First minister digs using waste ground to grow

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Waste ground in Govanhill has been transformed into a kitchen garden and a place of contemplation and learning.

GREAT Gardens, the charitable subsidiary of Govanhill Housing Association, has led development of the community garden, which was officially opened last week by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside.

The garden will be a place of rest and relaxation as well as a place where would-be gardeners and school kids can learn about growing plants, herbs and flowers and find out about how to create habitats and attract bees, butterflies and animal wildlife.

The site, next to the Association’s headquarters at Samaritan House, Coplaw Street, has been transformed from wasteland and can be a stepping stone for volunteers who may wish to take on horticulture or landscaping as a career and move into further education on the subject.

The site, previously waste ground that was part of the former Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women, will also be used as a training centre to help people develop new skills in horticulture and landscaping and move on to further education and training or into work.

Annie Macfarlane, chair of GREAT Gardens, said: “We want to encourage people to take the chance to learn about recycling, composting, and how to plant and grow new plants and edible vegetables and herbs.

“Although it is a working garden, we are especially keen to promote the use of additional benefits, such as relaxing in the fresh air, and the therapeutic and educational benefits offered to local schools and groups.

Funding for the project was provided by the Scottish Government, Big Lottery Fund, the Grow Wild campaign and Glasgow City Council.

The first minister said: “It’s a fantastic addition to Govanhill and I’m sure it will be a huge success.”

Grow Wild contributed £4,000 towards the garden.

Grow Wild’s Claire Bennett said: “There are high proportions of derelict land in the city but these are chances to enjoy growing and learning about wild flowers.”