Community Fund – Royal Edinburgh Gardens – July Update
This year has been a very different year to other in the gardens. Due to funding from Scottish Natural Heritage we have been able to roll out a complex series of courses called Green Learner early in the year. However a very new pressure has been dealing with the transition of the Community Garden being closed in Autumn. Cyrenians and a number of other partners are working together in the Greenspace:Artspace Public Social Partnership to develop a new Growing Space within the hospital grounds which Cyrenians will play a large role in once it is on the ground.
Along with these big changes we have been running the Community Garden drop-in sessions as usual for three days per week to ensure that our much valued volunteers and community groups have a positive experience whilst they are in their very own Community Garden.
Below are some of the highlights from the year so far.
Green Learning started with 12 Learners starting an 8 week City and Guilds Course in Employability covering modules in Safe Use and Storage of Horticultural Tools, Environmental Awareness and Healthy Eating. Over the following eight weeks learners engaged in practical gardening skills, classroom sessions, cooking sessions, a visit to the Cyrenians Good Food Depot and organising an day of Environmental Awareness.
Staff and volunteers of the gardens continued to contribute to the Greenspace:Artspace Public Social Partnership which is developing the new Growing Space which the RECG will be involved in from Spring onwards.
Weekly Wednesday Woks continue throughout January with hot pans of soup being the main dish using stored root vegetables & onions from the gardens, as well as leeks and cabbages which were harvested fresh eat day.
Green Learning: 50 year 6 students from Oxgangs Primary start a 4 week John Muir Award. Two classes take part in the course over an eight week period. The course is devlivered by Margon Van Tryon, one of our excellent volunteers experienced in delivering the John Muir Award. The Awards involves students discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing their knowledge of the Community gardens.
One of our volunteers, Tom Jordon, a qualified Osteopath ran a course called ‘Look after your back’ where he shared guidance on safe movements to make in the garden to protect our backs – before the heavy work begins in spring.
Wednesday Woks continue as well as the weekly order to Edinburgh Larder Restaurants. We were delighted to be able to supply the restaurants with produce throughout the year thanks to our winter crops.
Green Learning: 10 Learner successfully complete the City and Guilds course obtaining a Certificate in Employability.
Crop to Pot and Horticulture for Disadvantaged Youths are two programmes which also began in March. Crop to Pot was run in parallel with the Good Food Project over 6 weeks where candidates learned both growing and cooking skills. Two sessions of Horticulture for Disadvantaged Youths ran both for four weeks. Here learners were introduced to horticulture by doing practical activities in the garden.
Tom Watson, Gardener from Artlink, ran a two day course in Apple Tree Grafting teaching a team of volunteers how they could graft different varities of apple trees to the original crab apple root stock which we had in the garden. Two months on we are delighted to say all of those grafts have been successful so we hope to take these new trees to the Growing Space when the garden closes in October.
around the PSP continue with the notice that access around the site will change.
RECG second year of providing bedding plants for the NHS gardens started in April. Last year we provided 700 plants, this year 3500 thanks to a fantastic team of staff and volunteers who nurtured the plants until they ready for the outdoors.
Ground works start with the first phase of the Hospital Redevelopment. Affects this has on the gardens – the gardens are fenced in, access to the orchard is restricted due to minor tree felling (the apple trees remain) and access to the glasshouse through the hospital is stopped making the journey to the glasshouse now 25 minutes on foot.
Natures Play continues for the pre-school 2 – 4 year olds every Tuesday morning. Volunteer lead by Margon, parents and children play in the wood then take part in a gardening activity. Come rain or shine, right throughout the year the Nature Player’s play!
Green Learning: 50 Students complete their John Muir award. They celebrate by hosting an assembly at Oxgangs Primary where all Community Garden Volunteers involved in delivering the course joined in to learn about the students experiences.
Patient interaction from the hospital continues even with the access issue. Some sessions are held in the glasshouses while other patients are driven round to the gardens for a session in the garden.
Nine months on, the RECG attends their 9th Morningside Market. A monthly event on Morningside Road where RECG work with the Cyrenians Farm. Produce this month included spring vegetables as well as bedding plants and tomato plants.
Portacabin (office and store room for gardens) is packed up and transported to the new Growing Space. The start of the future.
Peak season in the garden with all the crops in and harvests well underway. Weekly orders continue to go out to Edinburgh Larder. Unfortunately the Wednesday Wok has to stop until we are esablished in the new Growing Space as the move of the portacabin has resulted in us loosing out kitchen facilities in the Community Garden. There is huge demand to start them up again as soon as we can.
Access to the new Growing Space is granted. Unpacking of the portacabin begins. The Young Peoples Unit and Team Challenges contribute to the start of the new garden by building and planting up temporary raised beds with flowers, winter vegetables and herbs.