Category: Latest News

Fun and Frolics in the Gardens this August!

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Staycations at the Gardens

August in the Gardens is so packed with lovely activities, performances and treats there is surely no reason to risk those queues and crowds by going any further afield.

In the ‘New Normal’ we have revamped some of the way we do things and almost all activities now will be ‘pre-booked’.

So, in addition to normal Day Entry and our popular picnic takeaway ‘Cream Tea in A Box’ we have for visitors delight;

First Songs musical sessions for babies and their grown ups and Relaxed Concerts by the renowned  B’Opera who create  beautiful music for tiny ears.

Yoga sessions with Yogi Clair  – two sessions in the outdoors follow by a cream tea.

We have so many charming spaces in the Gardens and we are really pleased to be able to use them to enhance these sessions – what a memory to be made! Baby’s first ‘move and groove’ under the heritage apple trees.

The size of the Archery Lawn of course allows us to spread out and keep safe while still enjoying live performances from great local theatre companies.

Tread the Boards based in Stratford and Heartbreak Productions based in Leamington are bouncing back from lockdown with specially adapted performances for the family audience

Tickets for Wind in the Willows and Alice in Lockdown will go on sale on this site by the end of this week.

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Re-opening! Dates and plans

The Gardens are re-opening!

Starting with 2 special weekends for Members Only:  6th/7th and 13th/14th June.

Opening to the general public will start on Wednesday 17th June (Wednesdays to Sundays).

We are really pleased to be able to welcome people back into the Gardens again.

We know spirits will be lifted by a wander – or a run- in the Gardens, but we will naturally be monitoring how we can manage safety.  Numbers will be limited and there are no activities planned at present. Family picnics will be welcome – please take home your rubbish – we cannot dispose of it at present.

Most of the Gardens’ staff are on furlough and we are managing a limited volunteer return. So, preparing for opening and stewarding is a big job- please bear with us.

Tickets, for the Members weekends and general opening from 17th , will be released on Wednesday 3 June.

Full details will be released next week.

More details

In order to open the Gardens safely, we have had to make some changes to how we welcome visitors.

Everyone MUST book in advance, including Members.  New booking time slots will become available each Friday at midday for the following week.

When you come, you will notice some differences to your usual visit:

  • The entrance courtyard will have separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ lanes.
  • The Visitor Centre will be closed.
  • Your pre-booked ticket and/or membership card will be checked in – contactless – from the wooden steps.
  • The Orangery will be selling limited takeaway refreshments.
  • Cards, gifts, jams and pickles will also be sold from here (1 person at a time in shop only)
  • All payments will be by contactless card only, or cash into a donation box (no change given).
  • For the time-being the mud kitchen will shut in line with Government guidance.
  • To maintain health standards there will be limited access to the Toilets.
  • All areas of the Gardens are open, but there are reminders to keep a minimum of 2m apart. Please Pause and make way for someone to pass on a narrow paths. Please respect this for the safety of  everyone.
  • Picnics are welcome – within the government guidelines. Please take your rubbish home – we cannot dispose of it, at present.

All arrangements have been risk assessed but will be constantly reviewed and may change without notice.

How to book

All visitors, including Members will need to book a ticket in advance.

We are sorry but there will be no ticket sales/bookings on the day.

We will post the link for booking the first week on Wednesday 3 June on our website, Facebook page and in our email newsletter.

A limited telephone booking system will be in place for those unable to book online. Telephone booking can be made on Thursday and Friday mornings 11am – 1pm. We can take credit card numbers over the phone.

The process will be as follows:

  • Please book one ticket per person, except for children aged five or under as they don’t need a ticket.
  • Currently the tickets will be for the whole day – but a limited number of tickets will be sold for the day.
  • New opening times 10.30 -4.30pm. We plan to introduce regular early evening openings later.
  • Dogs on leads are welcome.
  • Please note: we are not currently accepting two for one cards or other cards at present, we will keep this under review. RHS members need to book in advance.

 

 

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Tulips 2021- Thank You!!

Thanks to our lovely supporters we have hit, and exceeded, our target to ensure we can buy our spring bulbs next year!

Whoopee! That really is a great relief to our gardeners, who are always thinking seasons and seasons ahead.

Your help now, and in the future, really will make a difference to the Gardens’ survival.

Did you know it costs over £550 per day – every day of the year to keep the Gardens running smoothly, so knowing our plant purchases for next year are safe really helps. Thanks again.

The Gardeners have just taken delivery of the summer bedding for this year- from our excellent local professional supplier Baginton’s.

The cosmos, zinnia, salvia, pelargoniums etc are all looking bright and full of vigour – our visitors may have missed Spring – lets hope Summer is not lost.

Without our regular volunteers it will take a little longer for these to go in, though. We also lost all our nursery and propagation spaces 18 months ago when the hotel decided it wanted to nullify a license agreement – so the plants are distributed around in tiny space and we have nowhere to propagate many of our own plants these days 🙁

Looking back and looking forward:

 

 

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dragons tongue 2020

the dragon arises..

Dracunculus vulgaris:  the Dragon lily

It’s arrived! Also known as ‘snake lily’ and ‘devil’s tongue’ -we can see why.

We’ve been lucky with warm springs of recent years and has given us quite a few years of spectacular moments.

It grows wild in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.

The flower is also noted for its foul smell of rotting flesh.
Flies are attracted to the smell, but this is no flesh eating dragon; the flies just serve as a  pollinator for the flower. Obviously a successful adaptation which has helped this weird plant survive.
I wonder if the flower will last until we can open the gates for all to see?
In the meantime…
dragon lily in full mode 2020
dragons tongue 2020
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Poetry resources from Ian MacMillan

Gardens inspire poetry, poetry inspires Gardens.

The urge to be creative during lockdown has been fuelled, happily, by many tv programmes, blogs and online memes. Hopefully the creativity will not be lost as we emerge slowly from our hibernation.

The radio poet Ian Macmillan, the Barnsley Bard, works extensively with arts groups in Yorkshire. Attached is a document (.pdf) with some really useful prompts and exercises to get our poetry going – whatever age we are.

Creative Directions Resource Pack  wearedarts.org.uk

One of the styles of poem popular in victorian times was the ‘Acrostic’ .

We’ve had a go — how about you?

Here is Ian’s

Here is ours

What about …..?

 

 

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How many species on your doorstep?

Have you been using the inaturalist wildlife spotting app on your walks out and about Castle Bromwich and surrounds?

The On your Doorstep project run by our friends over in B37 has so far gathered 212 different species of plants, insects, animals and birds….

Our Gardener on site has been participating too – although most of the rest of the staff are working from home..

She reports that there are great tits nesting by our office… we often have a nesting pair in the tall pole of our security cameras… I wonder if they’re there this year?

The On Your Doorstep project goes on for another week – and the app continues after that too.  Do download the free app and use it to report your sitings however modest and ordinary – the more we know about all the wildlife around us, the better we will be able to protect it and enjoy it together.

 

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Movement for Good funding…just a click away?

Our specialist insurers, Ecclesiastical, aren’t just a financial institution, their charitable purposes are written into their very constitution; a ‘Movement for Good’. This year they are distributing £1million to good causes.  We would love to be one of them.

As a Charitable Trust the Gardens are dependent on visitor income and grants. Closure this spring because of the health crisis means we have already lost 75% of our annual earned income. So we are entering a period of uncertainty and loss (we are not alone in that).
If you can spare just a few minutes to click the link below  you can nominate the Gardens to win a £1,000 grant. Every little helps the Gardens keep going ..for all of us.

The deadline to apply is this Sunday 24th May

All you’ll need to do is type in our details – Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust and our  charity number: 516855
Winners are drawn at random, so the more times a charity is nominated the more chance it has of being selected.
Thank you very much for your support, please also share if you can!
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volunteer weeding the bean tunnel

Beans and Potatoes – plant, grow, eat and support growers.

Planting and growing beans and potatoes has always meant a lot to us in the Gardens

We try to keep some of the really old varieties going, but we have also wanted to encourage people – especially children – to feel confident about growing their own food.

In February and March schools and family visitors have great fun planting beans and volunteer weeding the bean tunnelwatching them grow; at home or in the Gardens. Many of these beans get planted up in our own gardens to make an annual Bean Tunnel.

Come summer the tunnel is a lush green place to crawl in, explore and peek out to the world. And what a revelation … those long green things hanging down are beans you can eat!

Potatoes

Everyone loves a potato. When we can, we grow some of the oldest varieties from 100 or even 300 years ago – a way of ensuring the biodiversity of our food stock is kept.

But also, potatoes are pretty easy – 1 potato planted, makes a whole plate of chips or mash!

hallmoor students celebrate the harvest

 

 

 

 

We usually have two weekly visiting groups from special schools and colleges: Hallmoor School and Trinity Specialist college. We are missing their input and they are missing their visits to the outdoors here. Our gardeners have been looking after their plot  while they’re away… potatoes and beans doing fine. Let’s hope they can harvest them later in the year.

What you can do

The bean tunnel is partially potted up, so hopefully in the summer people can see that. Why not encourage young ones in your household to plant some beans themselves. When you  visit us later they can compare how tall they have grown. Beans, sunflowers and peas are relatively easy now. Here’s a great ‘how to’  from Cbeebies. https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/makes/plant-pots?collection=national-gardening-week

 

Even if you are not growing potatoes yourself, you can help the farmers who are.

Good and safe food starts with the growers, but many small growers are struggling to keep up in the current times. Some local organisations have banded together to help. Slow Food Birmingham,  and two of groups we already work with, The Real Junk Food Project and The Active WellBeing Society,   have teamed up for a great project – can you help?

http://slowfoodbirmingham.co.uk/campaigns/?fbclid=IwAR2MmZqEt7m2WjZZ-mBPx4LwYdWRr0X4Dznww3HiVvtX-1sMFwyNP9GORZoThe potato project

Charlie, a farmer north of the city, had a field full of spuds and no prospect of selling them because of the drop in trade in the hospitality sector.

There are 10 tonnes of potatoes

Charlie needs to dig up the potatoes and find new customers fast or let them rot and add to the growing numbers of food that is wasted, before it can be eaten. It’s also important that the growers get a decent price for their work and that the potatoes get to the most vulnerable too.

The organisations above are matching up emergency food needs and the general public.  Click below to see how it works.

Buying, donating, paying forward and receiving spuds… all in one project.

If you can’t participate directly – do spread the word about what we can do to make the future of food security better.

http://slowfoodbirmingham.co.uk/campaigns/?fbclid=IwAR2MmZqEt7m2WjZZ-mBPx4LwYdWRr0X4Dznww3HiVvtX-1sMFwyNP9GORZo

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