March in the garden  April 12, 2024

Things are progressing well in the gardens despite the very changeable weather.

We haven’t managed our first cut on the lawns as yet due to either extremely wet grass or the sheer sogginess of the ground. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a few dry days before the grass ends up around our ears! 

Disappearing seeds 

The volunteers have battled through the elements to get a fantastic amount of work done nonetheless. We have put the structures we built to good use and planted our peas and beans – although our successional sowing has been hampered somewhat by the tastier of the seeds mysteriously going missing from the cell trays… We suspect mice may be the culprits, but I doubt we have the heart to do much other than try to make sure that the trays are covered up tightly until the seedlings start to emerge. 

Warmer weather equals weeds! 

As the weather warms up, it has given us the opportunity to get lots more growing in the garden but with the warmer days come the weeds, so we have spent a good few hours carefully removing invaders from our herbaceous borders. We are mindful of the importance of plants like celandine and dandelions for our bees however, as there aren’t too many flowers around for pollinating insects at the moment. As a former colleague of mine used to say “it’s not messy, it’s nature”.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. 

Waste not want not 

A good few days have been spent clearing the last of the winter debris: pruning and removing dead material has featured quite strongly recently and our ethos of trying to use as much of the material that grows on site rather than throwing it away or burning it has led to the building of a brash fence. We needed a screen between the Druid’s Lair storytelling area and our woodworking shed and now, any long branches or vines will continue to be threaded between the stakes to raise the height of the fence. 

Thank you to Phoenix Group 

Just before the easter break, we were fortunate to have a corporate volunteering day with colleagues from Phoenix Group, who very kindly helped us on a weed whack, clearing ivy and brambles from the woodland despite pretty much constant rain throughout the day. People travelled to Birmingham from all over the country – the furthest coming down all the way from Glasgow – to join in on the event, which was organised for us by Will from Employee Volunteering.  

A great day despite the awful weather, and it has given us a great foundation for our plans to introduce more native perennial species into our woodland to support and encourage biodiversity. The volunteers also helped us weed out our wildflower area, sieved and laid down a layer of leaf mould ready for wildflower seeding at the end of this month. 

Join us for our Spring celebration! 

Speaking of the end of the month, we’re now gearing up for the Spring Event on Saturday April 20th – hint hint, bring the family, have a piece of cake, buy a plant! So the next few weeks will be a continuous frenzy of tidying, weeding painting and putting together fun horticultural activities for visitors to try their hand at. The event is free to enter and there be lots of fun acitivites to take part in. We hope to see you there! 

Matt Young
Therapeutic Horticulture Lead