In a time of climate crisis we are looking to learn from the past to live better and reduce our impact on the planet today. Mrs Hilda Smith’s extraordinary ordinary life is an ideal case study in sustainable and self sufficient living. Join us for a series of workshops, talks, walks, and videos which explore everyday skills from Mrs Smith’s life, aiming to help us find ways to live more sustainably today.
Find all of the information about our exciting events below alongside resources designed to help you Be More…
sustainable, involved in our local community, seasonal, kind.
Mrs Smith’s Wash Day
Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August, 12noon to 3:30pm
A workshop at Mrs Smith’s Cottage
Standard Cottage Admission
No need to book, simply drop in.
Mrs Smith never owned a washing machine and for most of her life she did all of her washing by hand. As a result she would be more careful with her items so she did not have to wash them as often as we would today.
Join the Mrs Smith’s Cottage team to have a go at washing the old fashioned way.
A Seasonal Plate
Friday 26th August, 7pm to 8pm
A talk at Navenby Methodist Hall
Seasonal eating would have been normal throughout Mrs Smith’s life.
In the modern world we are becoming increasingly disconnected from where our food comes from, and the seasonality of the foods we eat.
This talk, run by BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sunday Snippet gardener Allotment Cooks, will give an informative overview of how to start eating seasonally in the modern world.
Saturday 17th September, 10am to 12noon
A walk at Hill Holt Wood
This workshop has been subsidised by our National Lottery Heritage Fund Project.
Hannah Sylvester, the district herbalist, will be leading a forage around Hill Holt Wood. Helping you to learn more about the edible plants available in each season.
At the end of the walk we will have foraged the supplies needed to enjoy a cup of tea together.
A History of Pennells Garden Centre
Friday 21st October, 7pm to 8pm
A talk at Mrs Smith’s Cottage
Founded in 1780 this family run business has been the start point for generations of Lincolnshire gardeners. In this talk you will find out more about the history of Pennells garden centre, exploring the changing trends in gardening and the impact green spaces have on communities.
Explore the Pennells website: https://www.pennells.co.uk/
Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership
The Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership aims to create a sustainable food system which is available to all throughout Lincolnshire. To do this they work to create collaborative relationships between food producers while also producing resources and advices to consumers, helping them to make sustainable choices.
To find out more about their work, or to get involved in one of their projects, head over to their website (linked below).
The Allotment Cook
Allotment holder and green fingered cook from Lincolnshire. She runs a blog, full of growing advice and seasonal recipes, and appears as the BBC radio Lincolnshire Sunday Snippet Gardener.
Good Life Garden
A Lincolnshire gardener and sustainable living advocate, whose Instagram page is packed with information and inspiration to get you growing food at home!
A passionate urban small space gardener dedicating their small London garden to food production. They share practical tips and trick on youtube and tiktoc to encourage others to start growing their own, even in the smallest spaces.
Growing with Grandpa
One UK grandpa sharing his love of growing with audiences across the world through tiktoc. With cosy videos sharing useful growing information, this grandpa will guide you through how to start growing your own food at home.
Wonderful Websites for Green Fingered Families
Good to Grow
Detailing community gardens across the UK, this puts you in the direction of growing opportunities in your communities.
A great place to both search for answers to your gardening problems and find your next garden challenge!
The Lounge Cafe
Located at the back of the Navenby Antiques Centre, this small cafe has a strong focus on locally soured products.
Choosing small businesses in your local area is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint, while supporting the local economy.
Navenby Antiques Centre
Found on Navenby High Street this friendly Antiques Shop is a great place to find unique and inspiring gifts.
Buying preowned/second hand is a fantastic way to reduce your impact on the planet, preventing waste and reducing the need to produce new items.
Petal and Stalk
A delightful, small, florists on Navenby High Street.
They carefully source British grown flowers to reduce the carbon footprint of their displays. Upcycling and reusing items to create one of a kind gifts.
Pedal Electric Cycles
Making cycling accessible to everyone is the goal for this small cycle shop on East Road in Navenby.
Their dedicated staff see electric bicycles as an important tool for reducing car use. Making cycling accessible to those who might otherwise struggle with a standard push bicycle, and allowing confident cyclists to go further or carry more shopping.
Seconda Dress Agency
Located on Navenby High Street Seconda provides high quality preloved clothing and hat hire service.
Extending the life of each item and preventing beautiful clothing ending up landfill.
A great Slow Fashion option.
Mrs Smith’s Cottage Garden is beloved by staff, visitors, and volunteers. With its bright fresh greenery in the springtime which erupts into glorious colour through the summer creates a relaxing space for all to enjoy. While being a joy for humans, the cottage garden allows all kinds of pollinators to truly thrive.
What makes Mrs Smith’s Garden so ideal?
There are a lot of plants packed into the Mrs Smith’s garden, all working together to make the most of light, water, and pollinator attention.
This close planting allows caterpillars and larvae to move easily from plant to plant allowing them to find fresh food while providing places to hide from predators.
Mrs Smith loved flowers and was always delighted to add new finds or varieties to the cottage garden. Having a rich diversity of plant species mixing herbs, wildflowers, and classic cottage garden bedding plants supported a greater diversity of pollinator species, including specialists.
Mrs Smith was able to have something in bloom throughout the year, which is not an easy feat by any stretch, and we are still working to do through our national lottery heritage fund project. Having food sources for pollinators throughout the year is often key to their ongoing survival, especially in early spring when bees first start to emerge.
What can you do at home?
Pollinator friendly species
There are lots of different pollinator friendly species to choose from when you want to start a pollinator friendly garden. We have split out suggestions into different seasons, and advice new gardeners to select at least 1 species for each season giving support to pollinators throughout the year.
Snowdrops, Ivy, Crocus, Mahonia, Rosemary, Celandine, Winter Aconite
Apple Tree, Daffodils, Alliums, Lungwort, Cowslip, Forget Me Not
Lavender, Comfrey, Foxgloves, Phacelia, Chives, Strawberry
Dahlias, Wallflowers, Asters, Honeysuckle, Abelia, Sedum
Leave a little mess
A perfectly neat and tidy garden removes a lot of the shelter which is required by pollinators. Allowing a little mess into your garden is the easiest way to create environments where species can rest, lay eggs, and hide from predators.
Leaving leaflitter, and any other fallen plant material, in place is an easy place to start. It will provide a home for a wide range of different insects the ideal place for them to nest or find shelter, this could be done across the garden or simply select a quiet corner to leave messy.
No Mow May! Neat and tidy lawns don’t provide a lot of opportunities for pollinators to feed or shelter. Reducing how often you mow your lawn and allowing plants like daisy, dandelions and clover to bloom makes a big difference to pollinators. This is especially important in the spring when pollinators are first starting to emerge and look for food.
Mrs Smith chose, actively, not to invest in aspects of modern technology. Preferring instead to continue the old ways of doing things for so long as they remained functional, both practically and in terms of meeting her needs. This attitude doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that she was completely against all of the many developments in technology that occurred during her lifetime.
She invested in the advancements which she saw as practical or useful to her everyday life, either making something significantly easier or doing something she wouldn’t otherwise be capable of. Electricity was first installed in the cottage in the 1930s, less than 10 years after she bought the property, this addition (early for rural Lincolnshire) gave her the light she needed to continue working and entertaining into the evenings and allowed her to make the most of practical time saving gadgets. A great example of this is the electric wash boiler that she had installed in the 1940s, much larger than the boiler in the range it was able to produce a greater volume of hot water in a shorter time. Taking some of the hard work out of Mrs Smith’s wash days.
The most ‘modern’ and ‘luxurious’ piece of technology Mrs Smith owned was a television, a small 1970s portable unit which she moved between the kitchen and her bedroom to meet her viewing needs. Visitors often find the television to be an unexpected discovering in a cottage which looks as if little has changed since the 1930s, yet it is a good example of Mrs Smith’s relationship with technology. Ever since the mass ownership of TV sets Mrs Smith was visiting friends most evenings to enjoy a wide variety of programmes, after over 10 years of ‘borrowing’ from friends it was realised that this box of technology was a necessity within her home meeting a need for entertainment which could not otherwise be met.
In our present age of climate change and resource scarcity Mrs Smith’s attitudes to consumption provide a gentle and realistic framework to help us all do better. We have put together 3 questions Mrs Smith might have considered when looking to buy a new item, questions which ask you to consider your genuine need for an item encouraging you to buy less without missing out.
These questions, inspired by Mrs Smith’s ethos, are not going to apply to every situation. They are designed to help you be more mindful about about the items you own, like Mrs Smith was.
Can I continue without this product?
A simple, and very straight to the point, start. Give yourself time to make do without, you will quickly realise if the item is a need or a want. For example Mrs Smith never invested in a fridge because her pantry met her food storage needs without any further input.
Can the item be borrowed?
There are some items which you simply don’t use very often. Rather than buying Mrs Smith would have looked to her local community to see if the item could be borrowed from friends and neighbors to complete jobs around the house. In todays world powertools, lawnmowers, and breadmakers are great examples of items which are generally not used everyday and could be shared by multiple households, through family or neighborhood links, saving everyone involved space and money.
A commercial example of this can be found in London at the Library of Things where people can rent the items they need, saving space within homes and reducing their personal impact on the planet.
Developing a borrowing network can be a challenge but if you start with local friends and family word of mouth will allow a rich network to grow, and with social media it is easier than ever for this network to communicate, plan, and share.
Can I repair this item?
Obviously, this question only really applies to faulty or broken items. Repair would have been Mrs Smith’s first port of call and in Navenby’s past there would have been several businesses which specialised in the repair of technology.
In todays world repair is not always possible. Many cheaply produced items cannot be easily repaired and some items, such as mobile phones or computers, have an almost planned obsolescence. However, with some online research you might be surprised by the number of things you can get repaired locally.