Author: Glynis Powell

Land Art Festival days for schools and the public

Richard Shilling – acclaimed environmental Land Artist – will make a welcome return to our green and pleasant land in October.

He and his partner Julia Brooklyn, who specialises in working with children, have agreed to run some special days for schools on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th October.

Using natural materials and responding to the environment the class workshops will release individual and group creativity this Autumn.

Half days or whole school length days are available to book. We welcome schools of any kind and

groups of home educated children to book places.

Suitable for all ages and abilities
£5 per child (group prices by negotiation), ring 0121 749 4100 or email to book

 

Julia and Richard have agreed to stay over until Saturday and to continue the Festival feel of their artist residency on Saturday 27th October.  The Land Art Fesitval day will be a drop in anytime, join in and make art together type event. Let our garden inspire you to explore shapes and places together

Normal Garden Entry fees apply (TBC)

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Sorry – cancelled- back next year-Family Music Workshop

The amazing young performers of the K’antu early music ensemble provice a fun and lively  ‘have a go’  music making workshop this summer afternoon (1pm -2.30pm)…

Watch out: vegetable flutes may be involved :-)))

Later at  3.30pm K’antu will enchant us with a concert of early music  in our 17th century Gardens

Normal entry prices apply

Discounted entry for members

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Vandals, mud and bugs

[update: We are overwhelmed by the positive support and reaction of the public to this act of vandalism in the Gardens. we are grateful to everyone for their good wishes and take heart in knwoing that what we are trying to do pleases so many people.  

We are busy prparng for our big 40s event at present, as soon as that is over we will be planning to invite our wellwishesr to be part of the reconstruction of the spaces – it might take a little planning- but we are really looking forward to involving even mor epeople in the pleasure of our spaces…. Please keep a look out for news of how you can help out… .With heartfelt thanks from the volunteers , staff and Trustees]

(PS Many people have asked how they might contribute financially – if this is something yu want and ware able to do, you can make a contriubtion of any size to our Just Giving page HERE.  All contributions for the next month will go directly on the re-build project… THANKS)

…over the past few months thoughtless and destructive intruders have done some stupid things in the Gardens overnight – all of which has cost our charity and hard working volunteers both money and tears. Over the last 2 nights yet more destructive idiocy has happened. This time it directly affects our visitors too. Last night was even worse.
Our little mud kitchen – much beloved by toddlers and parents was set alight. The ‘bug hotel’ built by volunteers and visitors last year to attract creepy crawlies was also burned. The fences protecting the small bridges by our spinney pond have now been trashed 4 times. Its not just stuff we have built , but nearby trees have been scorched too.
Our charity and volunteers look after these unique Gardens on behalf of us all. What brains and hearts get pleasure out of spoiling things for everyone else? They are the few…we are the many…oh, and our hedgehog cameras are now trained on humans…

 

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Water water everywhere

The numbers are in. Yes, March was indeed the wettest month. In fact the wettest for 8 years.

Our Education Officer Ann Brookman has been keeping records and sharing the readings with our school visitors for a while now. Her figures certainly bear out our own gut (wellboot) feelings that its been a drearily damp month.

This March we had a whopping 92mm. The driest year was way back in 2012 with a mere 14.5 millimetres

No doubt some of those extra millimetres come from this year’s snow melt but, even so, the hike

from the previous high (60mm in 2013) is pretty spectacular.

Our grass has certainly suffered this month too. The gardeners have been spending this week

tamping down and reseeding some of the paths that have been churned up by traffic in the snow

and rain.

The lovely new stretch tent (from Tentickle) on the lawn, while providing us and the public some good shelter, has been rather too efficiently gathering the water into little swimming pools on the roof. Good job it’s stretchy.

Ah well… April showers to come…..

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Membership 2018

On this form you can become a member of the Gardens and also renew a current membership. When you have completed the form, please click on the link to the online payment page. You can pay by Credit Card or by Paypal (you do not have to have a paypal account ).

Thank you for joining us and helping the Gardens to provide pleasure for all our vistors .

Click the link to purchase your membership HERE

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#wegrowtogether: a guide to companion planting

There’s a lot of wisdom out there amongst professional and amateur gardeners. Much folklore and science knowledge handed down from generation to generation. 

In the post second world war  ‘nuke everything with a chemical’ era, a lot of native knowledge about what grew well with what, was lost and indeed strongly poo-poohed as ‘magic’ and superstition.

Thankfully since then, largely due to the Organic Gardening lobby, a more rational approach and some good scientific studies have been instrumental in making the practice of ‘companion planting’ an accepted practice amongst mainstream gardeners.

In our veg. and herb garden (the Batty Langley), we tend to mix some pre-18th century practices with some modern wisdom. We don’t use chemicals and plant calendula, nasturtiums, borage, comfrey etc plants amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects.

On the Schools plot we have also experimented with ‘Three Sisters’ planting. This is a techniques used primarily by native north american peoples and combines three main agricultural crops winter squash, maize (corn), and climbing beans.

“The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to        climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other  plants use, and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, helping prevent the establishment of weeds. The squash leaves also act as a “living mulch”, creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Corn, beans, and squash contain complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and all eight essential amino acids, allowing most Native American tribes to thrive on a plant-based diet.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)

There is quite a lot of information out there on the web but we thought we would share a guide made by one of our helpful commercial partners, FirstTunnels.

Click here to be taken to their very comprehensive site

https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/page/Companion-Planting-Guide

 

 

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Love Drawing… make a date for our monthly sessions

We are delighted to welcome back the ‘flower fairies’ from Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists.

Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists logoLast year the talented artists from the Society sat in the Garden, the greenhouse, the visitor centre whichever was the most comfortable, and drew together, once a month.

They are back again this year starting on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday 14th at 1.30pm

They invite anyone to join them, in companionship, for a couple of hours each month

Each season has a fresh thing to discover; an early apricot, a humble seedhead or a spectacular flower. some decided to follow a tree the whole year around, others had a go at whatever they found.

Love drawing, but too shy to show anyone?
Well come along on these monthly Wednesday afternoons. Everyone is welcome to take their ‘line for a walk’, with pencil and paper in a relaxed and non-judgemental atmosphere. Draw in companionship.
And… if you do want advice and comment, then the artists are on hand to helpyou out.
LOVE drawing this Valentine’s Day …make it a monthly date.

The second Wednesday in the Month – 1.30 -3.30pm

Bring your own materials or take advantage of some basic pen and paper we’ll provide.

Normal entry fees apply but (basic)materials and support are free

 

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Wedding Fair – Elite Tents

Another special opening in the early season. More and more people like the freedom of an outdoor wedding reception, so we are thrilled to host Elite Tents very own Wedding Fair for a weekend.

Couples are relishing more and more the opportunity to create their own style, have control of the budget and find the freedom to spread across a landscape. 

We have been welcoming parties and receptions into the Gardens for a couple of years now. Various contractors know us and what the space can offer. This weekend one of our lovely partners, Elite Tents, will be gathering a bunch of scrumptious suppliers and showing you just what a wedding reception could be here.

Jodie and Nicki’s wedding with Sami Tipi tent

Entry on both days will be free.

Come and speak to them and us about hiring the Gardens for your event

While you’re here, wander the extensive grounds to see the snowdrops, aconites and emerging daffodils.
FREE entry

Click here to see our hire information Hiring the Gardens

See the poster here: Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Open Day March 2018

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Sunday Saunters…special weekend openings for winter wanderings

Sometimes all you want on Sunday afternoon at this time of year is a bit of fresh air and a stretching of the legs.

No kitting up for a long walk in the hills, just a stroll around a green and peaceful place…

This winter we are having a series of special weekend openings at the Gardens with this need in mind. There are five ‘Sunday Saunters’ between the end of January and the beginning of the season in April.

Late Winter and early Spring is also just a fascinating time in our Gardens.. the snowdrops, aconites and hellebores begin to emerge. As the days get longer the birds (and the box hedges!) get more active. Soon our drifts of daffodils begin to shoot up. When we are lucky enough to have some sunshine the low raking light illuminates the walkways and creates intriguing silhouettes.

We like to share these transient treasures, so Sunday opening offers a chance for our busy visitors to have a couple of hours of healthy pootering outdoors.

Of course it’s still a bit parky, so we have opened our 18th century Greenhouse (sometimes known as the Orangery) for people to find shelter and get a cup of warming chocolate.

On some of the days we will also strike up the firepit and indulge in toasted marshmallows and have some simple family crafts too.

 

Here are the dates. Do check back to the events calendar on this site or on Facebook just to make sure.

Sundays, 11am – 3pm

£4 adults, £1 children. Free for Members

 28th January Snowdrops+ RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and family craft
 4th February Snowdrops
18th February
  4th March Daffs + Elite Tents Wedding Fair on site  (free entry)
18th March Good for Daffs

 

 

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two women serving in the cafe and smiling

Volunteering opportunities

We are an all year round Garden and visitor attraction so, although winter is not usually a time for  picnics, we’re still really busy with open days, planting, catering and looking after group visits, preparing the summer events programme, mending fences, updating our website, welcoming school groups and clearing out our files….

We may be an oasis of green calm in the city but, like the elegant swan, there’s a lot going on under the surface …. and most of it is done by volunteers.

We offer a multitude of opportunities  for all kinds of skill sets, whether you want to improve your CV and gain new skills or meet new people, whether you have limited or lots of time, we welcome everyone.

On the 1st of February, 10am-1pm, we are holding an open morning for potential volunteers where you get a taste of the garden and find out what we are looking for in volunteers and what we can offer you. The garden is rich in history, nature, and culture, and hosts a diverse range of events, including heritage days, concerts and performances, and family friendly activities. There really is something for every interest!

To register interest or for more information please email gen.manager@cbhgt.org.uk or phone 0121 749 4100, or you’re more than welcome just to come on the day!

CBHG has a large car park and is easily accessible by public transport- the X12/X70/94 buses from the centre of town take you almost directly to our door (Southfield Avenue stop)

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