Sunday, 11 December 2011

Creating Christmas Garlands at Bristol Zoo

We were at Bristol Zoo yesterday with the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project running a workshop on Creating Christmas Garlands.  Mandy Leivers, the education officer, kindly hosted this event , and we spent a lovely day making some really beautiful fireplace and staircase swags and walking on the Downs learning about the history and folklore that surrounds the foliage we use at Christmas.l   This is the first time we have run this swag workshop and it was a great success with everyone taking home beautiful work.  It really was a good day.   

This is the third year that greengarland have worked with the Project and we are very proud to be associated with them. The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project is in its tenth year and is a collaboration funded  by Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Natural England, University of Bristol, Society of Merchant Venturers, the Downs Committee and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and work in partnership with the National Trust (phew). Their work celebrates the outstanding wildlife interests of the Avon Gorge and Downs and works to secure its future.

Mandy has inspired almost a whole generation of children (including mine who are now in their mid-teens) to appreciate and enjoy the diversity and uniqueness of the Downs.  My garden is full of insect hides and bird boxes that my boys have made on some of Mandy's courses when they were younger, and we have as a family spent many happy hours listening for birds, hugging trees, hunting for rare moths and identifying some of the unique species that grow there on the wide range of walks, talks and courses that they run all year round.


It really was a lovely day.  Thanks again to Mandy..... I even got to pay a visit to my very favourite tree. Here it is..(the snow is from 2010....)  It was merely very chilly yesterday and I did not take the camera.

We are currently looking at dates for 2012 to run this event again at the Zoo, so hopefully some of the folk that we could not fit onto this year's workshop can come next year.  We will put the date on the Events page as soon as we can.   

Monday, 5 December 2011

Blue spruce swags on English handmade rope

English handmade rope
In preparation for the workshop that The Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project are hosting for us at Bristol Zoo on Saturday 10th I bought some really beautiful handmade Manila rope from Neil at the Traditional Rope Company in Norfolk.    Having ordered a whole coil, then had a sleepless night wondering quite how big 220m of rope would be and where quite I would store it.  Never mind.  It is so beautiful that it is currently stored in my sitting room - it is such a lovely thing - if you put a glass top on it it would make a good coffee table.

I am going to take the coil whole to the workshop and we can then cut exact lengths to make our staircase and  fireplace swags.  Will try to get some photos on the day.  This workshop is now fully booked but I am still taking orders for swags for local delivery in North and North West Bristol (until I use up all the rope.. .)  Details are on the website.   

Really looking forward to the day which includes a walk with Mandy Leivers on the Downs.  Just to get a taste for what we are aiming for, here is one I made earlier....