Welcome to the Jungle!

Jodie, Alison, Colin & the garden’s caretaker (the cat) brainstorming ideas (Photo by Gregory Zabaroni)

Our first little flurry of events has been happening in the last couple of weeks – beginning with our Project Launch day in the garden on 28th March. We’re so grateful to the local people who donated their old garden tools to the centre – and we are still very much accepting donations so if you’ve got an old, faded kneeler pad or spade that’s seen better days – drop it off in the garden!

We kicked off with an intro to the project, asking for ideas from local people and with spoken word & memoir readings from myself (Jodie!) and Greg. Then we headed down to the fabulous Wooler drop-in centre to get the young people there honing their spoken word poetry skills (and where we were absolutely blown away by Jack’s performing talent – a star in the making there!). Thankfully drop-in centre manager Gee happily allowed us to create chaos with confetti, balloons and pompoms all over their freshly hoovered carpets!

Gregory kicking off the project launch with a reading of his garden-inspired spoken-word piece ‘Reverberant Echoes’ (Photo by Jodie R. Red)

Then on Saturday, Gill met some new potential garden helpers down in the garden and got the ball rolling with the very first job in the garden – clearing away the waste! A huge thanks to Gill, Colin & Ken for volunteering their help and time with that – we’ve already had an excited email from Rachael at Glendale Gateway Trust who was delighted to see things happening in the garden.

The mysterious garden cat, dubbed ‘Miss Cheviots’ by Gregory, and the garden journal created by Joan & Helen, which tells the origin story of the garden (Photo by Gregory Zabaroni)

Finally, I led the first Creative Writing (memoir and nature) Zoom session last night and was so genuinely impressed and touched with the work produced and read out. Sharing memoir writing requires a lot of trust and courage between everyone in the room (or zoom call), often people you’ve never met before. I was mesmerised by the stories that were written and shared in this zoom call – a place normally reserved for dry work meetings – and could easily read an entire book by each of our participants – so thank you to them for joining.

Next up is our intro to gardening day with Kirknewton garden designer Clare Ryan on 16th April. All are welcome to learn a few basics gardening tips and help us plan what we want to add/repair in the garden!-