Heres a picture of my finished wreath, draped initially around the cormorant on the quay by chapel street, then in its final resting place on my front door

the wreath was made from the offcuts of the willow from our living willow sculpture, which we cut a few weeks back, see the course notes for the specific details, but its such a pliant, strong workable material, little wonder it used to be woven into baskets, many believe it was the inspiration for celtic knotwork in the great illuminated gospels of lindisfarne or the book of kells

so vibrant is willow, that you can just plant a stick of it and a tree will grow from this
heres us weaving our wreaths

no images were found



For actual instructions as to how to get here try Getting Here

For the Gardening Courses we walk up from the Hillcrest Centre Cafe
every thursday theres a lovely local produce market here, a great place to buy home made cakes and hand embroidered cards.

Jenny and Sallys route up to the clifftop is the most picturesque, but inevitably pretty gawdamn steep some of the time!

on the way we went up Nuns walk, there to gather some holly, ivy, mistletoe, pine branches and cones for the winter wreaths

afterwards it was through the graveyard of St Michaels church, walking over the gravestones! parts of the church are Norman/Romanesque, the round turret is definitely this old, probably the oldest building in Newhaven, though i think theres Neolithic remains up on the cliffs by the fort

after that theres a footpath past a garden with very comfy looking hens

next stop the boarded up old Newhaven PolyClinic, which was once the Newhaven Workhouse, a grim looking building!
‘Here we go around the Mulberry bush’, a song always associated with workhouses in my mind

after that its across a large open space, perfect for smashing the ice on puddles on a cold winters day

Then past the TV Mast, glorious views across seaford bay to the head at the end… the worlds most fabulous golf hole, like bashing a ball off the top of a cliff.

oh and the llama?! theers a blooming llama up there near peacehaven heights!

no images were found



no images were found

For the cycle of life day of the winter wonderland course one of the tasks was to recycle an old pair of Jens wellys as a plant pot, drilling holes in the base to allow the water to drain away, then hammering them to the side of the shed, where they look pretty funky!
After that it was burning some of the old Rubbish (bits of the fence) and weeds we didn’t want recycling
I love a good bonfire, especially on a cold clear winters day, warms the cockles of your heart!

Wellys are fabulous! nothing better for keeping out the soggy squelchness of the day, due to their insulating properties i always imagine they might be some help if struck by lightning?
they don’t seem to keep the cold out very well, so a coupla pairs of thick socks!

One of the most evocative sites of a summer festival are all the wellies piled up outside a tent, be warned decorate your boots in some way so that they are unmistakeable, last year i painted a pink om on mine in my daughters nail varnish, sadly this chipped off after the first sploosh through a puddle, inevitably my boots disappeared? were mistookenly borrowed? or somehow vanished? hmmm. and i spent the next 2 days firstly in a pair of boots 3 sizes too small and then in the mud with no boots at all. grim. trench foot

Wellington is of course named for the Napoleonic war general

Wellington has brighton links, theres a wellington monument in St Nicks, the oldest church in brighton just up dyke road, we have 5 Rhythm dances there every Wednesday, the most marvelous space in which to boogie!


Winter Window Boxes

On the second week of the winter wonderland course we made winter window boxes, heres my example home in the back garden, i planted thyme, lemon thyme, garlic chives, there was also some seeds to put in, probably a winter salad mix and corriander, look some of them have already begun to sprout!
unfortuneately i didn’t note which seeds i used, so will have to deal with the mystery sproutings

not quite the hanging gardens of babylon?! heres John Gielgud, probably dressed no doubt for a shakespearian play, i imagine that he would have made a great Nebuchadnezzer

Many years ago I lived in caves in granada, spain, just across from the Alhambra, whenever I think of the hanging gardens of babylon, the beautiful islamic gardens there spring to mind, triumph of water and paradise midst a dry land


A Bright Future (course notes)

Week 4 – Biodegradable Christmas Wreathes
This handout has been created using the Alys Fowler article on the guardian online.
What you need
4/5 6ft long willow whips (you could also use dogwood)
Green material – holly, ivy, young yew branches or other pliable evergreen material
Brown material- seed heads such as teasels, Sedum spectabile, ergyngiums, eupatoriums, aquilegias, honesty, cardoon seed heads or anything pretty from the garden

What to do
Willow is soft and pliable, however if you try bending straight off it it will kink. You need to ‘warm it up’ first to encourage it to bend round. The best way to do this is to gently bend it in sections around your knee holding each end.
When you have done this create a circle with the middle section of the willow by crossing the two ends over and weaving the excess over itself to secure the circle (don’t worry about any ends sticking out). Once you have made one loop, start to weave a second piece of willow in, with the thick end at the opposite side so that the circle ends up roughly even thickness. Keep weaving in more whips until you have a substantial base. You want it to be firm, but not so tight that you don’t have spaces to push your green material in.
Once you have made your base, tie in a loop so that you can hang the wreath (do this now whatever you re doing with your wreath as it can be hard to find a suitable place once the green materials are in). Some people may like to stop now and keep this simple circle as the completed wreath but for those of you that want to decorate yours continue to read.
The next stage is where you can get creative; spray paint it, add decorations, fill with greenery or any other inspired ideas you may have. If you are going for a more traditional wreath start by filling out the base with some background, be that evergreen material or sedam flower heads. Keep poking and weaving material in,
You don’t need to use string to hold anything in place, but do find a bradawl or small screwdriver might be helpful for making places to poke new material in.
A degree of symmetry works well. If you’re lost, keep to a clock face: if you put a seed head at 2 o’clock, put another one at 4, 7 and 10 o’clock. If that’s all too obvious, invoke Pollock and go at it whichever way you want.
As it is hung outside, plenty of fresh things will keep very well. Edible wreaths make lovely presents. You can use herbs such as rosemary, bay and thyme to pick at for Christmas as well as dried chilies and cinnamon quills.
If you need to tie in material then I suggest raffia, string or fine strands of a phormium leaf as they all break down quickly, so your wreath can head straight to the compost when you’re done with it.
Once you’ve made your wreath, why not enter the guardian’s competition – you could win a £250 voucher to spend at Wiggly Wigglers

http://scrumptiousliving.wordpress.com/ – nice website!


The Cycle Of Life (Course Notes)

You can go through a pair of Wellingtons a year spending lots of time outdoors and in the garden, and it can be hard to throw them out. Typically they have a minor leak or something like that so don’t work as water holding devices. There are lots of wonderful, creative things that you can use them for:
Flower pots, obviously they are a little on the tall side and unstable on their own, so tie or stick a pair together, then drill the sole with holes for drainage. Fill them half full with stones for more stability and drainage then plant with whatever you like… maybe herbs by the backdoor or sell them

Fill with cement and use as quirky picket fence posts, one welly at each end of a run of short fencing, you’d probably have to bolt the welly down to a post too

Tie them to the back of a ‘Just Married’ car along with those tin cans. It’s what I did when my mum got remarried – bought two pairs from a charity shop!

Welly hedge…. it could be a moveable hedge

You could fill a pair with sand and use as a doorstop

Have a welly throwing competition…!

Cut the rubber into strips to use for hinges on homemade doors

Paint them and nail them to a wall with a house name on

Cut off the foot and then cut down the middle to make rubber roof tiles for sheds
Cut the tops off and turn the soles into nifty sandals (possibly using the excess rubber as straps)

Please refer to previous handout for info on green manures.

You can recycle old newspapers and poster tubes (or similar) by using them to make paper pots. These are a fantastic and cheap way of growing plants from seed and the whole thing can be planted into the ground as the newspaper will rot into the soil and act as mulch around the seedling.

We will also be looking at creative uses for old tyres. You have to pay to dispose of old tyres so people are usually very happy to give them away to a good home! Below are some picture ideas for how to use them in your garden. Be aware though that you that chemicals can leach out of the tyres so it’s advisable to not grow edible plants in them just flowers!


Winter Salads

Banish flavourless tomatoes and cucumber from your table and embrace the fabulous greens winter has to offer, add a combination of fruit, nuts and cheese for a stunning seasonal salad.

Grate four large carrots into a bowl, add a handful of coriander leaves and a tablespoon of mixed seeds. Make a dressing with the grated zest and juice of a lemon combined with a large glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, toss and serve.

Quarter 1 pak choi and steam for 5 minutes until wilted. Combine together in a bowl 1oz finely chopped root ginger, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1 orange peeled and split into segments, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. Whisk together to make a dressing. Place pak choi on a serving dish and drizzle over the dressing.


Winter Window Boxes (course notes)

Below is the ingredients for an ideal instant garden for where space is limited (http://www.rocketgardens.co.uk/showdetails.asp?id=871). The plants can be grown in window boxes, containers or grow bags. You’ll be amazed at just how much food you can grow right through the Autumn and on into winter.
 Rosemary x 1
 Chives x 1
 Sage x 1
 Wild rocket x 5
 Chicorry x 5
 Green borecole x 5
 Winter green cabbage x 5
 Spring green cabbage x 5
 Calabrese x 5
 Winter lettuce x 10
 Giant Red Mustard x 5
 Rainbow chard x 5
 Mizuna red knight x 5
 Pak Choi x 5
 Cornsalad x 5

With the quantities detailed an area approximately 2.5m² is required to grow this garden.
Other things that the Growing Together Community Garden committee have grown successfully during the winter and recommend for growing in window boxes and/or containers include( tasty salad stuff):
1. American Land Cress. (Grows like a weed in one committee members garden!)
2. Mizuna 
3. Mustard greens (the Asian and Bengali gardeners will know this one!)
4. Coriander. This is notoriously difficult to grow but apparently the secret is to grow it between August –April when it seems to thrive…