It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally got planning permission to turn a small parcel of land into a community garden in Farnworth, Bolton.
Initial clearing and digging of pathways was done by a group of fabulous Prince’s Trust lads. We then got Ambec Fencing to come along and install a new fence along the front and back borders of the property. The right hand-side faces onto a cricket club and on the left is Bolton at Home residential housing.
The project has been funded by Symphony Housing and is going to create a garden filled with lots of things including a playhouse, raised beds for growing vegetables, composting area, sitting areas, flower beds and fruit trees. However there’s lots of digging and landscaping to be done first made much harder by the fact that a rubbish tip and half a housing estate seems to be buried under the ground! Digging goes something like this… put your spade in an inch, hit something, dig around the two bricks you’ve struck, remove them, try putting your spade in again, hit something different this time, discover a black bin bag of rubbish, dig it out, try again and hey presto – you finally get to something resembling soil!
We’ll also be creating some art with local communities to put in the garden – this is likely to include mosaics and withy sculptures. Alongside this, we’ll be creating a film about the process which will include some timelapse. some animation and also some interviews with our willing volunteers and other local people.
Three weeks of frantic lantern making ended on Friday with a brilliant lantern parade on the Johnson Fold estate in Bolton. During the three weeks leading up to the event I worked with holiday clubs, Johnson Fold Primary School, a mums and tots group and the Youthopia Youth Club to create a multitude of lanterns. Most groups made the traditional pyramid lantern – we had almost 80 of these at the final count!
Youthopia also created some large-scale lanterns – the only rule was that they must be small enough to get out the front door of the youth club! Everyone really got into it and worked really hard to make some amazing shapes and characters out of withies – we had a fish, a shark, a dress, some headphones and an ice-cream amongst others.
I had to have a few late nights in the workshop (music as loud as you like once your neighbours have gone home – yippee!) tweaking, securing fastenings and adding LED tealights to get them all ready for the big day. I then had a tense couple of hours on Friday bringing the lanterms down on our (outdoor) hoist whilst the wind and rain raged but finally got them successfully delivered to Bolton At Home’s newly finished UCAN centre on the estate. Here’s some photos of the parade and the lanterns with the children and young people who made them.
For the next couple of weeks I’m working with lots of groups in Johnson’s Fold, Bolton to create withy lanterns for their lantern parade, organised and funded by Bolton at Home. Here’s one I made as an example…
I’m also about to start making some withy / willow sculptures with a New Charter group in Mossley, Tameside for the RHS Tatton show garden. One of them is going to be an enormous snowman, which feels entirely appropriate after the snow we had last week! I’ll be using brown willow for this so I’m currently soaking the withies in my lovely new ‘water trough’ – a perfect shape and size for the job. I’ll post a picture when I remember to take one…