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?

Sunday 14 January 2018

Wishing you all a good Lohri and Wassail!

Wassail! And a good Lohri to all of you. If you are now thinking - "What on earth do they mean?!" then have a look here and here. What we mean, essentially, is that we got the new year at Windmill off to a great start by celebrating the harvest in the Punjab and celebrating fruit trees and looking forward to their harvest in Nottingham.

Hugh Miller's great photo from last year.

It actually all started with the wonderful Hugh Miller last year, who took such a lovely photo of us wassailing our Victoria plum tree, which helped us to advertise today's event - it got us even more interest than usual, including a mention in a Nottingham Post article and a mini documentary which is being made by a media student for their course! 

And this morning, the very wonderful Prakash who has been a mainstay of this event since its inception, got up at 4am to make us huge vats of gorgeous curry, vegetable rice and the kind of rice pudding that made everyone close their eyes in ecstasy when they tasted it. Then this afternoon, Jo, Kathy, Cicely, Shanaz, Ash, Jeremy, Claire and lots of lovely folk from Nature in Mind prepared fires, warmed the food and set out the kit to make ivy crowns for their hats, tickling sticks, and milk-bottle birds (just for fun). We provided wooden disks for people to write things they wanted to forget from 2017 and then burn them in the fire (or keep if it was a good memory). 

Getting the fire going at the main pidand starting the drumming
And then lots of lovely people turned up and had a great time getting ready for the wassailing, enjoying the food and then helping us with the actual wassail bit. We also had Mark Scoones who brought his wonderful drums for people to sit playing around the fire, and Cicely and Ash had prepared lots of sticks to use to toast marshmallows and toast on, which were very well used.

The second fire-pit - and the spring broccoli in blue!
Then came the wassailing. Tracey, Jeremy, Dianne and Derek have been practicing a bit since last year (ok, for the last week!), and actually did well enough to help the assembled folk to learn the Carhampton Apple Wassail. If you click on the link, you'll be able to hear it too, and we were thrilled that quite a few of the crowd had already done this as we'd shared it on Facebook, so we did the Apple tree proud, singing to it, putting toast in the branches, soaking the roots with apple juice, tickling it with the specially made tickling sticks, shouting "Wassail" and making a lot of noise with a huge variety of noise makers, from vuvusalas to ox-horns! Then we went on to wassail the old Victoria plum in the stone-fruit orchard over the bridge, which followed a similar pattern but with a different chant and no singing (it seems a bit rude to sing about apples to a plum tree...). On the way back, some of the attendees noted that the pear tree had been left out, so a few of us gave that a mini wassail.

Wassailing Victoria Plum

Here are the rhymes we used:

Carhampton Apple Wassail Song
Old Apple Tree we wassail thee and hope that thou might bear
For the lord doth know where we shall be come apples another year
For to bloom well and to bear well, so merry let us be.
Let everyone take off their hat and shout out to the old apple tree!

Pear and Plum Tree Wassail
Wassail the trees that they may bear
Many a plum and many a pear
For more or less fruits they will bring
As you do give them wassailing.

As usual, many stayed to enjoy the atmosphere for a while longer, and we realised we'd managed to persuade well over 50 people to spend a couple of happy hours in the fresh air on a dull January day, so hopefully a job well done. We'll see if the trees feel the benefit! 
Thank you to everyone who helped make our first festival of the year so successful.

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