Forest gardens put the importance of plants at the very heart of their philosophy. It’s easy to underestimate plants – their complexity, their versatility and the way their existence quietly underpins our fast-paced, technologically-advanced, indoor lives. Our modern plant-blindness makes it easy to forget the fundamental role plants play in supporting eco-systems which allow us to breathe, produce food and develop life-saving medicines. Forest gardens acknowledge the value of plants and work with them to create productivity and sustainability. Find out how our Forest Garden is coming along and what's in store for it next year ...
Liz McElroy describes what our Growing Ability groups have been up to this autumn:
'We have been observing, harvesting and feasting on the spectacular abundance of seasonal foods this month during our Growing Ability and Growing Health sessions. This year has been perfect for our autumn display, from a wet start in spring, to a dry hot summer through to a calm and mild autumn, avoiding gusts and wet weather widening the window of colour for us this autumn.
Last weekend a group of Triangle Garden volunteers went scrumping (by invitiation) to a small orchard in Old Knebworth belonging to a Triangle Garden supporter. We spent almost two hours there and picked a car-load of apples for juicing. The party included two very young children who enjoyed pushing wheelbarrows of apples around and fetching more boxes for us to fill.
This week our Growing Health and Growing Ability projects got together to hold a harvest lunch in celebration of all the wonderful things they've been growing and eating over the year. The weather was glorious and friends, family, staff and volunteers were able to eat outside at tables set out beside the Pavilion.
If you missed our recent Open Day here is a short film that sums up the fun, made by one of our Garden Club volunteers Alan Hodgson:
On April's activity Sunday, volunteers spent the morning planting unusual edibles in our Forest Garden. These included a couple of Apricots - one Tomcot which is a late-blossoming variety and one Orange Summer, which fruits later than most apricots. The beauty of these later-flowering varieties is that they come out after the early frosts and therefore have a better chance of being pollinated and producing actual fruit!
A large group of parents and children enjoyed a morning exploring the Triangle Community Garden; unearthing mini beasts and creepy crawlies in the garden itself and using sweep nets to capture and study aquatic life in our pond. Although the cool temperature meant that not much pond life was on show, families found LOTS of mini beasts hidden under rocks and old railway sleepers, sheltering under leaves, on the bark of trees and in the flower beds themselves.
Last month members of our Garden Club took a break from caring for the Triangle Garden, to do a little planting in Hitchin town centre. Having seen the effect our green fingers have had on the Church House Courtyard Garden, Hitchin Initiative commissioned us to design and install a planting scheme in the two sad old brick planters outside Next on the High Street.
On Saturday 2nd April the Triangle Garden was represented at the launch event of the 'Grow it Yourself Organically' initiative, held at the Free Church in Letchworth. Project Leader Liz McElroy and volunteer Yolanda Warrell set up our stand and explained to visitors what we do.