Yes we know a Dog Show is not the first event you think of taking place in a Community Garden but when you have neighbours so passionate about dogs and whose own dogs considered the field their home long before it was a Community Garden, who are we to say no!
The Garden’s neighbours Gill and Kev Whitehead are passionate dog lovers and Gill gives up her spare time to volunteer for Yappy Ever After, helping find suitable homes for dogs and raising funds for the Charity.
So it was only fair when Gill asked the SEAG Committee if she could host a Dog Show to raise funds for Yappy and the Community Garden that we got fully behind her. And so the planning commenced.
All Gill’s hard work and planning paid off as the day was a huge success. We had over 400 people through the gates and that doesn’t include dogs! There was music, refreshments, cakes, stall holders, natural play area for the children, including a vintage fire engine to climb aboard! The weather held although the strong winds just before the first dogs entered the ring, meant it was all hands on deck to get all the gazebos down before they took off in the wind!
Local businesses were extremely generous in donating prizes for the Tombola and once again we thank our friends at Warburtons, Co-Op and Derby Lodge Tea Rooms for donating refreshments and cakes and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for the donated burgers.
Over £2000 was raised on the day between Yappy and the Garden. SEAG felt honoured to be supporting such a wonderful cause and found the dedication of the people behind this amazing Charity inspiring. We met so many of the dogs that thanks to Yappy are in loving homes, living their best lives. It therefore comes as no surprise that the SEAG Committee didn’t hesitate to donate an additional £300 to Yappy.
We hope you enjoy these pictures from the day and we are already looking forward to this event next year!
On the 16th April, the Community Garden hosted a free family day including an Easter Egg hunt and craft activities for children. The weather couldn’t have been any better and it was a fantastic turnout. Volunteers had just as much as fun especially our Jude dressed up in the Bunny outfit – we love you Jude! Our thanks to Sainsburys and Warburtons for donations of garden pots and tea cakes for this event.
On the 5th March 2022 the Community Garden held our first Wildlife Family Fun Day. It was bitterly cold but that didn’t stop our hardiest of volunteers and visitors from braving the elements. It was an activity and educational day with children making creature houses, pine cone bird feeders, seed bombs, origami butterflies and more activities with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Shedquarters had a lot of traffic thanks to the expertise of our volunteer Bob Deavin explaining and demonstrating all the pondlife identified in our wildlife pond and moths from the moth trap evening the night before.
We had some fantastic educational resources including stands from the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group and Russell’s Prickly Hedgehog Rescue raising awareness of and funds for their fantastic Charities.
We are once again very grateful to the Co-Op and Warburtons for their support with this event.
The UPS Foundation’s philanthropic approach centers on four focus areas: health & humanitarian relief, equity and economic empowerment, local engagement and planet protection. Owing to the volunteer hours put in at the Community Garden by Matthew Gayle, UPS employee as well as some of his colleagues and the Garden’s mission, we have received a significant grant from The UPS Foundation.
The monies will mean we can complete the next phase of the ‘Shedquarters’ build by insulating and cladding the interior and adding solar panels and/or a wind turbine to generate power. This will mean we can use the space all year round as an educational and community space.
We envisage hosting workshops, demonstrations and talks on a wide range of topics. It will also be our sales area for the quality crafts made by the volunteers, hold our smalll Honesty Library plus so much more.
Plans are already underway for this next phase and we can’t wait to get going!
We are delighted to announce that the Garden has been successfully chosen for the next round of the Co-op Local Community Fund which runs from 24 October 2021 until 22 October 2022.
If you are a Member with the Co-op, as well as collecting rewards from shopping with the Co-op, they also give the same amount to support community organisations and local causes in the Community Fund.
If you are not already a Member, it is easy to join. Just visit their website for more information.
You can see our own dedicated page for the Community Fund and read more about how funds will be used at the Community Garden here.
To celebrate the national Green Week, SEAG have hosted a series of events during the week 18 – 26 September 2021. We kicked off with a Beekeeping demonstration at the Community Garden, then on to a Community Litter Pick, Maintenance of Shipley Wood Entrance, Moonlight Walk in Shipley Woods and finished off with a Family Volunteer Day and Clothes Swap at the Community Garden.
It was a busy week for our volunteers but the events were so much fun to organise and be part of and they had a great turn out.
The walk in Shipley Woods was something quite special as it isn’t often that we walk through the Woods in the dark and if we do, probably not with the intention of stopping, listening and observing the nature around us. In a large group, this was a delightful, safe way of experiencing the Woods in the dark and we had a real mix of ages come out. We were also fortunate to hear the Tawny Owl throughout the walk and the bat detector picked up signs of bats.
The Beekeeping demonstration was popular as always. It is hard to describe what is so appealing about Honeybees – they really are fascinating and amazing creatures and we are so pleased to have hives at the Community Garden.
We held our first Clothes Swap in ‘Shedquarters’ at the Community Garden. People came with a maximum of 5 items of clothing and shoes, received tokens and swapped for something else. Anything left at the end was taken to local Charity Shops. Although we would have liked to have seen more people at this event, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours and there were lots of successful swaps. We will definitely be holding more of these in the Spring and Summer. They are a fantastic way of keeping clothes out of landfill and a fun way of changing your wardrobe up!
Our first attempt at a Cut Flower Bed. All the plants were grown from seed by our volunteers. We were a bit late in the season to decide to do this bed but the results have still been great and seeing all that colour and beautiful flowers can’t help but put a smile on your face. Volunteers have been able to enjoy making up their own bouquets and visitors for a small donation.
Water is a valuable resource and we continue to work on being as sustainable as possible by collecting and storing as much water as we can. Volunteers have been busy fitting guttering to Shedquarters which leads to an IBC ,ultimately there will be a series of these to collect a larger volume of water.
A large hole has been dug for an IBC to sit in the ground near the Polytunnel. Drainage was put in place at the side of the Polyunnel and this IBC will be able to collect rainwater from the cover. So we now have a dedicated IBC for the Polytunnel. No water will go to waste in this garden!
Lots of free rocks have been sourced to form the edge of the Wildlife Pond. Over time many more marginal plants will be added and the back of the bank planted with taller plants, which will create a densely planted, undisturbed area for wildlife, whilst also providing some privacy from the road.
We have been amazed at the wildlife the Pond has already attracted just with a few very young plants, but with the wider habitat around the Pond, it has been teeming with Damselflies, Dragonflies, Water Soldiers, Beetles plus much more and we even had a visiting Goose who seemed quite happy resting there all day!
Last Summer, Bridgford Drone Photography volunteered their time and expertise and took some footage of the Garden for us. One year on they returned and the changes are just incredible. Last year we were blown away by the images and how much had been achieved and this year even more so.
We now have our new colony of Honey Bees established, they are super calm and are doing exactly what they should be!
Our Beekeeper Keith Stevenson will periodically be giving talks on Beekeeping, with the next one coming up on the 18th September. You can find out more here if you are interested in coming along.
There is something about Honey Bees that just get to you, they really are fascinating creatures and his talks always prove very popular.
We had a brilliant social night for the volunteers making pizzas in the pizza ovens with some produce grown in the Garden. We are looking forward to many more of these socials!
Volunteers led by Tim Bennett of the Elka Project have started work on a Keyhole Compost Bed. This is a round raised bed with a pie-slice cutout for access to a composting basket in the center. The bed is filled with rocks, garden waste, decomposable plant material, and a thick layer of soil/compost on the top for planting. The center basket collects kitchen waste and other biodegradables. Watering into the basket disperses moisture and nutrients throughout the keyhole. These were originally designed for growing food in Southern Africa where droughts and poor soil conditions challenge farmers. This is because of its easy to reach design and it produces amazes results, allowing gardeners to build soil nutrition and reduce watering.
We harvested some Willow from the garden but were fortunate that a neighbour donated two large pots of established Willow which meant we had just enough to weave for the frame, which will ultimately be the wattle and daub walls. The next phase is to get very messy with the clay we are harvesting from the garden to finish the wattle and daub.
Jim Steele, Derbyshire Butterfly Conversation Officer updates on the progress of the Wildflower Meadow:
“The Wildflower Meadow has responded to treatment and there has been a significant step forward in its evolution this Summer. A sowing of supplemental, perennial, wildflower seeds last Autumn, and a good amount of Yellow or Hay Rattle, together with an additional, more modest extra amount in the Spring, seems to have done the trick and good variety of plants grew and flowered. These included Ox-eye Daisy, which usually dominates in the early years of a new meadow, as it did this year with the covering of white blooms in July, and Lesser Knapweed, Wild Carrot, Self-heal, and the various Fescue grasses. It is hoped the Yellow Rattle will ‘do its job’ and semi-parasitise the roots of adjacent grasses in an effort to control their vigour, allowing a more diverse range of wild plants to flourish within the meadow; the Rattle was patchy but took fairly well, and it has gone to seed which is hopefully good news for next year as the plant is an annual.
An increasing number of invertebrates have enjoyed the new habitat, including good numbers of Soldier Beetles, whilst I spotted at least four varieties of Bumble Bee and the Honey Bees from the adjacent hives have been helping themselves to the very local source of pollen and nectar! Butterflies have been a little scarce this Summer, but of note have been Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small Skipper, Large, Small and Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and my favourite, the diminutive Small Copper, all of which have been seen feeding from the meadow’s floral blooms.
The meadow needs to be cut before long and the cuttings or risings removed after the seeds and ‘creepy crawlies’ have settled, with the cuttings piled up off the meadow – such a grass pile is a valuable habitat in itself, sometimes even for the Grass Snake, a species that is present in the area. This cutting and rising removal is important in that gradually removes some of the nutrients absorbed from the soil by the growing plants, giving an opportunity for a broader range or variety of meadow plants to establish themselves, rather than the sward becoming dominated by the faster-growing, more robust species that are able to take advantage of a nutrient-rich soil – complementing the intended effect of the Yellow Rattle.
It can take some years for a wildflower meadow to become fully established and stable, and you don’t always get quite what you planned – we await next year’s growth with interest!”
And last but not least we say a special thanks to Derby Lodge Tea Rooms in Shipley Park for the their continued support and recent generous donation of a recycled plastic picnic bench.
There is plenty of work to be done in the Garden over the next couple of months and new volunteers are always welcomed. No need to commit to volunteering every week, just as and when you want to!
Spring has seen a flurry of activity at the Community Garden, sowing seeds, potting on plants, dividing perennials, painting wooden structures, turning the compost, mulching and making preparations for our first event ‘Greenfolk Festival’, which took place on the 29th May.
The Garden has changed dramatically visually with the completion of the Shedquarters build and the large Wildlife Pond.
Thanks to grants from Shipley Parish Council, Seven Trent Community Fund, Councillor Richard Iliffe and the generosity of Long Eaton Sheds Ltd we now have our ‘Shedquarters’ where we will be able to host talks, workshops and provide a shelter for a cuppa on those rainy volunteering days!
The Honeybees woke up from their winter slumber and got straight to work! They also now have their own beautiful little pond so they have a water source right next to the hive. Resident beekeeper, Keith has pretty much single handedly created the beautiful area for the bees and his knowledge and passion for beekeeping is infectious. If anyone is interested in learning about beekeeping be sure to pop in on a Saturday and have a chat to Keith.
Plans are underway to enable visitors to don a bee suit and enter the apiary with Keith to learn and experience hands on beekeeping.
Volunteers have been busy sowing vegetable seeds in the Raised Beds, native cowslips have been sown in the Wildflower Meadow, a cut flower bed has been started and planted with Sweet Peas, Zinnias, Dahlias, Cosmos, Lupins, Antirrhinum all grown by volunteers plus much more on the way! The Polytunnel is now full of vegetables and strawberries and a newly planted grapevine, which seems to love its new home. We have even had our first harvest of radishes!
The remaining raised beds have been adopted as have some donated tyres and all planted with a variety of vegetables and herbs.
Great examples of companion planting shown in the pictures below with the ‘three sisters’ in the tractor tyre and tomatoes and basil in the polytunnel. Companion planting is an organic way of protecting crops from pests and / or improving pollination of crops.
The three sisters guild is corn, beans and squash and is one of the oldest known methods of companion planting, utilised by the Native Americans over 3000 years ago. The corn offers the beans support, the beans pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil to benefit all three crops and the large leaves of the squash protect the threesome by providing shade to the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
Basil repels insects, enhances flavour and improves the growth of tomatoes.
Thanks to funding from Severn Trent Water Community Fund we now have a huge wildlife pond!
Some very kind men working in Ilkeston, far away from home, visited the garden, loved it and offered to come and dig the pond for us with the digger. Aren’t people just lovely! Volunteers were very grateful as just working on the finishing touches to make the different depths and shelves was challenging enough, especially in the wet sticky clay!
Over a couple of sessions, we completed the shelves, underlay and liner was laid down, the edging completed, pebbles and stones added to the beach area, landscaping and planting of the pond edging and banks, which included shifting some huge rocks donated by Waystone working on the Shipley Lakeside housing development. Lots of tall grasses have been planted in the bank and many more plants are to follow. The vision is to create a beautiful wildlife friendly habitat both in and around the pond.
Thanks to funding from Wash Arts CIC an arts organisation working to improve access to arts in Erewash and surrounding areas, we have carefully selected and sourced native pond plants to encourage a wide variety of wildlife. These will soon be ready for collection and planting.
Look out for our news with dates for summer pond-dipping.
The children’s natural play area took shape, with the completion of the mud kitchen, musical stand and the whole area mulched. There is more work to do on this but already, this proved a big hit with the kids at the Greenfolk Festival on the 29th May.
It is entirely down to volunteer Mick’s design and hard work that the Garden now has a fabulous firepit area, complete with seating and a wood store.
SEAG have teamed up with The Elka Project, a community archaeology based project inviting people to join in the excavations of some newly discovered ancient sites in Ilkeston. We have offered some land at the Garden to experiment with the clay extracted from the ground. This will then be put through a number of processes to achieve different qualities of malleable clay and from that, we can put it to the test by making Adobe kilns, Roman kilns, Bloom furnaces, Bread ovens, Pottery/Ceramics and Wattle and Daub, all done in the ancient ways and using the clay we have on site with no need for electricity or gas.
Tim Bennett heads up The Elka Project and has already got started on the first experiment by making an Adobe kiln, which is used for pottery and used the the clay extracted from the pond dig. We look forward to seeing how this experiment goes and trying out other techniques, the ultimate goal has to be a bread oven, mmmm!
The 29th May 2021 was a milestone for the Community Garden and a special day for all the volunteers as we held our first event. This was a long time in the planning having not been able to hold any events before now due to you know what! The sun came out for us, all the volunteers, musicians and stalls were on form, we had a fantastic turn out and really positive feedback. We honestly couldn’t have hoped for a better day. Seeing the garden being used and enjoyed by the community was heart warming and made all that planning and hard work worthwhile.
We also managed to raise an unbelievable £1,850.00 towards our next project for the garden, the barn workshop. Thank you so much to all those that attended, those that made a contribution to this figure and to all those volunteers and supporters of the garden that contributed and helped make the event happen, including the musicians Sensible Shoes and Blue Kettle Ceilidh Band, Derby Lodge Tea Rooms in Shipley Country Park, Shipley WI, Weleda, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Derby Kids Camp.
We look forward to seeing you all again and meeting new faces at our next event on the 20th June 2021.
Finally, a lovely Spring Poem to conclude our Newsletter.