Expert Gardener, Gnoll Country Park, 6th August 2014

In order to keep momentum and interest up with the volunteers for the Fairyland allotment project, Kathryn Britton, Cynefin place coordinator set about organising an interactive workshop event with both practical and classroom sessions. NPTCBC Tidy Towns team provided the funding and Kathryn co-organised the event with Deborah Brambley from NPTCBC.

It was decided that a beginner's guide would start

It was decided that a beginner's guide would start a series of workshops over the following months increasing the knowledge of the volunteers as it progresses. The first workshop was held at Gnoll Country Park on 6th August.  21 Volunteers attended as well as representatives from Groundwork, Muddy Marvellous, NPTCBC and Kathryn Britton, Cynefin Neath Place Coordinator.

A mix of practical and classroom experiences

A mix of practical and classroom experiences were organised covering topics such as ornamental gardening, food growing, kitchen gardens and herb gardens. Experts were sourced and two local Fairyland allotment holders agreed to facilitate the herb growing session and bring potted herbs with them for sale.

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Following presentations from Dave Roberts

Following presentations from Dave Roberts (Head gardener, Victoria Park, NPTCBC) and Mark Jenkins (Muddy Marvellous) in the morning, everyone headed down to the allotments for a composting workshop and a demonstration on how to build a compost bin from re-used pallets. This was followed by a demonstration in Gnoll Park on how to prepare and plant an ornamental flower bed.

The day was informal, relaxed and enjoyed by all

The day was informal, relaxed and enjoyed by all; the volunteers enjoyed meeting other like-minded people and the event has given the allotment project a real kick start.

Quotes from attendees

Emma Knight from FAN Alliance who attended the day said 'the event was great!  It provided me with some great tips and advice as well as solutions to current problems we have in our community garden and a few ideas for the future :)" 

Jacqueline Benjamin, another attendee from Fairyland Allotments said "Sylvia, Nia and myself enjoyed the Gardening Event. It was well organised and very interesting. It was also nice to network and meet like-minded people. When's the next event!!" 

Itinerary for the day

10:00 - Arrival tea & coffee

10.30 - Introduction Deborah & Kathryn

10:40 - Dave Roberts, Ornamental Growing

11:10 - Mark Jenkins, Fruit & Veg Growing

12:10 - Q&A

12:30 - Herb Growing & Networking

1:00 - Lunch

1:45 - Practical Session on the allotments

-          Composting

-          Building a compost container from re-used pallets

-          Preparing and planting an Ornamental flower bed

Follow up

Cara Davies from Groundwork organised a follow up event on Wednesday 13th August and a rolling programme of activities is now held on Thursday mornings between 10-12.  It was also agreed that contact be made with Gnoll Primary and Alderman Davies schools to include them in the design stage, and allocate them a bed each; and to finalise a plastic bottle greenhouse.

In addition, Groundwork agreed to fund a charcoal making workshop as a direct request from the volunteers attending.