Training Feedback – 2016

A Practical Training session was held on 18 June.
The morning course, titled “Looking after your plants“, was led by Jon Darby and Mahesh Pant, who explained Successional sowing, Intercropping, Catch-crops, Watering, Mulching, Feeding, Thinning, Plant support, Earthing up, Protecting from birds, animals and frost.
Click here to read about it in full.
In addition, there is a useful guide to some of the many weeds we find on our plots.

Various common weeds

Various common weeds


24th June 2016 – Newsletter Number 19

What’s on
So far, less than 10 members have booked for lunch after the AGM. Please let me know by 1st of July the latest, if you would like to stay for lunch.
01603 920570 / 07969 996646


OPEN DAY at Marlpit Community Garden

honey label - shadowThis summer’s honey from Marlpit Community Garden honey bees will be on sale at this year’s event which is from 12 am to 4 pm
MCG-open_day-25-june-2016Marlpit Community Garden’s annual event, the Open Day, is on Saturday 25th of June from 12-4 pm. I would like to ask our members from Marlpit as well as from Bluebell and our volunteers to come and make the day a real success. We need help from 10am, setting up the stall, making cakes, organising refreshments, talking to would-be members about the scheme and showing them around, and finally in packing up after the event finishes at 4pm. Please let me know if you can help.


We will be celebrating the progress made in Marlpit Community Garden in the past three years.
Please contact us.

Click image for poster

Indian cookery with Jo and Mahesh Nair

Jo and Mahesh have agreed to demonstrate how to cook Indian food. This will be at Marlpit Community Centre on Saturday 25th June between 10am and 2pm.
The Marlpit Open Day does not finish ’til 4pm, so you could drop in there afterwards.
If you would like to come along, then please book your place by e-mailing or phone Moira on 01603 440444 as places are limited.


Skill-sharing session on Sunday 26th of June, 11-12am,
at GO2 Bluebell South Allotments.

Symphytum_officinale-Common_ComfreyUrtica_dioica-NettleLearn how to make and use your own organic plant feed, also known as comfrey and nettle tea ; share your tips and advice of the month.




Reminder for All SLI Members

AGM – Sunday 3 July, 11.30 followed by lunch (RSVP), at Marlpit Community Centre, Hellesdon Road.

It’s your chance to find out what’s been happening with Sustainable Living Initiative and what future developments might be.
Please let Mahesh know if you’re staying to lunch –


Outdoor Project Network Event

Here is an excerpt from the invitation sent out to projects by Louise Curtis, Community enabling officer – West, Local Neighbourhood Services, Norwich City Council

cat-image001 Hello,
We would like to invite you to the third Outdoor Project Network Event which is being hosted by the Sustainable Living Initiative on Tuesday 12th July 6.30 – 8.30pm at Marlpit Community Garden on Marlpit Lane, Norwich, NR5 8XN.
I hope you are able to join us, it will be an opportunity to visit and learn about the Community Garden, which has allotments, bees, wildflowers, fruit trees, sheep and more (including the cat), and a chance for people to chat over refreshments and share ideas and experiences in a lovely setting.
Please let me know by Friday 1st July if you would like to attend so we know how many people to cater for, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards

Angelica‘s Rainbow writes …

Angelica‘Now the flock are truly settled into the community, we have begun clicker training them. This is a form of Positive Reinforcement Training, commonly used on pets. It is also a widely used method in Zoos and across many species. The clicker training is all in preparation for letting the sheep out of the pen, on halters, to mow the grass. All this does however take its time, especially with Angelica’s enthusiasm for attention and treats. Alongside this, we are teaching them a few little tricks which you may have seen us practicing.’
You can meet Angelica, Audrey and Urban and watch a sheep training demo at the Marlpit Community Garden Open Day tomorrow.

Herb Training – Midsummer Flowers

Alembic still with calamine and rosa  rugosa petalsMidsummer flowers was the topic for herb training at Marlpit Community Centre on Saturday, 18th June. It was a shame it wasn’t better attended as it was a fascinating session.
Click photo to read more.

10th June 2016 – Newsletter Number 18

What’s on
  • Practical Training on Saturday 18 June,
    Looking after plants” 10am to 1pm – including lunch at 12:30, then “Midsummer Flowers” with Alex up to 3:30pm  at Marlpit Community Centre,  NR6 5EG –  Booking essential, click here
  • OPEN DAY at Marlpit Community Garden on Saturday 25th June, 12 am to 4 pm
  • Members’ AGM on Sunday 3 July, 11.30 – followed by lunch at Marlpit Community Centre, NR6 5EG
    Be sure to let us know if you want lunch:, there is no food-sharing at Bluebell that day.

Recent events – Training – 21 May 2016

Monthly training sessions in June

These are run for the public, but all SLI members will receive a discount and there are two free places available each for Bluebell and Marlpit Team Leaders or regular volunteers – see booking-form.

These sessions are an excellent way of learning more about gardening.
“The morning session, titled ‘Looking after plants’ is run by Mahesh with Jon Darby from Easton and Otley College, and the afternoon one is about ‘Midsummer flowers – Elderflower cordial, Rose aromatic water using alembic still” by Medical Herbalist, Alex Hobbs.”
Both courses include lunch.
Astonishingly, this year hardly anyone has taken up this exceptional opportunity to broaden their gardening knowledge. As with all public events, you can find out what is planned and how to book” on our website at


GO2 at Bluebell Allotments South

Some important notices from Bluebell

Car parking – please note that we do not provide car parking at Bluebell for anyone other than Blue Badge holders of whom there are several in GO2. If you have to come by car, please therefore leave it outside the allotment site, on neighbouring George Borrow Road, for example, and walk the few steps to GO2.
It is annoying for our Blue Badge holders if they arrive and cannot park as designated, and embarrassing for those of us who have to find car owners who do not require such parking and ask them to move!

Vacant plots – there are several vacant strips at the moment, although they need digging over. If you want to have a bit more growing-space from now until the end of September, free of charge, please write to Mahesh or myself ( and it will be arranged. There are still potatoes in the shed which are at the moment going to waste so perhaps someone would like to plant them.

Main gate key – if you leave GO2, please return the main gate key for which you paid a £5 deposit. I would rather spend my time on my plots than go to Timpson to get keys cut – twice recently. We will refund the £5 if you return the key within one month of leaving, otherwise the deposit is forfeited.

Path tidying – some may have noticed that thanks to strimming by Philip and Mark, the paths are looking very tidy (for a week!).
However, it is the business of every grower to tidy the paths on all sides of their plots, especially where it will annoy neighbours if the grass seeds everywhere!
Please keep your paths trimmed. There are shears in the cupboard at the back of the main shed.


Notes about Watering, and Plants and Seeds
What’s on for Bluebell members – No Food Share Sunday in July (see above)
Recent Bluebell events – Food Share Sunday – 5 June 2016, Skills Sharing – 29 May 2016

Community plots at Bluebell.

We have several shared beds at Bluebell just outside the polytunnels. These have been planted with squashes, courgettes and potatoes but we need to continue planting with peas and beans before it is too late. If anyone can help with this, I shall be at Bluebell on Sunday morning.
Also, we need to keep them watered if you are passing and see them looking thirsty.


Newsletter Number 18 Marlpit Section

Plants are now available outside the MCG greenhouse or ask us on a Tuesday from 10 to 3.

Don’t forget the OPEN DAY at Marlpit Community Garden on  Saturday 25th June, 12am to 4pm
Please come and see what’s happening, join in and if you can help, email

Recently at MCG
Thaaaanks from Angelica’s friends
  Lilly’s Bee Day4 June 2016
   Volunteering Day27 May 2016
    Marlpit BirdsJune

Angelica and Friends



We would like to thank the members for keeping an eye on our sheep.
We are very pleased to hear all your stories about them and it appears they have made many friends. Again we would like to stress that you contact Angelica’s Rainbow if you have any concerns or questions regarding the sheep ( or 07827 921344 or 07473 110903) or if you see any maintenance issues with the gates, fences and shed. Also if you are yet to meet us or our flock, please do come and say hello.

Our two main concerns at present are dogs entering the gardens with members and the gate being left open, allowing scope for dogs to enter from the street. Being low down on the food chain, sheep are naturally alert and nervous animals. If a sheep is worried or stressed, it can lead to shock which ultimately leads to illness and death. So please can we remind everybody that the gardens are a ‘dog free zone

Lora and Krista

Angelica’s Rainbow – see us on Facebook

Half Term Activity at Marlpit Community Garden on Saturday, 4th June 2016

All about Bees
Lilly Beaman (7 years)

What a great day we had! The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming and the bees were buzzing. We played games, drew pictures, learnt interesting things about the bees and even danced like a bee to send messages. Many children came and took part in the activities – even my little sister Daisy picked a flower and looked for pollen, and she is only 18 months!
Tish, the lady that organised it was very good – she showed us tools we use to look after our bees – like the protective costume, smoker and a real bee honeycomb. She was also very kind to us, even when my little brother nearly ate the wax candle.
We had cakes and drinks and I was very happy that everyone liked our cupcakes- me and my mum decorated them with little bees and I cut all the leaves and daisies by myself!
A very great day! Thank you!

Photos by Tsveta
For more photos click here.

Volunteers Day at Marlpit Community Garden

P1220830P1220782On Friday 27th May, we were helped by over 90 volunteers from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), Norwich.
We provided refreshments, prepared tea and coffee and led the volunteers building compost-bins; weeding the herb-path; fencing the grazing area; weeding and repairing guards around orchard trees; fixing anti-bird netting over the soft-fruit area and re-covering the polytunnel with new polythene.
Here are some photos of the event – click for more.P1220818

This is the second time the volunteers from JLL came to our Marlpit Community Garden.
The weather turned out to be perfect and we managed to do so much in a day. I would like to thank the volunteers from JLL, Sue from Employee Volunteering who along with her husband Tony worked so hard to make the day a success, Amy for making delicious refreshments, SLI members George, John, Alex, David, Jim and our regular volunteers for their tireless work.

fencingimproving tree guardsoff to workrelaxingshifting compoststakes for tree guardsweeding soft fruitweeding the herb gardenconstructing the compost bins

Birds of Marlpit Community Garden June 2016

Summer migrants are now with us and members of the warbler family have been singing in the hedges surrounding the garden. Their fate is tied up with global warming. Blackcaps are now commoner in Britain than a few decades ago. Most of the British breeding birds winter in Spain and Portugal and don’t have to make the journey across the Sahara, which is becoming increasingly arid. A small number of Blackcaps from Germany and North East Europe have changed their migration patterns and now fly west south west to winter in Britain instead of going south to the Mediterranean. In winter Blackcaps feed on berries, and many of them rely on people feeding the birds in their gardens. In summer they feed on insects – I saw a female collecting insects for her young a couple of weeks ago at Titchwell in North West Norfolk. Only the males have a black cap, the females having an orange brown one.
Garden warblers are uniform brown birds without any distinguishing features. They winter south of the Sahara and their numbers have been declining, especially in Eastern and Southern England. As global warming increases their migration across the Sahara will become more and more difficult. Their song is very similar to that of the Blackcap, but is more even, subdued and hurried in its delivery – it is bubbling compared to the fluty Blackcaps.

Whitethroats winter in the Sahel on the southern edge of the Sahara and experienced a dramatic decline in numbers in the late 1960s caused by a drought in their wintering quarters linked to global warming. The population has since partially recovered but remains vulnerable.

Chris Keene

Do you use Facebook?

Compared to e-mails, Facebook is a very easy and convenient form of communication as long as one has a smart phone!
SLI has an official Facebook page which is hardly used and we can change that if we want.
So, if you use Facebook, would you like to join SLI Facebook? If yes, please follow this link : to join.SLI_Facebook-banner
Once we know how many of our members are using facebook, we can then decide whether to use GO2 Facebook for regular communication. We still have to use e-mails for personal messages such as “your plot needs attention”.