Welcome to the Autumn Winter newsletter.
Our Lottery funded project, Growing Together/Tyfu Gyda'i Gilydd, is continuing, with new measures to keep volunteers, staff and visitors safe.
We are pleased to be running our regular Tuesday and Thursday drop in sessions and two workshops per month,except for the 'firebreak' lockdown in late October/November. We used this time to make accessible ramps for the new bridge. Also, many community groups are using the gardens as a space where people can meet safely.
To make the shelter safer for our drop in sessions and workshops, Anita, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, worked with volunteers to take out the partition in the shelter, and the perspex windows, which has opened up the building and increased air circulation. The building is now much better for social distancing.
Local groups, including Machynlleth 1st Cubs, a samba drumming group, Machynlleth Meditation group, XR Machynlleth, Acorns pre school group and others, have started to use the gardens and newly opened up shelter which makes it easier to have organised activities within restrictions.
Machynlleth Meditation Group did a Sacred Spaces retreat and workday at the gardens.
Our Tyfu Gyda'i Gilydd/ Growing Together workshops have been continuing. We have kept groups small, often having a few shorter sessions with small numbers at each, to keep people safe. Since September we have had drawing with natural inks and materials, outdoor yoga, qi gong, bramble weaving, skep making for beekeepers, seasonal wreath making, and will be having a 'Lichens on Twigs' workshop on Saturday 12th December.
A beautiful seasonal wreath made at our recent workshop, all with natural materials from the Dyfi Valley.
In the new year we will be having workshops for bench making, fruit grafting, nature sculpture, bat box making and others. Please get in touch if you have an idea for a small community workshop.
Path improvements and new accessible bridge
After feedback from our accessibility survey last year we have been working to improve the main path to the gardens. Volunteers have put in new edging to make the path wider for wheelchair users, and have brought gravel dust to lay down a new surface. So far our incredible volunteers have barrowed nearly 16 tonnes of gravel to the gardens!
At last we have our new accessible bridge to alleviate flooding which has been such a problem in the past few years. Children are pleased to be able to play 'pooh sticks' on the bridge too.
The new bridge is open for 'pooh sticks'.
In the next month we going to put in some new steps leading from the new ramp towards the rocket bird hide, and are exploring natural methods to retain the banks of the stream where the path and drainage pipe were taken out. We trust that we will now have fewer problems with flooding, and our gardens will be accessible most of the time.
Climate Action Boost
Gerddi was offered a Climate Action Boost by the National Lottery Community Fund, as a top up to our main Tyfi gyda'i gilydd/ Growing Together project. After the success of last years' community orchard planting, and conversations with local people, we decided to ask to use the money to plant fruit and nut trees around our town of Machynlleth.
We were successful with this application and an umbrella group, 'Gelli Deg Dyfi Food Forest' has been formed, which includes community groups such as Edible Mach Maethlon and Llais y Goedwig, and local residents. Gerddi is leading this as a separate project from our usual activities.
Members of the group have raised awareness of the project through a community market stall, a Tree Charter event, and bilingual leaflets, to encourage local residents to become 'Tree Guardians' as part of the project. Tree Guardians will choose their own fruit or nut tree, plant it (or we will help) and learn how care for it with free training.
Gelli Deg Dyfi Food Forest stall on Tree Charter day, with one way system, track and trace, and other Covid event precautions.
We have continued with planting small trees and shrubs in the gardens to provide free fruit and nuts and benefit local wildlife. Volunteers have planted a welsh Cariad Cherry, two Cornelian Cherries (Cornus mas Kazalak and Shurien), two elders, including a welsh Sambucus nigra Cae Rhos Lligwy, a goumi (Eleagnus umbellata Garnet), and hazels, which will be for beanpoles as well as nuts. We have used native edible mycorhizzae with the plantings ('Chaos fungorum'), to improve tree and shrub growth, and which we hope will yield edible mushrooms in years to come.
Volunteer Jay plants a bare root tree in our community orchard.
We are using some of our publicity money from the Tyfu Gyda'i Gilydd/Growing Together project, to make updates to our website, which will include a new blog for the gardens, and a calendar to show up-coming events. We hope this will be completed by the New Year.
We are considering incorporating this newsletter into the new website, and would be grateful to hear your views on if you find it helpful to get an e-newsletter or if you would be happy to get updates on the website. Do please let us know what you think.
Unfortunately we were not able to put together a calendar for this coming year, as we did not have enough high resolution photos, but we hope to do this next year. If you visit the gardens and take high resolution photos, we would love to see them.
A wintry photo from the gardens by regular visitor Jeanette.
We hope to see you soon.
Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens Team