My Place Award Winner 2018

Our Leaf Room has won the 2018 Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards!

The My Place Awards are a national celebration of good local design and conservation as nominated and evaluated by local people.  Their aim is to identify projects or buildings that have had a positive impact in a local neighbourhood and have delivered positive benefits to that community.  Gaby Laing, Heritage Officer at the Scottish Civic Trust said:
“The Leaf Room totally encapsulates what the My Place Awards are all about: a beautifully and sensitively designed asset loved and used by the community. Modest in its approach, the Leaf Room truly delivers far beyond its remit. In 2018, all eyes may be on Dundee for the opening of the new V&A, but the Leaf Room goes to show how much Dundee already has to be proud of in terms of civic pride and architecture.”

Congratulations to everyone involved, especially architect Jonathan Reeve (Voigt Partnership), builder Stewart Burness (S+R Developments) and The Dundee Civic Trust for nominating us.  The room was officially opened by Shona Robison in November 2017 and has become a real hub for our community – the volunteers, visitors, patients, staff, school groups and friends who meet, shelter, chat and drink lots of tea there!  The news comes in the same week that work begins to install the toilet, water and power, which will be up and running by the summer – watch this space for further news!

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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

Upcoming events

Tuesday 31st January 11am: planning a grass-free lawn.  We are hoping to give our orchard area a makeover by planting a low maintenance herbal lawn under the trees.  Come along to an initial meeting to find out more and share ideas for suitable plants – for more information http://www.grassfreelawns.co.uk/  All welcome, booking essential by emailing facilitator@ninewellsgarden.org.uk

Sunday 12th February 10am-12pm: Bird Watching in the Garden. Join Brian, our resident bird watcher to observe our feathered garden visitors. Please wrap up warmly. You may like to bring a camera, binoculars and a flask of something warm to drink.  All welcome, no booking required.

Thursday 16th February 2pm: Mosaic installation. Dundee Urban Orchard have given our mosaic it’s final touches.  Come along to see it being installed and find out more about upcoming mosaic and craft sessions.  All welcome, no booking required.

Thursday 23rd February 1-4pm: Co-design session and volunteer awards.  We’ll be working together to develop a vision for the garden.  How do we see the garden and charity develop?  What are the opportunities and challenges?  This workshop will take approximately 2 hours, after which we’ll have some refreshments and present our volunteers with their much deserved certificates!  All welcome, no booking required, please bring food or drink to share if you are able.

Volunteer Day Saturday March 25th 10am-3pm. Seasonal gardening tasks AND learn how to dowse for water with David Drummond – lets find those 9 wells!  All welcome; booking required if you would like to attend the dowsing workshop by emailing facilitator@ninewellsgarden.org.uk