Blackfriars Priory is a stunning 13th century Medieval Priory nestled right at the very heart of Gloucester. It has a gorgeous Scriptorium, the oldest and most well preserved medieval library in Britain (possibly in Europe), a magnificent scissor-braced roof and private courtyard garden. Historically the garden would have been central to the friars’ lives providing herbs for medicines and treatments (The Blackfriars monks ran a Medieval hospice type facility providing end of life care for people suffering from TB and other illnesses) and food for their table and to serve as part of the alms for the poor they doled out at their gates every day.
Today the courtyard garden is a pleasant tranquil oasis of calm in the heart of the city. The Blackfriars buildings and grounds are open to the public through the Summer and enjoy numerous public events such as tours and talks, as well as private parties and weddings. It is a well photographed element of the Blackfriars Priory venue.
We would like a small group of people to help use tend the garden throughout the Summer to ensure that it looks its best for all the events and visitors.
Blackfriars Priory is open for drop in visitors to come and look round the grounds and buildings until the end of September on Sundays and Mondays between 10am – 3pm. We would therefore like our gardening volunteers to come in for a few hours that suited them each week or fortnight during this period.
We see the main tasks being weeding, planting bulbs, flowers and herbs in various pots and planters and maintaining them, along with some general garden tidying such as deadheading and pruning to keep the garden in balance. We are keen to listen to your suggestions for appropriate planting schemes that would enhance the look of the gardens and help tell the story of Blackfriars Priory’s long history. We are also keen that the garden is as much as oasis for local insects and pollinators as it is people and so would be keen to see planting that supported that.
We have a very limited tool collection at Blackfriars so we would suggest that volunteers where possible brought their own trowels, dibbers, secateurs and gardening gloves.
If you would like an informal chat about this volunteering opportunity without committing yourself please contact Holly on Holly.Gooch@Gloucester.gov.uk and she will get back in touch with you as soon as possible.
Why get involved?
We are not a garden area with hoards of brambles to hack back or deep holes to plant trees to be dug, so this is an ideal gardening project for people that are keen to exercise their green fingers as the more gentle end of things. Nevertheless we can still offer fresh air and gentle exercise and lots of social company – we know that our visitors will love having a chat to the garden volunteers to find out what they are doing and of course you’ll have the other volunteers to talk to.
We are very open to suggestions about appropriate planting for pollinators and other insects, to retain a sense of the historical legacy of the buildings and grounds and of course to make it a sensory delight to be in with beautiful colours, smells and textures in the garden. Your input would therefore be key into developing and directing the garden so all our visitors can make the most of it. Indeed as a well loved wedding venue, you could find your gardening handy work appearing in someone’s treasured wedding photos!
There is also a lot of flexibility to this volunteering opportunity, so you wouldn’t have to commit to exactly the same slot week in week out.
How to get involved?
- Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
- Accept the challenge
- Wait a response from the team at Blackfriars Priory with more details.
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