Flying the Flag at Martineau Gardens July 19, 2017

Volunteering is at the Heart of Martineau Gardens – the Green Flag award celebrates the efforts of volunteers and staff in keeping Martineau Gardens open six days a week, throughout the year.

The Green Flag is out again – eighth year running! Congratulations to all our volunteers, supporters and staff who help to keep Martineau Gardens, open for free, six days a week throughout the year. The Green Flag Community Award celebrates their hard work and dedication.

Green Flags are awarded by the Keep Britain Tidy environmental charity in recognition of lots of important things that go on within parks and green spaces. Many of these tasks are going on behind the scenes: from managing our biodiversity, keeping wildlife records and welcoming visitors to washing up the cups and keeping our paths accessible. As always, this award is actually a tribute to all the volunteers to give up their spare time to help Martineau Gardens thrive. We couldn’t do it with out you!

Pictured above, staff and volunteers celebrating the good news, by the vegetable beds, on one of the hottest days of the year. The beds which are organically maintained are well stocked with runner beans, summer salads and calendula flowers.

Announcing the Storytelling Festival programme June 13, 2017

As the summer solstice approaches and the forecasters are announcing a heat wave, we’re looking forward the Martineau Gardens Storytelling Festival, this Saturday 17 June 2017. There’s so much going on, from 11am through to 7pm, enjoy storywalks in the woods, campfire tales and family storytelling. The Traditional Arts Team have programmed a full day of activities which will also include arts, music and crafts.

For a sneak preview of the programme, hot off the press  – click on the images below:


There will be a few changes to the above programme, pick up the final programme on the day.

Ticket still available! Click here for details.

A green roof for outdoor kitchen May 23, 2017

Over the last year or so, we’ve been creating a space where we can cook outdoors. Our outdoor kitchen has two working earth ovens, a fire pit and space to prepare food. We’ve recently built a roof to provide some shelter from the elements.

Today, we’ve been adding a living, green roof. The ‘carpets’ of alpine plants have taken a year to prepare: capillary mats have been planted up with a range of plants, cultivated here at Martineau Gardens by the Garden Volunteers team.

TV visits Martineau Gardens May 10, 2017

As part of our celebrations for our anniversary celebrating twenty years of community gardening here at Martineau Gardens, we were delighted to have a visit from ‘Made in Birmingham TV’ to help us share our good news . Producer and Director Tafadzwa Mushipe  accompanied by camera man Ilvas spent a couple of hours, touring the Gardens. Whilst they were here, they spent time with our Garden volunteers, finding out more about Community Gardening.

Tadfas began by rolling up her sleeves, planting out lettuces with Miranda and the Friday Garden Volunteers. All our plants here are propagated organically and hand-reared by volunteers on our Therapeutic Horticulture project.

Then they walked through the Gardens to our wooded wildlife area to see the bee hives. Our volunteer Bee Keeper, John Gale, explained how the bee keepers use the smoker to calm the bees, so that the hives can be examined.

Finally, they interviewed Caroline Hutton, our Director, to find out what’s planned for our Spring Event 20th Anniversary Celebrations on Sunday 14 May.

Visit Martineau Gardens’ Spring Event on Sunday 14 May, 11am – click here for more details

Watch the Martineau Gardens Spring Event feature in ‘The Lowdown Birmingham’, broadcasting on Friday 12 May at 6.30pm and 9.30pm on Freeview 7, Sky 17 & Virgin 159 or view on-line through the catch up service the next day via this link.


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.