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.
March: Big Dig - Spring Equinox Celebration
Ahhh the arrival of Spring! A day of garden work in preparation for the new growing season. Children took part in the garden nature hunt discovering some tasty treasure at the end and learned how to make mobiles. To keep well fuelled, wood fired pizzas were served throughout the day, and to keep warm, a bonfire to mark the Equinox, and the arrival of spring!
May: May Day - Festival of Bees
Beltane, the clement weather was affirmation of the beginning of summer - time to celebrate! People enjoyed a whole range of activities- mushroom growing, skything skills, expert-led talks, herb walks, choir-led songs and maypole dancing. Families tried out papercrafts, discovered how bees see and identified bee-friendly flowers in the garden.
A gloriously sunny day for our first clothes swap. Everyone who attended found something that they wanted/ needed, and were pleased to see others taking their good quality clothes home and giving them a new lease of life!
June: Bushcraft workshops led by Luke Collyer
Here’s some feedback from participants: Expedition Fires and Cooking: “Luke explained everything brilliantly, there was plenty of resources and always answers to questions. All brilliant, thank you to all!”
“Friendly atmosphere conducive to learning in a relaxed way. A lot of well-focussed info and practical guidance from the instructor. Well paced and structured.” Bushcraft for Families: “Maya really enjoyed making the fires, Vita enjoyed that too and learning to strike a spark. I enjoyed all of it and liked making the tripod over the fire.”
“(I enjoyed) Luke’s warm delivery and humour...demo-to-task led activities were achievable and fun for all ages and abilities”
Open Garden Squares 2015
First time visitors were enthused about the abundance and variety plants growing in the garden. Children made plant pots, planted seeds to take home and enjoyed modelling with clay.
July: New River Clean-up
An annual event organised by Francisco Carmo, London Wildlife Trust. A tremendous effort was put in by many volunteers, including castle staff and local residents to clear litter from the river that runs alongside the reservoirs, from the Castle to Woodberry Wetlands. A delicious feast, using food from local shops that would otherwise have gone to waste, was laid on for all involved, prepared by PACT and volunteers.
August: Children’s Garden Adventure
Children who attended the special garden session discovered by acting out the story through movements and poses what happened when a little alien accidently landed his spaceship on a small planet made up of land and sea… Nature, Arts and Crafts family day
Discovering through our senses and tuning in to the beauty and wonder of nature. Looking deeply, drawing, painting, making sculpture informed by what is around us. Honeybees and the Honeybee Crisis
Our resident beekeeper Sean Hearn’s talk gave a fascinating insight into honeybee biology, with an in depth look at that factors that have contributed to the honeybee crisis, and fantastic tips for those who are beekeepers or are planning to set up their own natural hives.
September: The 2nd Big Swish
Any clothes that we had at the end that would be of use were given to the Castle’s collection for Calais refugees.
Garden Harvest Celebration in conjunction with Edible Gardens Open Day and Urban Food Fortnight
Delicious woodfired pizzas topped with seasonal garden vegetables, garden teas made from unique blends of herbs, tasty cordials all enjoyed in the garden’s day-long outdoor cafe. Children and parents got involved with food growing games and craft activities.
October: Apple Day
An early start to the day, the apple press set up, and thankfully plenty of volunteers, keen to learn about pressing and to help with processing the huge quantity of apples and pears. The fruit was collected from gardens in Haringey and Hackney and some had been dropped off to us. Edd also contributed pears from a farm that would have gone to waste. Throughout the day all ages took part in the apple games and art and craft activities. We made around 200 litres of apple and pear juice on that day alone. Much of the juice sold in the cafe has raised money for refugees in Calais.
Thank you to everyone involved in the project. You can find out more about it here: www.castle-climbing.co.uk/apple-scrumping
Squashing food waste and sending less waste to landfill. The Castle was a drop off point for pumpkins after halloween, an action to help reduce the amount of pumpkin lanterns that end up in landfill. Those who visited were given a tour and in depth talk about the Garden’s composting systems - how we turn the huge amount of banana skins, as well as the kitchen and cafe waste into nutrient-rich soil. Children learned about the wonders of worms, and gathered leaves to make crowns. Warming "Liberated Vegetable” soup was enjoyed by all, along with live music from a local choir.
December: Garden Winter Warmer
People gathered together to share some cheer for Winter Solstice, with mulled cider, a bonfire, and singing with a local folk choir. In the Roundhouse, a mini christmas fair; unique handmade gifts, and garden made products for sale.
Other events... We were very pleased to host in September another performance by The Cabinet of Living Cinema, entitled Theatre of the Wandering West: A Hand-Drawn Ballad.
With support from Captain Yoshke and the Pirates. Their sea shanty-esque songs raised our spirits and warmed the cockles, before setting us off on a dream-like journey, following the story of a Yiddish actress running away with the theatre and of Franz Kafka’s infatuation for her. The combination of wonderful compositions and playing, and beautiful hand-drawn and stop motion animation is completely immersive