We’ve enjoyed a day of warmth and sunshine today – the daffodils are in full bloom. Pictured here, Stewart with the Wednesday garden volunteers giving the cold frame a lick of paint.
At Martineau Gardens, the plants we grow are cared for organically. We never use toxic sprays, which can be a danger to the birds and other creatures that eat the pests that graze our plants.
With conditions in the glass house becoming a little warmer (really, even on a cool, wet day in March), signs of pests returning are afoot. Today, Miranda with the help of the Friday Garden Volunteers gave all our pepper plants a good soapy ‘bath’. We use a natural-soap based detergent mixed with warm water, which gets sponged liberally on the foliage of the plant. Gently the plants are cleaned and wiped, removing eggs of creatures like the adult whitefly, a sap-sucking insect that stunts the growth of plants. Its natural predators are ladybirds and lacewing larvae.
Martineau Gardens bags £5,000 from carrier bag charge fund
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been awarded £5,000 from a Tesco funding scheme. Thanks to our supporters who voted in store for us!
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help funding initiative, which sees grants of up to £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects every month.
As you know, Martineau Gardens is a therapeutic Community Garden – it is looked after by volunteers, many of whom have mental health issues or learning disabilities. Hundreds of school children visit the Garden to learn about science and the environment. Every year Birmingham people (now in their thousands), visit the Gardens to enjoy its peace and tranquillity.
Caroline Hutton, our Director, says: “This funding will go towards the Therapeutic Horticulture Project. Volunteers garden together – they receive support from a trained staff member and enjoy the benefits of socialising with a supportive group, whilst acquiring new skills in gardening and increasing self-confidence.”
Find out more about the Bags of Change initiative below:
Lindsey Crompton, Tesco’s Head of Community, said:
“Bags of Help has been a fantastic success. We been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and it’s been great to give people a say on how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”
Voting ran in stores from 1st December to 31st December with customers choosing which local project they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out in store. Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has awarded more than £25 million across more than 3,000 local projects. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups each month. At the end of each month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions are awarded funding.
Groundwork’s national chief executive, Graham Duxbury, said:
“It’s just the beginning for Bags of Help and we’re really excited about the future. The scheme will be permanently open for applications, and as grants can now be used for not just the development of, but also for the use of local outdoor spaces, we expect even more groups will now have the chance to benefit. It’s projects like these that really help to capture the public’s imagination by illustrating what can be achieved when communities are given the support and the encouragement they need to create better places where they live.”
Funding is available to groups who are seeking to use and develop outdoor spaces in ways that will benefit their local community. Anyone can nominate a local project and local organisations can apply. To find out more visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
Greener Birmingham Pledge for the Natural Environment
Martineau Gardens is standing up for Nature and we invite you to join us and Greener Birmingham in signing a pledge committing to protect the natural environment. A coalition of organisations in Birmingham, Greener Birmingham, have united to ensure that the natural environment remains protected at a time when budgets for parks, green spaces and the natural world are reducing.
Georgia Stokes, CEO of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country explained: “We are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks and green spaces in this city providing places for children to play, opportunities for exercise and for communities to come together, and homes for wildlife. We all benefit from the natural world even in ways we don’t realise including absorption of carbon dioxide and improved air quality, soaking up excess water helping to prevent flooding, and multiple health benefits. Research shows just looking at a green space can help us feel happier and less stressed.
At the moment funding for these essential spaces comes from a small budget from the local authority which is reducing each year. Management of green space does have a cost but the return on that investment is great. We are asking Birmingham City Council to rethink the cuts to the budget for parks that will secure the essential roles of park keepers and rangers.”
Sarah Royal of Birmingham Open Spaces Forum added: “Friends of park groups donate many thousands of hours of their time every year to improve green spaces for the local communities. They add real value to any investment from the local authority or from other sectors. Friends groups are volunteers and need to work with rangers to achieve results.”
Georgia continued: “Long term a more fundamental shift is required to secure these vital spaces. We need a different model. We all benefit from these green spaces: individuals, businesses, public health, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the West Midlands Combined Authority. We all benefit and we must all be prepared to invest in these spaces for our communities now and in the future.”
Caroline Hutton, Director at Martineau Gardens, an independent charity and Community Garden said:“We’re giving our full backing to this. Although we are but 2.5 acres in size, we are a valued well-loved community space. Green spaces bring people and wildlife together. We have over 60 volunteers helping to look after the Gardens. Thousands of Birmingham people visit us every year, including hundreds of Birmingham school children who come to learn about their natural environment. People volunteer here to improve their mental health, we have over 60 species of birds and have a diverse species lis of insects and mammals including pipistrelle bats. She added: We’re urging Birmingham people and organisations to sign-the pledge.”
The pledge asks people to do everything in their power to:
● support the development of a 25 year plan for the environment recognising the importance of all green spaces in the city and across the West Midlands Combined Authority.
● secure investment to protect, manage and enhance the green spaces and corridors of the city.
● actively manage land within my control to enhance benefits to the natural environment.
To take the pledge for Birmingham’s Natural Environment and to find out more about Greener Birmingham go to ‘I Pledge’ on The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country’s website: www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/Ipledge
Why refurbish the Pavilion?
The Pavilion, though charming and part of the character of Martineau Gardens, was never meant for winter use. It’s cold and hard to heat. The volunteer’s room is a narrow, draughty corridor. The kitchen is basic, the visitor’s room is dark, even on sunny days. The building looks less pleasant than it should, due to its poor state of repair.
A Make-over for the Pavilion
Refurbishing the Pavilion will make the space warmer, more comfortable, and more practical. We will save money on heating bills.
The Refurbishment will involve:
- A wood burning stove
- Secondary glazing on the windows
- General repairs and surface work
- New guttering and drainage
- Complete rewiring
- Significant changes to room layout
- Refurbishment of the toilet block
- A “buffer space” to reduce heat loss through doors
- Asbestos removal
- Sheep’s wool insualtion in the walls and roof
Photo credits: Swaledale sheep, Lake District, photo by DAVID ILIFF, license: CC-BY-SA 3.0 sheep’s wool, photo credit: Shadowcat, wikicommons
Our Refurbishment Plans
Layout changes will provide:
∙ More space for events and school groups ∙ A professional kitchen ∙ Warmer, practical space
Click on image to view larger size:
What are the benefits of the refurbishment?
Martineau Gardens – where people, plants and wildlife meet
Our Pavilion is a hundred years old and is intrinsic to the ‘feel’ and special character of Martineau Gardens. By refurbishing the building, we prolong its life and use. A refurbished Pavilion will need less ongoing repair work. By cutting out energy usage, we’re protecting the wider environment as well.
The refurbished Pavilion will provide a much bigger classroom space. This will provide a better experience for local primary school children who come to the Gardens on environmental education visits, and extend the school visit season.
The Pavilion multi-functional space will provide a room for school groups, meetings, training, events and parties. This will help us to increase our income from venue hire to help keep the Gardens open for everyone.
Our volunteers garden here all year round. They need a warm dry place for breaks. Our refurbishment will involve re-locating volunteers’ space to the garden facing side of the Mollie Martineau Building (the current location of The Studio and Reception), which is more spacious and easier to heat than the current volunteers’ room in the Pavilion.
Photocredits: B Perry, A Curran, S Hill-Daniel, J Hill-Daniel. School children: National Association for Environmental Education
Martineau Gardens needs your help!
By donating the Refurbishment Appeal, you have the opportunity to convert your generosity to lasting impact, helping to keep the Gardens open and free for the people of Birmingham to visit.
Ways to donate:
∙ Cheque made out to ‘Martineau Gardens’
∙ By card – call 0121 440 7430 or call into reception on your next visit
Latest News! (Updated December 2016)
Cost of the project: circa £70k Money raised so far: £46k
Our Summer Garden Party event raised just over £10,000 – this was a tremendous evening of generosity with supporters donating items for the auction and raffle, guests bidding enthusiastically for lots and buying a record amount of raffle tickets (over 1,800!) and our volunteers and Steering Group giving up time to make the evening run so smoothly. Our thanks to you all, and to Audley St George’s Place for sponsoring the event, to Jeremy Thornton (Biddle and Webb and pro bono auctioneer) and Sue Roberts (Chair of Trustees). This money is going directly towards the refurbishment work, enough to start phase one this Winter.
Photocredit: Morgan Bowers
A courageous band of children aged ten to twelve years old came to Martineau Gardens, to brave the elements of a dark November night to raise awareness and funds for Birmingham’s youth homelessness charity, St Basils. The group decided to build shelters out of cardboard boxes and bring their sleeping bags, they cooked food around a campfire and played games to keep warm.
Pictured above, children (and parents) from the Kings Heath and Moseley Woodcraft group.
This is a subject close to our hearts. Some of our adult volunteers have been homeless, occasionally rough sleeping or are living in hostels. The Therapeutic Horticulture project, where volunteers come together to garden and look after the landscape at Martineau Gardens, means that vulnerable people get the opportunity for fresh air, exercise and friendship and benefit from a sense of wellbeing and achievement.
The event was a satellite sleep out event to coincide with the St Basil’s Big Birmingham Sleep Out 2016.
5p carrier bag charging began in England over a year ago. Proceeds generated from sales of bags are given to good causes. We’re delighted to announce that Martineau Gardens has been shortlisted for a public vote in Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ initiative. Please visit your nearest participating Tesco stores, in December, for us to help us secure a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant. We could receive a grant of from £1,000 to £5,000 if successful. The following shops are taking part in the voting for Martineau Gardens:
Barnt Green Birmingham Express
Dudley Rd Halesowen Express
Marlbrook Bromsgrove Express
Hasbury Halesowen Express
Stourbridge Halesowen Express
Frankley Birmingham Express
Bournville Birmingham Express
Kings Heath Birmingham Express
Hagley Road Birmingham Express
Selly Oak Bristol Road Express
West Heath Birmingham Express
Birmingham Brisnl Express
Birmingham Bristl Express
To vote, you will need to make a purchase within store of any value. You will receive one token per transaction and it’s not necessary to purchase a carrier bag in order to receive a token.
‘Bags of Help’ offers community groups and projects across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 1 to 31 December on who should receive the £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 awards.
Martineau Gardns will be closed on Saturday 26 November 2016 for maintenance work and will re-open on Monday.
A photo story of our day spent cooking in our outdoor kitchen, here at Martineau Gardens
The weather is looking wet for tomorrow, the first meet for our Winter Working Parties. With regret, tomorrow’s session (on Saturday 12 November 2016) is cancelled. We are sorry for any disapointment caused.
Our next conservation working party will be Saturday 10 December – for more information about what’s involved, visit this page.
Martineau Gardens will be open as usual for Visitors, from 10am until 4pm, admission is free.