Josh David-Read, 11 April 2024

“March brings breezes, loud and shrill, 
To stir the dancing daffodil.” Sara Coleridge, The Garden Year 

March is Most Likely the Gardener's Busiest Month!

This month has consisted of sowing, sowing, and more sowing! We've sown different varieties of tomatoes, aubergines, runner beans, chilies, watermelons, salad leaves, herbs, and roots (to name a few!). Most have started life in propagators in the orange container (more on that later) or in the polytunnel, as most seedlings prefer a warm environment to germinate. Hardier seeds like spinach have been directly sown outside.

Move Over, Marvin Gaye!

Ani and Laurence expertly pruned the grapevine in the polytunnel. This is the time to cut back the vine to encourage new growth. Don't be afraid to cut back more than you think. The rule of thumb is to choose a few of the strongest canes to leave and prune the rest. Typically, people choose 10 to 12 good canes and shorten them to four or five buds each.

The Hügelkultur Method

We tried the Hügelkultur method with our raised beds alongside the glass panels of the colonnade. In Hügelkultur, you layer different organic materials together, which will slowly release nutrients into the soil for years to come. To try it yourself, simply add a base layer of cardboard, wood such as logs and smaller dried twigs, and hay or grass cuttings, followed by green organic material. Then layer a lot of compost and topsoil, and you're ready to plant. Please note that the soil level will fall as the layers decompose. In this case, simply add another layer of soil to the top.

Bye-Bye, Orange!

This month has seen us update one of the staples in the GRAFT garden: the orange container. Over the years, the vibrant orange container has, well, become a bit tired and showed its age. So we decided to give it a facelift and employed the expertise of brothers Hassan and Kareem, who designed and painted the container. It's turned some heads and really given the garden a new lease on life! The design reflects the important elements of the garden and connects to nature.

A Cockleshell Pathway

We took delivery of some Penclawdd cockles to build a cockleshell pathway, making the garden more accessible, especially on rainy days. This will be an ongoing project, so watch this space!

Natural Dyes Workshop

On Thursday, March 14th, GRAFT volunteers visited the National Wool Museum in Drefach to learn about natural dyes and how to incorporate them into the GRAFT garden.

Susan taught everyone about the natural dyeing process using different plants. Then, everyone had a go at dyeing wool themselves in various colors. They even gave GRAFT seeds to get started, which we plan to plant this month!

Chai and Chat Takeover 

We are fortunate to be able to work with and host many community events and groups here at the Waterfront Museum! We're even more fortunate to offer them a taste of different aspects of the museum. On Wednesday, March 27th, the Chai and Chat group, which meets weekly at the museum, visited GRAFT and helped plant some seeds, transplant tomato seedlings, move strawberry plants, and harvest salad from our polytunnel. We're excited to welcome them back to the garden in the future!

Farewell, Zoë!

March also sees us sadly say farewell to one of the project founders, Zoë, who will be leaving the museum for new adventures! She leaves a great legacy in GRAFT and will be missed by all the volunteers, partners, and staff who use the garden.

I will be updating readers every month or two months with the general work we have done in the garden. We will pass on information we have learnt, things we have done well (and not so well) and any tips for budding gardeners (or experienced gardeners) out there to take to your own green space. I will also include a seasonal recipe from The Shared Plate using ingredients from GRAFT. 

GRAFT January

Josh David-Read, 21 March 2024

“No matter how long the winter, the spring is sure to follow”. 

For many March is the month to begin sowing, planting and getting excited for a year full of harvest. In GRAFT the Volunteers have not stopped and waited for March but instead have ploughed through the cold winter weather to fix and prepare the garden for the year ahead. 


January 12th and 19th was our first sessions back after a couple of weeks off. With the bad weather and power cuts in the museum we stuck to maintenance jobs, clearing  some of our raised beds and preparing beds ready to be planted later in the year. Even more exciting we sorted all of the seeds into month order [TOP TIP] which helped us to plan what seeds we needed to buy from our suppliers (Real Seeds, and the Incredible Seed Hub) but also forward plan the growing schedule for the year. 

We also cleared and cut back our Birch and planted in some blackthorn and hawthorn. We did this to make the hedge more attractive to different wild-life species and also harvest lovely tasting berries. 

Compost glorious compost! Compost is so important to the garden for many reasons. Not only does it reduce waste, reduces landfill and saves water but it also enriches the soil and adds lots of microorganisms to it. It’s great for the environment By composting at home you will reduce your carbon footprint by not buying factory-made fertilisers. [TOP TIP] only add the following to your compost pile: Fruit scraps, Vegetable scraps, Coffee grounds, Eggshells (though they can take a while to break down), Grass and plant clippings. DON’T add Bread, Diary Products, Rice and anything not biodegradable, such as plastics, shiny paper, stickers and some tea bag brands. 

Annie led Graft Volunteers alongside Westcross Day Care to empty our compost out, sieve it and picked out worms to add back into the compost.

 I will be updating readers every month or two months with the general work we have done in the garden. We will pass on information we have learnt, things we have done well (and not so well) and any tips for budding gardeners (or experienced gardeners) out there to take to your own green space. I will also include a seasonal recipe from The Shared Plate using ingredients from GRAFT. 

GRAFT February

Josh David-Read, 21 March 2024

“There are no Gardening mistakes only experiments.” Janet Kilburn Phillips

February too early to begin planting? Now this is a debatable topic in the gardening world… But we thought to give early planting a try.

At the end of January and early Feb we direct planted some Onions and Parsnips (seeds), planted out some Broad Beans and sewed early Tomatoes, Aubergine, Chillis, Peppers and Sweet Peas. We also planted a Bay tree in a pot by the Kitchen and 2 Blackberry stems in the Forest Bed. Starting early gives slower germination but also means an earlier crop. 

We will sew a later variety of all the above to ensure we have more crop later in the year. [TOP TIP] Only start early if you have a heated propagator or a windowsill above a radiator at home. 

We led a workshop in making your own potting mix. What we have gone for this year is 2 part compost (our own), 2 part Coir (Coconut Husk), and 1 part Perlite. This gives a good chance to all new seeds. Only downside to using your own compost is the weeds… we have found that germinating with your own compost has encouraged them to grow. Do you have another potting mix you swear by? Let us know! 

Later in the month Ian set about repairing the wooden beds, teaching two of the GRAFT Volunteers the process. We also assembled 6 more raised beds out of corrugated iron which will line the glass edge of the Museum. As this is a shadier part of the garden, we are going to have to plan carefully what to plant there. Next time you are in the museum have a look, they look great! To fill the beds we added cardboard and a lot of cuttings and branches to pack out the base then added Top Soil on top. When this organic matter breaks down it will give nutrients to the soil.                        

At the end of February, we sewed Spinach, and a selection of Herbs (Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Basil) in the Polytunnel. We also ‘chitted’ (Bless me!) our potatoes, this means placing them in egg boxes with the ‘eyes’ face up. When they sprout they are good to go in the ground. Alternatively, you can just chuck them straight in the bed without chitting. [TOP TIP] Grow potatoes from home! Ever gone to make some mash and found sprouting potatoes? You can cut them in half and place them in soil to make a big crop of Potatoes right from home. Give it a try and let us know how you get on! 


Roast Crown Prince Squash with whipped tahini


Serves 4



1.2 k Squash of your choice, deseeded and cut into chunks

3 tbsp oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

Glug of red wine vinegar

200g tahini

Squeeze of lemon juice

Handful of mint leaves

Salt and pepper



Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Roast squash in oven with oil and season with salt for 40 mins, turning half way

Place onion in a bowl with vinegar and pinch of salt and mix well

In another bowl add 125ml of cold water to the tahini and whisk well

Add lemon juice and salt to taste

To serve put the tahini on the plate, top with the squash, pickles onions, torn mint leaves and salt and pepper


I will be updating readers every month or two months with the general work we have done in the garden. We will pass on information we have learnt, things we have done well (and not so well) and any tips for budding gardeners (or experienced gardeners) out there to take to your own green space. I will also include a seasonal recipe from The Shared Plate using ingredients from GRAFT. 

National Waterfront Museum, Swansea named as one of country’s best green spaces

Angharad Wynne, 14 October 2020

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s Green Flag Award winners – the international mark of a quality park or green space. 

The National Waterfront, Swansea has achieved the prestigious Green Flag Community Award in recognition of its dedicated volunteer involvement, high environmental standards and commitment to delivering great quality green space.

The Green Flag Community Award is designed to help promote quality green spaces that are accessible to all.  They are a great way to highlight the work that the fabulous volunteers have done, and to show that we are using the museums garden to grow produce that is donated to groups in need across the city. 

GRAFT volunteers taking a break from harvesting at the gardens at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Speaking on behalf of the Waterfront Museum’s GRAFT team, Senior Learning, Participation and Interpretation Officer, Zoe Gealy said: “The GRAFT team at The National Waterfront Museum are delighted to have received this Green Flag, it really highlights the fabulous work our amazing volunteers have put in since we started in 2018 and is such a great accolade during a particularly challenging year for us all.  We look forward to many more years of growing and developing our green space and will continue to create learning and volunteering opportunities, as well as donating produce to the fantastic charities across the city who are providing services for those in need”.   

The National Waterfront Museum is one of a family of seven museums and collections centres under the banner of Amgueddfa Cymru  - National Museum of Wales, which offers free entry thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, they house the nation's art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by present and future generations.

127 community managed green spaces across the country have met the high standards needed to receive the Green Flag Community Award. This means that Wales still holds a third of the UK’s community Green Flag sites.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: "The pandemic has shown just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. For many of us, they have been a haven on our doorstep, benefitting our health and well-being. The success of National Waterfront Museum in achieving the Green Flag Community Award is a testament to the volunteers who have maintained excellent standards under the most challenging circumstances this year. I’d like to congratulate and thank them all for their outstanding commitment.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/greenflag




National Waterfront Museum's GRAFT Team Spread Seeds and Sunflowers During Lockdown

Angharad Wynne, 28 April 2020

While The National Waterfront Museum’s GRAFT team and volunteers cannot gather to garden the Museum’s courtyard garden at this time, they are nonetheless keeping busy setting up ‘Seeds Out in the Community’ and encouraging us all to grow sunflowers in visible and public spaces to show support for key workers. Here’s a little more about this innovative community project and how it’s grown from a seed of an idea to a flourishing project that grows plants, food and people.

GRAFT: a soil based syllabus is the National Waterfront Museum's edible land and educational project, and a permanent piece of green infrastructure within Swansea City Centre. The project is also a socially engaged work of art by artist Owen Griffiths, and was originally commissioned as part of Now the Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr in 2018 funded by 1418NOW as part of a huge UK wide cultural project commemorating the first World War.

GRAFT works with community groups from a wide range of backgrounds across the city who came together, to transform the Museum's once industrial courtyard into a beautiful, sustainable, organic growing environment; creating an edible landscape to encourage participation and conversation around land use, food and sustainability in an accessible and empowering way.

Owen and Senior Learning Officer Zoe Gealy develop the ongoing program at GRAFT around these ideas of collaboration, sustainability and community. Every Friday, (other than during this lockdown), volunteers young and old work alongside one another to share skills working in wood and metal, learning how to grow plants, gaining qualifications and supporting each other along the way. The project has seen successful apprenticeships develop as a result of its program as well as seeing the long-term mental health benefits of working outside together. New friendships are formed, and people, as well as plants, flourish. During GRAFT’s development, in addition to raised beds, a pergola and benches from local timber, a cob pizza oven and beehives have been introduced to the garden. GRAFT's youngest volunteers come from Cefn Saeson School in Neath and work with Alyson Williams, the resident Beekeeper, learning about biodiversity, the environment and working together to care for the bees.

Some of the produce grown in the garden usually makes its way into delicious meals at the Museum's café whilst some is used for community meals at GRAFT. A portion of produce is used by volunteers, and some is donated to projects and groups throughout the area who provide food for those in need, such as Matts House, Ogof Adullam and the Swansea refugee drop in centre.


Over the coming weeks GRAFT will be posting seeds through City and County of Swansea’s food parcel scheme and to community groups they regularly work with such as Roots Foundation and CRISIS. The seeds include squash and sunflowers, which were harvested by the gardeners last season.

Another initiative GRAFT is developing in the coming weeks is encouraging people to plant sunflowers in visible and public spaces, to show support for key workers alongside rainbow paintings. People are also invited to post pictures of their successful growing on GRAFT’s social media pages.

To request seeds contact zoe.gealy@museumwales.ac.uk

07810 657170

During lock-down, the GRAFT garden continues to need some tending and so  The National Waterfront Museum's on-site team are watering the GRAFT garden and seedlings during their daily shifts.

With thanks to players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting Amgueddfa Cymru’s public programme of activities and events.



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