Connecting and sharing resources
November gave us more opportunities to share resources and help each other out in mutual win-win activities. Thanks to a contact shared by Jayne from the Swan Centre we were able to have our first pumpkin glean where we went into the farmer’s field to claim the pumpkins that were left over from Halloween. Without our intervention these pumpkins would have been left to rot and ploughed back into the soil where they would produce methane which is a harmful greenhouse gas. However as a result of our volunteers enjoying a muddy Saturday, these pumpkins were instead distributed around Bootle where they were made into soups, stews and used in activities with children and young people.
Later on in the same week we visited Rotten Row to help out with thinning their extensive borders. In exchange for our contribution of people power, we were repaid with plants and cuttings which the Taking Root team will store over winter and distribute to our members in spring 2020. These hardy annuals will be replanted across Bootle where they will bloom for years to come, making Bootle look better at a minimal cost for us. Although the day was wet it was made better by bowls of pumpkin dhal and parsnip soup – all made from home-grown Bootle produce.
Bootle in Bloom
Also in November, community gardeners from different organisations enjoyed being presented with our certificates at the Sefton Council Green Sefton volunteer celebration event where it was good to hear about the difference community groups are making across Sefton in greening up the borough.
We were given a Bronze Award which is a great achievement for our first-ever In Bloom entry. The judges’ feedback has given us lots to think about and planning for 2020 is already under way.
Learning more about grass roofs
We are always interested in learning new things and developing our skills, particularly when it comes to anything environmental.
So when we heard that John Little was coming up to Merseyside, we thought it would be great if he could share his knowledge and expertise with some of our community gardeners in Bootle. As a result we joined in a workshop led by John in Walton Hall Park, which introduced both green roofs and habitat panels and planters. The next day, we were delighted to welcome John to South Park, to deliver a session looking at how to approach the bespoke design and installation of a green roof for the new hut
Green roofs make sense – they provide somewhere to add plants, helping to increase biodiversity, and now we have a local team who know what they need to do to install one.
Getting together again
November also saw our second Doer’s Get-together of the year, with 30 of us coming together from across south Sefton to catch up and be inspired.
Sharing some great experiences from Hackney, John Little of the Grass Roof Company told us all about their work at Clapton Park, demonstrating how brownfield landscapes can be converted into green space. John also emphasised how, in order to really make a change towards imaginative and community-based green space, we need to achieve transformative systems change. He explained how, through persistent advocacy, they have ensured that biodiversity and sustainability is now incorporated into grounds maintenance contracts in the borough.
Meanwhile, these events are always a chance for our members to let us know how we can help them. We asked everyone to have a think about what we can get up to together in 2020, which of course gave us a whole load of ideas to make happen!
At the end of the meeting we distributed plants from Rotten Row to everyone to supplement stock in our community gardens and everyone also went home with a pumpkin!