Welcome to the Grapevine Wellbeing Centre
by Ellis Hayward on October 1st, 2015

​Well summer is over and autumn is strengthening its grip. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn fiery colours of red, orange and yellow up on the allotment. It’s been a mixed year for growing with very strange weather, sometimes dry, then very wet, then very hot then terribly cold: this pattern is not good for plant growth. Also like other growers on the allotment we have suffered a rabbit problem; but these things are sent to try us and we have had some successes: broad beans, spinach beet, onions, turnips, rocket and potatoes have all done quite well and hard working volunteers have had some fresh vegetables to take home.
 
The poly tunnel is a great addition to the plot but needs some changes, such as ventilation, which we hope will improve things. Some plans for winter are the construction of a small herb garden and a dew pond. We have forged good relations with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and had a visit from one of the Fairfield schools out for a nature walk with the Trust. The school and the Trust were both impressed by the garden and hope to possibly take an active part in the future. Alderbrook Connect are also a frequent visitor. The wildlife spotted in the garden such as butterflies, dragonflies, voles in the meadow and a variety of birds have been an added bonus and we hope to keep creating a sustainable wildlife friendly environment at the garden.

by Ellis Hayward on July 27th, 2015

​Can you believe its mid summer already? The allotment is looking good with raised beds full of vegetables and flowers (the ones the rabbits have kindly left us) and meadows for bees and butterflies. We have different types of bee visiting the Cottage Garden which has looked splendid in this its second year, with more flowers yet to come. We have had regular visits from Bright Opportunities, High Peak Mental Health Project, Derby University, Community Connectors and a visit from the CEMEX team, as well as many individual volunteers who come on a regular basis when they can. A warm welcome to Barbara our newest volunteer who has already been a great help to the project.

The garden is continually moving forward and I’m glad to report we now have the poly tunnel up and running with built in raised beds full of tomato and pepper plants. Next step will be putting up some staging in the work area. I also plan at some point to build some cold frames and new beds beside the poly tunnel. Next year we will be able to grow and raise many of our own plants and perhaps get into sales. Barbara has proved a godsend helping to water the poly tunnel when I am not there, a task certainly in warm weather that needs to be done on a daily basis.

On the nature front the garden has seen many species of butterfly including a brimstone and a painted lady butterfly, as well as all the commoner species.  We now have a wild bumble bees nest on site; they don’t bother us so we let them get on with what they do best. We also had some drama when three peregrine falcons arrived beside the plot, two juveniles and a large female who stooped on an unsuspecting carrion crow and swept away with it in her lethal talons.
blackcaps and whitethroat warblers have also been spotted near the plot. Other plans on the boil are the building of a herb garden and the excavation of a small dew pond for wildlife. The picnic tables are been well used by people who just wish to soak up the peaceful environment which has been created. Why not pop up with a flask and a sandwich and just chill for an hour, you will be most welcome? Remember we are a drop in centre and visitors are always made welcome.



by Ellis Hayward on April 16th, 2015

​Spring was slow in coming but finally at Easter the sun shone and our spirits were boosted. A
visit to the Community Garden revealed all sorts of nature goodies. The first tortoiseshell butterflies of the season were great to see, perching on the raised beds to gather in the heat of the sun after a long hibernation. Two buzzards circled leisurely in an almost cloudless sky revelling in the thermals. I also noticed rooks in the back field poking their bony beaks into the soft soil for grubs and worms (I would be very interested to find their rookery and count the nests if anybody has any ideas where the rookery could be). Later in the week some peacock butterflies began to arrive, many looking in wonderful condition and of course very colourful with their peacock patterned wings.

The garden is proving a great place for butterflies and insects generally so records will be kept of sightings. There have also been plenty of buff-tailed queen bees exploring the sight and feeding up on the lesser celandine after a long winter’s sleep. An unusual sight was of a possible tawny mining bee checking out the earth sides of a path in the garden. Also the house sparrows have been seen inspecting a couple nest boxes. Last year they did use one. The raised beds have come into their own. As well as splitting the garden into manageable portions, raised beds dry out much faster than dug over and soil because of good drainage and gather in the heat very quickly so planting can happen much faster. Already we have two beds planted with early potatoes. This coming week we will be planting onions, beets and chard in the new ornamental vegetable garden. Bamboo poles will be put up in a wig-wham in the centre for sweet peas and runner beans. Already helpers are arriving to take advantage of the good weather and some beds have already been claimed to work on as projects which is great.

 The next big step is covering the poly tunnel frame with a skin and setting it up ready for action. The tunnel will have many uses as well as growing plants, such as woodwork and art. Anyone who wishes to help with the putting on of the polythene skin will be very welcome, will give out a date nearer the time, but sooner the better. Remember there are still plots up for grabs so you can do your own thing; why not get involved and grow your own vegetables or flowers; work at your own pace.

Come and have a look, all are welcome.

by Ellis Hayward on January 19th, 2015

Well, it’s a New Year on the allotment and even though the weather has been very harsh, nothing stands still for long. There are chickens to feed – yes we seem to have adopted three stray chickens, two little hens and a little cockerel – so every time I go up they get fed with bread and bird seed bought from Lomas’. In fact I dare not go to the garden empty handed because they meet me at the gates and follow me up the shed.

This weather is a good time for pruning hedges and trees and this is what I have been busy with. There is also two new solid railway sleeper benches either side of the ‘Ornamental Peace Garden’. Sawing them up kept me warm!! The polytunnel frame is up and ready with just some joinery needed on the main door which will have to wait for better weather. The tunnel will be 25 ft long by 10ft wide, plenty of room for growing and starting off vegetables and flowers, as well as having a work area at the front for all sorts of activities such as woodwork, art and furniture
restoration.
 
We also have a new compost unit for waste. With the left over poly tunnel hoops I have erected a small tunnel at the bottom of the site which I thought could be used as another growing area or as a permanent shelter if activities were taking place on site. Another job to be considered is a low level dividing fence to split the plot into more interesting compartments, perhaps with an arch style gate? At the moment these are just ideas. A small wildlife pond is also on the cards. One idea is to draft in students from the University of Derby, Buxton, to plan and under-take the work as a project. This certainty needs to be under-taken in very early spring.
 
Sadly I have been rather ill of late with a bad chest and cough, so found it necessary to split my hours up into smaller chunks on the really bitter days, but it seems to have worked out ok and the garden is progressing well even in the heart of winter. Now is the time to plan ahead, decide what you wish to grow, start buying packets of seed which are already on sale locally. Remember all ideas are welcome, all input is valuable – spring is not that far away!
 
Wildlife on the allotment is always of interest to us – this is a Home for Wildlife after all. Our bird list is still growing with some new and exciting additions such as great spotted woodpecker and goldcrest. Pink- footed geese have been seen flying over and regular flocks of fieldfare and starling; buzzard, raven and kestrel have also put in fleeting appearances. On arrival at the 
allotment a robin is always to be found waiting near the bird table and often joins the chickens when they are feeding. Now we sit and wait to hear the unmistakable call of the chiff-chaff, an early migrant, and a sure sign that spring is only around the corner.
 

Well, it’s a New Year on the allotment and even though the weather has been very harsh, nothing stands still for long. There are chickens to feed – yes we seem to have adopted three stray chickens, two little hens and a little cockerel – so every time I go up they get fed with bread and bird seed bought from Lomas’. In fact I dare not go to the garden empty handed because they meet me at the gates and follow me up the shed.

This weather is a good time for pruning hedges and trees and this is what I have been busy with. There is also two new solid railway sleeper benches either side of the ‘Ornamental Peace Garden’. Sawing them up kept me warm!! The polytunnel frame is up and ready with just some joinery needed on the main door which will have to wait for better weather. The tunnel will be 25
ft long by 10ft wide, plenty of room for growing and starting off vegetables and flowers, as well as having a work area at the front for all sorts of activities such as woodwork, art and furniture
restoration.
 
We also have a new compost unit for waste. With the left over poly tunnel hoops I have erected a small tunnel at the bottom of the site which I thought could be used as another growing area or as a permanent shelter if activities were taking place on site. Another job to be considered is a low level dividing fence to split the plot into more interesting compartments, perhaps with an arch style gate? At the moment these are just ideas. A small wildlife pond is also on the cards. One idea is to draft in students from the University of Derby, Buxton, to plan and under-take the work as a project. This certainty needs to be under-taken in very early spring.
 
Sadly I have been rather ill of late with a bad chest and cough, so found it necessary to split my hours up into smaller chunks on the really bitter days, but it seems to have worked out ok and the garden is progressing well even in the heart of winter. Now is the time to plan ahead, decide what you wish to grow, start buying packets of seed which are already on sale locally. Remember all ideas are welcome, all input is valuable – spring is not that far away!
 
Wildlife on the allotment is always of interest to us – this is a Home for Wildlife after all. Our bird list is still growing with some new and exciting additions such as great spotted woodpecker and goldcrest. Pink- footed geese have been seen flying over and regular flocks of fieldfare and starling; buzzard, raven and kestrel have also put in fleeting appearances. On arrival at the
allotment a robin is always to be found waiting near the bird table and often joins the chickens when they are feeding. Now we sit and wait to hear the unmistakable call of the chiff-chaff, an early migrant, and a sure sign that spring is only around the corner.
 
 

by Rick on January 15th, 2015

Hi all, 

Happy New Year! Please find a much nicer update to the Grapevines website, where you can find all the relevent information about who we are, what we do, our small groups and the service we provide to the community. Take a look around and see how you can get involved with the Grapevine





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