Welcome to the Secret Garden behind Bobber's Mill in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, helped by Groundwork Greater Nottingham, who are resurrecting a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us at the South end of Ascot Road, near Collins Cash and Carry. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Normal Service is Resumed!

After last week's wonderful but exhausting Garden Party, the volunteers have had a lovely day doing the varied and fun things that make Windmill such a great place. Danny, Jack and Dan did a wildlife survey to see how our many different wildlife-friendly features are doing. Alex and Valerie started designing a new wood carving, Chris worked on another carving. Hassan and Brian tackled the bindweed that's taken over the fruit cage and Tracey, Zariffa and Shanaz made a lovely slap up lunch of savoury rice and lentils, with a salad of chrystal lemon, lollo biondo lettuce and edible flowers, followed by rasmalai and summer pudding. Then Joyce and Matt turned up ready and willing to do all the washing up! Well done all!

Alex working on the design for the sign

Danny collecting edible flowers for the salad

Zariffa makes sure the freshly picked salad is perfect


Rasmalai! Thanks to Shanaz for the amazing desert!!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Feel Good Garden Party at Windmill Community Gardens

Wow! What a lovely turn out for the garden party, in perfect weather. Thank you to everyone who came and to all the volunteers who helped. Here are some of our photos.

Hassan making the pizza bases using
dough from the fab Small Food Bakery
at Primary - thanks Kimberley Bell!

Mark manning the oven, though confused
about the season!

Instant cheesecakes using our rasps as a topping

Happa soma!

The amazing Lisa from Warrior Wellbeing doing her
unique massage style.

Thanks to Nature in Mind for the drumming

Trying out the "do it yourself foot spa"

Admiring the beans.

Lunch sir?

Trying out happa soma

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Windmill gets a Spring-clean from E.ON

We enjoyed a wonderful session at Windmill today, as we were joined by a group of hard working and eager volunteers from E.ON. Any community garden gets a build up of jobs that it doesn't have enough time or people to do, and team days like this make a huge difference to us, so we were delighted to host them.

The main aim of the day was to get 2 of our high raised beds replaced. These beds have done us great service over the years, but their wood has eventually succumbed to rot, and they were gradually falling to bits. The work team carefully dismantled them, then set to work rebuilding with fresh timber, under the expert eye of Alan Withington who joined us for the day.

Removing the old wood

Preparing the edge of the bed to allow the bed to be set level

Alan Withington - our expert bed-maker

Replacing the wood around the soil left in place

The rest of the team set about weeding our paths and replacing the wood-chip surface. They did a fabulously thorough job, which made a huge difference to the appearance of the place.

E.ON's  wonder-weeders in action

Another group sanded down and repainted the benches around our fire pit, so visitor can be reassured that they will continue to have a comfortable, non-splintery seat when they visit.

Our regular volunteers also got down to work and re-organised our plant nursery area, as well as planting out sweet peas and weeding our growing crops.

Regular volunteers weeding our onion bed.

Volunteers Shanaz and Omar did us proud with a wonderful lunch of dhal, rice, pakoras and chutney, alongside a delicious pudding, which was much enjoyed by the willing workers.

Huge thanks to everyone at E.ON for all your hard work, and to Audrey who stood in for Tracey for the day, as she managed to break her leg when she was on holiday.

One of the newly finished high raised beds

Paths weeded and re-bark chipped

Benches now smooth and back to a lovely blue with
an environmentally friendly wood stain

The slabbed path in the background - not a weed in sight!

Monday, 29 February 2016

Windmill - It's for the Birds!

We've been having a lot of fun at Windmill during the last few weeks, setting up a variety of bird-friendly features. Whilst birds can be a problem we like to encourage them - not least because they will seek out over-wintering caterpillars and grubs far better than we can - we're not just into them because they're cute, you know!

We've already got a great range of things which we know the birds enjoy - our hedges, our dead hedges (piled cut branches that provide cover and nesting sites), our teapot-nesting box, our robin box and our blue-tit box, as well as the big feeder in the orchard and a variety of seed-bearing flowers that we grow. And we mustn't forget the pot-store, which the robin always prefers to any other nest site...!!

That's a long list, but there's always room for improvement, so we were delighted when the lovely people from Nature in Mind visited a few weeks ago with a very keen bird-watcher in tow. He gave us lots of tips as we made up a variety of bird boxes. He suggested that the robin box should be moved to somewhere a bit more secluded, and that some sparrow boxes would be good, as well as a nesting shelf for a blackbird. We've done all that now, so hopefully the birds will be eyeing up the new des-res's. Nature in Mind folk also took away some boxes, promising to put them up, so we've hopefully spread the love all over Nottingham!

Nature in Mind show off some of their bird boxes.

In the meantime, our Monday group have been having a bit of fun with an idea we pinched off Winter Watch on the BBC. We've used old cups and an old toast rack to make a rather fancy bird feeder. We hope you like it! We'll let you know if the birds like it too.

Lard & seeds used to make bird-cake teacups
+ lard-soaked bread in the toast rack

Danny shows off the ingenious finished contraption

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Rev up your garden composting with Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy Gardener!

We hope you can join us for a great course that we are running from late February through March which promises to help you bring health to your garden in simple and cost effective ways.

It's a composting course with local composting guru Karen Fry - it's a rotten job, and she's very good at it! The course is aimed at Nottingham residents with mild to moderate mental health issues and it's free to those on income related benefits.

See the posters below for full details.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Old Twelfth Night and Lohri Celebration

A chilly Windmill this morning

When we woke up on Sunday morning to a thick, white blanket of snow, we wondered how many folk would brave the cold to come and join us for our Old Twelfth Night and Lohri Celebration, but we needn't have worried! Lots of hardy people turned up and, by all accounts, had a lovely time (thanks for the great Facebook feedback!)

Folk like to congregate around the food area!

It's a favourite event of ours at Windmill, because we celebrate Lohri, which is a wonderful Winter festival in the Punjabi community (celebrating the harvest and longer, warmer days), and we've added in Old Twelfth Night - when it's traditional to wassail fruit trees in England. Mix the two traditions and you have a recipe for a great party.

Panorama of the site, showing our two fire pit areas - drumming at the bottom,
popcorn and feet-warming at the top!
Kitchen and lovely food at the left were also very popular!

We are extremely luck that the lovely Prakash has embraced the idea, and as she has every year since we started, provided us with lashings of delicious curries, puris and desserts, whilst her grandson entertained us with his dhol drumming. The vast vats of food disappeared remarkably quickly as everyone got in the mood, joining in the drumming (thanks to Mark from Nature in Mind for providing a great set of mixed drums and playing along) and stoking up the fires.

Prakash with Tracey

Making crowns and wands

Whilst all that was going on, it gave us time to make "wassailing wands" for the children and ivy "crowns" for anyone that wanted one (which seemed to be almost everyone!) as well as toast (of which more later). As we'd asked folk to bring something to make noise with, most people were already prepared, but we provided drums or a few odd noise makers to those in need and set off to wassail the trees. Ni, in her fabulous psychedelic cloak, led the ceremony as the children used their wands to tickle the trees awake. We joined in with wassailing rhymes, then all made a huge din as the children soaked toast in apple juice and hung it from the trees (to attract birds to come and eat the moths).

Wassailing the apple tree.

Ni leads the wassailing of the plum tree

Putting toast on the branches

One of our volunteers with her wassailing stick

Toast on the branches

Our youngest wassailer!

If you have a look on Facebook, you might even see a video of the proceedings.

We would like to thank Prakash and her grandson for their generosity, as well as Mark for drums, Kathy for running the kitchen and making the best mulled apple juice we've had, also to Ray, Hassan and the Rushton clan for their help in fire-starting, setting up, feeding and watering folk and tidying up. And a big thank you to everyone who brought their own mug, which made a huge difference to the amount of washing up we had to do!

No-one wanted to leave the washing-machine
drum fire-pit!