in the area are singing their hearts out. The robins were putting on a really good show, but the hail apparently heralds some colder weather, so we hope that it's not like last year, when lots of breeding birds lost their first broods. Fingers crossed it's just a quick snap and that March will actually bring Spring instead of re-starting Winter after the warm and wet weather we've been having.

The robin, singing beautifully in between the hail showers

Food today was carrot risotto - just rice, vegetable stock and grated carrots boiled together for a few minutes and left to cook in their own heat, with some cheese added at the end - a quick, healthy feast well earned by our hard workers, and much enjoyed. It goes well with a tomato sauce.

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