Volunteering Opportunities at Martineau Gardens May 30, 2018

Please come and find out about volunteering opportunities at Martineau Gardens at  the BVSC Volunteer Fair, at Digbeth on Monday 4 June 2018.

We’d especially like to recruit more Visitor Welcome Team volunteers (VWT) to join our current team. Our VWT volunteers get involved with all aspects of welcoming visitors to the Gardens. From making hot drinks and selling plants, to helping out at events – there’s an enormous range of activities you could find yourself doing. We have vacancies for weekday slots and weekend slots – come and talk to us at the Fair about what you’d like to do.

Looking ahead, we’re looking to develop the catering opportunities available at Martineau Gardens – if you have catering experience, please come and talk to us.

Thinking of volunteering but not sure what you want to do, or what opportunities are available? Come along to this event and meet around 40 local charities, all currently looking for volunteers to help them in their work. There’s something for everyone – whether you’re looking to share your current skills and expertise, or whether you want to do something completely different!

An event not to be missed!  How else will you meet more than 40 local charities all in one place?

When and where:

Mon 4 June, 4.30-7.30 pm

BVSC, 138 Digbeth, B5 6DR

No need to book – just pop in.

Find out more.


Half-term fun at Martineau Gardens May 29, 2018

Tues 20 May to Fri 1 June 2018

This half-term bring the family to Martineau Gardens – try your hand at PizzaCraft, learn how to cook pizzas outdoors in our Earth Oven, foraging for herbs within the our beautiful community garden. Or, why not find out more about the wildlife that makes its home in the woodland here, with Family Habitat Explorers.

Advance booking essential, click on the links below for ticket information – or call Martineau Gardens on 0121 440 7430 to check latest availability on tickets.

Pizza Craft     Tues 29 May 2pm – 4pm   or Wed 30 May 2pm – 4pm

Family Habitat Explorers    Thurs 31 May 10am, or Thurs 31 May 1.30pm,  or Fri 1 June 10am or Fri 1 June 1.30pm


Director announcement May 16, 2018

Pictured here, staff of Martineau Gardens at the entrance of the woodland. Gill Milburn, receiving the keys from Caroline Hutton.

In our twenty-first year as a community garden, we bid farewell to Caroline Hutton (Director at Martineau Gardens for 17 years) and welcome Gill Milburn. Gill joined Martineau Gardens and became our Director in April 2018.

At the end of her first month, Gill said: “I’ve been in post just a month, I’ve been  getting to know staff, volunteers and Friends through various activities from planting perennials around the new pond to minor engineering around the washbasins, with plenty of meetings, conferences and conversations in between.  My introduction to this organisation has shown to me the warmth and affection people hold for Martineau Gardens.  I’m looking forward to contributing to the sustainability and enjoyment of the Gardens.”

Gill got to know Birmingham  through her job as a Gambling Commissioner, and moved to the city in 2009. During her eight year term on the audit committee  and the remuneration committee, Gill was involved with overseeing implementing the Gambling Act, corporate governance, regulatory compliance and enforcement and stakeholder management. For the last eight years, Gill has worked in the charity sector for mental health and with older people.

Caroline is retiring; she is working on special projects until the end of June 2018. Caroline says: “After 17 years, I’m stepping down. Thanks to all the tremendous support I received from volunteers, trustees and colleagues.”

Closed 16 and 17 May for resurfacing works May 14, 2018

Martineau Gardens (including the children’s play area) will be closed on Wed 16 and Thursday 17 May for resurfacing works. For plant sales and compost, call back on Friday!

Apologies for any disapointment – but come back and visit us at the Spring Event this weekend, Sunday 20 May 2018 (11am – 3pm) – click here for more details

Find out more about the progress on our new Courtyard Garden here.


February -cooking with artichokes February 5, 2018

Fork to Fork – a blog about cooking and gardening inspired by what’s in season at Martineau Gardens.

Written and photographed by one of our volunteers, alias Sam Spade the Digging Detective.

It’s February and I’m in love….with Jerusalem artichokes

 This week we have been digging up and cooking Jerusalem artichokes. No need to peel, just give them a good scrub and away you go.

Recipe :1 Jerusalem Artichoke and Toasted Almond Soup 

Recipe from Abel and Cole : the Veg Box Companion, by Keith Abel  (a marvellous book)


1 tbsp of butter and 1tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion or 5 – 6 shallots, 8- 10 largish artichokes scrubbed and thinly sliced, 2 Garlic cloves finely chopped, a splash of sherry, Marsala or Apple juice, 4 tbsp hazelnuts or almonds toasted and roughly ground, A few sprigs of thyme, leaves only, 600ml chicken or veg stock, warmed, A drizzle of cream to serve…recipe says optional..but for the team it was a must


Pop butter and oil into heavy bottomed pot and place over a medium heat. When the butter foams add onion, sizzle slowly until golden. Add Jerusalem artichokes and garlic. Cover. Turn heat down and sweat until really soft. Stir often. Top tip when I made the soup I sweated the artichokes until they were very broken down, I wonder if that added to the intense flavour. Pour in the liquid…booze or juice add the nuts and let it sizzle. Add the thyme and stock. Blitz. Pass through a sieve for that smooth consistency. Check the seasoning and serve with the cream.

Recipe: 2 Jerusalem Artichokes in Cheese Batter

I came across a recipe whilst researching Artichokes, I haven’t tried it out on the team yet. It is taken from a war time book by Marguerite Patten: We’ll Eat Again, Economical Recipes. Serves four.


1 lb artichokes, seasoning, 6 oz plain flour, 2 x eggs, ½ pint of milk, 2 – 3 oz grated cheese


Scrub and boil artichokes in salted water until tender. Peel and cut in thick slices.  Make the batter and add the cheese. Oil in the oven until sizzling. Add the batter then the Artichokes and cook for approx. 25 mins.

Recipe: 3 Artichokes with Cracked Wheat

Finally a recipe from our volunteer Hayat Hewitt, a marvellous Lebanese cook with her own way of doing things so no measurements with this one, but give it a go. A little experimenting never hurt anyone.


1 x onion, 1 x cup of cracked wheat, stock, cinnamon, seasoning, tomato puree, 4 or 5 artichokes, mushrooms


Fry the onion until soft, then add the cracked wheat and the chopped mushrooms. Stir until coated with oil. Add tomato puree and stock, simmer until cooked. Roast or boil the artichokes and add them to the cooked cracked wheat, serve with salad and yoghurt.

Note from our Director, these vegetables come with an ‘F’ rating – some people can be affected by them, they can give you a good bit of wind.

Freshly grown artichokes are on sale from the sales area * at Martineau Gardens (£3 per kilo).  (*Subject to availability, please give us a ring first to check supplies on 0121 440 7430 if you’re making a specific journey to buy them.)

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LoveBrum and our Vegetable Beds November 8, 2017

Have you seen the film about our vegetable beds?  

Vote at LoveBrum for us to receive £2,000 from Monday 20 until midday Friday 24 November 2017.

LoveBrum kindly made a video for us to explain how the £2,000 will be used, watch the film above and see Miranda beside the Vegetable Beds:

The vegetable beds at Martineau Gardens are one of the first things that visitors see on entering the Gardens, looked after by Miranda Kingston (Therapeutic Horticulturalist) and our Garden Volunteers (including young people from special schools)  – they’re a fantastic educational resource for the school children who visit the Gardens regularly, not to mention our visitors who enjoying being able to buy  seasonal produce fresh from the growing site.

It’s time to get the vegetable bed structures replaced.

The current vegetable beds’ boards and pegs are falling apart – the earth is spilling out and they are becoming a trip hazard. It’s becoming more difficult for people with poor mobility to visit and work on this area of our gardens. Help us improve disabled access to the vegetable beds so everyone can enjoy them.

LoveBrum, the charity that supports Birmingham-based projects delivering change, have selected Martineau Gardens as one of three potential ’causes’ to benefit from their monthly grant allocation of £2,000. We could be the beneficiaries, but we need your help!

Save the date and vote for us!

Please save the date:  Monday 20 November  – would you please go to the LoveBrum website here: www.lovebrum.org.uk/vote and vote for us.

You can vote up until midday Friday 24 November.

You’ll need to select Martineau Gardens from the three causes, enter your name and e-mail address to vote as a non-member (look out for a verification email in your email in-box and then click the verification link to confirm your vote).


About LoveBrum:

LoveBrum is a Birmingham charity that engages with and supports local people and businesses to build an even better Birmingham. In their own words: “We support local, Birmingham-based projects that are delivering real, tangible change and making our beautiful city even better. It is our members that vote on which projects we support. We celebrate all that is good within Brum, and want to restore some civic pride. Brum, let’s do this!”


Summer days – the vegetable beds and seasonal produce on sale at the Autumn Event:


A new chapter begins … a new Director November 6, 2017

2017 has been the year we have celebrated 20 years of Community Gardening, dedicated a building to former patron Mollie Martineau and begun the refurbishment of the Pavilion. This is also the year that we begin the recruitment process for a successor to Caroline Hutton, Director of Martineau Gardens. Caroline is retiring, in Spring 2018.

If this is of interest to you, or somebody you know, you can access the application pack, by clicking here: 

Deadline: Friday 10 November 2017, 5pm

Temporary closure in November – Pavilion Update November 5, 2017

Martineau Gardens will be closed for a week from Monday 20 November, re-opening on Monday 27 November – read on to find out more.

Refurbishing the Pavilion

Creating a bigger space within the Pavilion will improve the welcome for so many of our visitors. There will be warm, dry classroom space for school children on educational visits; a bigger space for the groups who hire the Gardens for training courses and a more welcoming room for people hosting parties.

Check back here regularly for updates on our progress. To find out what we have achieved so far, click here.

Please donate

Please donate to transform this crumbling building into a bigger space that’s warm and dry in winter, light and airy in summer.

Online donations: www. localgiving.org/charity/martineau-gardens 

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 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.


Pavilion Appeal Finale October 12, 2017

Midnight tonight …

Our Pavilion Refurbishment Appeal has just a few hours left to run, at Midnight tonight, on-line donations will close. Since Friday, a further £1,200 has been donated. We’re elated to witness the response. Thank you so much to all who have been sharing our film, the appeal page and donating. It’s worth it.

 Please  share our film and donate page here 

If you haven’t yet, please donate, this building is for you too.

Remember, if you’re a UK tax payer, we can claim the Gift Aid making your gift worth a further 25p per £1 you donate. £10 becomes £12.50, £100 becomes £125

Or you can post a cheque (payable to ‘Martineau Gardens’), telephone the Gardens on 0121 440 7430 to make a card payment or pop into see us with cash.

Like to watch it one more time?

Pavilion Refurbishment Update – final week October 10, 2017

It’s the final push!

We have but 2 days remaining of our month-long crowdfunding appeal to raise funds to refurbish the Martineau Gardens’ Pavilion. Refurbishing this much-loved building means Martineau Gardens can continue to be the place where people, plants and wildlife meet.

We’re tremendously pleased with the response so far, by day 17 we had reached 47% of our target.but we need to ask you if you can continue to share the message so that we can reach even more people. Please share our film and donate page: localgiving.org/appeal/martineaugardenspavilion/

If you haven’t yet donated, would you consider it please?

Buy a Martineau Gardens t-shirt
Or you can post a cheque (payble to ‘Martineau Gardens’), telephone the Gardens on 0121 440 7430 to make a card payment or pop into see us 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.

What’s happening next?

We’ve already reported on the completion of Phase 1 of the refurbishments; Phase 2 is booked to start in November. We do have enough funds for work to commence, but more donations will enable us to fulfil all that we want to do.  The Gardens will stay open during the renovations, but there may be a little more noise than usual, with access to some areas restricted. We’ll do our best to keep you informed, via the website.

Last chance to donate is midnight, Thurs 12 October.
Let’s transform the Pavilion from a crumbling building into a warm, dry space that can help keep Martineau Gardens free to enter.