Clem's Garden is more than a garden - it's a place where people pull together to grow kindness.
We met a very short spring bulb planting deadline thanks to the generosity of so many people who’ve pitched in to help. We continue to be touched by how people pull together in the name of basic kindness and community.
The Chrysanthemum Man. A morning of unexpected rain forced a rethink of how best to use our regular gardening time. Out went grubbing out with Angela, and in came the most inspiring visit to Angela's friend Geoffrey. Angela had talked about the chrysanthemums Geoffrey used to grow in his back garden, but it didn't become clear what this really meant until, over coffee, he looked out some old photographs . The size of the blooms; the scale of his growing (he supplied the local flower market); the systems he put in place to guarantee the highest quality blooms each season. "I hadn't realised that growing chrysanths was your full time job", I commented..."No, no...", he laughed, "I just did this before work and when I got home!" There's inspiration.
Rob from RSJJ Painting and Decorating has lived some of the ups and downs of trying to turn Clem's Garden from an idea to a reality, as he's cheerfully painted away in Vicky and Dunc's house. One day he turned up with a delivery of tools he wanted to donate. What a star!
Huge thanks to Min and Billy from Smokebush Floral Design who travelled all the way from Cheshire to help lick the Clem's Garden plot into better shape. Focused on reclaiming some of the paths from our Yorkshire jungle, their hard work meant that people can now get to the polytunnels without fear of being swallowed up by plantlife.
Ann takes great care pricking out and potting on our precious seedlings.
A massive thank you to Annie and Rich for giving up their Sunday afternoon to help with transplanting our brilliant donation of tulips.
We love it when other creative souls find inspiration from the garden. It's always a treat to welcome our lovely friend, Fiona from Firenza Floral Design in Ripponden, who has done so much to support us.
We had a brilliant afternoon at Lindley Carnival - a proper community gathering. Our flower display caught the eye of Sue from Lindley Bowling Club. In spite of all the distractions and bustle, Sue kept her neighbour, Connie in mind. 99 years old and with failing eyesight, she told us that Connie couldn't make it along to the carnival. In return for putting her shyness to one side and posing for a photo, we struck a deal that Sue could take our fragrant sweet peas for Connie to enjoy. We can't imagine a better home for them.
Suzie, another flower grower from Thirsk has been SO generous with her support for Clem's Garden. When this photo was taken, she had brought trays of seedlings.....and for the house the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers from her plot.
Rachel gets digging and planting to liberate precious plants from pots into a nursery bed.
Penny, Jack, Patrick and Lizzie settle the plants that are happiest in a shady, damp area.
Alison has her own flower-growing plot to manage at 'Flowers From The Garden' in Slaithwaite, but she still made time to help clear the plot for our raised beds.
The generosity of local builder Richard Burgin from RB Developments. He kindly donated 2 days' labour and lent us his digger. We saw soil whizz from the car park into raised beds; and our green waste and rock mountains moved out of the way. This would have taken us weeks by hand.
Chris and Dave, 'light up the garden' with a mini bonfire to clear some of the dried out perennial weeds and brambles.
Fantastic to have help from S2R to start clearing what will be our rose-growing area. They, like us appreciate the link between well-being and working outdoors.
Luc, Dunc, Jack, Bernie, Hilary and Angela - taking a break, Coffee and cake is a crucial part of each volunteers session.
Katie, Angela and Jane made short work of planting the camassia bulbs generously donated by Gill at Fieldhouse Flowers.
Big thanks to Paxman Landscapes and Yorwaste Ltd for pulling out all the stops to get 100 tonnes of topsoil and 100 tonnes of recycled green waste to Clem's Garden, so we could start filling our raised beds.
What can we say? The old TV “Ground Force” team have nothing on this lovely lot. A million ‘thank yous’ for coming to our rescue as we dashed to meet our bulb-planting deadline! Narcissi bulbs in, long bulb bed prepared with tonnes of soil and compost, and new friends made.
One of the extra-special perks of setting up a community project is the people we meet who are all about making the local area a better place. This is Tim who is in charge of the Natural Kirklees tool bank. He wanted to pose with a scythe, but we politely suggested it might not send quite the right message!
Can’t believe that Rachel travelled for over an hour to help out. It’s true what they say about Yorkshire heart!
How do you make a raised bed? Ask Joe. He’s a bit of an expert.
Thanks to Ron and Judith’s amazing donation, we've been able to buy all the wood to build raised beds, so that we can welcome volunteers with different levels of fitness to join our gardening team.
We're really grateful to Thelma Walker MP for supporting our work at Clem's Garden; and humbled that she gave us a mention during a parliamentary debate about the importance of addressing loneliness within communities.
As well as developing a garden, we're growing a business with the aim of generating profits that can be used to support other charities and community projects. In addition to a very welcome start-up grant from One Community Kirklees, we were delighted to secure a place on The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Start Up Programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
As well as training, we receive precious mentoring and advice from Ian - an experienced member of the Lloyds Bank management team.
Alex and Miti from another fantastic community-minded local business, Medequip, gave us a day of their time and muscles to help fill some of the polytunnel raised beds. They brought MedeMonkey with them for support!
Pam contacted us because she'd built up a stash of old plant pots and wanted them to be put to good use. We're all for recycling.
Clem’s Garden Masterclass. We’ve been happily bunching up our beautiful tulips and narcissi for appreciative customers, but Ann suggested it might be time to get a more expert steer on how to be creative with our flowers. Cue, our brilliant friend @flowers_from_the_garden , who gave us a generous helping of her time and her flowery knowledge at a very special in-house workshop this week. Thank you so much, Alison - we all came away feeling thoroughly inspired. X