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In this blog, our Cardiff University lead student volunteers Ella and Cara reflect on recent activities at the garden...

Each Saturday, alongside the other volunteers from the community, student volunteers from Cardiff University have been joining the Global Gardens Saturday volunteer sessions. As the lead volunteers, we have been involved with the gardens since last spring. We felt that a lot of students did not know about the project, so we started to raise awareness and chat to those around the campus who were interested in being outdoors, involved with the community and growing.

As lead volunteers we are involved in communicating with students who want to be involved, ensuring they know how to get to the gardens. We discuss plans for sessions with Poppy and lead the student side of the sessions.

We soon found a keen group of students who were ready to help in the garden whilst also meeting like-minded others over a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake! The first few sessions were spent exploring the garden and chatting about potential projects including what everyone might like to grow. The gardens brought together students studying a range of different courses, from biological PhD students to archaeology undergraduates, all with different ideas and visions for potential projects.

We enjoyed being involved with the Apple Day in October, where after our usual session we helped with making the apple juice from scratch and carved out clay labels for the orchard. This seasonal treat was made even more special by the clear blue skies and dappled bronze colours of the autumn leaves on the trees. Our usual sessions in these crisp autumn months most consisted of clearing out areas of the garden that had become slightly overgrown, removing brambles in preparation for the spring. We always finish sat around the log circle with a warm cup of tea and, of course, a slice of cake! We have so far had carrot cake, chocolate brownies, courgette cake and a lemon drizzle cake – all homemade. At the end of the sessions, we all delight in choosing some herbs and fresh produce from the gardens to take home and cook with.

In November, as the leaves began to float off the trees, we were given a spot in the garden to make our own. It was an area that had become slightly wild, however had the promises of becoming somewhere that the students could put effort into each week and watch grow over time. It was originally a permaculture mandala and we would like to keep the outline of the mandala when we begin planting. We are excited to put our stamp on this patch and have input from our group to grow a range of different plants, fruits and vegetables. So far, we have had lots of ideas for the area, including creating a flourishing tea garden!

December brought a colder and crisper backdrop in the gardens. We set to work with clearing the permaculture patch and tidying it up ready for the New Year. This was hard work but with a keen group of volunteers we managed to get it done in time for a cuppa and freshly baked mince pies by Ella! We also got involved with the wreath making workshop and were all grateful to take home a beautiful wreath.

We are so excited to be involved with the gardens going into 2022 and are excited to develop our permaculture mandala further. We have ideas for more workshops and collaborations with other student societies within the gardens including cooking discussions and bread making.

By Cara and Ella

Lead Student Volunteers


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