Welcome to the SRT blog No. 132

20th January 2023 – Welcome to our blog post No.132

*Diary date* for all keen gardeners (or for a peek at the all of our sites) .The three 6 acre gardens in Hemel Hempstead, Northchurch & Berkhamsted will open for Hertfordshire National Garden Scheme as a group on Saturday 13 May 2023, as a Sunnyside Rural Trust Trail for you to explore – 3 sites on just one ticket!

The Northchurch site is a market garden using ‘no dig’ methods, nature trail with wildlife pond and small animal farm whilst at Sunnyside Berkhamsted there is a vegetable growing area and extensive cane and espalier fruit garden, with a woodland and hazel coppice, each busy with wildlife. The 3rd site – Hemel Food Garden is a Green Flag award winning site that is also a plant nursery growing peat free perennial and annual bedding for domestic and commercial clients. There is an orchard, quiet garden space and market garden, growing a wide range of vegetables for their own use.

Tickets for the Sunnyside Trail are bookable through the Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)


A huge team effort at Northchurch to get the new base for the chicken shed foundations. Clearing allotments at Aldbury.

And various groups have spent the whole week tidying the bubble greenhouse and surrounding area. Noreen, Francesca and Courtnie weeding and planting some sedums into the newly tidied gravel area by the veg shed.

A team were back at XMA configuring computers which are then going out to schools if working ok.

Gillian Greg and Simon working hard producing plant labels ready for spring seed sowing.

Volunteer Michael carrying out some fruit tree pruning in the orchard.


This week teams have been refurbishing the Sunnyside Up café chairs with a rub down of the wood and then painting. A few to do.

And the Sunnyside Up café has been closed this week undergoing a mini makeover – new wall colours and some extras from the Shed carpenters. Photos to follow next week


There have been a few frosty mornings this week and Claire took these pictures.

Litter picking in Bovingdon.

Simon & Mark getting a pruning masterclass from Ian B

Sunnyside is holding a ‘Multiply’ course at each of the sites. At the Activity Centre they have been practicing counting, calculations and working with money this week. Using scales to practice weighing potatoes and then counting with Simon, Mark & Ian P leading.


Michael S, Scott & Paul prepping lunch.

Michael H, Annette, Kwasi & Riz preparing compost for potting on the Aylesbury prunes.

Sophia & Jim making lasagne lunch.

Clare & Adhar at the sunny but freezing market stall. They deserve a hot chocolate!


Have a great weekend….


…until next week.