Community Garden Spring Update
The ALT Group was proud to start our Blackhill Club Community Garden project in February with great support from the public. Over the past three months we have had more than 20 local residents volunteer or help with the garden project in so many ways and it is has made a fantastic start!
Despite the grey, damp weather, our first Action Day had 6 volunteers armed with spades and shovels and we started with our first task of finding the car park edge and creating borders for flowers around Blackhill Club's huge grounds.
The team also managed to build some compost and storage bins from reclaimed materials which we will use to make our own organic compost.
During March we welcomed NCC students who volunteered with our group and helped out with our meal service and garden project. During the week they were with us we welcomed some families along to join us planting trees. We managed to plant 5 trees on the grounds, some are fruit trees, some are suitable for birds, bees and butterflies. The first tree planted was named “Amelie” after Amelie Weeks, 8, the volunteer who planted it and “Jes” Tree was planted by NCC volunteers.
March also saw us appear in County News and local volunteers Terri Lee-Shield, Ryan Forster & Linda Morgan had a photo session with local photographer Lee Dobson.
The ALT Group received some fantastic news from Tesco Bags of Help and Groundworks, The ALT Group was selected to receive £12,000 in funding towards our first Community Farm site at Blackhill Club Community Garden. We will be able to transform the local land in to a beautiful, social and productive area for the local community to enjoy. Amazing times ahead!
We had several Action Days in April and welcomed people of all ages from the area who chipped in and made some great changes to the garden. We managed to build herb beds for the front lawns of the club using recycled and donated materials, we have added a seating area under the willow trees ad planted bushes around the area to create a wonderful spring and summer spectacle.
We also managed to try a Permaculutre Design adaption to create “Hugel Bed” or Hill Beds which we are creating on the edges of the garden land. We are using the method of building hills using tree waste from the property and creating layers of mulch, topsoil and compost. This design will recreate natural processes building new soil, while also catching water and creating additional growing space. The beds will be filled with edible and medicinal herbs which can be used to make drinks, add to food or make tinctures or lotions.
We noticed a great article this month about the benefits of reconnecting with soil and it's possible anti-depressant properties. We think it is great more and more research is being done into both the benefit of gardening and the magic of our soil. You can read more here...
May has been another busy month for The ALT Group and we have some great updates to give you.
During our Spring Action Days in May we managed to fill all our herb beds and flower borders. We would like to thank B&Q in Consett for their kind donation of plants for our garden, we go a great selection which will fill the edges with colour for years to come.
We would also like to thank Maureen Bell for her donation of potted shrubs and plants for the garden entrance. This was a wonderful gesture from Maureen who no longer has space to care for these well loved plants and she happily donated them to the community. We are very grateful and they look beautiful, they make a huge difference to the entrance area.
Congratulations are also due to team members Terri Lee-Shield and Ryan Forster who received their Permaculutre Design Certificate and are now qualified Permaculture Designers. The pair took the course with Wilf Richards from Abundant Earth a local Permaculture school in Durham. Well done to both of you and we look forward to implementing your designs!
Hi, I'm Terri Lee-Shield, Director of The ALT Group.