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 13 March 2014

Windmill - Wildlife Wonderland

What a gorgeous day we got today - a perfect day to help the wildlife that is literally full of the joys of Spring. Joining us, also full of joy, were a happy team from Gateway to Nature - and we're always glad to see them, so joy all round!

The first step was to add a few more trees to the wildlife hedge that we planted in the boundary car park in 2012. The hedge plants were chosen because they have fruits or nuts that will be food in the autumn for birds and animals. The team set to work, firstly to see what trees remained, as there was a "strimming incident" when the neighbouring allotments, who look after the car park, strimmed the hedge. We thought we'd lost a lot of the plants, but it turned out when we marked them, that most of the trees were still there, and still quite healthy. We gave them a weed through, and then planted up thin bits and gaps, and mulched everything with wood-chip to keep the moisture in.

Guy trims back the bramble to make planting
more comfortable!

Jon shows us how to slip plant a tree


The Gateway to Nature Team after a job well done.
Then, in true Windmill style, we rewarded the hard work with soup made from last-year's pumpkins, which had been made earlier and was kept piping hot in the hay-box.

After lunch, we worked to improve our site's wildlife value. We created "critter bottles" - lots of plastic bottles full of straw or cardboard rolls, to provide dry spaces for mini beasts. These went in various places in the orchard, and in the mini beast hotel.

Bottle with a cardboard roll inside - excellent for
various mini beasts, including lacewings

Filled with straw - bottles make a great dry space
for many different creatures.

Stuffing a large bottle with hay and cardboard
to see if this is even more enjoyed

Putting "critter bottles" into the mini beast hotel
We also created a hedgehog house from flower pots and used hay and sticks to camouflage it,

Hedgehog home ready to be installed

Once box is covered with hay and twigs, it's almost invisible
and quite cosy.
Another interesting idea that we borrowed from Summerwood Community Allotment is to use some of the old hose that we have to create potential homes for solitary bees, which like holes to nest in. We've also installed a new fancy bee box, to go with the bamboo-bundles that we already have, so we'll check them later in the year to see which have been most successful, or if the bees just use the compost bin like last year! We also put in a few other bee-boxes, aimed at bumble bees, so we'll see if they work too.

Bumble-bee nest option 1 - clay pot version

Version 2, plastic bottle version bee home

Old hose pipe can also make a good home for solitary bees.
In other news, we were pleased to see that the robin was taking notice of the teapot that we put into the rosebush as a possible nesting site. It looks as if there might be a pair using it, so we'll see if that turns out to be the case. We've included quite a few nesting sites for birds that like shelves and open-fronted boxes, so hopefully they and the blackbirds will be happy.

Thanks again to Gateway to Nature. We really enjoy their monthly visits, and it certainly means we get a lot done!


  1. The blogs looking great! I love all the recycled creature homes - what a great team we have at Windmill Community Garden! Lovely photo's and write up.

  2. You have some great ideas, inspiration to us all :-)