Our Garden Hero

This year the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens has been running a campaign called  ‘Local Heroes’ as part of their Growing Together (GT) project. The aim is to get more people actively supporting city farms, community gardens and other community growing projects by celebrating the work of unsung heroes volunteering or working in these projects.
The volunteers in the garden have voted and our Local Hero is Brian Matthews!  Brian is the longest running volunteer at Ninewells Community Garden, having been involved for around 5 years.  He is a popular presence in the garden, with time for everyone. No matter what the weather, Brian volunteers 3-4 times a week – feeding the birds, developing new areas of the garden and doing a lot of the dull, but important parts of gardening that make such a difference, but often go unnoticed. His humour, creativity and kindness are appreciated by all and he is a great inspiration and support to many of our group – it’s fair to say that the garden just would not be the same without him.
Thanks for all your hard work Brian – and here’s to the next 5 years!
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Co-design workshop and volunteer awards

We had a great session last week where we were exploring possible future directions for the garden – as well as looking at the obstacles we face.

There were no shortage of ideas!  Everyone had the chance to suggest new activities or features, which we grouped into different themes (see below).  We then spent some time with the 3 themes which had the most interest, working in groups to understand how they might be progressed (underlined themes).  If you are interested in getting involved with any of the ideas, or have an idea or comment of your own, please do get in touch.

After the workshop we awarded the first batch of our volunteer certificates – volunteer time amounted to around 2500 hours last year!  The garden wouldn’t exist without our wonderful volunteers – everything from planning to sowing; polytunnel building to bird feeding… This time, effort and creativity enables so many people to enjoy the garden when they visit – so thank you.

IDEAS
Water: wildlife pond, water fountain, wishing well
Communication: website, research into benefits of therapeutic gardening
Themed gardens: Japanese, continents garden, desert garden
Wildlife: bird hide, wildlife pond, more bee habitats (honey and bumble), animal corner
Garden features: pizza oven, time capsule, weather station, barbecue area, bike rack, low maze
Garden development: pear trees, snowdrops, expanding the garden, another polytunnel, own plots, more summer fruit
Skills and activities: more teaching sessions, bread making, preserves, beginners lessons in gardening, kite making, tai chi and yoga, photography club, cups of tea for visitors, cooking skills
Sales / enterprise: more veg for sale, shop for produce and crafts, growing food for hospital, create a cookbook, herbal calendar
People: more patients to visit the garden, day trips for volunteers, corporate volunteering for big jobs

CHALLENGES
Access: From hospital – no proper door or path, lack of signage, car parking, better awareness
Funding: sustainability, secure future
Facilities: lack of toilet, water and electricity
Health and safety: security, hygiene, safety, steps to leaf room, better wheelchair paths
Capacity: more volunteers, staff, more space for new features