We had a scarecrow competition on the allotment this autumn. It was a way to get families on the plots to create interesting things. They are all really varied and some rather scary.

During our Autumn Fair, the public voted on their favourite. It was a tie between the dalek and Doctor Who (Peter Davison era). Rather apt.

Below is a slideshow of the scarecrows or you go straight to the set on flickr.

Autumn Fair 2012 in Photos

Apologies for delay in publishing the photos from Autumn Fair. It was a wonderful day and thank you to all who attended and supported the day. Even though it was rainy towards the end, all had a great time. A special thanks to Brendan Lynch (from The Great British Bake Off) for baking a cake for raffle and speaking to all those who attended.

Below is slideshow of photos of the event or you can go directly to Flickr slideshow.

Court Lane goes to Gardeners’ World Live

We have been invited by the NSALG and BDAC to complete a show garden at this year’s Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC, Birmingham. The garden is part of the “Edible Patches” competition and was designed by one of our plot holders. Most of the plants were grown from seed, by a small number of our plot holders. Our garden represents what we are trying to do at Court Lane Allotments, complete with apple tree, beehive, pond and a variety of herbs and wild flowers to increase biodiversity, which is the ethos behind the Community Garden redevelopment. Our garden is entitled “A Tasty Little Space” and gives a snapshot of all the wonderful produce that can be grown in a small space.

We are delighted that the Edible Patches gardens have been awarded a RHS Silver Gilt medal. Members of the public are also encouraged to vote for whichever of the eight gardens is their favourite. Updated to add: We were thrilled that GWL visitors voted us their favourite of the 8 Edible Patches. We received a commemorative engraved glass dish as a prize. Thank you to everyone who voted.

Photos of the garden can be seen below and you can download design plan here.

The Community Garden

As people may be aware, there is a corner of Court Lane Allotments where we have developed a Community Garden.  The purpose of it, is to encourage schools and other community groups to have free use of the area.  For example, there is a raised bed that is being used by Wilson Stuart School, which has been a great way to teach young people about growing vegetables.

We have some really exciting news about the development of this area.  Last year, Court Lane Allotments committee applied to the Big Lottery Fund. We were succesful and have received money to develop the Community Garden area.  There were a few hoops that we had to jump through, as the Big Lottery needs to make sure we can deliver on what we say we’re going to do.  We also had to make sure that the Birmingham City Council’s Allotment Liaison Officer was happy with the plans.  In short, we have received the green light for the project to go ahead. As previously, the aim is for all people to benefit from the Community Garden including schools, community groups, the public and of course, our own plot holders.

There was an open invitation to plot holders to discuss the Community Garden, and a meeting was held on 28th January of this year.  It was a good turnout and the plotholders were very encouraging and supportive of the project.  Any questions about the project were answered and the fact that the council has given the go ahead has hopefully answered any queries.  Of course, we will continue to communicate with plot holders on the progress of the project and inform all the other people who have supported us (we’re talking about you, dear reader).

The plans for the Community Garden are as follows:

  1. Developing the existing space involving schools, community groups and plot holders – This will mean improving access for those who need extra mobility support, like wheelchair users and those with pushchairs.  Inviting community groups and schools to have a little plot for free that they can use.  Apart from the school and community group beds, any produce that grows on the Community Garden will be shared, for free, amongst plot holders and other users of the garden.
  2. Encourage beneficial wildlife like bees, butterflies and other insects – We will grow plants and flowers that will actively encourage pollinating insects that will benefit all plots on the allotments site.  We currently have a bee hive enclosure in the garden area and we wish to encourage their well-being by having these plants.
  3. A herb and natural remedy area – We aim to grow herbs that can be used for cooking and other plants for cosmetic and remedial purposes.  The idea is to have experts offer free courses to plot holders and members of the public who may be interested.  There will be other free courses available and we welcome any suggestions.

The  changes are only to the existing Community Garden space with the aim to improve the area so that it will be beneficial for all, and easier to maintain.

One of our plot holders has offered her garden design skills and has created a visual plan for us.    In addition, other plot holders, who have landscaping expertise, have offered their services. This is showing that people value the project and want to help in developing a green space that really is “community” based.

Below is a photo of the design.  You can view larger versions here.  We welcome any comments and if you are a community group who are interested in using the garden, please feel free to contact us.

Apple Day – Photos & A Song About Cider

Thank you to all those who attended Apple Day on Sunday. A special thanks to Eleanor Hoad who chose our little site for the event.

There are some photos available on our Flickr site. There is also a little video of a sing-a-long that took place about drinking cider.

Thanks to Ken Simpson for taking the photos. You can view the photos and video below and here are the direct links to the flickr slideshow and YouTube video.

Autumn Fair – 3rd October 2010

Everyone is welcome to our free Autumn Fair on Sunday, 3rd October.  There will be the usual array of home made cakes, jams, pickles and other produce.

There will also be activities for children and stalls from community and charity groups.

Details of where we are is on the map below or on this link.

View Court Lane Allotments in a larger map

Understanding Blogging & Other Webby Things

Blog, facebook, twittering and other rather odd sounding words seem to be pretty much on every one’s lips at present and the problem is that there is an assumption that everybody should know what it all means.  But every seed needs nurturing and so does people’s knowledge.

There is now available a short guide on how to use this website as we have also been guilty of assuming that everyone knows how this blogging malarkey works.  It’s a very brief and meant to be a taster on how communicating on the web works.

If anybody wishes to get more of a hands on guide then there will be a free social media surgery on Wednesday 22nd April in Digbeth, Birmingham.  This is how the organisers describe the event:

Volunteers from the Birmingham bloggers group are offering to show voluntary and community groups in the city how you can make best use of social media. It doesn’t matter if you are the head of communications at a major charity or an active citizen in your neighbourhood, if you’re at all curious come along.

No boring speeches, no jargon.

Tools like blogs, podcasts, video and social networks can give a real boost to campaigning organisations, often for no or little cost. So these experts are offering you approachable one to one help and support because they believe it can help. You may just want to see what is possible and go away and think about it. You might be itching to set up a blog and start using it.

Perhaps you think video might help you tell your story but don’t know where to start? All is possible. There’ll be no lectures, just people with knowledge, ideas and a passion to help you make best use of the internet for your organisation.

For more information then go to this link and at least one of the Court Lane Allotmenteers will be there so there can be veg talk as well as blog talk.

One Sunday, When the Clocks Went Forward

We spent the first day of British Summer Time doing a bit of tidying up, planting hawthorn whips and weaving brambles along the fence (to deter those who may need deterring).

It was a perfect Sunday and a little film was made so that you can see why so many people find an allotment such a wonderful place to be in.

The film is below.  We welcome any comments you may have.

Autumn Fair – Saturday 25th October 2008

Come join us at our Autumn Fair event on 25th October 2008.  Free entry.

It will be a chance for you sample freshly made produce and speak to allotmenteers and exchange growing tips.

The entrance is at the corner of Court Lane and Jarvis Road in Erdington, Birmingham.  A map can be found here.