October in the Garden

Everything was sparkly and golden in the garden when we arrived yesterday.  The sun was just burning off an early morning frost, and the last marigolds and nasturtiums were waking up.  It all has a very end-of-summer feel now, with only the winter hardy veg looking positive.

The bonfire season is almost upon us! Come and join us for a family-friendly ‘Bonfire Day’ on Sunday 4th November, from 11 am to 1 pm.
There will be a campfire burning and FREE fun as follows:
Making hearty soup using garden produce plus damper bread
Home-made cakes – donations accepted for the garden
Story-telling and ‘make your own fire pixie’ from fabric scraps and natural materials for the kids
*Don’t forget, if you are free and feel like popping down to the community garden, our current volunteering sessions are as follows:
Wednesday evenings: 5.30 to 6.30 pm (17th and 24th October only as the light is fading)
Sunday mornings: 10 am to 12 noon until 21st October.
NB* from Sun 28th October when the clocks go back, the Sunday session will be from 11 am to 1 pm
The pace is relaxed with time for a cup of tea (don’t forget our friendly local café) and the garden is a lovely place to be. No experience necessary – guidance will be given.
Look forward to seeing you down there!

End of Summer Feast!!

Come along to the garden on Wednesday 12th September, 4:30pm and have a harvest tea with us.  Bring food to share, or just help us eat up produce from the garden.  We will have an open fire and a fire wok so if you want to bring something to cook, please do.  We’ll have the gazebo handy, just in case, so hope to go ahead what ever the weather.

We’d particularly like to welcome back all the participants on the Ten Skills for Transition courses.  It would be great to meet you again and share some of your experiences of the training.              

See you in September, if not before!

Willow Weaving Workshop, 19 May


We had a dry (hooray!) overcast morning in the garden for our willow garden ornaments workshop last Saturday.  The workshop was part of our Ten Skills for Transition volunteer development programme which was funded by Awards for All.

We worked with local environmental artist, Julie Starks (juliestarks.com), who specialises in willow structures, including living willow installations.

She began by telling us a bit about how willow behaves, where it comes from locally, and how to get it nice and bendy.  She then demonstrated how to construct a simple cone-shaped trellis for climbing peas & beans, etc.  We all started by practicing how to knot with willow – a very important skill, unless you want the whole thing to unravel!

It was a 4-hour workshop, and most people completed their structure in that time.  Some of them got very creative.  We were hoping to make one for the garden as well, but we ran out of time to do this unfortunately.  But at least we know how to do it now!

Many of the participants wanted a follow-up session.  We will try to arrange this for later in June or early July, if possible.

Upcoming Events

Wildthings – starts Friday 11th May, 10 -11.30 am

Wildthings, the wonderful outdoor playgroup held last year in Alice Park, is joining forces with Alice Park Community Garden to create:

Wildthings in the Garden!

Parents/carers will be free to volunteer and receive free training from Kathy Cook, our garden manager, while little ones are kept happy and busy with a outdoor playgroup, run by Tabitha or Hazel (of Wildthings).

Suggested donation: £2.50 per child or £4 for two children (to cover the cost of snacks, drinks & materials)

There are 12 children’s places available. Please email info@aliceparkcommunitygarden.org or fiona.williams@greenliving.co.uk if you are interested in joining.

A full list of Wildthings adventures are below

Friday 13th July 10.30 – 12.00 pm ‘wild beasts!’ – featuring minibeast hunting and making minibeast homes
Friday 10th August 10.30 – 12.00 pm ‘wild water!’ – featuring pond dipping and making pond mobiles (
Friday 14th September 10.30 – 12.00 pm ‘wild harvest!’ – featuring pupkin decorating and the drama of the enormous turnip
Friday 12th October 10.30 – 12.00 pm ‘wild orchard’ – featuring apple tasting, apple bobbing and much more

“Ten Skills for Transition”: Free Training Programme

So we have our fantastic programme of events running between May and November which have been generously funded by the Big Lottery Awards for All fund. Below are the details of all the workshop leaders and the workshops. If you would like to book or find out more information about any of these workshops please contact Fiona on info@aliceparkcommunitygarden.org

Ten Skills for Transition

1. Carpentry using reclaimed wood (focused workdays/workshops)

Places: 6 adults

Dates: Sunday 13th & 27th May (Sessions 1 &2); Sunday 10th and 24th June (Sessions 3 & 4), 9 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Sessions 1 & 2: Build a three-bin composting system from pallets.

Sessions 3 & 4: Make signage and garden structures from reclaimed wood.

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Trainer: Rod White, carpenter. Rod trained as a carpenter and has over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry as well as a background in site safety.


2. Willow-weaving (workshop)

Places: 12 adults

Date: Saturday 19th May, 9 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Make beautiful garden ornaments from willow.

Donation of £4 each requested to cover the cost of materials

Trainer: Julie Starks, environmental artist.

Julie creates artwork that reflects her fascination with ecosystems, sustainability, and the beauty of structure, pattern and texture in the natural world. She uses wood, metal, willow rods and other reclaimed materials to produce sculpture, seating and creatively landscape with living willow.



3. Wildlife gardening & pond-making (focused workday/workshop)

Places: 10 adults

Date: Saturday 16th June, 9 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Learn how to make a pond and create a wildlife area for the garden –design, maintenance and planting.

Trainer: Stephen Pritchard, Edible Landscape, Radstock

Stephen designs, builds and restores ponds both professionally and “for the fun of it”, and has a background in wildlife and habitat creation.



4. Compost-making (focused workday/workshop)

Places: 12 adults

Date: Saturday 23rd June, 9.30 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Learn how to make fantastic compost.

Trainer: Peter Andrews, Bath Organic Growers (B.O.G.)/ Transition Bath with Jonathan Holt.

Peter Andrews has been an organic gardener and permaculturalist since before he can remember. “If it once lived then it can be composted” is his motto. Join him in a life and garden enhancing compost morning.

Jonathan Holt has been composting in his own garden for 15 years with some wonderful results in bringing on young plants.

5. Urban Permaculture – community action & community spaces (workshop)

Places: 12 (age 13-26)

Date: Monday 23rd/Tuesday 24th July, daytime/eve TBC

Venue: TBC

Session 1: Indoor workshop/presentation on urban permaculture in action

Trainer: Sarah Pugh, Bristol Permaculture/ Shift Bristol

Sarah has been facilitating permaculture courses since 1999 and teaching them since 2003. Her focus has always been on inspiring and involving people in designing and improving their local space, creating opportunities for communities to work collaboratively and to reconnect with nature, particularly in urban areas.



6. Permaculture for Guerrilla Gardeners (workshop)

Places: 12 (age 13-26)

Date: Monday 30th/Tuesday 31st July, daytime/eve TBC

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden and beyond

Session 2: Outdoor workshop: learn about seed-bombs, perennials, wild flowers, and low maintenance planting

Trainer: Sarah Pugh, Bristol Permaculture/ Shift Bristol


7. Sensory gardening – aromatic and healing herbs (workshop)

Places: 12 adults

Date: Saturday 25th August, 9 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Design a sensory herb-garden and learn about the culinary and medicinal uses of the herbs. Includes tasting session with a range of herb teas.

Donation of £4 each requested to cover the cost of plants/contribute to planned sensory garden for visually impaired visitors

Trainer: Zoe Hawes, medical herbalist & Permaculture herb-grower

Zoe is a nurse with 20 years of hospital nursing experience and has also been practising as a medical herbalist for 11 years. She is passionate about local plants for local people and grows most of the herbs she needs for her dispensary in her two-acre Pharmaculture Orchard run on permaculture principles.


8. Edible gardening: From Spade to Spoon (workshop)

Places: 10 adults

Date: Saturday 1st September, 10 am to 2 pm (includes a lunch of garden produce)

Learn a range of sustainable gardening techniques to produce delicious organic ingredients. Then combine a healthy lunch with a special tour of the plot. Practical advice to take home along with some taste sensations to remember. Suit beginners, enthusiasts and foodies.

Donations accepted

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Trainer: Kathy Cook, garden manager and founder of Alice Park Community Garden

Kathy previously managed ‘The Blakes’ Head Café’ in York and is passionate about edible gardening and growing local food. In 2010 she ‘discovered’ the site of Alice Park Community Garden (then a piece of waste ground) and with a team of volunteers created the garden from scratch.

9. Grow/Cook/Eat: bushcraft cooking on an open fire (workshop)

Places: 8 (age 7-11)

Date: Saturday 8th September, 10 am to 2 pm (includes a lunch of garden produce)

Lets see what’s looking good in the garden and create something delicious for our lunch! Together we will light a fire, harvest some amazing vegetables and cook up a storm.  We will eat together and decide what is our favourite dish.  Suit beginners and junior masterchefs alike.   

Donations accepted

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden

Trainer: Lucy Holborn, cookery and bush craft teacher

Lucy has over 13 years’ experience creating fun learning opportunities around food in the outdoors, specialising in outdoor cookery skills, nature connection and bush craft.

10. Fruit-tree pruning (workshop and focused workday)

Date: Saturday 24th November, 2012, 9 am to 1 pm including refreshment break

Places: 6-12 adults

Venue: Alice Park Community Garden and local orchard TBC

Learn how to prune apple trees – practical hands-on training. Learn the difference between restorative and regenerative pruning. Follow-up session planned for January/February 2013 focusing on young trees.

Trainer: Jim Dowling, Transition Bath

A former wine-maker and grower, Jim has set up three community orchards and is a co-founder of Transition Bath.


FREE organic gardening training – 3 places still left! – Alice Park Community Garden

A great opportunity has come up for anyone interested in learning about organic gardening.

Experienced organic gardener John Ingham will be running a series of FREE workshops demonstrating ‘No-Dig’ raised bed methods of growing fruit and vegetables. There are just 8 places available so please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in signing up. Alternatively, please forward to any local friends or neighbours who might be interested.

The course will run on alternate weeks, with a Saturday morning practical work session (1 hour) at Alice Park Community Garden where participants volunteer under John’s guidance and a Tues/Wed evening workshop (1 hour) with John at his Claremont allotment. Sessions will not be running over the Easter holiday period.

The first practical work session begins on Saturday 17th March at 10 am, at Alice Park Community Garden. The full set of dates is listed below.

Best wishes


Sat 17th March, 10 am to 11 am – Alice Park Community Garden

Tues 27th/Wednesday 28th March, 6 pm to 7 pm – Claremont allotments

Sat 31st March, 10 am to 11 am – Alice Park Community Garden

Tues 10th/Wednesday 11th April, 6 pm to 7 pm – Claremont allotments

Sat 14th April, 10 am to 11 am – Alice Park Community Garden

Tues 24th/Wednesday 25th April, 6 pm to 7 pm – Claremont allotments

Sat 28th April, 10 am to 11 am – Alice Park Community Garden

Tues 8th/ Wednesday 9th May, 6 pm to 7 pm – Claremont allotments

Contact fiona.williams@greenliving.co.uk to book a place

AP Community Garden Open Day – Have your say!

On Saturday 18th February we will be holding an open day to let local residents have their say in the exciting plans underfoot at Alice Park. The Open Day will centre on the Alice Park Cafe between 10am and 4pm – see the below flyer for more information.

Free children’s workshops will take place between 11am and 12pm with seeds available for planting and a Grand Prize Draw.

Shape the future of your community garden – all ideas welcome!