Category: Latest News

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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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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Site Supervisor posts

We are recruiting….. please see below for details 

or download the JD here: Casual Site Supervisor JD 2018#1

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust, is a 10 acre Historic Garden and visitor centre tucked away off the Chester Road in Castle Bromwich.

The Charity has been looking after the Gardens for over 30 years and opens 7 days a week to the public. We run a small café and gift shop and lots of public events – mainly during the day, sometimes into the evening.

About the Post.

We are looking for new team members who would like to work with our charity and support the local community. You will be responsible for keeping our site secure and available for use. We are looking for responsible people who can work independently.

The Supervisor will also take an active part in the running of the site on their Duty Days; Candidates for the job may have either Retail/Visitor Services experience or be an experienced Gardener.

Job Title: Premises/Site Manager – Seasonal Weekends (some weekdays possible)

Contract: Fixed term

Hours: Generally 11.45am – 4.45pm Saturdays and/or Sundays and some Bank holidays.

We require a minimum commitment of 15- 20 weekend days during the summer season (April to October). You will work with other members of the team on a negotiated rota.

Location: Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, B36 9BT

Pay: Basis of £9.00 per hour

Other week evening and weekend events, by agreement

Cover during parties/evening events by agreement@ £9.00 per hour

Reports to: General Manager

Conditions:

Subject to successful Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS ) check.

Health and safety training

Trial period

Job Purpose

To be the official point of contact and take overall responsibility for public safety and general operations during the day, from opening up to clearing the site and lock up.

This will include interaction with Visitor Centre weekend staff, members of user groups and the public.

As a Garden attraction our weekend managers will have a mixture of skills and roles. In addition to the keyholding responsibilities Weekend Premises Managers may be skilled in Retail and Customer Service or are experienced, possibly qualified, Gardeners.

To be the official point of contact and take overall responsibility for public safety and general operations during the day, from opening up to clearing the site and lock up.

This will include interaction with Visitor Centre weekend staff, members of user groups and the public.

As a Garden attraction our weekend managers will have a mixture of skills and roles. In addition to the keyholding responsibilities Weekend Premises Managers may be skilled in Retail and Customer Service or, are experienced, possibly qualified, Gardeners.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

You will be the official representative of the Charity on the day, helping its operations to run smoothly and ensuring that visitors to our Gardens have a pleasant and safe time.

Support the Café, Visitor Centre and event staff in their duties.

To be actively involved with either the Retail or Garden operations, as instructed, during the day.

To check and lock all buildings and gates on site making sure that:

  • all doors and windows are locked
  • all lights and appliances are switched off
  • no heating or ventilation is left on overnight
  • the buildings and external gates are locked and the security alarm is set
  • To note and deal with any damage to property and report appropriately
  • To act as fire and health and safety warden in case of emergency.

Person Specification Qualifications

Relevant permissions and current entitlement to work in the UK

Basic literacy and numeracy.

 Knowledge Some knowledge of key holding/caretaking and health and safety.

Further training and support will be supplied.

 

Experience Working in similar roles.

A keen willingness to expand and learn.

Either – customer relations/retail or professional Gardening

 

Skills Good interpersonal skills and spoken English

Confident personality

Ability to liaise with volunteers and the public effectively

Able to make quick, independent and appropriate decisions when necessary.

Ability to work well independently.

The postholder may be required to perform any other reasonable tasks after consultation.

An understanding of and a genuine commitment to Equal Opportunities.

 

 

HOW TO APPLY

Please send your cv and a covering letter to

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, Birmingham B36 9BT

Or by email to

Admin@cbhgt.org.uk

For an informal chat please ring 0121 749 4100

Closing date Thursday 5th April.

Informal interviews on Saturday 7th April

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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The Strawberry Tree

  The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is a easy tree or shrub to identify, having both flowers and fruit present at the same time. The strawberry (or I think more like lychee) like fruit take up to a year to ripen, so as last year’s fruits turn red, the flowers that will form next year’s fruit start to appear. The fruit is said to be edible, although not very tasty, which may be hinted at in it’s Latin name ‘unedo‘; coming from unum edo ‘I eat one’ – meaning after you have eaten one you wouldn’t want another one? Having not yet tried one I couldn’t say! Which is good news for the birds, leaving plenty of fruit for them to feast on during the colder months.

A member of the Ericaceae family of plants, most commonly known as heather, the flowers bear a strong resemblance to those of heathers, with bell-like downward facing flowers in small clusters.

You may have also seen this plant in a well known Morris & Co. design, used in fabrics and wallpapers where you can clearly see the red fruits and white flowers.

Have a wander down to the Lower Wilderness to have a closer look at these interesting plants..

 

 

 

 

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Volunteering at our Lantern Events 2017

We are looking for willing volunteers to be Stewards and servers of hot chocolate and marshmallows to visitors at our upcoming Lantern Festival!

Here are some descriptions of the roles available (including other roles.)

The Gardens are largely staffed by volunteers and we’re looking forward to putting on this great family oriented series of events this month.

Volunteering will provide practical, rewarding experience of events management and organisation that will look excellent on a CV. Its a great way of giving something to a local community and a great group thing to be involved with. Travel expenses to and from the Gardens are also covered.

Volunteers MUST be available on one or (preferably) more of: Sunday 26th November, Saturday 2nd December, Sunday 10th December, Saturday 16th December as well as a training day, likely the 24th of November but relatively flexible.

There are some indoor roles, but you must also be comfortable working out of doors, working in the dark, directing visitors, and serving drinks. We will provide training , Hi Viz jackets, warming drinks and smiles :-)).

If you are interested please click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences.

Thank you! Please share with your friends  

Volunteer Teams -Brief role description

Hot chocolate servers and marshmallow toasters
Served from the GreenHouse  3.30pm – 5.45pm  each public day.
Sold on 3 days and given away (tokens) on the last day.
Tasks

·         Serve and take money for hot chocolate (instant)
·         Supervise outdoor firepit (small) and toasting marshmallows
·         Keep a track of supplies, safety and cleanliness
·         Source and tidy marshmallow sticks (twigs and barbecue)
·         Help families toast their own mallows.
·         Clear up during and at end of session

Stewards/site guides
Meet and Greets and Safety

·         Wearing hi viz jackets to welcome and point people in the right direction as the light fades.
·         Stationed at specific points around the garden to ensure people don’t get lost, miss out. etc
·         Able to readjust basic parts of the display if necessary.

Stewards/Gardens Ambassadors (for Stewards who like to talk)

Helping visitors understand what we have to offer as a whole and helping us raise more money
·         Provide info verbally – for the day and other activities
·         Get informal feedback
·         Take emails
·         Talk about memberships, events, activities and volunteering
·         Distribute 2 for 1 and free chocolate tickets as needed

 

Lantern makers and craft helpers   (INDOORS 12.30 -4ish )
·         Help families during the public days to make lanterns, decorate glass jar lanterns and to make twig stars and glitter cones.
·         Prep and tidy up

Site preparation and care (Fridays before the events)

Keeping it all looking pretty and safe -Various types of roles.
·         Checking lights/cables are safe
·         Replacing items and tidying after weather or public has displaced
·         Ensuring the ‘look’ of the installation is maintained (a bit of set dressing naus)
·         Replenishing supplies
·         Cleaning /drying seats etc
·         Making sure signs are in the right place.
·         Rubbish bins replaced etc etc
·         Clear paths, make safe etc
·         Looking after bits of garden – safe from public and safe for public
·         Maintain standard of presentation

Car park duties

Control and management of parking entry and exit, keeping everyone safe with special attention ‘cos of dark
(Training in teams essential)

Click the google form here http://bit.ly/2AWUaHz   to fill in your details and preferences.

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Work with us…Lead Gardener wanted

A rare opportunity has arisen.  Can you help manage and grow this magnificent historic Garden?

We are looking for a full time, experienced and qualified Lead Gardener to manage the Gardens alongside our volunteers and to play an active role in making the visitor experience of our 10 acre site the best in the city – and beyond!

See below for details and attached is a shareable document. Please circulate to those you think may relish this role (closing date 15th December).

A rare opportunity to look after a unique and well-loved historic garden nestled in the middle of a city landscape.

The 10 acres of historic formal gardens – with wilder wildlife areas – is owned and run by a small independent charitable trust and staffed mainly by volunteers.

The Trust is going through a period of change and development in order to ensure the long-term future of the Gardens.

We are looking for a full-time Gardener who can take a lead role in maintaining the standards of the 18th century styled Gardens and work positively with the Trust to ensure the success of its growing visitor engagement programmes and other charitable business developments.

You will be a qualified gardener (RHS level3 or equivalent vocational experience) with existing, and proven, management and budgeting experience.

As well as having hands-on horticultural and grounds maintenance skills, your experience will also include working with a diverse volunteer workforce.

Terms

Salary: £19,500 – £22,000 commensurate with experience

Hours: based on 37.5 hours per week

Ability & willingness to work certain weekends; bank holidays & event days essential

This is a permanent contract, on completion of a satisfactory probation period.

 Purpose and scope of the role.

You will be responsible, in partnership with the Trust’s other staff, for the overall management and development of the Gardens, ensuring the highest standards of horticulture and visitor experience.

  • You will supervise, mentor ‘junior’ staff, foster good relations with contractors and manage our varied community of volunteers, fostering a culture of good teamwork.
  • Volunteers in the gardens currently range across all abilities and time commitments. Some are solely project based, temporary, have additional needs or come in groups as part of partnerships in the community. Others provide a committed, stable and often highly skilled regular commitment.
  • Managing and balancing workload tasks with volunteers is a major aspect of this post
  • Health and Safety: You will ensure that you and the working teams comply with procedures to manage risk to the public, staff, volunteers and contractors.  Ensuring that risk assessments are carried out in line with Trust guidance for works you are supervising and monitor compliance with safety procedures.
  • You will be involved in supporting quality visitor engagement within the Gardens to deliver the best possible visitor experience.
  • Our growing programme of events, hire and family friendly activities are core aspects contributing to the Trust’s long term future.
  • Your active participation in planning and positive support for preparation and delivery is key. This will involve some weekend and bank holiday working – by negotiation.
  • Alongside the General Manager, you will manage the modest gardens and maintenance budget and plan for appropriate purchases and growing tasks throughout the year.
  • You will monitor and control the resources delegated to you, improving cost efficiency wherever possible.

 Knowledge, skills and experience needed

  • Significant practical experience in horticulture, with qualifications to RHS Level 3 or equivalent.
  • A good level of plantmanship/plant husbandry skills with a good range of horticultural techniques. A practical knowledge of conservation and historic gardens will be a distinct advantage.
  • Leadership skills including coaching, motivation and excellent communication.
  • Experience of working with volunteers is essential. Volunteer teams at the Garden are varied in experience, skill and ability. The post holder will need to quickly grasp what can be achieved and find how to lead and motivate them.
  • Proven track record of managing small budget, finances and small projects.
  • Experience of assessing and managing risk. Knowledge of all Health and Safety and relevant compliance requirements.
  • A practical understanding of the needs of the visiting public. The Gardens are open 7 days a week to paying visitors. We run a public programme of small events, largely at weekends, as well as extensive schools and family friendly activities.
  • An entrepreneurial streak. We are looking to expand our ‘growing to sell’ projects as well as other ways to help financially support the Gardens.

About the Gardens

The Gardens are a restored, formal garden in the 17th /18th century style. There are formal lawns and box, yew, hornbeam and holly hedging throughout (2.5km in total)

  • Formal beds (upper and lower wilderness) with trees, shrubs, evergreens and annual underplanting.
  • Formal and semi-formal bedding areas, again in the 18th century ‘block’ style.
  • Two box and yew parterres, a 17 metre x 2.5 metre holly walk and a holly maze.
  • Two heritage apple and pear orchards with further espaliered wall fruit and trees.
  • A formal vegetable garden and medicinal /culinary herb borders.
  • 2 acres of the Gardens exist outside the 18th century walls. These are mainly cultivated for wildlife and used extensively for family and schools activities. There are 3 ponds (one formal, 2 natural).

Closing date for Applications  15th December 2017

Interviews … week commencing 8th January 2018 (tbc)

Please contact us with your cv and covering letter. For more information or for an informal chat ring Glynis Powell 0121 749 4100, gen.manager@cbhgt.org.uk

Click on the link below to download a shareable .pdf document of the information aboce

FT lead gardener Castle Bromwoich Hall Gardens

 

 

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