People gathered around the fire to sing songs led by the Castle Choir whilst children made recycled musical instruments and helped to hang cider soaked toast in the apple trees for birds. A Wassail is a traditional celebration of orchards, the rituals performed help to ensure a good and plentiful harvest for the coming year.
Like the proverbial pig in muck, I’ve taken a genuine liking to jumping in the compost bins at the Castle during my garden apprenticeship. It’s a place to witness first hand the circle of life as scraps from the cafe and climbers rots and turns magically into dark rich compost that we then use to grow delicious new vegetables in.
We are in the season of autumnal abundance, with harvests occurring all over London’s gardens, growing sites and city farms. Hedgerows are plentiful and trees are laden with sweet fruits ready for the picking. Yet in many gardens around the city a great deal of fruit falls to the ground every year simply to return to the earth rather than feeding people. At the same time as this natural supply is ready to drop, the UK is importing apples and pears from countries as diverse as France, New Zealand and the South Africa.
The bees and butterflies made the most of the warm, calm bank holiday weather, as did a huge number of visitors to The Castle enjoying the day and taking part in a whole range of walks, talks and activities on this year's May Day event.
A couple of years ago The Castle was approached by Dan, a climber at the centre and director of Dizzy Spell Films. He had an idea of making a film about the work that has (and is still) been done in developing the Castle into an ethical, sustainable business.
This 30 minute film follows Steve Taylor, CEO and the brains behind our holistic approach. He explains what we have achieved so far (up to 2013), including ethical procurement of goods, eco-friendly waste disposal, recycling, lighting, heating, and insulation.
Apprenticeship at the Castle 2014 - by Lucy Nacson-Jones
The Castle garden is one of those sought after places in the Big Smoke that give you a moment’s peace from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I have been lucky enough to be doing the apprenticeship there since May.