Belhaven Community Garden Blog Gardening & Buddying News

Carey’s Autumn news

The Green Team

We are very happy to be back at Belhaven after such a long time away.  Our first job was helping to build a Scarecrow for the shared beds. We all worked together and had a lot of fun stuffing one of Michael’s old shirts and a pair of Gordon’s old tracksuit bottoms.  We had a good laugh seeing our scarecrow wearing our old clothes.  We made him a big handlebar moustache and decided to call him Monsieur Jenny because he looked more French than Scottish.  It turns out scarecrows were originally Egyptian. They were used to protect their fields that run alongside the river Nile.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the NHS and we were asked to paint and replant the old boat planter in preparation for the celebrations.  Dunbar Garden Centre and Dunbar in Bloom gave us lots of beautiful pansies to plant which was perfect because pansies symbolise love and remembrance, thank you so much for the donations! It was a lot of work removing the weeds and then the bulbs, nourishing the soil and giving the boat a lick of new paint and planting it back up again but I think you will agree we did a very nice job!  We have also been busy with our own garden, recently we planted a herb garden and we are now planning a pond to encourage more wildlife into our home turf!

Young Volunteers Belhaven Hospital

As well as tidying up the boat and garden for the residents of Blossom house we also helped them celebrate the NHS’s 75th Birthday celebrations with an afternoon tea.  We recruited five enthusiastic young volunteers who helped us serve a splendid tea to the residents along with lots of fun entertainment including a game of musical bingo which everyone enjoyed including the staff!  The young people helped bake and prepare for the event, what a lovely spread it was.  While  young people served tea, another young volunteer sang an acoustic set. She spent time learning some songs that the residents would like including an Elvis number.  Everyone was up jiving including staff, residents and volunteers.  For those that couldn’t make it to the residents’ lounge we took the party to them in their rooms. It was a joyous and uplifting afternoon enjoyed by all and one I will remember with fondness.  With thanks to our bakers Diana, Ruth, Kirsty and all of the young people for making this such a special day.  The depute charge nurse Carol Glynn agreed and said “It’s a credit to the young folk who take time like this to come and share life with our elderly generation and make very special memories.  Thank you so much for bringing such a special time to the nursing home,” Carol Anne Glynn Depute Charge Nurse.

The Beehive Garden

There have been lots of development in the Beehive Garden.  We did very well from the polytunnel produce this season and the children who ordinarily would not “never, EVER eat a cucumber” actually did! It’s a fact that garden produce creates what we call a positive food environment.  If children are involved in the food growing process, they will try new things and we are definitely proof of that.  Next to try is the squash which we grew in one of our new beds and we managed to grow four enormous ones.  The children all had a go at trying to lift one of them, we even formed a chain just like the people in the story of the enormous turnip, but it was just too big!

Our new cohort of volunteers from Dunbar Grammar have joined us in the Beehive Garden and we have 15 new young people signed up.  The groups have all had a turn in the past few weeks at running nature-based activities with the little people.  The children really look up to their volunteers and enjoy their visits, the volunteers are excellent role models, full of fun and enthusiasm.  They are learning all about child development as well as learning about responsibility and leadership. It’s a win – win situation.  Claire Slowther the Head Teacher is “delighted” with the project and has heard great things –  she  is eager to come down for a visit.

Massive thanks to AG Thomsons who came on board last month and helped us create a mound so we can plant along the fence line where the soil was too stoney for anything to grow well.  AGT sent a team of 3 men who worked tirelessly the whole day and everything was done free of charge, my heartfelt thanks to Kevin and Duncan and the crew for this generous gesture.

The guys helped us move 3 tonnes of earth which we got from Caledonian Horticulture.  The compost and topsoil helped us create a mound at the top of the garden.  Next year there will be a show of beautiful daffodils, tulips and wildflowers, all donated from Dunbar Garden Centre and carefully planted by our Saturday volunteers.   Karen, Andy and the team from the plants department have been very generous and we are very grateful for their help and support, we are all looking forward to seeing how this will look next springtime!  It will certainly give us a big splash of colour and the more wildflowers we plant, the greater the impact will be on our local pollinators!

We have also moved the little wooden bridge in the garden, making it more of a destination. The digger drivers from AG Thompsons helped us move the bridge and make a ‘Scrape’ beneath it.   Scrapes are shallow depressions with gently sloping edges which collect rain water and are great for boggy plants. It will create a lovely feature and focal point in the garden and the children will be able to look over the bridge at all of the plants and wildlife.  There is no water there yet but the children are already mesmerised by it! Finally, and the best news of all is that AJT helped us create a safe, stable and accessible path for our three wheelchair users.  These wee ones now have access to the garden and to the poly tunnel. Caroline, Mum to Harris, one of the wheelchair users, said “A Massive thank you to everyone involved and for making this possible, from Harris and all of us, It really means the world!”.

Saturday Sessions in the Beehive Garden

Once a month we invite children, parents and carers to join us in the Beehive Garden to help us maintain the space.  They have helped us move tonnes of chippings to our allotment site to feed our fruit bushes, they have helped with weeding, tending, mending and clearing.  They helped us empty and remove the huge old tyres and the old bath.  The tyres were picked up, weighed and taken away by a professional company and the tin bath has gone for scrap.  At our last session we weeded and  planted over 1000 bulbs! 

My projects are built on the goodwill of our community.   I couldn’t be prouder of how things have taken shape over the past year, so let’s hear it for all of our volunteers and community partners who we are reliant upon to bring these projects to life, we simply couldn’t do it without.  Thank you so much for absolutely everything!

Belhaven Community Garden and Hospital; Dunbar Reuse; Fixing for the Future; Treetek; Dunbar Grammar School; Dunbar Primary school and nursery; Dunbar Garden Centre; AG Thomsons; Dunbar in Bloom.

The kind and generous folks of Dunbar!

Carey Douglas