Category Archives: Gardening

Little Bloxwich garden opens for charity this Sunday

Julie and John Quinn on their 'bridge over troubled waters' in the Small but Beautiful garden
Julie and John Quinn on their ‘bridge over troubled waters’ in the Small but Beautiful garden

One of the prettiest private gardens in Bloxwich – and beyond – is all set to open its gate to the public this Sunday, 28 June, endorsed by the highly-regarded National Gardens Scheme.

Dubbed ‘Small but Beautiful’ by owners and gardeners John and Julie Quinn, their Japanese-themed back garden, just 32ft square but packed with glorious plants, shrubs and trees, certainly fits the bill.

Just one of many vistas in this tiny patch of heaven...
Just one of many vistas in this tiny patch of heaven…

John is a self-employed professional gardener, and Julie works in a bank, but it’s easy to see that their hearts are really in their other work – building a haven of peace and tranquility at the back of their home, 6 Fishley Close, Little Bloxwich, WS3 3QA.

Our editor had a preview of the glorious garden, which will open to the public between 10am – 5pm, and the photographs he took, shown here, give just a taste of the multitude of many-layered vistas which have been masterfully created by the hard work of John and Julie.  It’s a wonderful inspiration to the great majority of us who only have a little patch of green to work with!

CLOSE UP: This exquisite flower entices the eye to contemplate the bridge beyond
CLOSE UP: This exquisite flower entices the eye to contemplate the bridge beyond

The garden also includes a lovely water feature and a typically Japanese-style bridge beyond, giving depth to the whole arrangement.  There are also a number of non-Japanese style aspects to the garden nearer to the house.

The birds love the garden too!
The birds love the garden too!

This is not the first time that the garden has been open to the public for such charity events, as it has been a total of 14 times over the years, raising a total of around £12,000. Previous events have raised cash for Marie Curie Cancer Care and Macmillan Cancer Support – and the garden even sported its own lights in 2009 after Walsall Illuminations closed down!

Part of the garden, illuminated in October 2009 - click on picture to see the 2009 album on Flickr
Part of the garden, illuminated in October 2009 – click on picture to see the 2009 album on Flickr

This year, the Small but Beautiful garden has featured on Midlands Today, on BBC Radio WM, in a two-page spread in Gardening News, and has been recognised by The Daily Telegraph as one of the top fifty small gardens to visit in the country.

Hidden visions are numerous, and worth seeking out...
Hidden visions are numerous, and worth seeking out…
CHARITY FUNDRAISER

Visitors are welcome on Sunday, and the modest fee for admission is £3,  with children free.  Donations in general are also welcome; funds raised by the event will be shared between the Alzheimer’s Society and the Parkinson’s Society, as well as Pelsall Care Home. Home made cakes and drinks will be on sale throughout the day.

The Quinns are also inviting any gardeners who would like to help contribute to the charities to donate in kind, by bringing along any spare plants or garden items to be sold on the day.

ACCESS

Anyone with special access needs, or thinking of bringing a group, should contact the Quinns beforehand, on 07846 496715.

PARKING

They also recommend that visitors park in nearby Fishley Lane, as Fishley Close is quite small and could easily become blocked.

Don’t miss this little gem in Little Bloxwich, whatever the weather this Sunday – it’s a real treat!

Full of small and intimate perspectives, the garden is a vision in subtle colours
Full of small and intimate perspectives, the garden is a vision in subtle colours

 

Pictures (c) by Stuart Williams – click to enlarge

The brown bin is back!

The Brown Bin is Back

Garden waste collections from households across Walsall will restart at the end of this month.

The brown bin service will resume in the week beginning Monday 30 March. Collection days vary between different parts of the borough and residents should check their calendar for details.

Households will currently have a calendar which runs until the end of March. New calendars covering the period April 2015 to April 2016 will be delivered to households next month.

Brown bin
Together with details of brown bin collections it also outlines when grey bins (general household waste) and green bins(recycling) are due to be emptied in the next year together with special arrangements for Christmas and New Year 2015/16.

Alternatively residents can use the postcode checker available on the Walsall Council website to find details of their next scheduled collection.

In line with previous years the brown bin service will run for eight months with a four month shutdown during the winter when traditionally people have less garden waste to dispose of.

During the winter closedown, garden rubbish can also be taken to the Household Waste Recycling Centre’s at Fryers Road, Leamore, and Merchants Way, Aldridge or  placed in the grey bin with the general household rubbish.

Christmas cracker showcases Goscote Greenacres

Goscote Greenacres

The popular Goscote Greenacres community garden on Goscote Lane held a seasonal market last Friday and Saturday – marking its first year serving both the disabled and the wider community.

And with craft stalls, festive foods, bric-a-brac, raffles and a school choir on Friday and festive music, jewellery, craft stalls, homemade pickles and handmade Christmas wreaths and yule logs on Saturday, this cracking little event, graced by a visit from Santa Claus, showcased what is clearly an excellent project for the disabled and the wider community.

Paul Mason outside the Community Cabin in glorious sunshine
Paul Mason outside the Community Cabin in glorious sunshine

Paul Mason, Goscote Greenacres’ community development officer, said before the free event:

“This is our first Christmas market here at Goscote and we’re really looking forward to both days.  There’s plenty to see and hear and it’s also a chance for people to have a look at the site and find out a bit more about the opportunities here.  We look forward to welcoming people and spreading some festive cheer!”

Goscote Greenacres viewed from the Woodland Walk
Goscote Greenacres viewed from the Woodland Walk

Goscote Greenacres Community Garden is based at the Goscote Centre for adults with disabilities and is being driven by them, their carers and the wider community. The Centre provides opportunities for people with disabilities who use the centre as well as residents, community groups and schools in the Goscote area, and also includes a great Community Café – Greenacres Restaurant – open to the public for breakfast and lunch, a training kitchen and social enterprise opportunities.

The building itself hosted the Christmas Market, with numerous stalls:

Christmas wreaths and preserves stall
Christmas wreaths and preserves stall
Cake stall
Cake stall
Arts and crafts stall
Arts and crafts stall
Jams and ginger cake stall
Jams and ginger cake stall
Dolls and other crafts stall
Dolls and other crafts stall
Cards and candles stall
Cards and candles stall
Various stalls
Various stalls
Costume jewellery stalls
Costume jewellery stalls
Guess the number of sweets in the jar stall
Guess the number of sweets in the jar stall

The main aims of the Goscote Greenacres project are to offer growing and gardening facilities and skills to the disabled and to offer the opportunity for members of the local community to mix with and become more aware of the needs of the users and others with similar issues.

Stuart Williams from The Bloxwich Telegraph dropped in on Saturday and was introduced to both the gardening project and the Centre by Mr Mason, who explained that the gardening facility with raised beds for easier access was launched in 2012 following a £250,000 makeover of the former Goscote Lane grounds of the old Goscote Hospital which house the Goscote Centre and the canal side open space behind the current building.

Panoramic view of Goscote Greenacres including Jo Stewart of Walsall Council and her daughter Chantel (click to enlarge)
Panoramic view of Goscote Greenacres including Jo Stewart of Walsall Council and her daughter Chantel (click to enlarge)

Paul gave Stuart a whistle-stop tour of the site, which apart from the Centre itself, includes a spacious community cabin, available for events and meetings, which also includes a home-grown veg shop as well computer facilities; a lovely canalside woodland walk with easy access for the disabled; the wide range of 45 garden plots (including 20 raised beds); fruit trees; polytunnels and a variety of other growing opportunities.

Panoramic view of the growing beds and grounds (click to enlarge)
Panoramic view of the growing beds and grounds (click to enlarge)

Gardeners have access to dedicated toilets and a conservatory to which the gardeners have access even when the main building is closed.  It is also planned to offer fishing facilities including a Fishing Club along the canal at the rear of the site.

Part of the delightful canalside woodland walk
Part of the delightful canalside woodland walk

Goscote Greenacres is a partnership between Walsall Council’s Adult Social Care, Walsall Adult and Community College, North Walsall Area Partnership and others.  Mr Mason’s work is funded by Walsall Council but the project itself has no other budget, so it has to be as self-sufficient as possible, and boxes of vegetables grown on-site are available for sale when in season.

Donations and sponsorship are also welcome, and anyone interested in helping with funding or in kind – or seeking further information about Goscote Greenacres – is welcome to contact Paul Mason on 07432625923.

You can also Like the project’s Facebook page: Goscote Greenacres and another at Goscote Greenacres Community Garden.

If you would like more information about future plans for the Goscote Centre please contact:

Goscote Centre
Social Care and Inclusion
Goscote Lane
Goscote
Walsall  WS3 1SJ

Telephone 01922 655800

Email goscotegreenacres@walsall.gov.uk

GOSCOTE GREENACRES FLICKR ALBUM

More photos of Goscote Greenacres by Stuart Williams are available to view in our Flickr Album.

Dreaming of a Goscote Greenacres Christmas!

Goscote Greenacres (picture courtesy Walsall Council).

A winter wonderland awaits visitors to Goscote Greenacres this coming week with a seasonal market running over two days. The first ever Goscote at Christmas Market will run on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December 2012.

On Friday, there will be craft stalls, festive foods, bric-a-brac, raffles and a school choir from 10am until 2pm.  On Saturday, from 11am until 2pm there will be festive music, jewellery, craft stalls, homemade pickles and handmade Christmas wreaths and yule logs.

And Santa Claus is due to pop in on Saturday 8 December between 11am and 2pm!

Paul Mason, Goscote Greenacres’ community development officer, said:

“This is our first Christmas market here at Goscote and we’re really looking forward to both days.

“There’s plenty to see and hear and it’s also a chance for people to have a look at the site and find out a bit more about the opportunities here.”

Admission is free and the Goscote Greenacres cafe will be open for visitors to buy refreshments.

“We look forward to welcoming people and spreading some festive cheer,” Paul concluded.

Goscote Greenacres is based at the Goscote Centre for adults with disabilities and is being driven by them, their carers and the wider community.

It is a partnership between Walsall Council’s Adult Social Care, Walsall Adult and Community College, North Walsall Area Partnership and others.

The wheelchair accessible site in Goscote Lane, has a community cabin, raised beds and community garden plots.

DOWNLOADS

Goscote Christmas Market Flyer (pdf)

Goscote Greenacres Xmas Veg Boxes (pdf)

Brown bins are back!

The Brown Bin is Back

Brown garden waste bin collections start up again in Walsall Metropolitan Borough this week – and gardening enthusiasts and residents planning an outdoor makeover or pre-spring clear up are being urged to make use of Walsall’s garden waste recycling scheme.

The borough’s ‘brown bin’ service is now re-commencing its fortnightly collections from all low rise properties (including houses) across the borough following the winter close down.

Residents are reminded exactly what they can put in their brown bins:

Grass cuttings, leaves, weeds, tree and shrub prunings, hedge clippings and old plants and flowers should go in the brown bins and the waste is then converted into compost.

Calendars  have been  sent to remind residents of brown bin collection dates.

Cabinet member for the environment Cllr Tom Ansell said: “We’re all looking forward to the end of winter – but spring does bring a lot of extra work in the garden.

“Now is the perfect time to start clearing out your garden ready for the Spring and we are delighted to be able to offer this brown bin service for our residents.”

If residents have any queries about waste or recycling they should contact the call centre on 01922 653344 for further advice and assistance.

Walsall Council’s waste and recycling website may be found via this link.

Get growing for Spring with a Bloxwich allotment!

Allotment Gardener
Budding growers can bag themselves plots for the Spring season as spaces have now become available in the Bloxwich area.

The plots, including half plots, are available in Goscote Lane, Walsall and Broad Lane, Sneyd Lane and Grenfell Road, Bloxwich.

The allotments are run by the North Walsall Local Management Association, supported by Walsall Council’s Greenspace Improvement Service.

John Davis, chair of the North Walsall Local Management Association, has been tending a plot for 48 years and said he would recommend it to anyone.

“I haven’t had to buy any vegetables for years and it’s great exercise for all ages,” said the 64-year-old retired steel worker.

“We are able to offer plots across a few of the sites because some of our allotment holders are getting on a bit now and can’t carry on, sadly.

“The site at Goscote Lane in particular is great because it is suitable for wheelchair users, has three car parks, running water, a shop that sells fertiliser and other gardening supplies and a lock-up for equipment such as rotovator.

“There has been a shortage of plots in this area for a while so this is a good chance for people to get one.

“We’re happy for people to come and have a look around or they can phone me for a chat about it.”

Councillor Anthony Harris, Walsall Council cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “Our Greenspace Improvement Service is very supportive of all the activities of local allotment associations.

“We’re delighted that a new group of residents will be able to enjoy the many benefits of having an allotment plot, including fresh air, exercise and the social aspects, not to mention the satisfaction of growing their own produce to support a healthy lifestyle.”

For further information on obtaining a plot please contact Mr Davis on 01922 405126, during afternoons only. For a full list of allotment sites in the Walsall borough visit http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/index/leisure_sports_community/allotments.htm