Our volunteers, eager for more learning opportunities after their first course went on to complete and pass Level One OCN “Understanding Sowing and Growing Techniques” course, entitling them to an award.
To celebrate Dan’s birthday, Tim cooked all the volunteers a delicious vegetable soup consisting nearly entirely of crops harvested from Grozone.
Our selfless volunteers are continuing to help with other community projects. Seven Grozone volunteers helped the Dane Valley Community Orchard to win CWAC’s Something Blooming Special award for Best Community Project, and 3 attended the award ceremony at Burleydam Garden Centre, where they were awarded a voucher for more plants to further enhance the orchard. Three of our volunteers are helping to create a garden for Turning Point, for clients and Victoria House residents to enjoy and relax in.
Meanwhile, in Grozone, all the hard work creating and preparing beds finally paid off as the drought resistant mound, nectar garden and fern/stumpery were all planted.
I had a very eerie experience one Saturday - I left Grozone after the session for a meeting in Roker Park, and returned two hours later to find that the pond had been planted up in my absence! I found out later that it wasn’t the fairies - Pete Attwood had been running a pond creation course, and as a finale he and his students had been in and planted all the edging and water plants - what a nice surprise!
Sarah Barnes, from the Rudheath and Witton Together Adventure Group, ran 3 very successful outdoor sessions for young people from a local housing association, promoting positive behaviour and learning about the Great Outdoors.
Yippee!!!! The wild-life pond, built by Pete Attwood and the Conservation Volunteers, has finally been completed, and filled ready for planting. We just need the dipping platform, now.
Emily has planted up the Pizza bed, and very artistically arranged netting over it to keep out the pests, furry and feathered (not much we can do about the slimy ones, which have been having a field day this summer!!!)
Brian Barr Taylor built us a mound for (don’t laugh, after the summer we’ve just (not) had) drought resistant plants
Who needs to go to a gym, when they can be outside, in the fresh air, in congenial company, digging out stumps and barrowing soil to fill our new beds. Emily made several awards to volunteers for their enthusiasm and hard work, helping to fill the calendar bed, sensory garden and drought resistant mound filled ready for planting. Our ace mattocker, Clarence, was roped in to remove unwanted live stumps from where our fern/stumpery is to be created.
Grozone and Green Grange volunteers teamed up with RHS volunteers to plant the Urban Oasis at Tatton RHS show, designed for Groundwork by Chris Beardshaw.
Our hard work finally paid off, as we harvested our first potatoes, onions, garlic & shallots.
Artist Russell Kirk built our pizza bed (complete with slice taken out!) which kept us very busy filling it with soil ready for planting. Meanwhile, Mike and his team fixed the edging for the floral calendar.
The highlight of the month was Dave turning up with a wonderful mosaic which he had created for the nectar garden. Bill and his team immediately set about erecting a frame for it.
Two of our volunteers, deciding they wanted an official qualification started an OCN Level 1 - Developing Skills in Garden Horticulture course.
Several Grozone volunteers are regularly helping to maintain the Dane Valley Community Orchard. Experience gained will be very useful once we get our own orchard, due to be planted this winter
Artist Emily Pitts bought a group from the Bluecoat gardening project in Liverpool to look around and get ideas. We were very glad of the yurt, to shelter from the rain!
Mike and Nathan have been very busy re-constructing the log cabin Sarah has donated to us, which we are hoping to turn into a workshop.
Despite the bad weather over the summer, we are still enjoying the crops we are harvesting.
The highlight of the month was the Big Lunch BBQ to reward the volunteers for all their hard work. We took advantage of Northwich Town Council activities to either side of us (in Roker Park and Chinkers) to invite visitors in to Grozone to see the improvements we have made. A number of visitors passing by took advantage of this, and were suitably impressed.
Grozone volunteers also manned a stall at the Rudheath Funday - children especially enjoyed sowing seeds in elephant planters made from plastic milk cartons!
The first of the improvements funded by WREN and the CWAC councillors was completed in June - the wheelchair accessible path to the den-building area and through the reading circle,
built by KRIV, assisted by our own volunteers, was tested by Michael’s mum on her electric buggy and declared eminently fit for purpose!
We have also started work on the Sensory Garden and Floral Calendar.
The compost toilet is finally roofed! The Conservation Volunteers (formally BTCV) built the roof on the ground and then man-handled it up on top of the structure! This caused some very hairy moments, but big Martin used his height to great advantage, and it was finally secured.
June saw the return of the volunteers from Old Fire Station to plant some interesting vegetables, including purple carrots!
Abby planted out the carnations she’d sown for the church flower arrangers.
We also welcomed a new regular group of volunteers from the Petty Pool Trust.
The new raised bed, built as specified by Dan and Sam’s carers to be wheelchair friendly was planted up by them and declared thoroughly fit for purpose!
It’s nice to know that at least some of our carefully crafted bird boxes are appreciated by our residents!
The work funded by WREN and CW&C councillors Tony Lawrenson and Julia Tickridge has begun. The central circle has been cleared by local landscape contractors WAP Lawton & Son, and the Conservation Volunteers (formerly BTCV) have started building a wildlife pond and clearing the stream. Other projects planned for this year include a totally wheelchair friendly growing bed, sensory and drough resistant beds, bog garden, grotto and cycle/mobility scooter shelter.
Alongside this we have our usual growing activities, complicated by the need to keep squirrels, pidgeons, cats and other pests off our crops. Some (I suspect squirrels) have just eaten a whole row of shallots, brushing aside the brambles overlaying them as supposed protection! At least one squirrel has been breaking into the greenhouse - after the louvres were fixed shut with canes to stop them being opened, it simply pushed up the bottom lat to squeeze in!
Thanks go to Alice, for these and other photos!
The bulbs we planted courtesy of Northwich Town Council, with the help of Town Mayor Alison, and the daffodils and polyanthus planted by the horticultural students last year have been produceding a wonderful display for the past couple of months.
An enthusiastic group of volunteers have been spending Sundays at Grozone learning all about organic gardening, and how to use flowers to attract beneficial insects to eat the pests. This six week Grow With Nature course has been funded by Adactus Housing Association, and last Sunday, despite the pouring rain, (we were nice and snug in the yurt!) several volunteers were presented with their certificates by Town Mayor, Alison Gerrard.
The greenhouse is filling up with seedlings - vegetables and flowers, including some for the church flower-arrangers.
The greenhouse and yurt both required some TLC after the high winds, but are both as good as new now.
We are still harvesting lettuce, spinach, curly kale and parsley, which has overwintered, and are looking forward to our new harvests, starting with the radish.
Artist Emily has been back to continue our Arts Trail, and we now have a sliced-log feature at the back of the yurt (also known as Villa Ghengis).
Andy has rescued some big display troughs, which are now being used for plants being hardened off, so we will no longer be tripping over them when we try to weed the beds!
There is a lot to catch up on as technical difficulties have prevented me updating the blog recently. It appears to be an IE problem, tho’. I will be adding photos as soon as I can get them transferred from my phone!
I would like to say big thank you to all our regular volunteers, who turn up whatever the weather. Our fortnightly cooking sessions are going down a treat – so far we have cooked spicy parsnip, leek and potato and carrot & lentil soups. Wednesday’s was butternut squash with Bill’s home-grown potatoes.
The fungus garden has finally been completed; we just need to encourage residents to establish around and on the sculpture.
Bill and his willing helpers have built us a new shelter to replace the old, tattered tarpaulin, and converted the work bench into a work surface to serve refreshments from.
The volunteers have been consulted about the work being done with the WREN money, several expressing interest in particular parts of the project, and have been rescuing bricks and kindling from the central circle, before it is bulldozed to make way for the pond and special beds to be built there.
We have finally started sowing seeds for planting out when the weather improves, and the radish are already sprouting.
Free 6 week course commencing Sunday 4th March 10.30- 2.30
Learn how to grow your own delicious organic fruit and vegetables, harnessing nature to assist healthy growth of plants without using expensive and damaging chemicals.
Learn how to:-
· Use garden and kitchen waste to keep your soil in tip-top condition, by composting
· Prepare a growing bed
· Sow seeds, plant out vegetables and flowers
· Create natural fertilizer from common weeds
and discover which flowers to plant to attract beneficial insects to eat those pesky pests.
Sessions will run on Sundays in March and April, at Grozone Community Garden in Northwich (CW9 5QA between Roker Park and Chinkers playing fields). Those successfully completing the course will be presented with certificates of achievement by Town Mayor Alison Gerrard.
Bring your own lunch, but tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
For further details, please contact Cynthia Moore or Andy Martin at Groundwork Cheshire
Or tel. 01606 723168
Sundays 4th , 11th, 25th, March and 15th, 22nd, 29th April 2012
Well, we have made a very successful start to the new year at Grozone. Angela and I did a litter pick, so the site looks much tidier now. Jon and Russell spent the session storing wood and chopping
kindling to keep us warm over winter, ably assisted by Neil and Clarence processing twigs for the brazier. Sarah and Emilia harvested the rest of the sprouts, freeing up the bed for planting beans starting next month.
On Wednesday, we are hoping to prepare two of the raised beds for planting and sow cauliflower seeds. There is also the path to finish, and digging to prepare for Emily’s return at the end of the
month. For those wanting sedentary tasks, there are bird boxes and mosaics to complete. We are also looking forward to cooking a tasty parsnip soup from our own parsnips!