Call for Volunteers

Well, spring is only just around the corner and we need to get the ground in the Walled Garden as clear as possible before the weeds start to germinate again.  There are still some brambles to cut back and old derelict structures to remove.  Our next session in the garden will concentrate on these tasks and is planned for Monday 29th February,  9.30 to 2.00.

Greenhouse base
Derelict greenhouse built of bricks made by the Star Brick Company, Caerleon

Supported by Thom from Keep Wales Tidy and Graham, one of our regular volunteers, we will start to salvage the bricks from the old green house base.

We want re-use these bricks to build the foundations for our Horticultural Therapy Greenhouse that will be funded from our Tesco Bags of Help award.

GetImage A quick plug here for our previous post, asking you to vote for our greenhouse at one of the Tesco stores in Torfaen or Blaenau Gwent between Saturday Feb 27th and Sunday March 6th.  The 5p carrier bag charge has funded this award and we are delighted that the Walled Garden will receive at least £8,000, and more if we get loads of votes!

If you have a few hours to spare next Monday and would like to help with this on-going clearance, please do come along.  For anyone who’s up for cleaning a few bricks, we have eye protection goggles and a selection of hammers and chisels.  If you prefer to use your own that’s fine,  and please ensure you wear good gloves and stout boots.

View from South east corner, Feb 2016
The garden viewed from the south east corner  – February 2016

For bramble clearing and gathering up other burnable waste you will need to bring secateurs, loppers and rakes.  We will pile it all up in readiness for the next bonfire.  Again good gloves and footwear are essential, and a wheel barrow if you can get one in your car will be a real asset!

 

If you able to come along to help please respond to this post or drop me a note at grangegardenjans@yahoo.co.uk

Thank you

Jan Smith, on behalf of the Walled Garden Community

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Tesco Bags of Help – our first award, and we need your help!

GetImage

We are delighted to announce that the Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden project is to be a recipient of a Tesco Bags of Help award.  Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch an initiative which will use the money raised from the 5p bag charge to award grants to community groups or projects in numerous regions across England and Wales.  Ranging from £8,000 to £12,000 the value of each award will be decided by Tesco customers taking part in an in-store vote.

Together with two other projects in our area we have been selected to receive an award of either £8000, £10,000 or £12,000.  To receive the highest award we need to receive the highest total number of votes cast across four Tesco stores in Gwent:-

Ebbw Vale   –   Abertillery  –  Pontypool  –  Greenmeadow, Cwmbran

Voting will take place over the nine days from Saturday 27 February until Sunday 6 March 2016.  Customers shopping in any of these stores during this time will be given a voting token for every transaction made.  (Online customers and shoppers in other stores can also get a voting token in one of these four stores by showing their delivery note or receipt).

Robinsons aluminium Victorian

The award has been made to enable us to build the first greenhouse in the Walled Garden.  We plan to build a strong, roomy attractive structure for use by individuals and groups who would benefit from participating in horticultural therapy activities.

The bigger the award the better the greenhouse we will be able to provide!

So, if you are shopping in any of these four Tesco stores during the voting period please consider casting your vote for the Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden Horticultural Therapy Greenhouse.

Thank you.

 

Garden Clearance Work Continues

Photo c/o Janet Kelly.
Photo c/o Janet Kelly.

Many of you will have seen the dense bramble thickets and small trees in the walled garden a few months back, and thought how on earth is this ever going to become a garden again! Well, as part of the process to develop some design ideas, we have done a lot of work to clear the site so that we can identify whether there are any features which we want to preserve in the new layout.

In December we reported that with the help of the Health Board ground maintenance team and Monmouthshire Grounds Maintenance Services, the main undergrowth and brambles were cleared away with a mower and flail. Since then we have had a lot of support from both the Health Board and other agencies and transformation to a garden is now looking much more feasible.

Photo c/o J. Kelly.
Photo c/o J. Kelly.

On another very wet day, a small band of hardy volunteers (and a few marital conscripts) under the leadership of Thom Board from Keep Wales Tidy,  led the next phase of the clearance which was dealing with the vast quantity of rubbish. A wide range of extraneous items seem to have found their way into the garden over the years , including the obligatory shopping trolley, several bits from large horticultural machines, pieces of an industrial size gas cooker, and a few car parts (?!). We are grateful to Torfaen Council services for help disposing of it.

Hedgehog box installed.
Hedgehog box installed.

We’ve also found evidence of hedgehogs on the site, and as we’d really like to have these helpful little beasts in the final garden, we’ve installed a couple of hedgehog houses with the help of the local Hedgehog Rescue group – many thanks to Keith for bringing these over.

Shredder at work clearing the garden - Feb 2016
Shredder at work clearing the garden – Feb 2016

 

More recently, we’ve also had welcome help from Torfaen County Borough Council’s Countryside Team in the shape of Jonathan and a large shredder, which along with Thom and his chainsaw have enabled us to take down many of the goat willow and ash saplings. We can now get a good view of the entire garden, although there is still work to do in terms of getting the bramble roots out and removing the old greenhouse bases.

Thank you to all the volunteers, Health Board and council teams who have helped out.