Darwin Nurseries

Jessica Childs reports on a rewarding project at the Darwin Nurseries – with hot weather, hard work and plenty of cake.

“Team 34 arrived at Darwin Nurseries in scorching June heat, but were determined to get stuck in and improve the centre. With Roger Timmins and some of the service users lending a helping hand, the team battled through the heat and sunburn, with a few ice-creams to assist, and managed to clear and create new permaculture beds, repair fences, and even produce a pathway between the allotments.

The team working on creating the woodchip pathways

The team working on creating the woodchip pathways

The first task was to do the permaculture beds. These are used by the Nurseries to plant wallflowers, which they then sell to customers, including some of the Cambridge University colleges! This was tiring work, as wheelbarrows needed to be filled with heavy compost before being transferred onto the beds, together with another wheelbarrow-full of smelly mulch, and then mixed together. The team also had to weed around the beds, some of which contained large thistles, which was sometimes a prickly business.

Alongside all the hard work, the team got to meet the resident pigs and learned to drive the John Deere Utility Vehicles, some more successfully than others.

Trying to dodge the trees with the utility vehicle

Trying to dodge the trees with the utility vehicle

The most time-consuming task was constructing a pathway, so that the service users in wheelchairs would be able to access the beds for planting. All four wheelbarrows were used to fill it with woodchip, and pile on top of the smooth cardboard that had been constructed as the pathway base. Team members spent all day walking back and forth and shovelling the huge pile of woodchip but the path looked excellent when it was finished.

The team worked so well together, and made so much progress that there was time for sweetcorn to be planted, which the Nurseries will be able to grow and sell in their farm shop. On the final day, all very proud but slightly exhausted, they were rewarded with a choice of delicious cakes to celebrate all their hard work. The team is now looking forward to revisiting Darwin Nurseries to run a Sports Day and picnic for their Team Challenge.”

Planting the sweetcorn

Planting the sweetcorn