Welcome to the Spring newsletter. Although much of our Community Fund 'Tyfu gyda'n gilydd' / 'Growing together' project has been suspended during lockdown, the gardens have remained open to all, and we have been working to improve the site during the winter months. We are now looking forward to starting workshops, and perhaps small events, once restrictions lift.
Also in our newsletter today, we have been reaching out into the community through our Climate Action Boost project from the National Lottery, while the Herbal Group is reaching beyond Wales - see below.
Improving the gardens
Over the winter we have finished off the ramp for the new bridge, widened the main path, and put in new edging and benches. We hope this will make it easier for more people to access the gardens and will enable visitors to enjoy the range of spaces we have.
The new 'chaise longue' bench by local craftsman Pete, gives a view across the wildflower meadow.
Volunteers also worked on the wildlife pond, reducing the water level to prevent flooding of the main path, and creating a still area for amphibians. We now think we need yet another bench to appreciate the lovely view!
The view across the wildlife pond to the new bridge.
Climate Action Boost
The ‘Climate Action Boost’ project , from the National Lottery Community Fund, has enabled us to work with local residents and groups who have volunteered as 'tree guardians' in Machynlleth and the Dyfi Valley, to plant and care for edible trees in public sites. Local umbrella group 'Gelli Deg Dyfi Food Forest' has supported this work, and will carry on with the project beyond this funding.
The ‘Tree Guardians’ have planted nearly 70 fruit and nut trees, including apples, pears, damsons, cherries and walnuts, as well as blackcurrants, blueberries and rhubarb. The trees and soft fruit are at 14 different sites, including Bryn Y Gog housing estate, Barcud housing association properties, the Plas estate, local schools, and children’s play parks in Corris, Ceinws and Cemmaes. All the planting was done within Covid 19 guidelines to keep residents safe.
Tom and Robin planted a 'Juneberry' in the Plas estate.
Sweet and sour cherries at the entrance to the Plas, planted by tree guardians Jay, Sylvie, Amy and Gabi, with locally crafted tree guards.
Herbalists without Borders
Anita, GBDG's Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, and the Herbal group, which looks after the Apothecary Garden (starting again after 26th April), is going to be working with Herbalists without Borders UK. This is an umbrella group in the UK and Ireland who are collecting herbs for medicine to be given free to refugees in camps across Europe.
Many of the plants which are particularly in demand already grow in the community gardens, such as lemon balm, mint, chamomile, elecampane, thyme, lavender, and ladies mantle. If you would like to be a part of the mid Wales group please get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07983318893.
Forest Garden and Community Orchard
Over the winter we planted new trees, shrubs and perennials as replacements and to fill in gaps, including 'Cariad' Cherry, Cornelian Cherry, Cherry Plum, hazel, fig, and Elder 'Haushberg'.
Julia and son Jonah planted an elder 'Hauschberg'.
Many of these were funded by the Climate Action Boost, some were from our main project, and also we were given four fruit trees by Keep Wales Tidy. Some of the trees planted in 2019 are flowering now, and we are hopeful of plums and damsons this year.
Damson 'Abergwyngregyn' in blossom.
Children's groups at the gardens
After outdoor activities for children were allowed in Wales, the pre-school Acorns group and the GBDG kid's group started meeting at the gardens for wildlife and craft activities. This week the kid's group had a treasure hunt, made a 'fairy garden' in one of the round willow beds, and planted Second early potatoes 'Nicola' in the vegetable beds. Well done kids!
The new 'Fairy house' made by the kid's group.
The GBDG website has been refreshed over the past few months to be fully bilingual, and has a calendar of events page. The Climate Action Boost will also enable us to add a new blog and an up to date map.
New Youth Project
We have some funding from Powys Teaching Health Board to work with young people in the area. Norma McCarten, our GBDG chair, is working on this, and is liaising with teachers and the Well Being Officer at Ysgol Bro Hyddgen Uwchradd, as well as youth workers and community artists, to come up with outdoor activities which local youngsters can enjoy and benefit from. We hope this will help with anti social behaviour which has been an issue recently in the gardens.
Drop in sessions, Workshops and Market stall
After 26th April, we will be continuing our inclusive drop in gardening sessions, and will start small outdoor workshops - see the upcoming events box. So far, we have a Bird Box workeshop, 'Fruit tree guilds' workshop (for Tree Guardians), Children's Forest School activities, Seedling Saturday event, and an outdoor mushroom growing course. We will be advertising new workshops on our website, facebook page, and local Machynlleth Swapshop newsletter.
We will be having monthly stalls at the Machynlleth Wednesday market, from May to August, with organically grown wildflowers, herbs and edibles, all available for donation. Do come and say hello!
We hope to see you soon.
Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens Team