What’s going on this spring?

Blink, we’re already 3 months in to 2023 and I planned to write a post about all the stuff I’ve got on this year, but here we are in March and I’ve totally neglected my blog!

I’ve got plenty of excuses though, namely exams, lots of exams! Anyway, better late than never, from college work to paid work, campaigns to community stuff, here’s what I’m up to in 2023.

Community stuff

I’m kind of involved in quite a bit of local, community stuff, but with college exams ramping up I can’t get as stuck in as I’d like to. However, I’ve been:

  • Rocking up with the Young Op Farmers at their social events. We’re 6 years in with that project and we have a right laugh making soup & soda bread and more recently, seed planting. I’ll be volunteering at a couple of their community events too.
  • I dropped off a load of compost for the guys at People First Tameside; I’ve watched their Secret Alley Garden develop over the years and look forward to watching their garden grow at a new site at Waterloo Community Gardens. We’ll be swapping seeds and seedlings over the growing season. Thanks to RocketGro for the donated compost.
  • And a newbie to me is Tameside People 4 Wildlife. I was introduced to the volunteers via a hedgehog food donation I’d received, and I ended up sharing my afternoon with the most delightful barn owlet called, Blizzard. Since then, I’ve visited the volunteer team at their new site and given them some ‘pond advice’ to increase the biodiversity of the habitats there. BTW, Blizzard is now so famous, she has her own Facebook page! 


I’ve had a really busy time with my campaign work, having been interviewed by a few organisations this year, mainly about gardening for biodiversity, have a nosey at my socials for the links.

In addition:

  • I was really chuffed to be asked by my hero and wildlife legend, Chris Packham to be a judge for his Hedgerow of the Year Competition. The competition celebrates ‘what’s good about hedgerows’ – a fantastic haven for wildlife. Entwined shrubs and buffers of scrub. Birds galore. Dense banks tangled with arable wildflowers. Living walls; full of buzzing, humming and scuttling beings. And it also highlights the ‘hedgewrecks’ Over 118,000 miles of hedgerows have been lost from the countryside since the 1950’s. The remaining ones are still at risk – not being managed means they’re becoming relics of the refuges for wildlife they once were. The competition will be judged in 2023.
  • I’m absolutely delighted to go from ‘winner to judge’ in the RHS School Gardener of the Year competition. Joining me on the judging panel in May will be Gardeners’ World presenter, Frances Tophill and Matt Willer, founder of The Papillion Project.
  • Dragonflies have become a little obsession in our family and as The British Dragonfly Society Youth Ambassador, I’ll be looking forward to seeing their jewel like wings hovering over our pond this spring and summer. Hoping to see lots emerge from the pond too. I’ll also be helping support National Dragonfly Week 1st – 9th July.
  • I’ve continued helping the RSPB with their national campaigns from the wonderful stuff like Big Garden Birdwatch to the not so wonderful stuff, raising awareness of birdcrime and there’s a new campaign to be launched in April that I’ll be involved in; keep an eye on my socials for that.
  • I recorded a ‘Voices from the park’ podcast for South Pennines park; you can listen to the 5 minute recording here. It’s all about my ‘Passion for the Pennines’, which I’ve wrote about in a previous blog.
  • A while ago I took part in the UK Youth for Nature Silent Spring at 60 campaign, all about farming and gardening for biodiversity; you can watch it here
  • One of my next campaigns is working with In Our Nature MCR, right on my doorstep! Keep a check on my socials for updates.
  • I’ve also just been interviewed for the Natural History Museum’s Wild World magazine, I think that’s due out in June??

Paid work

I’ve worked for my local shop, Heyrod Food & Floral over a year now, and I already know that when I’m older, I’ll look back and think ‘that was the best job I ever had’!! I’m the chief potwash and brussels sprout prepper, it’s an important role 😉

I’ve just started my second year as a RocketGro brand ambassador; their peat-free products are top notch and we had really productive growing season with them last year. All dosh I earn through them is going in my Uni pot, so if you need some quality compost, please consider buying yours through them and see me on my way to Glasgow! Click on the link for 25% discount, using my code GEORGE25.

The future

I’m now in my second year of sixth form college and I’ve been accepted at my number one, Glasgow Uni for a degree in Environmental Geo Science. I’d visited the Uni back in Oct and was blown away with everything about the course and the Uni itself, so I need to get my head down and achieve good grades!!!

Meanwhile in our garden, over a few sessions, we’ve levelled off and prepared an area at the top of the garden ready to sow wildflower seeds. The mix is aimed at attracting bees & butterflies and contains a mix of perennial & annual wildflower seeds and native grass. It will look cracking if we pull it off! Over in the raised beds, we’ve got some crops on the ‘grow’, including leeks, swede & celeriac, some (completely battered by the wind) purple sprouting broccoli and garlic. Then we’ll need to start working on our other veg beds in preparation for sowing.

What’s your plans for the growing season? Are you trialing something different, learning a new skill or helping out at a community garden? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Until then, laterz, taterz!

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Seasonal summary from my garden

It’s wet, miserable and cold here in Manchester today (not as cold as it should be though), so I thought I’d write a summary blog of how our garden’s flourished this year.

Considering the extreme weather at times, the gardens’ fought back boldly, with some plants doing better than others.

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Creating a garden for birds

I’ve wrote a lot about our wildlife garden, in relation to attracting moths, butterflies, bats, bees and dragonflies for example. Recently, I was asked to speak about what we’ve done to help garden birds, from food sources, shelter, places to drink & bathe and great nest building sites.

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Notes from Grandma’s Gardening Diary – Part 3

This third blog from my Grandma brings us up to date on how her garden grows; starting with landscaping in April to a celebratory tea party in August ’21. Funny enough, I’ve been at Grandma’s this afternoon and despite making good progress last year, there’s still an awful lot of work to do!

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Notes from Grandma’s Gardening Diary Part 2

Following on from last week’s post, this second blog, picks up mine and Grandma’s ‘gardening graft’ from Autumn ’20 through to late Winter ’21, with a quiet Christmas and another lockdown thrown into the mix.

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Notes From Grandma’s Gardening Diary

If you follow me on my social media sites, you might know that I’ve been helping to redesign my Grandma Barbara’s Garden. Started back in July 2020, we’ve worked on it together at weekends and school/college holidays, whenever we could squeeze a session in. Sometimes we were so busy we forgot to take ‘before & after’ photos, but my Grandma always wrote a little log of what we achieved. Here’s the first in a series of blogs

Grandma’s Garden – Autumn 2020
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Reporting back on your Green Plans for ’22

I’ve received lots of feedback following last week’s post about making Green Plans for ’22, it seems January makes us all feel motivated to plan for brighter times ahead.

I had such a great response that I thought I’d share some of your inspiring comments; here’s just a few:

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My Green Plans For ’22, What’s Yours?

January, it’s a bit of a weird month; after all the hype of December and despite the start of new beginnings, it can seem a little grey and drab. At times I can be quite a fan of January, especially those crisp, frosty, blue-sky, walking outdoors kind of days, but often it feels too long of a slog til the first taste of spring. For me, it feels like, ‘head-down, work hard’ and plan for brighter times ahead; here’s just a few of my Green Plans for 2022:

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Helping To Protect My Patch, The Pennines

I’ve lived opposite The Pennines all my life and during the many lockdowns I became a bit obsessed with exploring the hills, trees, rivers and paths, literally every nook and cranny. The moors rarely change: the wind, the rattling heather, the carved rocks remain, and always remain. For me, when everything seemed so out of control, they were the one thing I could rely on. And now it’s my time to give something back, as I’ve just started doing some volunteer conservation work with RSPB Dove stones.

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How gardening can make you feel free

Today is World Mental Health Day and there’s stacks of info out there about the benefits gardening can have on your wellbeing.

I wrote this blog a while ago, about how gardening makes me feel free and how it has helped me, when I’m feeling stressed and worried about stuff and it’s just as relevant today.

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