Category: Wildlife

New-bees … we’ve got a new queen

We have 4 hives on site. Two are owned by Norman and are well established in the Gardens. They have been joined by two new ones, owned and looked after by Malcolm.

They’ve been a bit feisty settling in and Malcolm realised they were missing their queen…”where did you go to my lovely?”

Today Malcolm fetched two fresh Buckfast Queens and they’ve now been installed… and Malcolm even dressed , from top to to toe, in white for the occasion.

Welcome to the Gardens queenies both.

Invasion of the Giant Flowers … half term activities

Did you shrink or did the flowers just grow?

Wander amongst our beautiful towering plants over 4 metres tall – they’re crocheted!

This May half term join in the festival atmosphere with our Alice in Wonderland sized installation… All week from Bank Holiday Monday (29th May) through to Friday (June 2nd) we’ll also running family friendly activities around our flower theme.

  • Add a pompom flower to our woolly field and make some pom pom bees to fly amongst them.
  • Help us build giant bug hotel and learn how to make your own mini-beastie hotel at home.

    http://www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk/thingstodo/inaweekend/bug-mansion.aspx
    credit: Sue Tatman & RHShome.
  • And why not construct a giant birds nest for the little ones to snuggle up in.
  • Little green fingers can also help us plant up our Jack and the Giant Beanstalk runner bean tunnel… plant now and come back to play in the tunnel over summer.

The giant flowers are here all week and weekend (Sunday to Saturday), the family activities are Monday to Friday.

Family Friendly sessions + entry to the Gardens £2 (for anyone over 5 years old)

Family Activities Annual Pass holders: FREE

NB Normal entry prices for non-family groups

 

Family Activities 12- 3pm Monday to Friday

Gardens open Saturday 27th – Sunday 4th

Warwickshire wildlife trust out counting hedgehogs

Hedgehogs by torchlight

We’ve always valued our connection with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Hedgehog project. Officer Simon Thompson has always thought our mix of cultivaed grass and wilder areas have been an ideal habitat for these really threatened creatures.  With him and our younger visitors we have carried out a couple of population surveys in an around the Gardens and held the odd ‘hedgehog day’ or two.

This is Hedgehog Awareness Week (#hedgehogweek) and although we are not doing anything special this week, we are pleased to be hosting a special torchlight tour on 26th May (8.30pm to 10pm). Here are the details. Please book your place in advance via the link below (it takes you to the Wildlife Trust’s site)

Join Hedgehog Officers, Simon Thompson and Debbie Wright, for an evening outdoor event. They will be talking all things hedgehog, answering questions and leading a torchlight tour of 17th century gardens on the lookout for the enigmatic and elusive hedgehog.

Please be advised that this is an adults only event. Please wear clothing that is both warm and waterproof and wear appropriate footwear. Meet opposite St Mary and St Margaret’s Church, Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, B36 9BT..

To book your place and pay for the advanced ticket (£5) please click through to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust website

here: warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/hedgehogtorchlighttour

Kids plan to Takeover the Gardens

Yesterday 14 young people invaded the Gardens and started plotting to take over!

The young people, from nearby Braidwood School for the Deaf,  are part of a Birmingham wide programme run by the group Kids in Museums.  Takeover Birmingham is a pilot programme for 11 – 14 year olds, designed to ensure arts and culture are available to everyone no matter what their background.

The young people, accompanied by signers, took a tour round the gardens undeterred by the cold and damp. They decided that bugs and mini beasties were unseen helpers in the Gardens and will be devising their own interactive tour.

Here is some of their creative thinking:

 

The group have scheduled Friday 19th May as their Takeover Day….

Should we worry, should we be scared? No we’re looking forward to the next generation’s management of heritage.

Keep  a lookout for more information about the Takeover Day

 

 

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.)

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

One we saw earlier…Goldcrest

It may be the UK’s smallest bird, but it was easy to see this afternoon in the Gardens.

Goldcrest at RSPB Portmore Lough. Credit Tim Ryan.

Working down in the Spinney, Volunteer and Trustee Bill shared some time with the beautiful little bird (Regulus regulus). It washed itself at the edge of the pond and flitted about, apparently happily at home with us humans.

Find out more about the Goldcrest on the RSPB site HERE

So happy we are keeping an environment fit for the tiniest of of flying friends. #wegrowtogether

 

 

Time for trees

Tree Dressing Day:A tree is not just for Christmas, but for … 

We have over 130 mature trees in the Gardens. Most of which are important enough to have Tree Preservation Orders on them.  Caring for them and keeping them in good shape – literally – is a responsibility we are proud to be able to undertake.

Although it’s financially expensive and time consuming for a small Charity like ours, without the trees framing our views, shielding us from the winds, sheltering our beneficial bugs and birds and yielding us fruit, we would be much poorer in spirit.

This year we’ve been drawn to the custom of Tree Dressing as a way to express our positive relationship with trees …. a little ‘thank you’.

Celebrated in the first weekend of December the custom was revived in 1990 by the group who re-invented Apple Day; Common Ground.

“Trees have long been celebrated for their spiritual significance. The simplicity of tying strips of cloth or yarn to a tree is universal and timeless. The old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a ‘clootie tree’ echoes the practice in Japan of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or tanzaku, bearing wishes and poems. The twenty-first century trend of ‘yarn bombing’ in Europe and North America transforms the local landscape with bright fabrics and yarns, like the Buddhist tradition of tying ribbons around the trunk or the annual Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan when coloured strings are tied onto trees and plants to call upon the power of nature to protect loved ones.

These deep and diverse cultural associations provide a rich basis for tree festivities across the world. The act of dressing a tree binds us to it and celebrates the unique role that trees have in our local neighbourhoods.”

Some of us went down to visit one of our lovely walnut trees that supplied us with shade during the summer family activities and supported our community art work ‘the knit knot tree’.

With paper lanterns, twig dreamcatchers and wool apples we decorated the tree. A ring of colour on the bare branches.

Why not come and visit it add your own decoration perhaps. So when you are decorating your Christmas tree this year, think about adding one of your decorations to a living tree on your street.

For more information and free  resources about Tree Dressing Day, see here Common Ground  and Charter for Woods, Trees and People

 

 

by Felicity Hallam & Glynis Powell

 

 

 

Batty Day….#WildaboutGardens

Learn about bats and how to welcome them to you Garden.. with BrumBats.

As well as our regular half term activities we welcome, BrumBats, the Birmingham and Black Country volunteer group, who support bat care and conservation. They will be around to talk about and show us2010-brumbats-logo the wonders of our night time fliers.

This week is the annual #wildaboutgardens week for RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) and the Wildlife Trusts. The theme this year is ‘Stars of the Night’, working together to create a ‘batty’ neighbourhood.

Bats (and pumpkins) will be our them all week, but we’re lucky to have our local conservationists BrumBats on Thursday 27th.

Come down between 12 and 3 for batty info, stories, crafts and maybe (maybe….) even a real, sleepy bat.

Everyday during half term we’ll have some outdoor and indoor craft activities for young people and their grownups. Our themes are pumpkins and bats… we have plenty of both.

12 – 3pm Monday to Friday. £2 each for everyone over 5 years of age

(£8 family day ticket, Free to Season Pass holders)

Bee there! Get close up with bugs and bees

Leading UK bee expert, Steven Falk, returns to take us on another bug hunt and bee walk around the Gardens.

On Sunday 21st August, 12.30 – 4.30 Steven will check up on our solitary bee boxes and take you on a journey through their life cycle. On his last visit we spotted 19 different wild bee species.28593803401_f21a91daf6_z

Since his last visit, our specially planted solitary bee flower area has begun to blossom and bloom, the surrounding apple trees have been pollinated and are bearing fruit. We’re keen to hear how our bug and bee population is doing

Pop along, follow Steven roud the garden searching for bugs and bees and learn how to get close up and friendly with our valuable friends.
Suitable for children and adults alike

Normal entry prices 
Cafe open for light refreshments