5. Renewal

Turning landfill into a community park, where insects and wildlife can thrive again.

We invited you to make a mandala to create a natural habitat in your garden, or if you preferred, to respond to what renewal meant to you.

If you would like to volunteer at Little Belhus Country Park, find out more HERE.

Browse the other May Mandala galleries HERE.

Find out more about T100 Calling walking festival in Sept 2020 and how you can be involved HERE.

Renewal Mandalas by Stephen Green

I wanted to try to make a pattern on the growing grass by using what I had to hand (old lids, some scrap wood) to exclude the light so the grass lost its colour. This would last for a few days then naturally fade and grow out, similar to making a pattern on the beach that the tide washes away, but on a different time scale.

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Stage 1 lay out on the grass and fix down. Stage 2 wait 5 days. The idea being where the grass is covered will discolour to form the pattern.
I put the shapes on the grass on the 5th and removed them today. A partial success. I hoped the pattern would have been more distinct. The plastic lids were probably too lightweight.

Renewal mandala by Stephen Green

The dustbin lid mandala was made from recycled material, the idea to use the plant labels came about because they had just been delivered and I wanted to include them somehow to link the discarded plastic etc with planting something new in the environment. The other bits and pieces i.e an old roll of tape, corks etc were a way of using scrap to decorate.

Renewal Mandala by Stephen Green and Lesley Robinson

Little Belhus Park, South Ockendon is a being created on a land fill site.
The area I chose to build my mandala in Little Belhus was in a grassy piece of land near the large pond with the M25 on one side and a wind turbine on the other. I put the centre of the mandala in a dip so on 2 sides it slopes upwards.

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The centre is stones I picked up from the trackway, some of the stones are natural,some are man-made – pieces of broken tiles and bricks.
I only used plants from the site but was careful not to use flowers no matter how lovely they were as they will turn into seeds for new plants next year. At one time I thought I would use tree leaves but most of the trees on the site are newly planted and are struggling to get established.
The plants I used in my mandala are:
Fennel – to represent food and medicine.
Teasels – teasel heads were once very important in the making of fabric.
Willow – used to make baskets, woven into flat pallets and also its bark was used to make aspirin.
Grass – to represent all types of cereal.

When I finished this mandala I sat in the sun surrounded by flowers, ox eye daisies, clover, poppies, white campion and vetch. At first the noise of traffic on the M25 was very noticeable but after a while that faded into the background and I could hear bird song and the breeze blowing through the willow and rushes.
Little Belhus has the makings of a beautiful country area. A huge variety of plants, dragonflies and damselflies flitting around the edge of the pond, bees and other insects gathering pollen. All on reclaimed landfill.

Renewal Mandala by Michaela Freeman

Bug Hotel mandala made for #MayMandala Thurrock100 project, using a dead plant in a pot, bamboo, sticks, broken pot pieces, dry grass and flowers, and a cone!

Renewal Mandala by Nell Edwards

Renewal mandala by Nell Edwards

Renewal Mandalas by Sarah Moorcroft

I found making these mandalas very therapeutic and absorbing. Using various found natural materials, I played with the textures and colours to represent my feelings of anxiety and stress at the time and found it to be a great outlet!

Renewal Mandalas by Sally Chinea

Renewal mandala by Sally Chinea

I daily walk in my local landscape, once being a very rural location, only small pockets still survive, becoming even more precious. Woodland, wilderness even greenbelt, were I used to play, ride my horse and walk dogs, have become housing, natural landscape is shrinking, sad for me, but also for wildlife, and the whole ecosystem.

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May brought weeks of varied weather, hot sun and storms, after one storm, whilst walking in the woods, through the debris, I collected and created this mandala to highlight loss of trees and wild spaces, what was lovely was when I returned the next day it had been added to!

This little corner of my garden is always a little wild, but I’m not worried if some plants are weeds, buttercup, daisy, dandelions and allium …I like them, they can stay! Bees and butterflies love this corner. Always a nice place to sit for a quiet few minutes, watching the activities, fish bask in the sun, flitting butterflies, lily pads getting bigger daily!

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On a walk with the dog, I found a pair of hanging baskets, lovely circular shapes that were almost mandala like! I’m slowly building a bug hotel for this wildlife corner.

Renewal Mandala by Little Belhus Country Park

Renewal mandala at Little Belhus Country Park

A mandala made out of reclaimed materials Little Belhus Country Park. This was designed to also provide habitat for invertebrates. We will be making a huge version in September and would love to have people join in with making it; whilst also reflecting upon the meaning of the mandala

Renewal Mandala by Hazel Huber

These early days of lockdown were all about clearing & sorting & composting to boost the overall fertility of the soil in my garden.