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 12 December 2015

Magical Mosaics, Raging Rain!

We were thrilled that so many folk braved the deluge to come to Windmill Community Gardens and make gorgeous mosaic robins with the help of the wonderful and talented Anna Dixon. It was wonderful to see the care and attention that everyone gave to the task, and the lovely mosaic robins that they managed to create - each one to the same pattern but with its own distinctive character.

It was really chilly before folk arrived, but we proved that tea lights under clay pots will warm a polytunnel quickly, and that Tracey's pumpkin pancakes with caramel are just the thing to eat on a damp chilly day. Everyone who wanted, was supplied with hot drinks and / or hand-warmers as well, and those, together with 16 people in the polytunnel meant that we were warm and dry despite Noah's flood being re-enacted outside.

Thanks to those of you who have already posted photos of your finished robins on Facebook. We look forward to seeing more of them soon and displaying them here.

We wish you a good festive season. We'll be back at Windmill Gardens on the first Monday in January. so hope to see you then, or at our celebration of Old Twelfth Night and the Lohri festival on Sunday 17th January from 2pm, when we'll be wassailing our fruit trees and celebrating the Punjabi festival of Lohri.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Potions and Lotions Herbal Workshop

Just back from a really great workshop at Windmill with the wonderful Katherine Bellchambers - local Medical Herbalist who visited us in the Summer and was so popular, we asked her back!

Last time, she showed us all the plants with herbal possibilities that were growing on the plot, but this time, she helped us to make a variety of potions and lotions.

The polytunnel now smells amazing, and lots of happy people have now left clutching the various great balms, rubs and teas they made up. We've also had some great social media feedback - the wonders of technology!

We already have ideas for more herbal work, so watch out for updates!

Thursday 26 November 2015

Tidying Up at Windy Windmill

November has been a month of strong winds, but it hasn't held us back, and we're well on track to get the place sorted in time for the worst of Winter.

We had a nice group today, with some old friends returning, so welcome back to Emma and Ray, and some new faces back for their second visit with a view to becoming part of the team - so welcome to Matt (and Anna) and to Shanaz.

First job of the day was to give the hugelkultur bed and the strawberry bed a good tidy up. We've been a bit lax, so the brambles have tried to take over. They are like someone at a bar reaching over everyone to get their drink, but in this case, the tip of the "arm" can root when it touches the soil, so brambles can "walk" around a plot making lots of new plants. We have used this tendency to our benefit, making our cultivated blackberry hybrids do something similar by pegging down the stems into the ground where they root. We've also done it with soft fruit bushes when they have drooping lower branches - a technique called layering. If anyone would like a berry bush or raspberry canes, let us know!

Hassan plants strawberries around the hill bed
Ray weeds out the last of the flowers, which were in full
bloom before the frost last week.

Lunch was well earned with a nice pumpkin soup that went down a treat, followed by a cake brought in by Emma - a great way to get in our good books from the start!

The happy band of pumpkin soup enthusiasts.
Afternoon jobs involved some bed clearing now that our flowers have finally succumbed to frost (thanks Shanaz!), and also cleaning the polytunnel roof, which was tackled by Matt with great care (and a squeegee mop!)

Matt - king of the squeegee mop

Shanaz weilds her rake with skill.
With any luck, things will be looking amazing for our Herbal workshop on Sunday 6th December, but we've got our fingers crossed as apparently the weekend will bring some thoroughly Scottish weather with gales and blustery showers. Doesn't help that we've agreed to do a stall on the windiest day - we'll have to tie Mark to the gazebo!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Up-Coming Workshops for December

We hope you can join us for one or other or even both of our festive workshops.

Saturday 31 October 2015

Pumpkin Perfection!

Wow - what a day! Windmill Community Gardens was packed with happy folk today, carving pumpkins, tasting lovely grub made from it, playing pumpkin games, getting superb face-painting designs done by the lovely Claire Swain, listening to singing by the campfire from the talented Richard Jenkins, toasting marshmallows, exploring the spooky woods, pressing apples and just generally having a great time. And it looked amazing, with hordes of stunning pumpkins, especially when they were all lit up as the sun went down.

Lighting the lanterns in the twilight

Thanks to everyone who helped make it such a special day - especially Kathy, Rachel, Robbie, Di, Derek, Hassan, Jeremy, Ash, Rowan, Mark and co, Chrystel, Jo and Merion. Thanks also to all those who carved show stopper pumpkins for us, and to all the carvers trying something new who did such a good job.

Here are a few of the best photos from the day, to give you a flavour, in case you didn't make it down here. Maybe we'll see you next year?

Starting the fun in the morning at the
Advanced Carving Workshop.
Family fun!


Lanterns ready for the best decorated competition

Our junior winner got her prize on Sunday

Friday 25 September 2015

The Pumpkins are Coming!

You may already know that we love pumpkins at Windmill! Coming up we have our Annual Pumpkin Celebration, this year actually on 31st October. If you can make it, we'd love to see you! If you'd like to come to one of the workshops we are running to carve the amazing pumpkins for the event, please let us know. There will be carving on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so come along and we'll show you how we do it, and let you use some of our amazing tools.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Summer Garden Party 2015

It's going to be a great day. A chance to taste foods from all over the world, to make ice-cream by pedalling a bike, to eat pizza fresh from the clay oven, to play games, to try some crafts, to see what our artists Crissy Perez and Sally Tyler have installed in their "Garden of Delights" and to enjoy the wonderful place that is Windmill Community Gardens!

Thursday 12 February 2015

Doing a Bit of Titivating

Some years, we'd be getting all kinds of seeds planted and things would be growing already, but not this year. We've been having a proper "don't forget your thermals" Winter, with a prolonged cold snap that has left us all appreciating the small fire we light when it gets really chilly. The cold has also given us a bit of extra time to do some general sprucing up of the site, so today we gave the pot area a makeover.

Vanessa and Rachel tackle one of the blueberries.
 We are pretty sure that one of our major problems in the pot area is due to squirrels or other wildlife eating our damsons and either discarding or caching the stones in the blueberry pots. This means we have a lovely array of little damson trees (and a few really large ones) growing out of our large planters. The blueberries that are supposed to be the main feature, have been having to compete with these vigorous growers. Last week the pots were too frozen to do anything, but today we bit the bullet and managed to restore the blueberries to their rightful places.

Ellie and Vanessa separating the damsons from the
blueberry roots

 We also discovered that some of the pots had turned into couch-grass farms! It took a lot of fiddling to remove the spaghetti of roots, but we finally managed it!

Just a little of our couch-root collection.

Whilst we were playing with the weeds, Brian was getting on with the preparations for the bottle screen. Ellie helped to do the last bits of painting, and it's now ready for putting the bottles on, weather permitting.
Brian sets up the last few planks for the bottle screen

It's normally hard to feel blue at Windmill!

In the orchard, Mac and Hassan did a grand job cutting back some over-grown hedging and using it to plug the last gaps in our defences.

Mac and Hassan give the orchard a haircut 

Lunch was a bean chilli with lots of our own produce, which went down a treat. Hopefully next week we can get the bottle screen finished and start actually planting some stuff. Fingers crossed for a bit of warmth!

Friday 6 February 2015

Lovely Light Nights

Light Nights? At this time of year? In cash you didn't notice it happening, it's an initiative of the City Council to get us out into town in February. The idea is to have lots of beautiful and interestingly lit art and design. The Council also had a competition for community groups to create light installations from reused and recycled materials, which is very us, so we joined in, using and adding to the wonderful punched tin lanterns that we've been gradually accumulating. We also used the soda can lanterns we made for Old Twelfth Night and volunteer Joyce made some fabulous lanterns with old glass jars and recycled-wool used to knit covers for them.

Some of our fabulous lanterns

Some of Joyce's beautiful jars and the soda-can lanterns in action

We were given a brilliant location - outside St. Peter's Church (near M&S in town), there is a raised area with some mature trees, which has a raised stone edge. The edge was the perfect size for us to be able to put a lantern on each stone block. The we tied string between the trees so we could hang up lanterns and arranged Joyce's creations, with their flower and insect themes, on the ground in the gap.

Our stunning location really made the lanterns look wonderful

A team of volunteers helped Tracey to light the lanterns with tea lights, and then keep them lit until the event finished at 10am. Once they were all lit, we were able to relax and enjoy the reactions of the public, fortified with a chocolate and ginger cake that Tracey whipped out from somewhere!

It was wonderful to see how much passers-by enjoyed the lanterns. Lots of them made a point of looking at each individual design, and we were a huge hit with photographers, who were out in droves.

Some of the lanterns in action

At the time of writing, it doesn't look like we won, but we had such a good time watching other folks enjoying all the hard work of volunteers and visitors who made our beautiful lanterns, that we almost forgot there was a competition. We'll certainly have raised our profile!

Did someone say there was a cake?!

Many, many thanks to  - Rowan, Joyce, Matt, Karen, Anna, Jeremy, Claire, Hassan (and son!) and all the folk we knew who made a point of visiting to wish us well.