Dear friends

Welcome to the Autumn newsletter. We have had a busy summer, with many new workshops and events. Happily, our Community Fund ‘Tyfu gyda’i gilydd’ / ‘Growing together’ project enables us to continue with workshops throughout the Autumn and Winter – see opposite for details of the practical skills and crafts activities we are running up to Christmas.

Also, we have been taking our regular volunteers to visit inspirational garden projects for learning and development, giving us ideas about how we can improve some tricky spaces in our gardens.

Events 
The sun came out (eventually) for Diwrnod Dathlu’r Dolydd / National Meadows Day. Highlights of the day were Kate Doubleday’s talk about how to create wildflower meadows, children’s wildlife activities including the creation of an open plan ‘minibeast hotel’ for young visitors, and live upbeat  music from our local brass band.

Children filling the new open plan ‘Minibeast Hotel’. 

Upbeat music from the local brass ensemble. 

In August we co-hosted our first Gŵyl Y Peillwyr / Pollinator Festival with Edible Mach Maethlon. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we had pollinators and visitors in abundance. Many people did the Flower Insect Timed Surveys (FITS), others enjoyed the talks by Petra Weinnman of the Centre for Alternative Technology and Siobhan Maderson phd, and children joined in with pollinator games and activities. After lunch we had a real treat with Ellie Ryle, a professional musician on Gerddi’s commitee, who played Bach cello suites in the Rocket.

Siobhan Maderson phd talking about ‘Insectageddon’ and what we can do about it. 

Accessibility Survey
To improve the gardens as much as possible for visitors and volunteers, we held an Accessibility Open Day on Tuesday 24th September, inviting individuals and groups from the community to the gardens to visit and complete accessibility surveys. Unfortunately, we had heavy rain in the morning, and had to cancel some visits because of the risk of flooding, although many people braved the weather and came down. We are keeping the survey open for another month, to collect as many responses as possible. The survey is available on-line at
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/F8YDBHW.  Please take five minutes to fill in the survey as it will help us find the most effective ways to improve the gardens for all.

Two visitors at our Accessibility Day. 

Summer and Autumn Workshops
Our free workshops have been well attended, bringing many new people to the gardens: Meadow Scything with Rainbow, Nettle Cordage with Jeanette Gray, Nature Drawing with Ruth Koffer, Magic of Moths with Ben Porter, Wild Winter Elixirs with Jade Mellor, and Bench Making, which has given us a beautiful new oak bench for the Apothcary Garden – see below.

Small Phoenix moth at our Magic of Moths event. 

A Nature Inspired Drawing at Ruth Koffer’s workshop.

Improving the Gardens
Volunteers have been working hard improving the gardens this summer. Geraint and Anita have started putting in smart new wooden edging around the nectar border, and we have a beautiful new oak bench in the Apothecary Garden. The bench has fragrant Lilac and Viburnum ‘Bodnantense Dawn’, planted next to it.

New bed edging around the nectar border. 

The new oak bench in the Apothecary Garden.

We will continue with hard landscaping work throughout the winter, including path improvements, a new compost toilet, and an extension to our ‘greenhouse’ at the back of the shelter. The greenhouse improvements will incorporate wheelchair access and provide more year round indoor growing space.

Community Tree Planting day 30th November
We will finally be planting our 10th Anniversary Community Orchard fruit and nut trees and edible hedge on Saturday 30th November, to tie in with National Tree Week. We hope to get lots of local people and community groups to come and help us – we will have tea, coffee, and biscuits available on the day – do please come and join us. Also, if you would be interested in sponsoring a tree, get in touch with Angela on angellpxt@yahoo.co.uk.

New Herbal Group
Anita, our Assistant Volunteer Coordinator and Ellie Ryle from the Gerddi committee, have started a new Herbal Group, which will meet in the gardens on the afternoon of every third Thursday each month. The group met for the first time in September, and foraged young nettles for remedies, as well as planting Mugwort and Lavender in the Apothecary Garden. All are welcome.

The Herbal Group foraging nettle tops. 

Volunteer trips
We have taken the volunteers to visit inspiring garden projects including the Centre for Alternative Technology,  Bangor Forest Garden and Karuna Forest Garden, which has given us many new ideas and insights on how we can improve our gardens.

At the Centre for Alternative Technology in July we had a site tour and helped out in the gardens. 

Permaculture Planting 
Inspired by our volunteer trips we will be developing the space under the Lime tree into a permaculture-inspired mini-‘Food Forest/Shrubbery’. Initially we will host a Forest Garden Design workshop at the gardens, with Niels Corfield of Edible Cities. The date has not been confirmed as yet, so please get in touch with Angela (see above) if you are interested in this.

In the Gardens
We have had some good crops in the summer: rhubarb, broad beans, peas, salads, courgettes, runner beans, and chard have done well, and we are still picking autumn raspberries. We had a good crop of outdoor tomatoes, but we had to pick them green to ripen on sunny windowsills and for green tomato recipes. Some crops, such as squashes and carrots have been disappointing, and we will be trying various methods to protect our winter salads against slugs.

Green tomatoes on our ‘Wikki Up’ structure which we made with visitors from the El Sueno Festival.

Our fantastic volunteers often take on projects in the garden: Jenn, one of our regular volunteers, has been pruning and training the climbers on the Pergola – many visitors have commented on the resplendent roses this year. She has done a fantastic job, and even comes at weekends to keep it looking good. Many thanks Jenn!

Jenn pruning roses on the pergola. 

Bee Friendly Status for Machynlleth?
Angela, Gerddi’s  Senior Volunteer Coordinator and ‘Bee Champion’ for North Powys, South Gwynedd and Ceredigion, is in touch with the town council and local groups about working to achieve Bee Friendly Status for Machynlleth. While Gerddi has had Bee Friendly Status for 2 years, it would be great to follow the examples of towns and cities like Aberystwyth and St Davids which have achieved this on a bigger scale.  If anyone is interested in getting involved with this, please get in touch with Angela.

Dyfi Biosphere Outdoor Health Project
Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens is pleased to be taking part in the Dyfi Biosphere Outdoor Health Project to promote health and well-being. We will be doing this as part of our two weekly drop in sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.30 to 4pm, offering gentle gardening activities to participants.

We hope to see you soon.

Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens Team