Christmas Fayre

We had a stall at the St Vincent’s Christmas Fair today.  It was great fun.  For sale, we decorated some pots and planted them with Cacti, Herbs and Sedums.  We also took along our bespoke The Red Shed Project notice board to provide information about us.  Our main aim for the afternoon was to get involved in our immediate community and to meet with staff, parents and students at the School.  We felt like this aim was met as we were warmly welcomed by everyone and had a lot of fun.  Our secondary aim was to cover our costs and again this was achieved and we ended up a stunning £3.20 in profit!  Thankfully we are not planning on becoming a retail organisation any time soon!! 

However, as any good organisation should…..we review and learn.  We can now look forward to the Summer Fair with a better understanding that our main customer will be under 12 and the ‘Hot Buy’ will not be aromatic Herbs or stunning Sedum but the prickliest, hairiest and weirdest looking Cacti!  As for the remaining plants, they already have a home on our new garden.  The Herbs will be really useful for sensory activities.  We will use the Sedum in activities too, they are great for propagation projects and making amazing living displays.  Finally those Cacti – well with some TLC they will just get to be BIG prickly, hairy and weird and will make a return on our Summer Fair stall.  

Autumn Lanterns with Hertswise (North)

What do you get if you iron some leaves, add lots of glue and some grease proof paper? Amazing Autumn Lanterns of course!

We had a great time today with a large group (17 in all!) at Hertswise in Letchworth.  They all got really creative and transformed the grease proof with wonderful leaf patterns.  Now it’s dark they will use the battery tea lights to give a room an autumn glow.

We love working with this group.  They have been meeting regularly for a while and have got to know each other and really engage and enjoy the workshops.  We’re looking forward to visiting again in December for a Christmas Wreath bonanza.

….oh yes – you iron the leaves between sheets of kitchen paper to take out some of the moisture but keep the leaves nice and bendy for sticking…..just in case you were wondering!


Pumpkin Parties

For Halloween we have been carving pumpkins.  Our Monday group made some traditional scary faces and had a lot of spoooooky fun.

Our workshop at The Water Gardens in Hemel Hempstead made use of the pumpkins as festive autumn vases and filled them with all sorts of colourful plants gathered from the garden.

It was a real treat to see how different each pumpkin looked and watch everyone being so creative and trying something.  It was a great example of what is still possible and enjoyable even when you have a dementia diagnosis.

Volunteer Day

A full on day today – with a big thanks to Longmeadow Community Garden Group, Stephen McPartland MP  and some extra hands from staff at St Vincent’s Primary School.  Our plot has been cleared of brambles, saplings and a few other uninvited guests!  We now have a blank canvas to start building our garden.

Even in the pooring rain it was a really positive experience to see the site being changed so much.  It will still be sometime before we can do some real gardening there but it’s great to start the journey.


Thank you to Stevenage Borough Councillors

Following an email from St Vincents Primary School, we have received pledges of donations from some local Stevenage Borough Councillors.

This is a brilliant start to our fund raising to build and equip our garden.

Looking forward to receiving all those £’s from their locality budgets and making a start on making our patch of land a beautiful place to be.

Our first workshop – a mood lifting success


This week we provided our first off site workshop at Hemel Hempstead.  Residents of a local care home visited the community garden in the town centre.  They enjoyed the beautiful sunshine as they filled painted planters with their choice of flowers and herbs.  The feedback from the care home support staff and the residents was really positive and we are looking forward to seeing them all again.   We have been told that one resident experienced a lift in his mood for a couple of days afterwards.   This isn’t a surprise to us as we have seen the benefits from being in the garden before – however it never stops being wonderful to hear.

We have been booked for another workshop in 2 weeks time.  This is a great start to our off site service.


A big thank you……

We have received an amazing email from a supporter. He has arranged to send us a monthly donation of £1000 – actually amazing doesn’t quite cover how we feel just now!

Hi! Su, congratulations on launching THE RED SHED PROJECT as an 85 year old seeing the needs of many of my contemporaries that are not catered for in the current system your new set up is an incredibly welcome addition and I wish you a Bon Voyage ,
To give  THE RED SHED PROJECT a push off I have opened a monthly standing order for £1000 and a big WELL DONE ,Wishing THE RED SHED PROJECT a great passage       BMB

Could this be home?

After a chance meeting with an old friend we have found our new home.  The site is an over grown and neglected corner of a primary school playing field.  The area has previously been used for an after school garden club and is the perfect size.  We love the idea of being based in a school and are excited about the possibilities this opens up for doing some inter-generational gardening.  There’s been some recent research around young children visiting care homes with some really positive results.  The school will be able to use the site to benefit their pupils and we’re looking forward to exploring the partnership opportunities.

Better go shed shopping!

Launching The Red Shed

Today is our first day.

There is a lot to do that doesn’t involve gardening when you are setting up a project so it’s going to be paperwork and phone calls for a while.  Top of the list is to find some land where we can launch The Red Shed garden group.  We have 4 members of the group already and hope to grow this and be able to offer a few hours of gardening each week for those affected by dementia and their home carers.   What’s brilliant about gardening is that the tasks can be tailored to suit any abilities.  So whether it’s some simple seed sowing while seated or some serious digging – everyone can get involved.  Our experience is that the carers not only enjoy the gardening but also the mutual support and understanding of others in the group.  We recognise the difficulties in being a carer at home and one of our plans is to provide a service for carers only…….one of so very many plans – and it’s just our first day! – we’d better get started…..

Back to the paperwork!