Honey Show Sept 8-9 August 7, 2012

 We’re delighted to announce that the Birmingham Honey Show is returning to Martineau Gardens, a fantastic event, organised by the Birmingham and District Beekeeping Association and is a Heritage Open Day event. The event will take place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, 2012,  from 10am – 4pm.  To find out more about the Honey Show, click here.

Like Bees Around a Honey pot … a bee keeper gets ready for the Honey Show at Martineau Gardens

Green Flag for Martineau July 17, 2012

We’re delighted to announce we’ve been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Community Award today (Tuesday 17 July),  for the third year running.

Green Flag Community Awards (part of the Green Flag Award scheme) recognise and reward the best community run green parks in the country andMartineau Gardens stood out after impressing the inspector. The Gardens were judged against eight criteria: a welcoming place; healthy safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; biodiversity and heritage; community involvement; management and achievements.

Caroline Hutton, Director,Martineau Gardens said:

Martineau Gardens are a community-run garden that’s open for free to the public. This award is a tribute to the dedication of our volunteers who work hard to keep the gardens a beautiful and tranquil spot for Birmingham people to come and relax in.”

For more information about the awards visit: www.greenflagaward.org.uk 

Summer Fun for Children July 9, 2012

Three new holiday clubs are coming to the Gardens’ this summer.  ‘Wild Things’  on selected days in August (10am—4pm) gives children aged eight to twelve years the chance to participate in wildlife activities. (Parental supervision is not required.) Or on the last three Fridays of August (11.30am—1pm), join the Femtinos (four little aliens visiting planet earth) for family sessions for children aged two to eleven. And finally, we’re delighted to announce that due to popular demand, a children’s Saturday morning pottery group is beginning. Read on to find out more:

Wild Things

Gill Preston, founder of Wild Things, is bringing a Summer Activities Club for 8 – 12 year olds to Martineau Gardens this August. Here, she explains the activities that she will be running at the Gardens this summer.

“Our clubs are a great way for children to have fun, exercise and meet new friends during the holidays. Your child’s enjoyment is our priority and we have a wide range of activities including pond dipping, bug hunts, bird watching and scarecrow making. All tempered by a variety of more calming arts and crafts in nature activities.”

Each day begins at 10am and ends at 4pm and the following dates are available throughout August. Alternatively you can book shorter sessions, on the same dates, 10am – 12 pm or 2pm – 4pm.

1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd and 29th, 30th.

The cost per child per full  day is £25, (or £10 for shorter sessions) there are some concessions available, please contact Gill Preston for details. Parents / carers are not expected to stay at Martineau Gardens during the session.

Advance booking is essential.

Book your child’s place for a fun day in the beautiful setting of Martineau Gardens in the heart of Birmingham.

To Book

To book a place please call Gill Preston at Wild Things on 07772447452 or email gllpreston@hotmail.co.uk

More Information …

For more information about Wildthings, and specific activities planned for each date, visit the web page at wildthingsgardens.wordpress.com

The Femtinos

Join the Femtinos this summer holidays for some fun filled activities.  Inquisitive Explorers, who created the Femtinos, explains exactly who they are:

“Femtinos are four little aliens who have travelled across the universe and discovered planet Earth. Each week they explore different topics and learn something new and exciting.”


Friday 17 August, 11:30 to 1pm, Trees & Leaves Workshops

Have fun compiling some information for the aliens about the different types of trees at the Gardens. Find out if there is a relationship between how wide a tree trunk is and the size and shape of its leaves!

Friday 24 August, 11:30 to 1pm, Nests & Feathers

The Femtinos find the bird creatures of Planet Earth fascinating. Help the aliens compile a record of all the lovely birds we see in the gardens and create some colourful collages with feathers and craft materials.

Friday 31st August, 11:30 to 1pm, Treasure Hunt

The aliens have hidden letters around the gardens. Work in teams to explore what the gardens have to offer and see if you can find all the hidden clues. Also have fun designing your own treasure map and clues.

Please note:

Inquisitive Explorers Ltd reserves the right to alter the contents of the workshops in the event of bad weather. Please ensure children are appropriately dressed for the outdoors. Advance booking is essential.

To Book

Places are limited, advance booking essential at www.femtinos.com

Femtinos at Martineau Gardens, suitable for 2 – 11s, parental/guardian supervision required. Cost is £4 per child.

Saturday Morning Children’s Pottery

A children’s pottery group is running for six weeks at Martineau Gardens. This will be an opportunity for your child to learn basic pottery skills, under the direction of Linda Harvey (session leader at the Martineau Gardens’ events). Linda says, “I’ll be encouraging the children to express their own enthusiasm and ideas in what will be a very relaxed environment.”

There will be two one-hour sessions each Saturday, 10.30am – 11.30am and 12noon – 1pm, on the following dates: Sat 28 July, 4 August, 11 August, 18 August, 25 August, 1 September. The cost per child, per hours is £5; all age groups are welcome. Parents / guardians should stay at Martineau Gardens during the sessions, where we’re sure you’ll enjoy the therapeutic surroundings. Parents of under 5s will need to stay with their children in the studio and will be given an opportunity to enjoy it as much as the children do. Advance booking essential.


Please book direct with pottery group organiser Linda Harvey on 0758 1783652 or e-mail linda.harvey@live.co.uk. Linda says, “If your child has particular needs, please do not hesitate to inform me – I will do my best to meet their needs”.

The information above is correct at time of publication, but for latest details, please check with the organisers direct.

Martineau Gardens will continue to be open to the public, as usual, throughout August (except Sundays and the bank holiday on Monday 27 August). For full details of Martineau Gardens’ opening times, click here.

Storytelling Festival Pictures June 23, 2012

The second day of the Martineau Gardens Storytelling Festival  (Saturday 23 June) included swashbuckling tales around the prirate ship, a teddy bear’s picnic, a dragon’s quest plus Earth Oven tales in the outdoor kitchen. There were performances of the Princesses of Grimm and Stories Shakespeare Forgot, in the marquee. Dance and music from the Black Adder Morris Clog Dancers and the Moseley Village Band were enjoyed by us all.

To see some pictures of what’s been happening, visit our facebook site.


The Story Yurt is Here June 21, 2012

The Yurt, glimpsed through woodland

The Yurt, Glimpsed from a Woodland Path

The Storytelling Festival is all set for this weekend (22 and 23 June): come rain or shine, Martineau Gardens and the Traditional Arts Team are ready to welcome you to a family-friendly festival of storytelling, music and more at Martineau Gardens. A marquee, a bell-tent and a yurt will all provide protection from the rain and in between the showers, enjoy outdoor performances in woodland glades, around the earth oven and the pirate ship.  Tickets are available on the gate on the night, (or in advance to callers in person to Martineau Gardens Thursday and Friday until 5pm).

Yurts have been in use at least since the 13th century, a portable wood-framed dwelling used by nomadic people. Yurts are designed to be dismantled and the parts carried compactly on camels  or yaks to be rebuilt on another site. Our Yurt, located in a woodland glade of Martineau Gardens will be the setting for several performances during the Storytelling Festival including, ‘Sun and Rain, Wind and Weather’, ‘Fearsome Stories for Fearsome Families’ and ‘Dragon’s Den’. More details about theFestival Programme are here and full details about the festival and how to buy tickets are here.

FB Yurt, pattern

Lattice Pattern on Yurt Wall

Yurt, by one heart circle

The Yurt, by the One Heart Circle

FB sky view from yurt

A Sky View from the Yurt

Earth Oven Tales 23 June June 19, 2012

A rehearsal for Earth Oven Tales (part of the Martineau Gardens Storytelling Festival on Fri 22 and Sat 23 June 2012) took place today. Our ‘outdoor kitchen’ is one of a series of ‘stages’ that storytellers will perform in during the festival. A yurt, a marquee, a pirate ship, a bell tent and woodland glades located throughout our 2.5 acre community garden, will become venues for dramatic performances.

Storyteller Catriona Heatherington (from the Traditional Arts Team) was joined by  Antonello Turco, Italian chef, baked foccaccio (flat oven-baked Italian bread), in our Earth Oven. Pictures here, Antonello has topped the bread with herbs picked fresh from Martineau Gardens’ herb beds (with a little help from his daughter). Antonello is a chef and organic producer of Spumante, Vermouth containing 18 different herbs and Olive Oil.  Passionate about tradition, he uses the highly prized “Black Flour” from San Marco, gleaned after the harvested field has been burned. True to his organic roots, Antonello uses the only flour that he can be certain has not been genetically modified. During the festival, Catriona and Antonello will capture the taste, history and stories of Southern Italy.

Earth Oven Tales - Catriona and Antonella - Rehearsal
Earth Oven Tales – Catriona and Antonello cooking up stories around the Earth Oven

July – Wildlife News June 18, 2012

Brimstone Moth

18. July. 2012

This beautiful, bright coloured moth, was spotted by one of our Wildlife Recorders, during last night’s moth trapping session.






Wren Chick, Martineau Gardens

July has been a wonderful month for bird watching. We’ve seen buzzards soaring overhead, even a sparrow hawk landing in our summer meadow. We’ve also seen several species of birds raising their young, including a family of wrens nesting in the eaves of the Pavilion (pictured here). The chicks have now fledged. It’s been a pleasure to see the attentive parents flitting from the building to the garden and back, for food.


A Wren Pops In

This inquisitive wren popped in the office last week. Here it is surveying the gardens. You can see how tiny it is, it’s nestled itself in between a plug and  a garden fork. Only the goldcrest is smaller than the wren.

Storytelling Programme Released June 18, 2012

The Martineau Gardens Storytelling Festival is taking place on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June. Here’s a sneak preview of all that is planned. (Tickets are available on the gate, to find out more click here.)

Friday 22 June – Evening (gate opens 5.30pm)

Secret Stories of the Woods –(6.30pm – 7.30pm) from Storyteller Studio.

The trees have stories to tell – hear of Merlin’s magic; a bold knight; bewitched maidens.  Roam the Gardens and find the storytellers who will intrigue and enchant you.  And make some unusual jewellery

Storytelling Concert in the Marquee (8pm – 10pm)

Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight

Remember King Arthur?  Well Gawaine was one of his star knights, a great guy, always ready to stand up and be counted. But with the Green Knight he may have met his match. Told by Graham Langley, accompanied by Pam Bishop

(15-20 minute interval)

Stories from the Rainforest

Told by Ana Marie Lines, accompanied by Mark Magoo Robertson

Saturday 23 June  – Morning & Afternoon (gate opens 10 am)

From 10am until 5.30pm, a wide selection of events during the day including Storytelling in the Marquee, the Yurt, the Bell Tent and around the Pirate Ship, visit the Earth oven to feast on food and stories.  Teddy Bear’s Picnic for the under 5’s at teatime plus all day craft making, craft stalls and plants for sale

A Tangled Web (Pirate Ship, 10.30am) from Graham Langley & Pam Bishop 

Traditional stories, songs and music to set the festival off to a bright start – but expect some surprises along the way!


Interactive Storytelling (Marquee, 10.30am) Catriona Heatherington

Learn to tell an ancient legend together using English, Urdu and plenty of action.  Have fun and liven up your Saturday morning.


Sun and Rain, Wind and Weather (Yurt, 10.30am) from Cath Edwards (especially for under 5’s)

A new way of enjoying the English weather.  Interactive stories, songs and rhymes celebrating the fun of being outdoors.


Fearsome stories for Fearless Families, (Bell Tent, 11.30am & Yurt 3.30pm) from Belinda McKenna

Stories full of witches, ghosts and things that lurk in the night.


Stories for Grown-ups – from Malcolm Speake (Yurt, 11.30am & Bell Tent 1.30pm)

Come and laugh – or be terrified – by one of his ghost stories


Moseley Village Band (Glades & Spaces, 12noon & 1.30pm)

Music in the style of the traditional English village band, arrangements like those played by country musicians of Thomas Hardy’s time.


Earth Oven Tales (Earth Oven, 12.30pm and 1.30pm)  Catriona Heatherington

Bake your own foccaccio with an Italian chef. Find out how to use an earth oven. Listen to Italian legends of the earth.   Eat and enjoy!

£2, booking on the day essential


Come and See What’s in the Garden (Yurt, 1.30pm) from Cath Edwards (especially for under 5’s)

Birds and plants, minibeasts and trees;  lots of stories, songs and rhymes all about the Gardens, so come and join in!


Pirate Adventure (Pirate Ship, 2.30pm) with Cath Edwards & Sharon Carr-Wu (Especially for children 7 – 11).

Calling all pirates! Join us, shipmates, for tales and songs of low deeds on the high seas: treasure and treachery, shipwrecks and shanties.

Gory Stories – (Yurt 2.30pm) with Dawn Powell (Over 8’s only)

Quiver, shiver and feel the tingle in your spine as you sing along to tales of the supernatural. Are you brave? Do you dare to step into the shadow lands?

 Manx Myths and Monsters (Marquee, 3.30pm) with Kit Bathgate

Follow a native guide to the Isle of Man, where the weather is a wizard’s work and fishermen are stalked by amorous mermaids


Teddy Bears’ Picnic (Earth Oven, 3.30pm) With Catriona Heatherington

Go on a walk with Teddy to find good things for Teddy to eat. Bring them to the picnic and make Teddy happy.  For little children and anyone who loves their Teddy.


Dragons’ Den –  (Yurt, 4.30pm) from Dawn Powell

Welcome to the World of Stories as told by champion storyteller Dawn Powell.  Step into the magical world of dragons and enjoy a feast of words and a magical adventure.


Dragon Quest –(Glades & Spaces, 5pm) Catriona Heatherington (for anyone brave enough to go!)

Go on a quest through the Gardens. Use your knowledge. Test your skills. Be ready for action and tricks of the dragon.


Saturday 23 June – Evening (gate opens 6pm)

6.15 pm    until 7.15pm  Secret Stories of the Woods – the trees have more stories.

The trees have stories to tell – hear of Merlin’s magic; a bold knight; bewitched maidens.  Roam the Gardens and find the storytellers who will intrigue and enchant you.  And make some unusual jewellery

7.30 pm     Our Finale – Concert in the Marquee

Princesses of Grimm – From the kitchen to the throne room, the women of the brothers Grimm have ways to make sure they rule the roost.  Stories from Kit Bathgate, Cath Edwards and Sharon Carr-Wu

 (15-20 minute interval)

Stories Shakespeare Forgot!

Shakespeare lived in a time that was rich in folk tale and legend and used them in his plays. Listen to some of those stories that are still with us today.

9.30pm      Time to say goodbye until next year

For full details about the festival, click here


Storytelling Festival Comes to Martineau Gardens May 29, 2012

Storytelling Festival Coming to Edgbaston

Click through for Festival Information

A new festival for South Birmingham has been announced today. Community Garden Martineau Gardens and Arts Agency the Traditional Arts Team have joined forces to create the Martineau Gardens Storytelling Festival. Combining knowledge of the earth with storytelling wisdom, the festival aims to deliver a range of storytelling, music and craft events to reconnect city dwellers with their natural surroundings. The festival takes place at Martineau Gardens on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 June 2012.

Entertainment planned for the family-friendly event takes place in unusual locations around the Gardens. There will be swashbuckling stories for young and old from the decks of a pirate ship; performances celebrating Grimm and Shakespeare within a story yurt; tales around the earth oven plus stories around the fire under the night sky. There’s also a teddy bears picnic laid on for younger story lovers.

Graham Langley, of the Traditional Arts Team said: “This is a chance for people to experience terrific storytelling and more in a beautiful location – whether it’s a seated marquee performance, Earth Oven tales or a teddy bear’s picnic we’ve created a programme with something for everyone.” 

Caroline Hutton, Director of Martineau Gardens said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming new faces to Martineau Gardens through this Storytelling Festival.”

Single tickets cost cost £7 (Friday/Saturday evening) and £10 (Saturday day) and family tickets cost £14 (Friday / Saturday evening) and £20 (Saturday day). Tickets are available in advance, to callers in person to Martineau Gardens, by post or on the gate on (subject to availability). To avoid disappointment, advance booking is recommended. Cash or cheque only. Martineau Gardens is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm, 27 Priory Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7UG. Further information about the festival is available here  or by telephoning   0121 440 7430


Wildlife Report May 28, 2012

28 May Wildlife Report

Orange Tip Butterfly, Martineau Gardens

Orange Tip Butterfly, Martineau Gardens

Today’s wildlife report just in! Every week, our wildlife recorder Brian Perry, walks the gardens, noting wildlife changes. Here’s his report for today:

The warm weather has seen lots of insects appearing. On the butterfly front, unusually early a painted lady, plus orange tip, small white and holly blue attracted to the flowers in the summer wildflower meadow. The meadow is a feast for the eyes with red campion and ox-eye daisy in abundance.

Red Campion in the Summer Meadow, Martineau Gardens

Red Campion in the Summer Meadow, Martineau Gardens

Elsewhere we’ve been following the progress of a great-tit family – the youngest has finally fledged and we have 3 sets of nesting blue-tits – you can hear the young if you visit soon. There are three types of ladybirds (7 spot, 14 spot and a harlequin, plus dock bugs and damselflies darting around. Wildflowers in bloom this week include fox gloves, yellow iris (by the pond), cow parsley, dog rose, bistort and forget me not.

Photo credits: B Perry