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.
When we re-open the Gardens – whenever that will be – we know that social distancing will be a ‘new normal’ for some while…
So, the (still working) team here have been thinking about what that would look like. We want to help people feel safe when they come to visit, and know that others are looking out for their health too. Shops and supermarkets are using yellow floor tape and painted circles…that’s not quite the thing we want to do in our historic Garden.
We’ve come up with a number of ideas and one of them needs your help.
Smile Stones … have you seen them about?
There is a lovely phenomenon of people painting pebbles and leaving them in the environment for people to find, to make them smile, to think and sometimes to collect and pass on. (PS the advice at present during Covid-19 , is NOT to pick them up and move them – just a precaution)
Smile stones are a little piece of everyday sharing and of spreading love. We already have a few in the Gardens deposited (with permission) by local people.
We think stone and pebble smiles stones would make wonderful social distance markers all around our garden… Every 2 metres a bright little stone hedgehog or ladybird, or perhaps a heart lifting message to keep you going on to the next marker?
If you’d like to take part in helping brighten up our Gardens walking routes we’d love you to start now.
Below are some facebook pages and other things about how to paint stones.
How to get them to us
We will leave a plant pot attached to the (inner) gates of the Gardens – you can just pop your stones in there, and we’ll keep them ready for when we open (if the pot disappears , just roll your stones under the gate and our gardener will pick them up when she visits..)
Thank you – do pass on this activity to anyone you think might enjoy taking part.
PS … don’t spend money getting fancy paint… do what you can, a coat of clear nail varnish will do the trick – or any outdoor varnish you have in your diy cupboard – over the top of house paint/kids paint or marker pens will do!
We love treasure hunts of all kinds in the Gardens..
We know too that there are lots of other seek and find activities in and around the Gardens, the historic Parkland and the village locally – Pokemon Go of course, Wizards Unite and our own ‘Mystery Mutts’ Doggy Treasure Hunts.
But how many of you know there are also some ‘geocaches’ around and about? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game where participants (Geocachers) use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver (a smart phone! ) or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value.
There are over 6000 caches hidden around Birmingham and the National Trust are now recognising that geocaching is great for families to get outside together… so do we.
We’ve been wanting to develop some caching trails for a while- both inside and outside the Gardens – but while we now have the time to think about it, we don’t have the experience..
So …. Calling all geocaching fans and experts. The challenge is to create a geocaching trail for the Gardens (and maybe spreading outwards too). Can you help us out?
What do you think would work? How many caches makes sense on our site? What would our swag items be? Would there be a theme to them all? Can we make special events for families?
Obviously we cannot get into the Gardens right now, but we’d love to work with you to think about something in summer and autumn…please contact us if you can help… and share with any geocaching chums too
“The best thing about it is you will be taken to places of interest and beauty that are on your doorstep that you never even knew existed.”
Volunteers have been central to pretty well every event and activity in the Gardens for decades, we are really missing their input and daily conversation.
So many people also contribute in the background by making, doing, cooking and inventing. Here is one thing which anyone could get involved in and help us with… if they wished.
Bunting is jolly. Full stop.
We use it for decorating the stretch tent for events, for cheering up the entrance gates and courtyard, making intriguing spaces in the woodland area even more intriguing…
We would love more and welcome anyone’s efforts in making it during our lockdown. We can’t supply the materials Im afraid, so anything you do will be gratefully received as a donation.
We are happy to have any designs you make… triangular and cloth bunting would be used more often, but knitted, paper, square, animal shaped or anything would be lovely… Maybe we can use them all to make a jolly festival atmosphere on our return to opening – we’ll all need it.
Really gutted we couldn’t do our Alice in Wonderland Easter Egg Hunt this year… Maybe we’ll turn it all upside down and send it through the Looking Glass and do something later in the year…. when things are ‘normal’ again.
If you and the littl’uns still have room for bunny and egg based fun, take a look the lovely online present we just got from our lovely friends at REEP.
REEP work in the UK, Spain and Morocco with people and gardens. Our own asst. gardener, Tanya, has been lucky enough, twice, to help them out at a girls school in Morocco.
Have a look below for some online puzzles and games with an Easter and a Gardening theme – for grown ups too, don’t be shy. Their are word searches, poems, puzzles and some gardening ‘how tos’
Click on the picture below to go to their page to explore….
We had hoped to keep the Gardens open for ‘contactless’ walks and explorations – especially for our younger visitors who like to experience the magic of all the intriguing spaces and easily accessible nature.
Until we can do that again, here are some of the inspirational people and ideas who are now sharing on the web to help keep you and your young ones creative and active at home or in your garden.
Due the success and rapid growth in popularity of our Unplug and Play family activities ‘brand’, we are now seeking to contract an individual, or small team, to lead, manage – and possibly develop – the delivery for 2020 and possibly beyond.
We are inviting expressions of interest from individuals or small teams to work with us on a fixed term contract – with a possibility of extension.