Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:45
The garden is always looking for help with all the larger tasks that need doing in the garden on a yearly basis. If you work for a company in the Newcastle area, why not consider spending a day volunteering with us. We provide all tools and instruction needed and have an indoor space where you can have a break and a nice cup of tea. Please see below for the kind of tasks you could get involved in.
(Any time of year)
Weeding Pathways and Cutting Back
This task basically involves removing all the weeds from the pathways, raking them up and then mulching under the trees with them. It could be a half day task, or combined with another task, the group could be split in two. The other task would be cutting back branches that are overhanging pathways. Again raking up and mulching under trees/hedges with the clippings.
(June/July or Nov-March)
Weaving/Maintaining Willow Structures
We have a nunber of willow structures around the garden that need weaving in twice a year. This involves taking the new growth and bending and weaving it back into theoriginal structure shape. This could be a half day job, or again could be done with another task, splitting the group in two and then swapping over.
The ponds in the garden need some of the weeds/plants thinning out over the winter. This can involve dragging some of the plants out from the side, but also may need a couple of people to go into the water in waders. If the ponds are really overgrown some plants may need digging out around the edge of the water. We have a number of ponds in the garden, so a larger group could be split in two.
(Late Sept/ October)
Wildflower Meadow Maintenance
In the autumn we need to cut back our main wildflower meadow. We use scythes and sickles to cut back the areas of long grass and wildflowers. We then rake up the cut material and then leave it for about a week to allow any seed to fall back onto the ground. Then we compost it, or use it to mulch some of the vegetable beds. This task would suit a small group, or a larger group could be split in half.
Traditional Hedge Laying
We have a number of large hedges around the site that we are starting to maintain by using traditional methods. Hedge laying involves stripping back side branches from trees and pilling this material up. Then cutting almost all the way through the main stems and laying them down horizontally. Then we use long thin branches to hold these stem in place and finally push some of the trimmed side branches back into the gaps to form a sort of dead hedge. New growth will then shoot up in between this dead material. Once this process is finished it looks really attractive and is a very good habitiat for a wide range of animals and insects. This is a task that would suit a larger group, as there is a lot of work involved.
Coppicing Basket Willow Area
This area is used for growing willow for projects and workshops in the garden. Every year the willow needs cutting right back to the ground to encourage new growth each year. Once the willow is cut it is sorted into different lengths and then tied in bundles, to be used for weaving projects. This task would suit a smaller group, or a large group split in half which could work on another area of willow maintenance.