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Who would have thought at the beginning of 2020 the year would turn out quite as it did.

The global pandemic took us all by surprise and as we enter 2021, we are still not quite sure when meeting up with friends and family indoors won’t feel like a bad idea.

At some point in the near future we hope gathering indoors and outdoors will feel less of a novelty. Until then, when possible, we will continue to gather in smaller ways with the necessary precautions in place to keep everyone safe.

We hope that you and yours can have a restful and relaxing winter break and look forwards to hopefully seeing you in the garden in 2021 as the light returns.

Here's a little overview of what we have been up to at Global Gardens this year.

Be well!

Poppy and Vaida

Global Gardens, Spring 2020

Gardening in Lockdown

This year, garden sessions took a slightly different shape – mainly due to the lockdowns and the subsequent restrictions in terms of gathering.

A small group of core team and volunteers carried the projects forwards this year. Big shout out to Dom, Jack, Suneil, Yin, Steph, Barbora, Will, Ericka, Polly and Bethan and all others who helped out in some way.

Whilst we haven’t been able to have as many people in the space, we've continued to make progress in the garden, all be it at a slower place. We have cleaed brambles to create space for another 6 beds in the kitchen garden area and continue to work on our composting technique to build fertility.

In total, we hosted 15 Wednesday sessions and 18 Saturday small-scale sessions for core volunteers.

We are also super grateful to all of the support from Good Gym this year . They joined us for 6 morning sessions this year and helped us clear an immense amount of brambles in the new outdoor play space.

Clearing space for outdoor play with Good Gym

Stay Home, Eat Veg

During the first lockdown, as part of the Food Cardiff and Edible Cardiff networks, we rolled out the ‘Stay Home, Eat Veg’ initiative. Each fortnight for 12 weeks we featured a crop found growing in the garden (including spinach, cardoons, coriander, kale, broad benas, potatoes, chard and kale).

Via social media and Covis support groups, we invited people to share a recipe that incorporates the crop. We also worked with local community chefs who desigmed a dish incorporating the featured crop - including Simona nd Manwell, chefs at Herbivore,/Eartha, Lia’s Kitchen, Cegin Kitchen, Steph and Shuna chefs at Wild Thing Cardiff and Vaida, harvesting coordinator and food blogger at One Small Spoon

We then distributed portions of crop to 12 households who reached out to share a recipe. In total we collected 42 recipes, shared crop with 72 households and distributed around 10kg of harvest. Read more about the initiative here.

Barbora and Vaida harvesting borad-beans for Stay Home, Eat Veg


In Autumn, as part of the Food Cardiff Autumn Food Festival, we ran ‘Crop Share’ . Similar to ‘Stay Home, Eat Veg’ . This time we were keen to build connections with community-based food organisations across Cardiff.

Six local Cardiff chefs shared a recipe based on a crop found growing at the garden including Patrick at Kemis worked with tomatoes, Manwell, Chef at Herbivore,/Eartha worked with chillies, Women Connect First worked with jerusalem artichokes, Matt, Catering Manager at Oasis Cardiff worked with winter cabbage, Vaida, One Small Spoon who worked with coriander seeds. Poppy, Global Gardens Project also shared a leek recipe.

We also distributed around 5kg of produce to community groups across Cardiff including Tremorfa Community Pantry, Oasis Cardiff, South Riverside Community Centre and Women Connect First.

A huge thanks to Food Cardiff and Food for Life Get Togethers for making it all possible. In total there were around 45 events and as part of the festival around 5,000 veg plants were distributed around Cardiff.

Vaida's coriander baked apples

Learning with Global Gardens

With the support of the Co-operative Foundation, we have also been developing the learning opportunities available via Global Gardens.

Grow Your Own

Between February to November, we hosted a monthly Grow Your Own 10-part gardening course with biodynamic grower and tutor Kai Lange.

Each month, around 10 people joined to learn about seasonal tasks in the garden and biodynamic techniques for supporting healthy growing. This ended up being a blended version of in person and online sessions.

We are planning to continue the offering of the Grow Your Own course in 2021 with biodynamic grower and tutor Rachael Okel. Do get in touch if you would like to find out more.

September Grow Your Own with Kai

Permaculture Design Course

This year we have also worked with Shift Bristol to deliver an online Permaculture Design Course, during the first lockdown (March to July).

Although our original plan was to offer this course in person in Cardiff at Oasis Centre, hosting it online felt like a positive thing to do during the potentially isolating times of the lockdown and meant people could join from further afield (including West Wales, London, Bulgaria, Spain and Scotland) as well as South Wales.

It was great to welcome a small group of Cardiff-based permies for one of the first garden sessions following the release of the lockdown.

Shift Bristol are continuing to offer online permaculture design courses online for the time-being and it has been great to work with permie group from the most recent course cohort who are working to create a permaculture design for the outdoor play area.

Permaculture design for outdoor play area

Outdoor Play at Global Gardens

Thanks to support from the Co-operative Foundation and the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales we have been working to develop the outdoor play space at Global Gardens this year. .

With forest school practitioner and artist Johana Hartwig, we have offered 8 sessions of outdoor play at the garden for 10 families.

In these child-led sessions, families have worked together to imagine and create the space. Families created flags to mark the story-telling space, created a hazel storytelling nest and made willow bird feeders. Closing the sessions with oat chocolate and a story around the fire is always popular.

Making willow bird feeders

To support the sessions, Johana has collaborated with a number of practitioners to support the sessions – including foraging expert Stephen from Coed Hills Rural Artspace, storyteller Cath Little, Tom O’Sullivan from Spit and Sawdust, willow-weaver Nancy, artist-dancer Anushiye Yarnell and textile artist Cat Lewis, Colourfield. It has been wonderful to see the different possibilities of engaging in the space from singing to weaving to story-telling.

Positive feedback from families indicates a real interest to continue the sessions, so we hope to be able to offer them in 2021.

In December, we found out that we won a Social Farms and Gardens photo competition outdoor play equipment from Copper Beech Play and are excited to put the equipment to good use in the new year. This is the winning photo...

Dusty and Uno having fun at Outdoor Play

Arts and Crafts at Global Gardens

Whilst our workshop programme has been pared back due to the restrictions in place, we still managed to host a willow-weaving workshop led by Imogen, a natural dye workshop led by Cat Lewis Colourfield and an online creative writing workshop with Lucy Smith. You can check out the blog on the writing workshop here and the beautiful zine designed and edited by Lucy here both of which include excerpts of writing and artwork from the workshop.

Macramé workshop with Imogen

Outreach at Oasis Cardiff

The Global Gardens team have also been supporting Oasis Cardiff develop their garden. Poppy worked with the Oasis team to create the design and carpenter Arthur Goodfellow and Jack Welbourne made raised beds. Over the autumn, Poppy has been supporting a small group of Oasis volunteers to develop the edible garden at the centre, using produce in the ktichen.

Creating the kitchen garden at Oasis Cardiff

Climate Action at Global Gardens

In October, we found out that we were successful in our application to join the Climate Action Boost Scheme with he National Lottery Community Fund in Wales.

We have received some excellent mentoring from Renew Wales, including with Tom O’Kane, grower at Cae Tan who has helped us develop a crop rotation plan to improve productivity and soil fertility.

We are really excited to be working on implementing the first steps in our climate action plan awhich will include a range of opportunities for community-based learning around climate action, so watch this space!

Tom and Vaida going over crop rotation plan

Wildlife in Global Gardens

This year, as we extend the area of the Global Gardens site, we have been thinking more about keeping wilder spaces for wildlife. In September, ecologist Eliott joined us for a talk about supporting wildlife in gardens and installed a bat box on the poplar tree.

We are also super excited to be installing the Wildlife Friendly area in the allotment, with the support of Keep Wales Tidy. This will include a number of fruit trees, wildlife friendly hedging, wildflower meadow and wildlife habitats – including for birds, bats and hedgehogs.

Poppy has registered the garden as a potential site for hedgehog rehabilitation too via the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Fingers crossed we can welcome some spikey friends at the garden soon!

Eliott installing the bat box

In February 2020 we held a bird watch as part of the #RSPBGardenBirdWatch with local bird watching enthusiast, scholar and sound artist Jonathan Prior. We plan to continue the wildlife watching and monitoring into the future.

Bird watching in Flaxland Allotments

Classroom at Global Gardens

We were thrilled to finally see the classroom erected at Global Gardens in August – thanks to the powerhouse team of Hugo Keene (architect at QOCA), capenter Arthur Goodfellow and his glamorous assistant Jack Welbourne, supported by a number of super volunteers.

Siteworks at Global Gardens

We are looking forwards to using the emerging spaces at the site to support inter-generational and inter-cultural learning and climate action into 2021.

Micro-launch of Classroom

It was great to finally micro-launch the space in December with a small exhibition of seed saving artwork shared by local artists and an amazing spread of popping flavours by Ericka Duffey. See below for a montage of some of the beautiful images which we hope to exhibit again in spring as part of a seed-swap.


Clockwise from top left to bottom right: Yarrow by Mariette Voke, Woad by Vaida Bardzwaite, Weld by Cat Lewis, Nigella by Maggie James, Poppy by Emily Unsworth-White, Red Zebra by Philip Nicol.

Huge thanks to everyone who has got involved in the project and made Global Gardens possible. See you in 2021!


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