What a week we had, ‘Mucking In’ for Beechgrove Garden - the Scottish gardening programme’s #COP26 special.
Sometimes it was hard to tell where one Hi Vis vest began and another one ended. A luminous trail of volunteers and tradespeople were snaked around the 2.8 acre walled garden of Wimpy Park in Alloa, investing time, talent, skill and enthusiasm in order to transform a neglected greenspace into a sustainable and accessible garden for its’ community to thrive in.
As design consultant on this project, I was honoured to support the community in their ambition to bring this hopeful vision to life. Such an empowering relationship between design and people can create a catalyst for change, and in this case my contribution of professional garden design skills and experience blended so enjoyably with the artistic energy of young volunteer Lou Carberry; as well as with the build practicalities and management of resources supplied by local council; fire; prison; rotary and community group volunteers. Not forgetting the essential ingredients of biodiverse planting and landscaping approaches.
The sense of ownership and pride in what a community garden could provide and achieve was clear throughout this intensive week, and it was infectious. I found myself consulting on everything from structures to drainage and from soil prep to planting design. While it may have been a mammoth task and an exhausting working week, the sense of cohesion and unity - of shared purpose - was incredibly powerful.
The regeneration of the walled garden at Wimpy Park, provides a dynamic and adaptable green space for generations to come. Whether they make use of it to grow, play, learn, heal, share or socialise will be entirely up to them, but for me it symbolises opportunity and hope for a fairer and greener life accessible to all, and for that I’m proud to have played my part.
Beechgrove Mucking In, will be broadcast on BBC Scotland this Sunday (Oct 31st) at 4pm, then available on iPlayer. Further interviews with pupils from St Mungo’s Primary will appear on The L.A.B. Scotland website, where there are also bitesize resources on sustainability and stories about how other young people have been finding ways to save the planet.