Ready, Steady … Grow! March 28, 2014

A Report on the Big Dig Event

Muddy hands was the order of the day at our first event of the year. Stewart and Rachael led a series of family-friendly gardening workshops, as part of our Big Dig Event on Saturday 22 March, 2014

Muddy hands, wildflower seedbomb making

Our free event was aiming to inspire you to grow your own, no matter how big or small your grow space is or how much or how little experience you have. There were drop-in food growing workshops and family-friendly activities to inspire even the most reluctant gardeners to don their gardening gloves. 

Wildflower Seed Bombing- Stewart showed family groups how to make wild flowers ‘seed bombs’. Made from compost, clay and wildflower seed, the muddy balls contained seed attractive to bumble bees. So, when the flowers grow they will attract bumble bees, who in turn, will pollinate the flowers and crops we grow at Martineau Gardens.
watering the mix, wildflower seed bomb making
Wildlfower seed for bees, making seed bombs
Pictured here, children are stirring and watering the balls, before ‘bombing’ our new wildflower area beside the Tai Chi Lawn. 
Throwing wildlfower seed bombs 1
Throwing the wildflower seed bombs, crop on bomb
Rather than buying new herb plants, why not grow your own from cuttings? Rachael showed children how to take cutting from the sage growing in the herb bed at Martineau Gardens and how to pot them on to take home and grow.
Getting up close to Herbsm learning how to do herb cuttings
There were also guided tours of the Gardens, taking in the growing areas, the wildlife areas, woodland and formal areas and refreshments available from the Pavilion.
BC with her own sage cutting, Big Dig
Plants and Produce area, at the Big Dig Seed Event














Gardening in between the showers March 12, 2014

With all the wet weather we have been having, Stewart and the team have had to work round the challenges of saturated clay soil by using paths, stepping stones and small boards to keep up with the garden tasks!

Some volunteers just don’t know there own strength!

GardeningBut the hard work was worth it. Thanks to J and L for transforming this flowerbed, near the entrance, the bed has been planted up with helebores and snowdrops. Close by catkins quiver in the breeze, their lime yellow in brilliant contrast to a fresh, blue spring sky.

The Garden team have also been turning their attention to the Orchard. There are over 30 different varieties of fruit tree in the orchard. Spartan, Worcester, Russet, Egremont Russet, Worcester Pearmain, Ellisons Orange, Conference and Williams are some of the apple and pear varieties. There are also Fig (Brown Turkey), Damson and Plum trees all producing plentiful and delicious fruit in the summer. At the centre of the orchard is a magnificent Mulberry (Morus nigra) tree. Sadly, we lost our medlar tree in the wet weather this year. In it’s place a new plum tree has been planted.

2014 - plantinga  fruit tree, all model releasse shd


You can read more about gardening with Stewart and Jean’s top gardening tips for March, in this article which has just appeared in the March issue of Harborne, Edgbaston & Moseley Life (see page 24).

Sprucing Up January 7, 2014

Glasshouse Cleaning

Glasshouse Cleaning

Returning to Martineau Gardens in January after the winter break finds the volunteers with plenty of work to do, in spite of all the recent rain. The lawns, vegetables beds and borders are still waterlogged this week. So today the Garden Volunteers are making the most of the sunshine and giving the green glasshouse a spring clean. The shelving is being scrubbed and washed down to reduce the threat of pests and diseases overwintering. Come summer, this glasshouse will be full sweet black Hamburg grapes and the benches laden with plants  propagated by our Garden Volunteers.sweet black hamburg grapesAcross the path, the hot house next to the orchard is also receiving some TLC. Thanks to a donation from The William Dudley Trust, damaged glass panes are being replaced by Jericho Construction. This green house, which dates back to the origins of Martineau Gardens,  is where the more tender plants are cultivated. There are also Camellia sinensis (tea plant), orchids, a bird of paradise plant and a wide variety of cacti and succulents. In spring, cascades of jasmine fill the air with a sweet scent.

Repairing glass panels on the hot house

Repairing glass panels on the hot house

Winter work at Martineau Gardens December 17, 2013

Winter tasks at Martineau Gardens

Winter tasks at Martineau Gardens

Volunteering at Martineau Gardens continues over the winter months. It’s a perfect day for gardening today – it might be cold but blue skies, bright sunlight and a fire all make for a good day of volunteering. Not to mention  the sounds of the birds and scuffles of the woodland animals closeby in our wildlife area.  Today the Garden volunteers have been mulching paths, sweeping up the last of the leaves and are about to stop for a well earned teabreak around the fire.  Tree surgeons donate wood to Martineau Gardens, which over the winter months, volunteers chop into logs. The logs are then sold to our customers for wood burning stoves and open fires and profits are ploughed back into the running costs of the charity. Pictured here, Stewart and our Garden volunteers have been sorting out wood that’s suitable for chopping. The pieces that are just too knobbly to work with are creating a welcome warmth on this wintery day.

Don’t forget that Martineau Gardens is open throughout the winter months. Do visit us over winter, for a breath of fresh air, a stomp through the woodland or pick up some preserves and compost.

Opening times over the Festive Period:

Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm, except closed Tuesday 24 December and reopen 10am Thursday 2 January.

Grow Your Tenner November 25, 2013


A tranquil spot by the Paper bark maple

Donate to Martineau Gardens, via Local Giving

We’re not suggesting money grows on trees, but the Grow Your Tenner Match Fund campaign, organised by fundraising website, Local Giving, will match donations of up to £10 made to Martineau Gardens via their website, and make it grow. This means, if you give  £10 to Martineau Gardens, and it qualifies for Gift Aid, Martineau Gardens would receive £21.54.

Make it go further with Match Funds

Here’s how match funds work via Local Giving:

£10.00   Your donation

+ £10.00   Donation matched by

+ £ 2.50    Gift Aid (For UK taxpayers)

= £22.50

After a small processing fee, your £10 single donation with Gift Aid means that Martinau Gardens receives £21.54. A £10 donation without Gift Aid means the charity receives £19.16.

For supporters setting up regular monthly giving, new monthly donations set up during the campaign will be matched up to £10 for six months. Local Giving has £500,000 to allocate to small local charities, like Martineau Gardens. Local Giving will match donations until the £500,000 has been claimed. Donations made to Martineau Gardens via the website by our supporters will be matched pound-for pound up to £10 per donation. And if you qualify, gift aid can be claimed to add another 25%.

Please don’t delay, this regional campaign runs for a short period of time.

We are very grateful to those of you who already support us with regular monthly giving, if you don’t give regularly but have been considering it, giving on-line via Local Giving is a straightforward way and of enormous benefit to Martineau Gardens, regular donations help us plan the cash flow and make sure that essential needs are met.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Donate to Martineau Gardens, via Local Giving

Local Giving Logo

6/8 Kafe November 11, 2013

IMG_1383We’re delighted that 6 / 8 Kafe, on Temple Row, Birmingham has selected Martineau Gardens to be their chosen charity this month.

Not only is this an opportunity for us to promote ourselves in the city centre but we’re also running a Christmas stall and ‘operating’ a gardening surgery. Pop in for a coffee, come and say hello and don’t forget to bring your gardening queries. These are the days that Martineau Gardens will be taking a little bit of the ‘garden’ into town:

Mon 18 November, Wed 27 November and Fri  6 December

From 12nooon until 6pm we’ll be selling jams, chutneys, cards and plants and from 4– 6pm, Stewart and Rachael (our Social and Therapeutic Horticulturalists) will be running a special drop-in garden questions surgery especially for customers at 6 / 8 Kafe.

Find out more about 6 / 8 Kafe:

Located close to St Phillips Cathedral  and opposite House of Fraser, at 6/8 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5HG.


6 / 8 Kafe customers – Martineau Gardens is a 30 minute walk from the cafe (or an 8 minute bus ride, Nos 61 & 63 from New Street station). To plan your walking journey, use this link at

Logo snipped from website

Outdoor Ed Skills Share 2 Nov October 24, 2013

Martineau Gardens is hosting the next Outdoor Education Skills Share on Saturday 2 November 2013, organised by Birmingham Forest OAKS. The day is aimed at anyone who has an interest in outdoor education, whether you have bags of experience or are new to the subject, this will be an opportunity to brush-up on skills, network with likeminded people and share tips and advice, plus biscuits!

Birmingham Forest OAKS runs skills shares quarterly and our November event is entitled Film making, firelighting and friendship. This will be an exciting opportunity to look at how you can capture the amazing stuff that you do using video and photography.  Depending on the weather, we’ll be firelighting, cooking and /or pond dipping, and of course, taking inspiration from the beautiful surroundings of Martineau Gardens.

We’re delighted that Rachel Gillies, Community Film Maker, is going to be running the film-making workshop for us. Rachel has worked with a wide range of organisations including youth groups, community projects, schools, residents’ groups and lobby groups. She’ll be teaching film and photography skills that are universal, but essential, whether you’re an occaisonal film maker or a Hollywood director!

Bring any equipment you have (though note this is an outdoor event) mobile phones with cameras are fine. It’s not a pre-requisite to have a camera, we may well have some additional equipment to work with, thanks to Rachel. 

The Skills Share will be preceded by the AGM, from 10am until 10.30am.

The Skills Share runs from 11am until 3pm.

How to Book for the Skills Share

Places are limited, booking is essential. Registration is £5, per participant, please book direct withBirmingham Forest OAKS (not Martineau Gardens). Contact Sharon on 0121 323 5388 or

Getting to the Skills Share

Martineau Gardens is at 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5 7UG

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Martineau Gardens is well served by buses. The nearest bus routes are  1, 45, 47, 61, 63, X64. To plan your journey by public transport, visit TransportDirect and use the postcode search – Martineau Gardens postcode is B5 7UG.

About Birmingham Forest OAKS

The skills share is organised by members of Birmingham Forest OAKS (Outdoor Activities and Knowledge Sharing), a voluntary group, formally know as the Birmingham FEI Group. November Skill Sharing and AGM. The group aims to:

  • Provide safe opportunities to learn and play in a stimulating natural environment
  • Develop understanding of and care for the environment
  • Provide training, skill sharing and the promotion of outdoor learning to facilitate this
  • Members support  these aims by volunteering time, space and resources



Winners of Recycling Award October 3, 2013

It’s official – Martineau Gardens is one of Birmingham’s recycling champions! At the Birmingham Recycling Awards Ceremony (Tuesday 1 October 2013), Martineau Gardens was awarded Winner in the best community & neighborhood project category.

If you’d like to find out more about how we recycle at Martineau Gardens, click here.

Peter has run again – please donate October 2, 2013

News Update (26 November 2013) – A big thank you to Peter and a big thank you to all of you who sponsored him, the grand total is £2,130.

News Update (23 October 2013) – a whopping £1, 465 raised so far – help Peter get to his target of £2,000 by 20 November, 2013.

News Update (21 October 2013): He did it! And without too many blisters we hear … it’s not too late to sponsor Peter – at the bottom of this page are details of how you can contribute.

Peter Arnold, Chair of Trustees ran for Martineau Gardens in the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 20 October, 2013. This is the third time that Peter has donned his running shoes for us. This is no mean feat, Peter is 64, works full time as a barrister and … has an allotment to maintain (and we all know how demanding that can be). There is a huge commitment of time, effort and mental determination for anyone who decides to participate in a long-distance run, such as the Great Run.

Peter Arnold Sept 2013

Pictured here, Peter explains why he is doing this for Martineau Gardens:

” So why am I doing this? Martineau Gardens is a vital resource for our community – I live nearby. It’s close to the city and yet it provides a place where you can go to get a breath of fresh air and forget about the hussle and bustle of life’s demands.

When I’ve had a busy day, I like to unwind at my allotment, dig up a potato or two or pick an apple but for many of the volunteers who take part in the Therapautic Horticulture project at Martineau Gardens, gardening is much more than a hobby, in fact gardening at Martineau Gardens gives them a reason not to give up, when the going gets tough. The Gardens are a place where vulnerable people feel valued. So please dig deep, and give generously.”


 How You Can Sponsor Peter:

1) By donating online through MyDonate which is totally secure. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to Martineau Gardens and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. To donate on-line, please go to my fundraising page:

2) By posting a cheque to Martineau Gardens, 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5 7UG

(Please make cheques payable to ‘Martineau Gardens’)

If you would like to know more about how Martineau Gardens helps vulnerable people and others, watch our film:

 Your support would make such a difference

7 October 2013 October 1, 2013

Wildife Report just in: Brian has just returned from his weekly survey of the Gardens.

Red-Green Carpet Moth, identified on a Moth Trapping Survey

Red-Green Carpet Moth, identified on a Moth Trapping Survey

Weather: Mild, still some insects around including tree bumble bee, common carder bee and dock bug

Some plants still in flower like the Deptford pink (this is scarce), hemp agrimony, borage, sedum and the brightly orange fox and cubs plant. In the pond, watermint is in flower.

Fungi – looking out, not yet

Birds: buzzard soaring overhead, heard bullfinch, nuthatch and longtail tits.

When you’re next at the Gardens, why not pick up a Nature Trail leaflet or pop into the bird hide to see our weekly record and you can always borrow binoculars from the office or browse our wildlife library in the Visitor Room.