Painting the Pavilion – news update May 3, 2017

Volunteers enjoying a well-earned tea-break in the shade of the freshly-painted Pavilion.

A chance conversation between one of our visitors and Stewart Holmes (Therapeutic Horticulturalist) led to a generous donation that sees our Pavilion receiving a paint-makeover courtesy of artisan paint manufacturers Farrow & Ball.

Emily Harrold (Colour Consultant for Farrow & Ball’s Solihull Showroom) held a children’s birthday party at Martineau Gardens, earlier this year. Stewart explained to her that our original Earth Oven had been lime washed with a Farrow & Ball product that had been very successful. On hearing how Martineau Gardens has been raising funds to refurbish the hundred-year old Pavilion to insure that this much-loved and oft-used building is here to stay for the future, she arranged with the company for Farrow & Ball to supply the paint. The exterior walls have been painted in a colour, pleasingly named ‘ Lichen’.

The Pavilion’s fresh coat of paint has been finished, thanks to the work of local social enterprise and building contractors, Jericho, just in time for our twentieth anniversary celebrations at the Spring Event on Sunday 14 May. Our thanks to both Farrow & Ball and Jericho for this. We do hope you’ll be able to join us at this event.

Find out all about our plans and progress in refurbishing this unusual building.



Courses update April 26, 2017

Spring is the time for courses at Martineau Gardens, many of these are inspired by activities that happen here regularly: growing food, cooking it and cooking outdoors. Here’s your chance to join in!  Once again, we’ve teamed up with Loaf Cookery School to host ‘Forage and Cook’  and ‘Build an Earth Oven’ courses. So many of our customers who hire the Gardens for parties and family celebrations are interested in using our Earth Oven to bake the party food, so in response to popular demand, we’ve introduced a new Earth Oven Baking course with the Earth Oven expert, Lizzy Bean. Advance booking is essential — our Bee Keeping courses have sold out, so don’t delay if there is a course you’re particularly interested in.



Co-op Local Community Fund April 25, 2017

We’ve got some great news! Martineau Gardens’ Therapeutic Horticulture Project has been awarded £3,220.16 from the Co-op Local Community Fund. For many of Volunteers who come to Martineau Gardens, gardening isn’t just a hobby, it’s a therapy that provides new ways to deal with their problems. Volunteers garden together – they receive support from  trained staff members Stewart Holmes and Miranda Kingston and enjoy socialising with a supportive group, getting new skills in gardening and feeling better about themselves.  Thanks to all our Co-op members who chose us as their local cause and our supporting stores, Co-op Edgbaston, Co-op Moseley and Co-op Jewellery Quarter for enabling this grant.

 



Family Mini Beast Safari Thurs 4 May Election Day April 25, 2017

Our next event is coming up, Family Mini Beast safari on Thurs 4 May.

Is your school or nursery closed for the elections? Can you tell the difference between a centipede and a millipede? Come and enjoy a family minibeast safari at Martineau Gardens led by Juliette Green, our Environmental Educator teacher.

Advance booking essential – click here for more details and the ticket link



Sunshine in March March 15, 2017

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.



Peppers get a soapy bath March 3, 2017

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.

Therapeutic Horticulturist, Miranda Kingston, at work Photo credit: C Gray

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.

 

You can find out more about our organic practices here. 



We’ve bagged £5k from carrier bag charge fund January 25, 2017

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

 

 



#Pledge for Nature January 17, 2017

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

#Pledge4Nature



Refurbishment Update December 17, 2016



Youngsters sleep-out for homeless at Martineau Gardens December 5, 2016

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.