Category: Latest News

Giving Time raises money and improves your CV

Looking to get real experiences down on the CV, some references to show your talents are not just wishful thinking?  These days employers look for practical and provable experience to show you are employable. Volunteering for small charities is not just ‘ a good thing’ to do, it provides tangible benefits to the Charity, something great to see on your CV and, very probably, you will find it a positive personal experience – giving feels good.

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is a tiny charity, dependent on volunteers and doing really rather ambitious things. …come and be part of it.

Not only do we preserve a really beautiful – and historically important – garden in the middle of a city landscape, we also open it up to the public nearly every day of the year.

The 10 acre site is a place of peaceful wandering and contemplation, but its also an exciting place for young children to explore the outdoors, to come face to face with nature in a safe place for the first time. It’s a place to explore art and creativity, to experience theatre and music on your own doorstep, to find places where people can meet together, share picnics under the blossoms, discover neighbours, learn to grow vegetables and harvest them, create bug hotels, indulge in nostalgia for the 40s (our big 1940s weekend is firmly established on the re-enactors calendar) and generally get active..

To do this well for our visitors, and to raise the income we need to be a successful charity, we rely on the Gift of Time from Volunteers.

It’s not just gardening (although that is an enormous part), there are opportunities to develop your visitor service, practice your retail skills in our cafe and shop, make sure the site – and its signage – is clear, in the right place and communicates.

Our Unplug and Play programme is developing outdoor play environments and creative play sessions. Why not join our small team creating recycled, woodland, simple craft, child-centred and family based activities…

Maybe you have the theory of digital marketing and event planning – what about practical experience? Our growing programme of educational and fundraising activities needs constant attention… Can you help build our Twitter reach? Plan and organise resources for a shoestring event? Write copy for the press and produce convincing text to persuade donors and members to help our cause?

If you have just a few hours to spare, or want to spend some consistent time building up your CV, why not come and be part of a great community #wegrowtogether.

Email or ring for a chat. come along to our Open volunteering Sessions … Friday 28th April and Friday 26th May (10-12ish)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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wild wild tulips

As well as some delightful period tulips and daffodils in the Gardens we have, this year, introduced the ‘wild tulip’ … the mummy of all those later fancy ones.

Tulipa sylvestris, known as the ‘wild’ or ‘florentine’ tulip is a species tulip noted ‘somewhere in Italy’  as early as 1594. Our suppliers Thomas Etty esq describes it thus

“Violet scented almond-shaped lemon yellow flowers in mid April. Naturalises well in grass. Said, by some, to have first travelled to these shores attached upon the roots of grape vines brought from Italy by the Romans.”

Volunteers have been deadheading  the daffs along the Holly Walk bank revealing the wild tulips and allowing them to make their mark. A really special addition to the month.

Other varieties of note this year are;

  • the jolly scarlet and yellow of Kaiserkroon (‘kings crown’) from 1620,
  • the 16th century double white poeticus plenus and pheasants eye
  • and of the later varieties we have sneaked in – Queen of the Night tulip (pre 1939) and Rinjveld’s Early Sensation daff., 1926.

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Auricula …not a very prim primula

To celebrate our 17th century Gardens’ new ‘Auricula Theatre’ feature we are holding a day with specialist growers HillView Hardy Plants.

On Easter Bank Holiday Monday,  the nursery people from HillView will answer questions, give advice about growing, and of course sell you some of their lovely range of plants, which will be at their height around this time.

The Primula auricula is usually known as auricula, or by the folk names of mountain cowslip or bear’s ear. The upright stalks and colourful headed flowers were popular, and coveted,  from the early 17th century. Rare beauties were so prized that they were sometimes presented to a seated and expectant audience, appearing from behind a curtain, with many ‘oohs and ahhs’.

As growers became ‘enthusiasts’, this approach led to the practice of displaying the plants on layered shelving or within a framed arch – just like a theatre. Some ‘ auricula theatres’ were modest others,

Theatre at Calke Abbey

frankly, ostentatious.

As a 17th/18th century Garden, there would undoubtedly have been auriculas grown here.

by courtesy of the National Galleries Scotland

In the Music Room this summer we are displaying a reproduction of a flower painting (from around 1712, by Dutch painter Jan van Huysum). We already grow most of the flowers that appear in his picture … but not auricula. So…

Our, modest but authentic, Auricula Theatre will complement the season of mini-flower exhibits reflecting the picture in the Music Room.

Come along on Easter Bank Holiday Monday to find out more.

Part of our #GrowtheGardens fundraising this year.

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Volunteer Stories: Felicity Hallam

“I have been volunteering one day a week at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for the past 7 months as part of my History degree at the University of Birmingham. I have been able to spend much of my time focusing on one main project, researching and redesigning the historical interpretation around the site. Staff made sure that I was working on something tailored to my interests and skills and make sure that every volunteer gets the same opportunity. In my 7 months, I have designed and created hand-held interpretation boards and a twenty minute tour around the site for our visitors to use. Whilst focusing on one main project, I have always been able to get involved in every aspect of the gardens, from working in the café with customers to marketing. There has always been amply opportunity to try something new. I have found my time at CBHG incredibly fun and fulfilling, and would encourage anyone to volunteer here!” – Felicity Hallam

Do you have gardening, social media, or customer service skills? We would love to have you join us as a volunteer. Click here to get in touch.

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Half Term family activities

February Fun… indoors or out.

The first school holiday of the year and a bit or sun and freshening air makes for lively kids, eager for a run around. As usual we have a week packed full of things to do and places to explore.

Running round the maze will keep them warm, there are still beautiful snowdrops to discover, lanterns and  pom-pom twigs to decorate your spaces, apple birdfeeders to hang up.. and of course there are seeds to plant and take home to watch grow.

Every day an extra craft and loads  of spaces, nooks and magic views for young ones to explore time and again.

Garden opens Monday 20th to Friday 24th,  11am – 3pm
(Activities- 12pm-3pm)

Buy tickets on the door.
Entrance to the Gardens for family activities are £2 per person

(Under 5s Free. children must be accompanied by an adult)
Normal adult entrance £4
Under 5’s are free
Family Day ticket £8 (up to 5 people, include up to 2 adults.)

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Volunteers make the welcome work …

We’re full of  Family Fun at half term … Can you help make the best welcome for all to the Gardens?
We are recruiting volunteers to support us deliver fun and friendly craft and outdoor activities next week. (Monday 20th Feb – Friday 24th 11-3.30)
All week children and their grown-ups will explore our 10 acres, discover the mud kitchen, hunt for bugs, make daffodil cards and find signs of spring.
Volunteers can help with everything from showing people round, ensuring signs and maps are ready, showing how to make the crafts. Training and induction is given and you’re always in a team with others.
Our cosy café serves visitors warm drinks and snacks… we always need help there too.
Interested? Contact us for a chat. Phone, message or fill in the form on our website here : volunteer-enquiry form
#wegrowtogether

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donkey friend -https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/opening-times

Little Donkey doo’s mulch help ..

They say what goes around comes around, well its certainly true for two local charities.

With 10 acres of ground and over 600 species of plants, it takes a lot of compost to keep our soil healthy and productive. So we are really pleased to be working in partnership with the Donkey Sanctuary in nearby Sutton Coldfield.

Naturally, the donkeys produce a lot of poo… on a daily basis. With limited space on site the Sanctuary needs places where they can ‘recycle’ the recycled donkey food. As well as some very lucky allotment holders, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are thrilled to be able make good use of lots of donkey  ‘soil improver’.

Normally we add the fresh, straw laden donkey-doo to our compost heap to rot down into nutrient rich earth to use on the vegetable beds or in potting compost.  At this time of year it can go directly onto some of our Wilderness beds to act as a ‘mulch’; keeping in the warmth, suppressing any weeds that feel like poking their heads above the ground and, eventually, improving the structure of the soil.

Today, volunteers Jack, Roy and John kept themselves warm raking and spreading the new delivery from the Donkey Sanctuary. Thanks folks …. and donkeys  #wegrowtogether

Find out how to visit our donkey friends here The Donkey Sanctuary opening times

 

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Join the Gardens… membership makes sense

Our visitors use the Gardens in a myriad of ways.

To walk the dog, have a moment of calm, have a picnic under the blossoms with friends, to get close up to tadpoles, build a den or watch the flowers grow.

We are an independent charitable trust and love to keep the prices low, so we can share the gardens with as many people as possible.

By becoming a Member, you get repeated access to the Gardens at a bargain price and you are helping the Trust to care for these important and wonderful Gardens. Memberships, and donations, all contribute directly to the provision of equipment, plants, events and amenities for the Gardens and visitors. It all helps us to invest in the future.

What do you get for Membership?

  • Free year round entry (when open) to the Gardens, except for Special Events.
  • Free entry to two Special Events (as marked on event publicity).
  • Discounted entry on many other Special Events.
  • Members Spring and Autumn Newsletters (by email. One annual newsletter by post on request.)

Membership Rates for 2017 (January – December)

Individual:  £18
Joint: £30 (2 adults at the same address)
Life:  £170
Joint Life:  £285 (2 adults at the same address)
You can upgrade your membership to Life membership at any point in the year

Membership Options for Families

We run a packed programme of family oriented events and activities throughout the year. With over 40 sessions of drop-in craft, creative and garden activities in school holidays as well as trails and self-led activities at other times.

1. Ordinary Family Membership

Entry to the Gardens only. Participation in structured activities is not included. Activities would be charged for on entry. This membership may be ideal for adults who make only occasional visits with under 16 years olds.
£35: 2 named adults + 2 children under 16
Same conditions apply as individual and joint membership.

2. Family Activities Annual Pass

Free entry to the Gardens all year PLUS free access to over 40 activity sessions for up to 5 people. This membership is ideal for families who like to take part in craft and activity sessions on a couple of, or more, occasions.
 £40:  Up to 5 people, over 5 years old (max. 2 adults).
Conditions apply as above

How to Join

Join online with a credit card (click HERE), or by cheque or cash by post or in person.

Click here to download the membership form (pdf).

 

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Apple blossom v. Holly hedge

The Woodland Trust’s latest post on caring for apple trees is great advice. (Find it here: how to prune apple trees in winter)

We’ll be posting the date for our own pruning of fruit espaliers courses shortly, but it’s pruning on a much bigger scale that our gardeners will need to be tackling this coming year.

snow covered orchard https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/2017/01/how-to-prune-apple-trees-in-winter/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blogs&utm_content=gardening
The Woodlands Trust advice on pruning and caring for apple trees

Last year, both of our two heirloom orchards got a much needed trim and we’re hoping to see much bigger yields as a result.  We did lose one or two trees this year, but there are others nearly ready to replace them.

There’s a bit of a battle looming. The Holly perimeter hedge has not had much attention over the last five years and has grown to 3 times the intended height and breadth.  It is now seriously  overshadowing the Apple and Pear trees in the ‘New Orchard’.

We’ll need to radically trim back this year if we are to expect our magnificent blossoms to shine again.  If you are able to help us (there is nearly  half a kilometre of hedge so, we’re tackling it bit by bit).. … keep checking back here for callouts.

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