Our garden is the only green space opening directly onto Sidwell Street and the High Street and we have been working hard over the past few years to transform this once neglected space into a green oasis in the heart of the city. Our aim is to create a garden that can be used and enjoyed by everyone.
If you enjoy gardening and might be interested in helping out, we’d be delighted to hear from you. Our volunteers look after all aspects of the garden maintenance since of 2015 and since then we have won two Outstanding Awards from Britain in Bloom SW, so we must be doing something right!
We offer volunteering sessions on Monday and Thursday between 1 and 3pm. The sessions are led by our Garden Manager Julie, and will include a range of gardening tasks from seed sowing to planting, watering mowing and more. Sessions numbers are limited and need to be booked in advance so get in touch if you’d like to take part by emailing Julie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2014 we have planted hundreds of shrubs, perennials and annuals and literally thousands of bulbs – including over 5000 crocuses which were planted by a team of 30 volunteers on Nov 3rd 2016. Our aim is to have something of interest, and colour, all year round. In 2020 we planted a mini orchard along the entrance path including three varieties of apple trees (Ashmead’s Kernel, Tom Putt and Lord Derby), two plum trees (Mirabelle de Nancy and Green Gage) and two pear trees (Doyenne du Comice) and two quinces. In 2021 we will improve our wildlife hedge thanks to the Woodland Trust native tree pack. We use natural and chemical free gardening techniques whenever possible as we aim to create a balanced ecosystem that wildlife and visitors can enjoy and use.
Vegetable and herb garden
There are a lot of people who visit St Sid’s regularly but still don’t know about our secret Vegetable and Herb garden. It’s not meant to be a secret but as it’s a sunken garden (down some steps on the Eastern side of the grounds) it’s not immediately visible. The veg garden is managed following organic guidelines. We grow a variety of herbs (including a lovely mint collection you are welcome to smell!), vegetables in a crop rotation and perennial fruit and veg like rhubarb and raspberries.
If you are interested in learning more about gardening and food growing, you can join our training sessions. Sessions are held every other Thursdays and cover a wide range of subjects, from mushroom growing to gardening in small spaces. The session last around 3 hours, including practical tasks outside in the garden. Tickets are £10 – booking can be made on our website.
Our beautiful benches
At the start of 2016, a group of us went to Tavistock Forest in West Devon to select some lengths of storm Devon oak. They were transported to St Sidwell’s and, over the following 6 months, volunteers met twice a week – under the expert guidance of James and Nik from Carving Community CIC – to turn the lengths of oak into 4 benches. In total, over 35 people helped and we are very proud of the results.