Good news – shelter from the storm January 13, 2021

With Covid restrictions continuing into 2021 and in anticipation of frost, rain, or freezing fog, we have been considering our options for January and beyond. Gardening together on the Therapeutic Horticulture programme is a mainstay of many volunteers’ lives, and maintaining safe space indoors is key to facilitating winter work. The lack of dry (leakproof) working zones was a problem we were struggling with, when we were contacted by Mind with a generous offer from the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund.  Happily, we can now repair the potting shed roof, provide a dedicated wood chopping area with cover, and continue to employ additional staff to facilitate the smaller working groups.  Whilst at time of writing volunteering is paused, on their return volunteers can look forward to dodging the wind and rain as they plant seeds in preparation for spring planting out, propagate plants for our sales area or repair outdoor furniture ready for the better weather when we hope to be able to welcome many more visitors to the Gardens.                                          

Did you know? As a permitted ‘support’ group, Martineau Gardens can deliver Therapeutic Horticulture with up to 15 individuals – the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund is enabling us to create safe space so we can continue to do this, when the time is right and safe to do so.

Frost layering the grasses around the glasshouse in January



Preserving the Gardens’ bounty January 11, 2021

Throughout the growing year, Martineau Gardens grows a huge variety of fruit and vegetables that are suitable for preserving. From apples, pears, rhubarb and gooseberries to figs and mulberries – the orchard, vegetable beds, glasshouses and soft fruit cages produce quite a bounty. For many years, a team of volunteers have taken any surplus fruit or vegetable and turned them into jams and chutneys that are sold at the Gardens, with the proceeds from sales being ploughed straight back into the running costs of the charity.

Jam Maker, Record Breaker!

Volunteers Caroline Hutton (our former Director) and Glenys Thomas (Trustee) have been visiting the gardens almost weekly to pick the fruit through the seasons. Caroline’s preserving pan has been in constant use — fruit has been stewed and simmered to create the content for the Martineau Gardens ‘Jam Emporium’. The season began with production of gooseberry jam and finished, just a few days ago, in early January with delivery of the 228th jar: apple chutney.

On asking Caroline what her motivation is, she replies, “When a bush or tree fruits, it can be ready all at once and then you have nothing for eleven months but if it’s preserved in some way, we can enjoy the fruit all year round.”

She adds, “I stepped into the line of Martineau Gardens’  jam makers and have been lucky to be able to consult the expertise of Jean Fletcher and Sandria Allwood. In addition the the Martineau Gardens harvest, I’ve been pleased to receive surplus fruit donated by friends and fellow allotmenteers – it’s all gone into the range of Martineau Gardens’ preserves.”

Preserves are priced at £3.50 per jar and can usually be purchased in person on Martineau Mondays between 10am and 3pm. (At time of writing the Gardens are closed – for the latest details around our opening times during the pandemic, please read our statement here.)

Profits from sales of goods (preserves, produce and more) all contribute to a flourishing Martineau Gardens.

Our thanks to Caroline for this.



Martineau Mondays January 11, 2021

We are sorry to announce Martineau Gardens is temporarily closed for volunteers and public visits during the early weeks of Lockdown 3. We’ve taken the decision to pause Therapeutic Horticulture and our Martineau Mondays for a few weeks until we feel it is safe to begin again. Some staff are furloughed with a smaller crew looking after the Gardens and keeping in touch with our volunteers.

When we feel the time is right to welcome everyone back. Until then we wish you all well.

To stay in touch with latest developments, please check our Coronavirus statement here, sign up to our  e-news here   or follow us on facebook or twitter.

Contact details: Telephone: 0121 440 7430. If the office is not staffed please leave a message.  You can also email us via [email protected] but please bear with us, since the response back will take longer than usual.

Useful links:

How do I become a Friend of Martineau Gardens – join here 



The Winter Wellbeing Fund: Festive Fun December 21, 2020

Usually, in December, we would hold our Volunteer Festive Gathering – enjoy eating homemade food together, the windows of the Pavilion steaming up as we laugh, exchange cards and generally have  a jolly time. This year, as we face the pandemic together, social gatherings are not possible, but we still wanted to thank our volunteers and provide them with a little something to take home and enjoy. 

Pictured here, the first to receive their Christmas Bags

The ‘Martineau Gardens Crafters’ got together to make ‘Christmas in a Bag’. They handprinted christmas cards, baked gingerbread christmas biscuits, produced soap (made with Martineau Gardens’ honey) and screen printed Martineau Gardens Tote Bags.

And for those volunteers who are shielding and cannot visit come to the Gardens to volunteer, we have stayed in touch with them so that they feel connected and each will receive a personally delievered bag from one of the team.

A recent grant from the Heart of England Community Foundation’s The Winter Wellbeing Fund: Festive Fun  has made the purchase and creation of these gifts possible.

Gardening together – winter wellbeing

Here at Martineau Gardens, many of our volunteers on the Therapeutic Horticulture Programme have been able to continue to garden with us. At this time of year,  as the temperature falls and the light diminishes – gardening together becomes even more important, particularly for people experiencing social isolation. Winter is the time when we catch up on some of the landscaping work – such as winter coppicing in the woodland or restoring the play area – whatever the task, we appreciate our volunteers so much; they work so hard to help keep Martineau Gardens beautiful for us all to enjoy.



Gardening joy December 16, 2020

Pictured here, one of our Friday volunteers having a very satisfying gardening moment. Pat is particularly interested in seed saving, and has the skill and patience to reap success. Back in Summer 2019, Pat brought into the Gardens a very expensive and great tasting punnet of tomatoes from which she extracted, dried and stored the seed. These were then sown, just before March lockdown in 2020. They germinated and so Pat planted them in troughs in the keder house and has tended to them ever since.

By early summer, the plants were being raised in the keder house – providing a delicious and sweet, pale orange fruit.

Pat had picked a sturdy variety – here she is in December 2020, picking the final tomatoes.



Restoring the Shipwreck Play Area December 2, 2020

Our volunteers continue to garden with us throughout the winter, the light is dwindling, the temperature is lowering but getting together and gardening keeps our spirits high. Our much loved Shipwreck Play Area has seen better days – we are starting to work on improving it to enhance the natural play experience. Watch our short film ‘Restoring the play area, part I’ here, to see volunteers at work this month:

Restoring the play area film – part 1

We hope to restore the popular Wheelhouse, improve the sandpit and furnish with eco-friendly play equipment – the refurbishment will be in keeping with our commitment to consider the environment and wildlife in all we do. The winter months are an ideal time to begin this work.

Thanks to significant grants from the Heart of England Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund we have been able to continue the Therapeutic Horticulture Project throughout the pandemic but we need to raise funds for our ‘behind the scenes costs’.

We need your help …

Please support our end of year campaign – the Tree Dressing Appeal – to ensure that Martineau Gardens continues to be a safe and welcoming place for all. Whilst our Therapeutic Horticulture Project has been well supported, the ‘behind the scenes costs’ that keep Martineau Gardens looking beautiful still need to be met. We need your help to keep the hot water running, the toilets flushing, the tools repaired, the seed box replenished, the lawnmowers serviced and a myriad of bills that keep coming in. These essential costs are normally met through our public engagement activities such as the Garden Party, plus venue hire, plant and produce sales. Since March all these income streams have been lost in the year we faced Covid-19 together. This is where we ask you, our community, to support us by donating to our Tree Dressing Appeal so we can continue to care for these beautiful gardens, and keep them open for all to enjoy. 

Click above to be redirected to Local Giving (our online giving donations platform)

Find out more about the Tree Dressing Appeal here.

Find out more about how we garden together during the pandemic here.



Donate to our TreeDressing Appeal this winter November 30, 2020

Donate to our Tree Dressing Appeal to see that Martineau Gardens continues to flourish.

Help to ensure that Martineau Gardens continues to be a safe and welcoming place for all. Donating to our Tree Dressing Appeal will see a bare winter tree burst into colour. Tree dressing customs are found throughout the world, an opportunity to celebrate our leafy friends and the benefits they bring. Taking the tree dressing tradition as our inspiration, we have selected the fig tree within our orchard to be the focus for us this December.  As more and more donations are received for the Martineau Gardens Tree Dressing Appeal, colourful strips of cloth will be tied to the tree to create a bloom of colour in the bare orchard and to bring everyone cheer in the dark days of December.

Help to ensure that Martineau Gardens continues to be a safe and welcoming place for all. A well cared for garden where visitors can take a break from the trials that life often presents, and a place to get close to nature, whatever your age.  During the pandemic, we have been able to offer a lifeline to our volunteers by continuing the therapeutic horticulture project, at a time when this service was needed more than ever. Thanks to funding from charitable trusts we have been able to provide meaningful support to our volunteers throughout the crisis. Alas, the ‘behind the scenes costs’ that help to keep the hot water running, the toilets flushing, the tools repaired, the seed box replenished, the lawnmowers serviced and a myriad of bills paid, keep coming in. These essential costs are normally met through our public engagement activities such as the Garden Party, plus venue hire, plant and produce sales. Since March all these income streams have been lost in the year we faced Covid-19 together. This is where we ask you, our community, to support us by donating to our Tree Dressing Appeal so we can continue to care for these beautiful gardens, and keep them open for all to enjoy. 

Make a dedication
When you make your online donation, you have the option to add a message – if you wish, write a message of hope, a wish or perhaps a dedication in remembrance of someone – we will copy your message onto our Tree of Hope – which will be on display in our welcome shelter.

Ways to donate:

Online donations: https://localgiving.org/treedressing

Local Giving is our chosen on-line giving provider – and will also process Gift Aid on on-line donations.

Telephone: 0121 440 7430 to make a card payment

Post: Post a cheque (made payable to Martineau Gardens) to Martineau Gardens, 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7UG

… or pop into see us on a Martineau Monday with cash. It all counts, and if you’re a UK tax payer, we can claim the Gift Aid making your gift worth a further 25p per £1 you donate.

2020 – a year of trials but also celebration here at Martineau Gardens
(photos dated 2019)

*Queens Award for Volunary Service *Green Flag Community Award *RHS in Bloom (Feeding Your Community) *Bees Needs Champions Award  *7 months of Therapeutic Horticulture volunteering maintained during the pandemic *Isolated/shielding volunteers kept in touch with *Gardens kept well looked after *Long awaited toilet refurb completed *Persimmon ‘seed’ fund for children’s play area * Significant funding from Heart of England Community Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund* … and no reduncies!

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Tree Dressing November 25, 2020

Tree dressing customs are found throughout the world, celebrated at different times of the year – the universal theme being an opportunity to celebrate our leafy friends and the benefits they bring.

Tree dressing day takes place the first weekend of December – you can find out more about the tradition here, on the Common Ground website.

Taking the tree dressing tradition as our inspiration, we have selected the fig tree within our orchard to be the focus for us this December.  We have created the Martineau Gardens Tree Dressing Appeal. As more and more donations are received, colourful ties of cloth will be tied to the tree to create a bloom of colour in the bare orchard and cheer us all in the dark days of December.

On day two of our campaign, we had received over £300 in donations – thanks to the generosity of supporters. Pictured above, a volunteer ties ribbons onto the fig tree.

https://localgiving.org/appeal/treedressing/

Please donate to the Martineau Gardens Tree Dressing Appeal – you can call the office on 0121 440 7430 and make a donation by card or donate online – click here to be transferred to Local Giving (our online giving donations platform).



Tree of Hope November 25, 2020

In the Welcome Shelter at Martineau Gardens, a new addition has been added. A five foot tall tree decoration, currently devoid of leaves – but during December, leaves will start to ‘grow’.

The Martineau Gardens Tree Dressing Appeal

This December we are inviting people who care about Martineau Gardens to donate towards our Tree Dressing Appeal. Help to ensure that Martineau Gardens continue to be a safe and welcoming place for all.

Make a dedication
When you make your online donation, you have the option to add a message – if you wish, write a message of hope, a wish or perhaps a dedication in remembrance of someone – we will copy your message onto our Tree of Hope – which will be on display in our welcome shelter.

A leaf dedication


Co-op Pay Out Celebrations 2020 November 23, 2020

Our year of support from the Co-op Local Giving Fund has drawn to an end with online payout celebrations at the weekend. Martineau Gardens has received just over £6,000. We’d like to say a huge thank you for the support of Co-op members and the staff we have met at  supporting stores. A big thank you goes out to all our supporters who chose Martineau Gardens as their local cause when shopping in supporting stores. 

We launched our 2019/20 campaign last Autumn, announcing that donations received would go towards the renovations of children’s play area. Since then, the world has become a different place.

Here at Martineau Gardens, the pandemic has been a time when the volunteers on our Therapeutic Horticulture programme have needed the service more than ever.  Volunteers started returning to maintain the gardens and woodlands in early May. Regular visits to the gardens for therapeutic horticulture had become a ‘lifeline’ providing the mental support they needed to keep healthy. Protective equipment was bought and additional Therapeutic Horticulture staff employed to ensure volunteers are well supported, and gardening safely, in socially distanced pairs.   

But with public visits restricted, venue hire and events postponed due to the pandemic, and the corresponding income streams removed, we have had to redistribute our funds. We are very grateful to the Co-op for enabling charities to allocate the funds received into areas that the charity now needs it the most. We are thankful that the Co-op funds can be used to support the Therapeutic Horticulture project, without which we cannot maintain the gardens.  

The Co-op funds will be used to support the Therapeutic Horticulture project.

We are still proposing to renovate our children’s play area – you can find out more about our plans here.