Saturday, 20 January 2018

Lawn care tips and advice

"From time to time, your lawn  might need some extra care to keep it in peak condition.When lawns start to look a bit lacklustre, it's amazing how quickly they respond to attention. Watering in the summer can turn a brown lawn green again. Spiking to aerate the trampled areas works wonders to get the grass growing, while raking out the dead growth can turn a thin, threadbare lawn back into a soft, green carpet" - Gardeners World.

The following sites provide guides which may help you get the best out of your lawns

Gardeners World
Love the Garden

Rusland Valley Horticultural Society - Potato Day Sunday 21 January

Friday, 19 January 2018

Easy to grow vegetables for beginners

Are you are thinking about growing your own vegetables but not sure which plants to try? From pots and planters to allotments and gardens, there are vegetables to suit spaces large and small. Growing your own doesn’t need to be complicated. 

If you need a little advice and inspiration Thompson and Morgan may be able to help you as they have published details of their top 10 easy to grow vegetables on their website here.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Enjoying nature and wildlife through photography

Photography is one of the many ways that can give you anther good excuse to get outside and enjoy nature and wildlife.

“If you find yourself looking for some photographic inspiration but don't have time to trawl the thousands of blogs, streams and feeds on the internet, well don't worry – Countryfile have done the research for you. “

They has listed a selection of some of the best nature and wildlife photography blogs, full of inspiration and tips that are useful for those just starting out with their camera” 

If you would like to know more please visit their website here.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Hopefully it will be another busy growing season in the poly tunnel

It is looking empty and quiet in the poly tunnel at the moment.......

We much prefer it being used more and looking busier just as it usually does during the growing season

A productive onsite meeting with the Well Communities

A productive onsite meeting with staff and volunteers from the Well Communities to review our risk assessments, maintenance schedule and to offer an opportunity to answer any questions that may arise regarding maintenance of the site.

The meeting has helped to conclude the handover process and allow the Well Communities to begin their new roles in earnest, particularly the maintenance of the site. 

Next step: to arrange a meeting between the staff and volunteers from Well Communities and our management committee to clarify some topics related to a working partnership and to ensure everyone involved has the same information to hand when making decisions and agreeing a way forward.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A guide to health and safety on community garden site

We have recently come across this excellent free guide to health and safety on community garden sites and thought it may be of interest to others, particularly those who may be considering developing one. It has been produced by The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens using their vast experience in the field.

Looking forward to another productive growing season in 2018

Taking stock of our basic first aid supplies

Taking a little time while onsite to check our first aid supplies.

Although we do provide basic first aid supplies we would encourage groups and individuals using the garden and grow your own scheme to consider issues such as access to a first aid kit, risk assessments and appropriate supervision etc.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Planting for wildlife

“There are so many benefits to attracting wildlife into your garden. Apart from saving the decline of our native species, garden wildlife also acts as a natural pest control, preventing the need to spray harmful chemicals all over your garden. If you grow fruit and vegetables, you’ll need the help of bees to pollinate many of your crops. Contrary to popular belief wildlife gardens needn’t be messy! Well-maintained hedges and shrubs are perfect for nesting birds and insects, and a flowing herbaceous border will attract all sorts of beneficial insects to your garden.” Thompson and Morgan

Planting a wildlife garden couldn’t be easier; for more ideas on how to make a wildlife garden please visit the Thompson and Morgan website.

Our recently reviewed and updated maintenance schedule guide

Checking through our onsite PPE (personal protective equipment)

Growing your own vegetables, fruit and herbs

Whether you are just a beginner or a more experience grower who would like to learn how you can grow fresh food throughout the year The Royal Horticultural Society may be able to help. It has produced in depth grow your own guides which covers a wide range of vegetables, fruit and herbs.

If you would like more information please visit the RHS website here.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

What to sow and grow in February?

Wondering just what you can sow and grow during February?

Thompson and Morgan may be able to help you choose as they have produced a "what to sow and grow" guide. This includes details of flowers, fruit, vegetable and herbs and can be found on their website here.

Handover process update

Graham is looking forward to another onsite meeting this week with staff and volunteers from the Well Communities who have taken over his responsibility for ensuring the garden, the site and its facilities are kept well maintained and will also be acting as coordinators. The aim of the meeting is to look through our risk assessments, maintenance schedule and current tasks.

It is hoped this meeting will help to conclude the handover process and allow the Well Communities to begin their new roles in earnest and also allow Graham to begin using the garden and its facilities in a much more relaxed "service user" type of way. He will remain a member of the CIC, continue to manage our social media, look after and photograph wildlife and grow his own vegetables.

Helping to improve mental and physical health by connecting to nature

"Ecotherapy connecting to nature can make a significant difference to how you feel, for example by helping you feel more grounded, providing an alternative perspective on life and helping your mind and body to relax". It can also help:
  • reduce depression
  • reduce anger
  • improve physical health
  • reduce feelings of anxiety and stress
  • improve your mood and self-esteem

"Ecotherapy may also benefit your wellbeing by providing a therapeutic space where you don't have to talk about your problems, or even think about them – instead there is more space to learn new skills, develop new interests and make new friends" - MIND.
For more information on how connecting to nature can help improve your wellbeing please visit:

An early morning visit to the grow your own scheme

Refilling our bird feeders

A quick look around the grow your own scheme

Ensuring tasks for our new gardeners and coordinators from the Well Communities are up to date

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A little maintenance for some of our hedging and pruning tools

Looking forward to the end of winter and the start of the new growing season

Supporting and attracting wildlife into your garden

There is always something happening in the wildlife garden and many species will need your help through the winter months - providing them with food and shelter. By creating the right habitat you can also help to attract a wide variety of wildlife into your garden.

If you are looking for a little inspiration and would like to learn how you can support and attract wildlife into your garden please try websites such as:

Friday, 12 January 2018

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Keeping our feathered friends well fed

If you would like more information on what you can feed birds and how to keep your feeders clean and pest free please visit the RSPB website here.

Litter picking and bin cleaning

Strange how jobs can just sort of creep up on you. I only went on the grow your own scheme to chill out and have a coffee while feeding the birds. Somehow ended up litter picking and cleaning the litter bins.

Get ready to sow those broad beans

If you are interest in finding out about growing organically or would like to view and download more of the informative grow your own cards (as detailed above) please visit the Garden Organic website here.
The excellent cards cover a variety of plants including, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and fruit.

Update - new personnel, new ways of working

Just a reminder of our new personnel and new ways of working...........

Following Grahams decision last summer to reduce his workload within the project, by standing down from his role of coordinator and in his responsibility for ensuring the facility is kept well maintained, clean and tidy we would like to remind you all of our new helpers – staff and volunteers from The Well Communities.

After meetings with our management committee at the end of last year it was agreed that the Well Communities will take over responsibility for ensuring the garden, its facilities and the arches are kept well maintained clean and tidy. They will also be acting as coordinators and will have members of their staff and volunteers on hand to meet visitors when they begin regularly opening the garden at times to be confirmed.

If you have any questions for the Well Communities they are based in the old Neighbourhood Management Office at 242 Dalton Road and they can be contacted on mobile: 07488383013

Graham remains as a member of Marsh Street Arches and Garden CIC, will continue to manage our social media, and will still be using the garden and its facilities but in a much more relaxed way - enjoying the space, looking after and photographing wildlife and growing fresh vegetables. 

It is early days for our new ways of working and things may change but our management committee will keep you all updated here and will be posting more details as and when they are confirmed.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A bright wintry morning

Planting bulbs

Bulbs are one of the easiest garden plants to grow and can be planted in containers or borders, especially varieties such as crocus, daffodils, snowdrops and tulips. 

It is not always easy to know just when to plant the large variety of bulbs to ensure you have a continuous display throughout the spring and summer. Fortunately there is a vast amount of information out there. For example:

Trimming hedging - free advice from RHS

Knowing just how and when and how to trim the large variety of hedges can be a little confusing. Established hedges may require trimming when they are dormant in late summer and/or in winter/spring to keep them dense and compact where more formal hedges require more frequent trimming throughout the season.

If you are preparing to trim your hedges and would like more information on how to look after and maintain them please visit the Royal Horticultural Society website here.  

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Free month by month gardening guides

While the weather is poor why not take advantage of the internet where you can find a wide variety of free month by month gardening guides and advice.

Sites such as:

Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at:
Thompson and Morgan at:
Gardeners World at: