Author: Glynis Powell

#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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