As 2019 starts with winter frosts it seems a good time to look back on 2018 at the Llangollen Community Garden, including a scorching hot Welsh summer!
The year started with more deep snow, followed by the wonderful news that the garden was safe and that we could continue to grow! Spring 2018 saw a flurry of help from our youngest gardeners. Our potato crop was entirely planted by children and we had one spring day when a whole group of under 5’s got busy planting out our first bed of new potatoes.
The under 5’s, but especially the under 2’s, used a string line and a spacing stick with considerable more care than many of our more grown up gardeners! The last crop for the season was put in by Llangollen Scouts.
The garden continues to welcome gardeners of all ages and planting is just one of the jobs our smallest gardeners enjoy. Our sunflowers were also planted by kids. Our tallest this year was planted by Sunny, aged 4 and his Mum; their sunflower grew to a fantastic 8 feet tall.
Our first big event of the year was our Midsummer open Day in June. We sold tea, homemade cakes and plants raised at the garden and showed off the plot to many first time visitors as well as returning supporters. Our strawberry patch was at ‘peak strawberry’ and kept our younger visitors happy as did our Children’s Corner. It was a scorching day, but this corner was shaded and cool with a mixture of water fun, dinosaurs and pretend fire building (without the flames!)
Once again our solar powered water pump proved invaluable and meant throughout the long hot summer we always had 3 water butts full of water pumped up from the stream. Thanks to our volunteer watering team, the warm weather meant we had a bumper harvest despite the arid conditions. The photo below shows the results of one of our harvest evenings, just a small part of the fantastic harvest we enjoyed. We even had some spare courgettes to drop off at the Plas Newydd café to go into the veggie tortillas.
We are always delighted to welcome different groups to the garden. In April we welcomed the scouts. They proved an energetic workforce and enjoyed cutting down laurel, clearing the old collapsed dead hedge from the children’s area and helping with a litter pick along the road boundary. They have since returned to the garden to practise their scouting skills in constructing and lighting small fires. In November we also welcomed Year 6 from Ysgol Y Gwernant who came to cut and stack laurel with help from the Countryside Service Team at DCC. We look forward to welcoming many more groups in 2019.
Another highlight of 2018 was our second ever annual Apple Pressing Day in October. This was once again hugely popular and very well attended. Some families even arriving with 3 generations to enjoy the fun. Lots of juice was pressed by helpers of all ages and we also enjoyed some excellent hot spice apple juice together with homemade scones and apple cake. This event epitomises the garden; free outdoor fun for all the family that gets friends and strangers busy making juice from windfall apples that would often otherwise go to waste.
Our final good news of 2018 was our success in the Participatory Budgeting event in the Town Hall in the Autumn. We secured some funds to finally complete the inside of our straw bale building with clay render. The clay will be completely child friendly and will enable us to involve children from the local schools to assist in this fun, messy, hands-on eco activity.
So we wish you all a very Happy New Year and thank you for all your support in 2018. Remember you are always welcome to come along and visit the garden. Sessions run every Saturday morning and would love to welcome you in 2019. So even if you live a busy life, (never enough thyme!) we hope you can make a little space to drop in and ‘live life on the veg’!
After the Christmas break we will be returning for our first session on Saturday 12 January from 10.30am. Further information and updates will continue to be on our Facebook page.