Friday, 11 December 2009

Castle Garden - November and December 2009

Since October, I have been busy in the garden and busy gardening people! i.e. gathering and enthusing a great volunteer team to help clear the area at the side to get ready to plant fruit trees, fruit bushes and other useful edibles!

We started the month off with a new selection of tools. They certainly don't look as they do now in the picture! We've battled against, rain, wind and very heavy clay soil, we broke 3 forks, I can't stress enough; you get what you pay for!

Our favourite tool to hit through clay soil and dig out established deep rooted shrubs is a mattock. One of our champion volunteers Barry, (castle climber and 30 years building experience) has been showing me how to use one. Very physical and very satisfying tool. I like it!

We've been working most Fridays and some weekend days. We've been developing a good team of volunteers, with a great variety of skills - including: Nick the medicinal horticulturalist, (he'll make sure we get the best herbs for cafe teas, and herbs to help climbers!) Matthew the ecologist (he's been helping me survey the wildlife on site), Paola the architect and Lisa the interior designer (they've been helping designing the walled fruit garden), Olaf the landscape architect and my mentor, Rachel the project manager, and several garden volunteers from Growing Communities (the lovely Chiqui, Robin, Sophie and Stewart from bikefix to name a few). Other enthusiasts and castle staff and members have also come along to give their time and strength, including Audrey the MD, Steve the CEO, Ray, Kerry and Olli. This project is a huge job, and we need all the help we can get!

The area at the side is now cleared and holes have been dug out ready for planting fruit trees next January. The next work day is Sat Jan 23rd 2010. After planting the fruit trees, we'll have a celebratory bonfire, hot cider and do a kind of "wassail" to celebrate and hope for a good harvest from the fruit. I'm off now to India for 3 weeks, to help volunteer on a permaculture food garden project in the Himalayas. See you in the new year!

Here's Audrey collecting about a ton of leaves to make leaf mould!

This very friendly robin has been following me around the garden for the past 3 weeks. They love it when you clear the ground! They come to see what goodies there are to eat in the soil. We have also found many frogs and toads, we'll make sure to create new habitats for them.