Nightingale Garden is a ‘biodiverse garden for everyone to enjoy’. It is in a former bowling green in the corner of Nightingale Rec/Park, which is a City Council recreation ground near Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Biomedical Campus.
The garden gates are opened and closed by a very small team of volunteers. From March to October the garden should be open from at least 10am to 6pm and for the rest of the year at least 10am to 3pm. Many people enjoy the garden without getting involved in organised activities.
The garden has a diverse mix of plants, including some trees and in raised beds. There is an attractive nature pond, including for pond dipping, and various wildlife habitats.
Gardening activities are volunteer-led. There is a free-to-join Nightingale Gardeners Group for self-identified ‘regular Sunday and Monday volunteers and tea drinkers’. You don’t need to join the Group to enjoy the garden or take part in activities.
Our garden sessions are on most Sunday and Mondays from 2 to 4 and we have a very informal ‘Gardeners Tea at 3’. Park users are invited to join in with gardening or tea drinking. People are encouraged to bring-and-share cakes etc and we have kitty tins to support the garden and refreshments. Sessions are weather dependent so do check the website before travelling far. We will probably stop the sessions during winter months, unless we have especially friendly weather.
We have a mains, including drinking, water supply, a small clubhut with electrical supply, and a new toolshed. We should soon have a green-roofed veranda. We would like a polytunnel and have applied for funding.
We are insured for only adult volunteers but we can sometimes have some gardening-related activities suitable for children, as long as they are closely supervised by a parent or carer and are safe while other volunteers are working.
The park has a good playground, tennis courts etc. In 2020, there should be a new park pavilion with new toilets but there might be a period of time after the current pavilion has been demolished when we have restricted, or no access, to toilets and electricity supply. Check the website for updates.