Asparagus Is Here May 28, 2012

 Asparagus Spears Emerging, Martineau Gardens

Asparagus Spears Emerging

The asparagus beds are producing lots of tasty spears this month. Pictured here, some spears photographed this morning (28 May) just emerging.

There will be new spears available for you to buy, every day – first come first served – until the end of June.

In a couple of days, these spears will look like this:

The mighty asparagus spear

The mighty asparagus spear


Spring Event Success May 24, 2012

Spring Event: hop, skip, jump

Spring Event: hop, skip, jump credit: C Klein

A big thank you to everyone who came to our Spring Event on 20 May, 2012 – we felt it was a huge success with record attendance, despite the chilly weather! Thanks to all our volunteers, supporters and visitors who made this such a terrific day.

Do come come back and see us in the heatwave. Here’s some images of the some of the shady corners of the Gardens, perfect for relaxing in and escaping the heat.

Blackthorn Blossom March 19, 2012

Wildlife report  – just in! BP reports this week, that the Blackthorn blossom growing in our young hedge around the bonfire field is in blossom. The blackthorn will produce sloes in autumn, which we will be adding to our jams. He’s also seen a couple of mallards on the pond and down in the woodland greenfinch, bullfinch, nuthatch, long-tail tit and a mistle thrush. Why not pop down to the gardens for a breath of fresh air and see what you can see this week.

Wildlife sightings March 12, 2012

12 March 2012 – Wildlife report just in! BP always does a weekly walk round the Gardens and records his findings. The warm weather of the last few days has seen insects stirring. All sighted at the Gardens today, a seven spotted ladybird, a bumblebee, and a millipede. Close to our bird hide a great spotted woodpecker and a goldfinch have been spotted. BP also reports hearing a mistlethrush, a buzzard and a greenfinch. New flowers this week, are the lungwort.

Butterflies sightings March 1, 2012

The mild sunny days last week brought our first butterfly sightings, with a Peacock on the Friday (24 February) and a Red Admiral on the Saturday (25 February).

Red Admiral Butterfly, Martineau Gardens

Also, the birds have been more active with Spring approaching.  Some have started singing, including Dunnock, Wren and Nuthatch, and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper have both been present.  The treecreeper is a small, inconspicuous brown and white bird that climbs trees looking for insects.  An old name for it is ‘Mouse Bird’.

Several species of fungi have also been found, including Candlesnuff Fungus, Jelly Ear Fungus and Scarlet Elf Cup.

Candlesnuff Fungus / Stag Horn Fungus, Martineau Gardens

Rare Plant Spotted January 31, 2012

Our Wildlife Recorder and the newly discovered Toothpick plant

A rare non-native plant found last year, at Martineau Gardens, that has kept the experts guessing, has finally been confirmed as the tooth-pick plant (Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam). A garden volunteer was weeding an area around the sundial lawn and spotted a plant that she didn’t recognise. Our wildlife advisor, Brian Perry (pictured here) , called in Mike Poulton (Botanist for the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust) who took a sample which was sent to the Botanical Society for the British Isles (BSBI) referee for alien plants Dr J. L. Mason who confirmed our find. Mike says: “The Martineau Gardens tooth- pick plant find is a first for Birmingham.” The plant is an annual, so we will have to see if it returns.

Fungi in the Woods November 28, 2011

Milk Cap, Martineau GardensMilk Cap


We have been appreciating the fungi in the woods today. I am told by BP our wildlife recorder, that the mild weather has extended the season for mushrooms and toadstools. Today I have just been shown wood blewit, milk cap, bell cap and a wonderful shaggy parasol nestling in piles of leaves in the wildlife area of the Gardens.

Identifying Mushrooms
Identifying Mushrooms

Why not come down to the Gardens this week and see if you can find any fungi? You’re welcome to borrow a field guide to help you with a fungus walk whilst you’re here. Have a look at these pages on the Woodland Trust’s website for further details.

Shaggy Parasol
Shaggy Parasol

Seasonal Greetings Cards November 24, 2011

Robin on the Liquidambar Tree, Martineau Gardens

We have two designs of greetings cards available for you to buy from Martineau Gardens. Wintery scenes caught on camera by one of our volunteers. Priced at £1.20 each, or five for £5, profits raised from the sale of the cards will directly support Martineau Gardens.

Sundial on a frosty morning at Martineau Gardens

We also have artichokes, apples, logs, mulching compost and new fluorescent cycling vests for sale too. We’ll remain open every day except sundays and public holidays, come rain or shine. A warm welcome and a hot drink await you!

The Gardens on BBC 1 September 9, 2011

Martineau Gardens will be on national TV this Saturday!

Tune in to a short piece on ‘The National Lottery: Secret Fortune’ which starts at 8pm on BBC1, on Saturday 10th September. OPAL (the Open Air Laboratories Project) selected Martineau Gardens to be the venue for the promotional film to support its bid for the finals of the National Lottery Good Causes in the Best Environment project category. The film is short – just over two minutes long, but it’s a chance for you to see scientists and children exploring the environment, together, in our beautiful gardens. A great example of the educational work that goes on here.

We’ve Won a Green Flag Community Award July 24, 2011

We’re delighted to announce that Martineau Gardens has been awarded a Green Flag Community Award for a second consecutive year.

The Green Flag Award Scheme has given Martineau Gardens  a ‘thumbs-up’ ,  in recognition that the site is a well-managed and welcoming place, central to the local community. We celebrated the good news on the official announcement day (Monday 25 July 2011) by unfurling the flag and inviting visitors to join us for a cuppa and home-made scones. Martineau Gardens is 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. If you haven’t been to the Gardens recently, come down  and enjoy them in all their summer glory. In the orchard, pears, apples, mulberries and figs are ripening; there’s shade and tranquillity on the sundial lawn and the glimpses of darting dragonflies really lifts the spirits. And, if you’ve enjoyed yourself, why not go to and vote for us in the People’s Choice Award to win a further award.