Category: Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Successful grant from The UPS Foundation for the Community Garden

The UPS Foundation

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!

Exciting news – Co-op Local Community Fund Success

Exciting news - Co-op Local Community Fund Success - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

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.

SEAG does Green Week

green week

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!





Summer 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Summer 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

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.

Summer 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

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!

Categories: Newsletters

Spring 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Spring 2021 Community Garden

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!

Spring 2021 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

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.

First Greenfolk Festival at the Community Garden

Greenfolk festival open day

We have finally been able to host our first event at the Community Garden on 29 May 2021 since we first welcomed local residents to the launch party in September 2019.

We were joined by Weleda based in Ilkeston sharing information about their natural organic products and demonstrating Bee Bomb making. Derbyshire Wildlife Trust came and demonstrated Bushcrafts and Campfire making. Derby Kids Camp were present and we had talks throughout the day on Beekeeping from the garden’s resident Beekeeper, Butterflies at the Butterfly Bank by the Derbyshire Conservation Officer, Transition Town and Beeswax wraps making.

Children’s story telling took place in the teepee which was such a beautiful moment and the natural play area, led by our enthusiastic volunteers went down extremely well with the children and adults!

We had live bands who volunteered their time to come and play for us. Free seeds giveaway and a Raffle.

Refreshments and homemade cakes were for sale and special thanks goes to Shipley WI and Derby Lodge Tea Rooms for their generous cake donations. A beautiful selection of plants grown by volunteers and donations were also sold.

‘Shedquarters’ was officially opened by Councillor Richard Iliffe and hosted quality crafts for sale made by volunteers and stalls from Forever Living Aloe Vera, personalised wooden products and Words in Wood.

The sun was shining for us and the day couldn’t have gone any better. It was such a magical moment to finally realise the the vision of the garden being enjoyed by so many people . We came away with lots of ideas to make next year’s festival even bigger and better – if that is even possible!

Thank you to all those that helped make this day happen and came along.

With this being a milestone for the Community Garden, this video has been put together by SEAG member Graham Kearton to celebrate the occasion.

Winter 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden

Winter 2020 at Shipley Woodside Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The polytunnel has proven to be a real asset this winter at the Garden. Volunteers have made raised beds, potting benches and staging ready for the growing season as well as providing shelter for donated furniture and soggy gardeners!


The bee project is buzzing into action with willow screen planting and a shed base being prepared to receive the storage shed.


Volunteers have been busy creating more raised beds. Thanks to funding from the People’s Postcode Trust we now have 3 more wheelchair height raised beds.

The tractor tyres proved such a growing success last year, we have turned two more into growing beds.

We used the Hugelkultur method for the beds last year and we couldn’t have been more chuffed with the way they turned out. Everything grew really well, with very little watering required. We have used the same method for the new beds, using up the piles of branches and logs, cardboard, newspaper and organic material we have been collecting.

This time, we remembered to take pictures of the process and have put together a specific page with information about Hugelkultur and guide you can download here.


Ideas for the children’s natural play area are coming together with the build of the mud kitchen started. Logs have been put in place in the Food Forest as seating for what will be a firepit.


Thanks to Kev Whitehead, neighbour to the Garden, we now have an amazing owl box. Not only did Kev design and build this beautiful box, he spent the best part of the afternoon hanging from the pole fitting it! Kev was helped by a amazing team of volunteers in the late February sunshine. Now we just have to wait and see what we get in the box!


March is a very exciting month as the wildlife pond will be created. We have taken delivery of the butyl liner and underlay. Rockery stone has been collected ready for use and native pond plants have been researched ready for purchase.  The pond will be a fantastic addition to the garden and will have different levels and plants to make it as wildlife friendly as possible.

After much discussion and negotiations Shed Quarters PHASE 1 has been purchased and March will see the arrival of our most ambitious project yet. Following the hard work of successful grants, donations and fund raising, our Shed Quarters is a summerhouse 30 x 14 ft, complete with double glazed opening windows, pitched roof with plans to insulate and clad the inside including a log burning stove.

Finally, volunteers are hard at work organising and planning for our first Greenman Festival following COVID-19 restrictions being eased. We will share more details very soon.

December 2020 at the Community Garden

December 2020 Community Garden

As we come to the end of the year, we look back at the progress made on the Garden and are immensely proud of what has been achieved by all of our members and volunteers. The feedback and support from the community has been incredible and means so much to us all.

We look forward to the time when COVID restrictions are not necessary and the Garden is more accessible to everyone that wants to visit or volunteer. There are so many exciting projects happening at the Garden in 2021 and the addition of a large shed will provide us with the space and shelter to hold workshops and talks on a wide range of topics. It will also be a space to just sit and have a cuppa with friends!

Volunteers have been putting their crafting skills to good use this month making wreaths, wooden Christmas trees and attempting to make the polytunnel look festive!

December 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

The Honey Bees are coming!


Keith Stevenson, Chairman of Shipley Parish Council has been an avid beekeeper for many years and will be introducing the beautiful bees to the garden in Spring next year. Keith had this to say:

The location for two National hives is being carefully chosen, giving consideration to neighbours, as well as providing a suitable and safe area with sun/shade balance, that the bees will comfortably enjoy.

There will be access control into the hive site, which is important, in order to create an environment that is safe for the bees, provides protection from inquisitive animals, and yet allows people to view the bees going about their business of gathering pollen and nectar.

Consideration is also being given to the bees flight path, and the natural existing hedgerow screening will be used, soo that when the bees leave the hive, they will fly up quickly above head height, where they will not be a nuisance.

A secure storage area, for spare hive parts, as well as a safe viewing area is to be created near to the hive site for visitors to quietly enjoy watching these marvellous bees.

Honey bees are wonderful pollinators, and when they are foraging, they are not defensive. They just want to get on with the job of pollination and nectar collecting.

In 2021, I will be concentrating on establishing the bee colony on their new site. There will be regular beekeeping visits throughout the year, as well as the chance for people to get up close to the bees and get an understanding of how they work.

The area has all been planned out with Keith’s expert input and he has been hard at work preparing the area.

The doors on the polytunnel have now been installed, staging is all repaired, painted and built along one side and some seeds have already been sown! We are now ready to make the beds on the opposite side.

We have purchased four more IBC’s and placed them next to the pond site ready for us to use the harvested rainwater to fill the pond, when this is built in early Spring.

November 2020 at the Community Garden

November 2020 at the Community Garden - SEAG - Shipley Eco-Action Group

This month has seen the ground cleared and prepared ready for more raised beds to be made. One of our volunteers has kindly donated a real Christmas Tree and volunteers have been digging a huge hole, which will hold an IBC to collect the rainwater run off from the polytunnel.

Planting and extending the Food Forest continues. This is really starting to fill out now but still plenty more to be done!

As we head towards winter, our attention has turned to planning for next year, including building the wildlife pond, shelter, developing the children’s natural play area, building more raised beds, plus much more.

Volunteers were busy crafting, making poppies and poppy wreaths we displayed on the entrance gates and in the notice board, in support of Rememberance Sunday and Armistice Day earlier this month.

October 2020 at the Community Garden

October 2020 Community Garden

This month has seen the Sensory Garden show off its Autumn colours, the Polytunnel cover has gone on, planting has continued in the Food Forest, the planting area around the Children’s Pond has been expanded and planted and we launched ‘Veg on the Hedge’.

We say a special thank you to our friends Christina and Robin on Hassock Lane for their extremely kind donation of wildlife friendly plants, fruit trees, currant and berry bushes from their allotment. We have already planted a couple of full car loads and there is still more to come!

Sensory Garden

The plants and shrubs have established so well that the Sensory Garden beds were actually too full (a nice problem to have!)

We had planted a lot of Goat Willow in some of the beds, not expecting that all of the donated plants would settle and do so well, bearing in mind some of them had even gone passed being good enough for the clearance trolleys in the Garden Centre! So we have been busy moving the Goat Willow into the Food Forest and moving plants into different beds where they are more suited for that specific sensory experience.

Stunning autumn colour and late nectar sources for the Bees.

Polytunnel

We managed to find a fairly wind free day and volunteers rallied to get the cover on. This wasn’t an easy task but we did it! Work has started on repairing and painting the donated staging and designing the inside. It won’t be too long and it will be a fully operational Polytunnel.

Awesome work everyone

Veg on the Hedge

This has been an idea in the making for a while and sees a trough fitted to the notice board at the Garden’s entrance, where volunteers will routinely be leaving produce for passers-by to help themselves to. So far there has been Raspberries, Tomatoes, Apples, Green Beans, Chard and Kale. So keep your eyes out, help yourselves and spread the word!

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