Ann’s final week at EVWG…..

It is a nostalgic week for me, as I will be ‘retiring’ on Friday as an employee of EVWG after fifteen and a half years of playing a role in the development of the Charity.

My final few days has involved me looking around the gardens to see what wild-life is around – and a male pheasant (who has 5 female pheasants for company) is looking particularly handsome at this time of the year.

I was also invited to talk to a garden loving audience on Monday afternoon about 2 gardening books which have inspired me. The venue was Bellis Brothers Restaurant, and the event was part of the Wrexham Carnival of Words. I choose a book called ‘Charleston Kedding, a History of Kitchen Gardening’ by Susan Campell, and also ‘The Family Kitchen Garden’ by Karen Liebrech, as both books are relevant to what we do in the gardens here.

Emma has been knitting her unique cushions, and in collaboration with Lynne at Busy Bees Shop in the newly opened Ty Pawb Market Place in Wrexham, there is a beautiful display of her work, and information about the events at EVWG.

I was also reminded about some of the work that has gone on at Erlas, and took this picture of the small pond near the raised board walk at the top project.

Do remember it will be the first day of our 4 Day Plant Sale tomorrow from Wednesday 25th April until Saturday 28th April between 10am and 3pm.

Look what is just peeping out of the ground too…

 

Planting starts in earnest at EVWG in temperatures of 25 Degrees!

Well, Spring has well and truly arrived! There is lots of planting going on at the gardens now, both in readiness for our forthcoming Plant Sale (see ‘Forthcoming Events’ Section) and for our vegetable, fruit and herb planting programme.

Here you can see Kate, our new fundraiser, helping prepare the ground for beetroot, with the support of Louis and his mum, Yvonne, and with a new volunteer, Brian..

Cathy is busy planting lettuce in the raised beds, with Iphia Pearce, who is a trainee social worker, and is having a 20 day placement with us.

Rob is working with Bartek, Alyn and Damon, and fixing kerb edges to the blackcurrant bed. (Bartek is ensuring that the work is done safely!)

One of the trains that was at Carrog Station last weekend as part of the Llangollen Steam Extravaganza. Kelly had invited a number of her friends from the gardens to ride on a miniature engine, ‘Holy War’ – unfortunately the engine was not working last Saturday, but we learn from other volunteers that Kelly is a loyal and enthusiastic volunteer!

And finally… Ann and Kate will be on Calon FM tomorrow morning (Friday 20th April) between 9 and 10 am. Please tune in if you have some spare time (105FM or catch up on www.calonfm.com)

 

Peacock Butterflies herald the start of Spring at EVWG – at last?

It was such a lovely sunny day at the walled garden yesterday (Monday 10th April), with butterflies and bumblebees flying around the gardens. Our vegetables, especially the rhubarb is growing quickly – why not pop along between 10am and 3pm to see what we have for sale?

There are sightings of unusual birdlife too…

A mistlethrush sighted in the trees last week.

Everyone is busy in the greenhouse too, in readiness for the plant sale on Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th April, 12noon – 3pm.

Ann and Emma gave a talk to the Bronwylfa Women’s Institute last Wednesday evening. The audience were very interested to hear about the work we do here, and invited Emma to judge their competition for the best floral display.

Sadly, after 15 years of helping EVWG grow and develop into what we are today, I am stepping down as Charity Officer/Fundraiser. My last day as an employee is Friday 27th April. Kate Harcus, who has been involved with EVWG for 4 years, will be stepping into my shoes and brings a wealth of experience, enthusiasm (and youth!) to the post too. I wish her, and all the friends I have made over the years the very best for the future…

 

 

 

Monday’s Art Class proudly display the Welsh Dragon.

Gareth, John, Dan, Cath and Hilary have finished their Red Welsh Dragon, after weeks of hard work in the Monday Art Class. The fiery flames coming from its mouth are reaching the wheel made in the Tuesdays Craft Class. Our education room is always colourful with examples of our student’s work, and everyone feels a sense of achievement when they see their work displayed.

Double digging is one way to keep fit, and Paul, Kevin and Bartek are enjoying some banter together as they double dig the large bottom plot in readiness for planting.

The finishing touches to the roundhouse re-furbishment are taking place, thanks to funding from the Armed Forces Covenant. Community Groups such as Coleg Cambria; volunteers from the Haddfan Unit and youngsters from the Haulfan Referral Unit are enjoying using the facilities as they help in gardening tasks.

Visits from the Tuesday Gresford Group; the U3A walking group and the Llangollen Gardening Group are already planned for this coming Spring, and refreshments will be served in the roundhouse. Thanks again to Ray and Carlton who have spend a year carrying out this work for 3 days a week.

Dates for your diary: 4 Day plant sale – please tell your friends. Link to poster: Plant sale 2018. Advert. (Also see under ‘Forthcoming Events’)

 

 

 

Is Spring finally here?

After a cold and snowy few weeks, there are signs that Spring has arrived in the gardens. Frogspawn is visible in the pond:

-And Rhubarb is starting to sprout:

 Our gardeners always find something to do out-side:

-And Pete, Noel, Mark and Rob are busy laying new footpaths in the wild-life area. We were recently successful in obtaining nearly £9960 from the People’s Postcode Local Trust, and upgrading existing pathways, and putting in new paths are very much part of our on-going work.

Lots of seeds have been planted in readiness for our 4 day plant sale at the end of April (25th, 26th,27th and 28th), so please put these dates into your diaries.

We are always looking for more volunteers to join us.-Whatever your interest, there is something here for you. As the weather warms, there will be lots to do in the gardens. The classroom activities continue to be popular, and we are still keen to hear from anyone who could spare a few hours a week to run a morning session of art/craft activities, which are currently held on Mondays and Fridays. Please contact Libby or Jane on 01978265058, or e-mail us at info@erlas.org.

Cath and the Monday morning students are busy making a Welsh Dragon – we will finish it for next year’s St David’s Day!

Keeping Busy in January at EVWG.

The roundhouse refurbishment is almost completed thanks to the hours of work that (super) Ray and Carlton have done since March last year, and to funding from the 3rd Sector Intermediate Care Fund and from the Armed Forces Covenant Grant. The photo shows the finishing touches being made by building apprentices from Bersham Road. 4 apprentice plasterers and 2 tutors have spent around 3 weeks before and after Christmas plastering the ceiling. Alterations are being made so that computers can be installed into the roundhouse thanks to funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The supported learning Coleg Cambria students will be restarting back this Friday 26th January, and it is hoped that many more community groups will now be able to rest in comfort whilst helping us maintain our 2 walled gardens and the surrounding wild-life areas.

We always celebrate our student’s birthdays, and to start our year, we shared a birthday cake with Damon, who reached the grand age of 30 years in early January.

We also said ‘farewell’ to Patsi, who has been volunteering as our Art tutor every fortnight on a Friday morning since last April. We will miss her friendship and creativity. (Please feel free to contact us if you would like to volunteer with us – we have lots of varied roles for volunteers, and leading an art/creativity session is one such role. Phone 01978265058)

Noel, Mark and Rob clearing an area of the gardens.

Peter taking the waste clippings for a bon-fire.

John (a new volunteer) helps Bartek weed around fruit trees in the West Garden.  Damon, Alyn and Rob work together to dig a drainage pit near the round-house.

David and Gareth prepare wood for the log burning stove.

These photos are just some of the activities that are carried out in the winter months – and keeps everyone healthy and smiling! Come and join us! Why not volunteer?

And finally….Emily joined Ann at a talk at the Overton Women’s institute last week. Emily spoke about what she does when she comes to Erlas, and was asked to judge a ‘competition’ for the ladies, which she did with enthusiasm.

 

Happy New Year to all our supporters for 2018!

A very Happy New Year to all our followers for 2018!

It has seemed like a quiet few weeks here at the gardens, as the final week  last year was curtailed due to the snow and cold weather. However, we were able to celebrate an award for one of our volunteers, Carlton, who has contributed greatly to our activities over time.

Carlton’s mum Pat: Ann and Kelly attended a luncheon Christmas Reception convened by AVOW at the Catrin Finch Centre on Friday 15th December, where volunteers all over Wrexham were awarded for their work.

Here you can see Pat holding the Marjorie Dykins Volunteer Memorial Award Certificate, which she collected from the Major of Wrexham, on behalf of Carlton.

The contribution made by our volunteers is fundamental to the running of the Charity. Carlton is one of 40 volunteers who attend the gardens regularly, who help by working in the gardens; by helping in maintenance and landscaping projects; by helping in administration/planning an event; or by supporting a beneficiary achieve something.

We are currently looking for (maybe) 2 enthusiastic and creative volunteers who would be willing to deliver an art/craft session for one morning to between 4 and 6 ‘students’. (currently Monday mornings and Friday mornings are available) The activity would be planned by the volunteer, but we have lots of ideas too, and our students enjoy trying out most things! Some students have support, so there will be lots of help!

If you would be interested to learn more, then please phone either Libby, Jane or Ann on 01978265058. (Some examples of the student’s art work can also be seen on this web-site).

Finally, just a few more pictures of our ‘postponed’ Christmas Party, which was held on Tuesday 9th January 2018.

Greg, Ann and Emily enjoy a scrumptious Xmas Buffet in the greenhouse.

Damon leads the happy dancers in the ‘musical statues’ game.

Gareth singing ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ in the Talent Competition, which was won by James:

These pictures are just some of the reasons that you should consider becoming a volunteer at EVWG for 2018!

 

Winter has certainly arrived at the Gardens.

Last Friday 8th December brought heavy snow fall around Wrexham, and we had to close the gardens, as neither staff nor students could get out of their homes easily -although Jane did make it in!

Following heavy snowfall over the weekend, and especially on Sunday, we were forced to close the project again on Monday, although Libby had made it in and put some lovely photos on our Facebook page. A decision was made to cancel our Christmas Party, scheduled for today, but to try and clear the driveway and entrance of snow, so that we could open as usual tomorrow. (Wednesday 13th December)

Staff and volunteers shovelling snow away. A big Thankyou to all staff and volunteers for this!

Although there will be no party this year, our students were able to decorate their own cakes. Thankyou to Sally for this idea! Stephen and Emma are helped by Dave, our occupational health student from Glyndwr University. Dave had spent 12 weeks with us, bringing fresh ideas as to how we can help our students engage in gardening activities safely. He also suggested ways to help them in their lives outside the project, such as making choices, and how to behave appropriately in certain social situations.

Dave’s last day was last Friday, but we hope to see him again soon.

One of our students who used to attend the gardens, and now visits us about once a month is Kelly. Kelly enjoys writing her own stories, and usually brings in one or two stories, which can be about the walled garden or about her own adventures. Kelly also enjoys steam engines, and would like everyone to share her experience of driving a small gauge engine at the Llangollen railway. You have to click on a link to open this picture…

Large picture of Kelly Driving an engine

Finally, we would like to wish all our students, their friends and families, our volunteers, our staff and all our supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018.

(We ‘close’ this Friday 15th December, and re-open on Tuesday 2nd January 2018)

Keep warm! Keep safe!

There’s still lots to do it in the Garden in December!

Even though the temperatures are slowly dropping and there is less daylight to enjoy, there are lots of activities going on in the gardens.

The picture shows the Monday afternoon group from the Gwersyllt pupil referral unit, who help out for a few hours. The volunteers all seem to be enjoying the fresh air!

The bird hide has been made more weather proof, thanks to Malcolm, who kindly gave up some of his spare time to fix plywood panels and elbow rests into the hide.

One of our most keen bird watcher is Rachel, and here you can her catching our feathered friends as they visit.

Finally, the students are still cutting roses which are dried to make our organic confetti.

If you are interested in buying confetti from us, then we can prepare whatever colours you want. The whole process is carried out by our students – and with much loving care and attention!

Here you can see a happy couple enjoying our special confetti at their wedding last July. Please contact us on 01978265058 if you are interested.

Celebration of our success in the Co-op Community Fund

Erlas Victorian Walled Garden were chosen as one of three local projects to benefit by sharing 1% of what customers spend on Co-op branded products. The voting took place, on line, by members of the Co-op from April to November 2017.

We were thrilled to learn that at the end of the voting ’round’, we would be awarded £4967.47, alongside the ‘Homestart’ and ‘Tenovus’ Charities.

On Saturday 25th November, we were invited to receive a ‘big’ cheque from staff at the Caia Park Co-op, in Prince Charles Street, Wrexham. The picture shows Ian and Dan Macinnes receive the cheque from staff member, Wendy. The funding will go towards improving access around the walled gardens, and into the wild-life areas. A big ‘Thankyou’ to everyone who voted and to the Co-op too!

We have also been running the project; ‘Bird watching for Twitchers of all ages’, and have run sessions every 1st Monday morning of the month since September; (although our beneficiaries also like joining in, and identifying our feathered friends as they feed). Last Friday, we were visited by 14 members of the Alyn Waters Nordic walking group, who were thrilled to see at least 13 different bird species visit the bird feeding stations.

Coffee, tea and biscuits were provided by Sheila Meadows, and the group enjoyed walking around the gardens and the woodland, and one or two visitors said that they would be back to bird watch again.

Alyn uses the strimmer bought from the Wrexham Community Endowment Fund. A hedge strimmer, also purchased from this grant, has enabled our students to learn how to operate such equipment safely, and gives them opportunities to practise their skills for family and friends at weekend too.