A Community Assembly at the heart of a wildlife forest garden 💚

Hope Garden Newsletter — Tue 27th Feb 🌸

In this week’s newsletter, deadline looming for grant application, wildlife features, WoodlandsTV and wild flowers in vogue

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A Community Assembly at the heart of a wildlife forest garden 💚
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Welcome to the fourth issue of the weekly Hope Garden newsletter. The deadline for the grant application is in two weeks, contacts are being made across a diverse range of gardening and community practitioners, and the outline for the proposed workshops are starting to take shape.

If you have any questions you’d like answered about Community Assemblies, forest gardens or wildlife gardening, just let me know via email hello@hopegarden.uk

Jake Rayson

1. News

Grant application

The final two weeks before the grant application has to be submitted. There are lots of revisions and rewriting and revisiting ideas, which takes up a lot of time.

The core idea of the Hope Garden is simple: provide an inspirational meeting place for local democracy in a wildlife and perennial edible garden, a place where positive action can be experienced and discussed, and repeated across the land.

But it’s a lot of words, a lot of budgeting, estimates, considerations. By next week’s newsletter, the budgets will be done, and the final draft will be ready for picking over one last time!

Wildlife features

I had a lovely meeting with Marianne Jones, who is the conservationist and landscape designer onboard with the Hope Garden. We discussed a whole range of topics, centred around the idea of the Hope Garden.

I don’t have any formal ecological training, so Marianne will be providing much-needed experience and expertise for the ecological aspects of the Hope Garden. I asked the hypothetical question “How much wildlife diversity can you fit into one small garden?” and I’ve drawn up a list of potential wildlife features on my own website.

Wild flowers in vogue

Screenshot of wild flower newsletter shop page

Hayloft says wild flowers are in vogue, so it must be true

I’ve signed up for quite a few gardening mailing lists, and this one from Hayloft nursery caught my eye. “🌸 Join The Wildflower Revolution! 🌸” it declaims in the email header! Yes, wild flowers are in fashion. Now, this is a good thing. But, buy from your local wild flower nursery if you can. For example, in West Wales we have The Wildflower Nursery in Haverfordwest and Celtic Wild Flowers just outside Swansea. I like Hayloft too but I am also keen to support local businesses. Before the Big Companies muscle in with their peat-enriched, genetically-modified, climate-controlled, pesticide-drenched wild flower wannabes.

We’re on TV!

I‘ve always wanted to say that. It’s not exactly true though. What’s happened is that Vicky from WoodlandsTV has asked if we would like a film promoting the Hope Garden and its values, with a ‘before’ film outlining the aims and definitions of what we’re trying to achieve, and an ’after’ film, once everything is blossoming.

I said yes.

It will be magnificent 💚

3. Photos

Aerial photo of edge of allotment

The proposed site for the Hope Garden at Pen Y Foidr allotments

Alliums coming up by the river

Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) coming up down by the river, in an area that floods regularly

Bright yellow pea-like flowers, Silver Birch in the background

As the saying goes, “When gorse is in bloom, kissing’s in fashion”

4. Hope

Our project organisers believe that heritage is intangible too. Hence, we aim to build stronger decision making skills in our community, by introducing the concepts and practices of deliberative democracy, as seen in community assemblies happening all around the UK right now. Citizenship supports resilience of natural, built and community heritage. Without those inclusive deliberation skills, the tangible outcomes are unsustainable.

~ Denise, writing in our grant application

I love what Denise has written here, the importance of citizenship in protecting our heritage.

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