Category: Wildlife

Unplug and Play – all summer

Five weeks of good value summer fun at the Gardens

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 12- 3.30… it’s Unplug and Play

Crafts, gardening and outdoor exploration. Children and families can enjoy outdoor play and/or craft activities under gentle supervision.

The mud kitchen, maze, dipping pond and some gardening activities available for families to explore any day during summer.  Every week will have a different activity based on something in the Gardens.

Week one 25th, 26th, 27th July    Get up and do

Recycled streamers, making chatterboxes and all things on the move: waving, bending, climbing, crawling flying, rolling , fluttering , creeping.

 Week two, 2nd & 3rd August  Wildlife disguises

Collages from leaves, green man masquerade masks, find the dancers in the trees.

(because of the Dogs Don’t do Ballet performance on Tues 1st – there will be no craft activities. Tickets for the performance £10)

Week three, 8th, 9th 10th August  Make an impression..

Clay hedgehogs, leaf and bark rubbings, flowers and leaf pressed nature medallions

Week four, 15th, 16th 17th August  Festival style! The recycled way.

Make your own flags and bunting from plastic bags, paper and other household things.

NB Thursday 17th is big Family Fun Day 11-3.30

Week five, 22nd 23rd, 24th August  Teddies, picnics, making a picture

Sit and relax with teddy, make a den, explore the wildlife and create some art around the site

 

There’s 10 acres of formal gardens, lawns, holly maze and wilder areas, so lots of places to explore, play and run around whatever is going on.

  • Café and small shop onsite. No need to book.
  • Cost: £2 per person (free for under 5s)
  • £8 for a family day ticket (up to 5 people, maximum of 2 adults)
  • £20 for a family week ticket (up to 5 people, maximum of 2 adults)
  • Free for Family Activity Annual Pass holders (up to 5 people, maximum of 2 adults, including named cardholder) Pass cost £40 and will runs for 12 months.

Contact: 0121 749 4100   Email: admin@cbhgt.org.uk

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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.

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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

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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

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Family Friendly volunteering in the Gardens

Unplug and Play! Our summer long programme  for families to get outside, together in a safe and creative place. Suddenly the Back Garden grew… to 10acres!

 Want to try out your work skills? Why not volunteer with us.

*summer programme starts 25th July … apply now for our volunteer roles over summer*

We can help you grow and practice your creative, early years, youth work, woodland and gardening skills.

Storytime, crafts, learning to knit, mud kitchens and doodling we’ve got them all this summer.

You can have a great time helping young people grow – just few hours will make a difference.

We want young children and their grown-ups to find our Gardens a place to get outside, enjoy making and creating, run around and sometimes just be peaceful.

Can you help us support them?

Families can use the Gardens 7 days a week but on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during school holidays, from 12-3pm, we run extra sessions.

Ways you can help:

  • Perhaps help us run story time in the Maze?
  • Help us with simple craft activities – frogs from cardboard tubes, recycling milk cartons into wind catchers?
  • Be part of the giant recycled knit-knot tent made from strips of material and French knitting ‘ropes’.
  • Garden alongside our junior gardeners?

You don’t have to be an expert, we can show you how to do things.

As well as the sessions we need people to prepare and tidy up – put away the books and cushions, set out the croquet on the lawn, collect the doodles and pin them to the artline.. gather recycled materials ….

Let us know if you have some time- or know of others who’d like to help out. You don’t need to commit to the whole summer, just a few hours of your time can make a big difference.

Want to know more?

You can: Phone. 0121 749 4100, Email :admin@cbhgt.org.uk

Fill out a form here

Come along to one of our regular Volunteer Open sessions  (see event calendar – Fridays), 10am- 12,  3Download a copy of this information (pdf) here : Family Activities volunteering

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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

 

 

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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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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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

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