Archive for the 'From the Press' Category

Talented Gardeners wanted for BBC2 show, The Big Allotment Challenge

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

ThePerfectAllotmentSilver River Productions are keen to hear from talented amateur gardeners. They are looking for ‘kitchen gardeners’ who would like to participate in the second BBC2 series of The Big Allotment Challenge (series 1 is due to be broadcast soon). Successful applicants will need to love to use their produce as well as grow it – gardeners who can not only grow the perfect carrot but can also turn their green tomatoes into award winning chutney and their dahlias and sweet peas into magnificent bouquets.

Participants will be offered the opportunity to turn a virgin plot of land into a place of beauty, and to be filmed while doing it! The plot of land is near Reading in the south of England. Interested applicants will need to think in terms of committing 1 or 2 days a week between April and August to maintain the plot and allow for filming however all travel and accommodation would be covered by the production company.

Anyone reading this who is interested can download an application form by clicking here. The form must be completed and submitted by midnight of March 13.

Edinburgh Edible Estates Project provides growing spaces for tenement dwellers

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Edible Estate GardenThe Edible Estates project in Edinburgh aims to provide community growing spaces for residents of tenements and high rise blocks on underused council land.  It involves collaboration between public bodies such as Wester Hailes Health Agency and an Edinburgh based design agency Re:Solution.

Green space in the Calders, Dumbryden, Murrayburn and Hailesland neighbourhoods, owned by Edinburgh City Council, would be turned over for use as garden hubs and private plots as part of the Edible Estates scheme.  Up to 120 households would benefit in the first year of the scheme.

A majority of participating residents would be able to see their plot from their own house, with the aim to have the first gardens running later this year.  The Wester Hailes Heath Agency has now applied for £300,000 in climate challenge funding to run the project. A decision on the application will be made soon.  The move has the backing of the city council, which stands to save thousands of pounds each year in reduced maintenance costs for green space.

While a primary focus is on food growing there are great hopes the project will have a positive impact on the health and well being of many residents.

Scientists need help to probe ‘Cabbage Benefits’

Monday, April 16th, 2012

University of Aberdeen scientists at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health are probing the benefits of cabbage and kale. They want to investigate whether eating these vegetables can help fight diseases such as cancer.

Dr Wendy Russell, who is leading the project, said volunteers would eat kale, white and red cabbage.  They are seeking healthy non-smokers from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire aged 18 to 55.
Anyone interested in taking part in the study can get in touch via 01224 738785 or

Was your Great-Granny a gardener?

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Phd student Deborah Reid is researching the story behind the Edinburgh School of Gardening for Women – a trailblazing institute founded in Inveresk before moving to Kaimes Road, Corstorphine, in 1903.  If you have any memories of stories from your Granny about her gardener Mum, or any letters or certificates hidden away in your attic, then Deborah would love to hear from you.
The school helped sow the seeds of women’s involvement in an occupation that was – until then – exclusively male and ensured horticulture in Scotland finally gained a feminine touch. It was the brainchild of Annie Morison and Lina Barker, who made history by being among the first women employed as “practitioner” gardeners at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1897.
Women’s advocate Lady Aberdeen, who officially opened the school, praised its founders for empowering female workers despite the detractors who believed they “could not dig any more than they could hit nails on the head”.

You can contact Deborah through the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper by emailing

West Dunbartonshire Community Allotments win Award

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Four West Dunbartonshire community allotment garden groups have been presented with prestigious awards in recognition of their work to improve the local environment.

Haldane Community Allotment Association, Bellsmyre Community Garden Association,Whitecrook Community Garden Association and Faifley Community Allotment Society all received Royal Horticultural Society and Scotland in Bloom It’s your Neighbourhood awards from George Anderson, presenter of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden, at an awards ceremony in Stirling.

The awards were in recognition for the work the groups have done in partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council’s Community Involvement in Neighbourhoods Project, which began in March 2010. This has seen dedicated volunteers from both groups work hard over the past year to transform four previously disused greenspace sites to create thriving Community Allotment Gardens.

Oatridge College gets Awards for All cash to run allotment courses

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Oatridge College in West Lothian has received support from the National Lottery-funded Awards for All, to set up a community demonstration allotment where anyone, from schoolchildren to experienced allotment societies, will be able to learn, free of charge, from the experts.

Ann Burns: course tutor The Oatridge team is headed by Ann Burns who has been responsible for a string of winning entries to the annual Gardening Scotland show in recent years. She says: “A lot of people are coming to realise the benefits of having an allotment: The physical activity is really good for you and is a real stress buster: you are getting fresh fruit and vegetables, grown locally; you’re saving money on your food bills and our courses will emphasise sustainability, composting and organic gardening. We’re keen to capture the enthusiasm for allotments and make sure that everyone gets the best from their plot.”

Oatridge’s plan is to use the Awards for All cash to cover the construction of an 11×32 metres plot, which will include a greenhouse, shed and fencing and the purchase of plants and seeds.  Over the six months of the project, workshops for schoolteachers and pupils will focus on what fruit and veg to grow in a school allotment, cultivation, types of soils and rotation. Amateur classes aimed at beginners will show them how to design an allotment so that they get the best of it year-round.  There will be masterclasses for local and national allotment societies  dealing with subjects like organic growing, pest and disease control and plant selection. In addition it is planned to stage healthy eating classes and “Green gym” sessions for senior citizens on growing cheap and nutritious food.

The demonstration allotment will be constructed on the Oatridge Estate near the village of Ecclesmachan. Preparatory work is already underway and it expected that the plot will be ready by the autumn. At least 150 people will attend workshops during the six months of the project. More details are available be phoning the College on 01506 864800.

Linlithgow allotments given the green light by council planners

Monday, January 31st, 2011
linlithgow allotment site Linlithgow and District Allotment Society (LADAS) have secured planning permission for Community Growing Plots on private land between Linlithgow and Philpstoun. Chris and Lesley Nock, who run Oakwell Children’s Nursery, have agreed to lease a field to LADAS for use by members. The land measures 1.15 hectares and up to 76 100m2 plots could be created.Kirsty Leonard, chair-woman of LADAS, said: “The field is in a very scenic position between the Union Canal and the road that runs from the Park Bistro bridge to Philpstoun and it has previously been farmed for arable crops.  There are plans to run the site in an environmentally friendly way with plantings of native shrubs and wild flowers to encourage birds, insect pollinators and other wildlife. There will be a communal hut where community events will be held with talks,demonstrations,produce competitions and barbecues being considered.”

There will be a chance to view the site on Saturday, February 5, from 2.30pm in the Oakwell Nursery where site plans will be displayed and committee members available to answer questions. Prices for the plots will also be discussed.  Non-members are welcome to come and see if they might like to join LADAS and take a plot for the coming season. The group are also looking for people to join the committee setting up the new project.

For more information go to

Allotments to be created at Traquair House

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Green-fingered locals are being given the chance to grow their own at Traquair House in the Scottish Borders.
Traquair House Charitable Trust is to make available an acre of ground in the old walled garden for a community garden/allotment scheme.  The area of ground which has currently been uncultivated for over 40 years was originally part of the market garden at Traquair House.  It is envisaged that there will eventually be around six to eight allotments for members of the local community as well as a community or forest garden area.  Lady Catherine Maxwell Stuart said “there will  be a certain amount of work to undertake to prepare the ground and we would like to hear from any local residents who would be willing to form a group to look at ways of progressing the project and would be interested in having an allotment themselves”.  For those interested in getting involved with this Traquair project, please contact or telephone the Traquair Office on 01896 830 323

Allotments on the Telly

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Pete Jackson, the gardening expert on STV’s 5.00pm regular programme ‘The Hour’ will be taking over a patch of land in Glasgow’s Pollock Park and working it as an allotment.  He’ll be growing fruit and vegetables and reporting  his progress week by week on the programme. It’s a challenge he can’t wait to get stuck into. “Anyone who knows me knows I’m really mad about growing my own and enthusiastic about getting people into their own green spaces, which is why I think city allotments are such a great idea,” Pete said.

As well as watching the programme interested gardeners can go along to see the plot for themselves any time the park is open and progress will also be reported on the web site.

If you are proud of your allotment and would like to show it off, BEHIND THE ALLOTMENT GATE is a 5 part 30 minute television programme being made by Sean James Cameron and Interfusion Films.  Sean is looking for UK based contributors to take part in the programme. The show looks at the passion for growing your own food on allotments. If you have an interesting allotment, a good personality, a passion for your plot and wish to take part please contact Sean at

It doesn’t matter if your allotment is big, small or untidy – all you need is a passion for your allotment.

Controversy over allotments in Kirkcaldy, Fife

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

An attempt to create new allotments in Kirkcaldy has led to disagreement and debate. According to the Fife Free Press, locals were not consulted over plans to create allotments in the Dunnikier area.  Ann Watters, chairman of Kirkcaldy Civic Society  has now made a number of objections.   In particular she claims that the allotments would interfere with access to Dunnikier House Hotel and golf course.  She also says that allotments would spoil the view from the hotel.  Mrs Watters, however, is keen to promote the development of allotments at Ravenscraig Walled Gardens.
The main problem with the Dunnikier development seems to be the lack of early consultation and the failure to keep the local community in the loop.  It would be sad if a potentially worthwhile venture should suffer because of a failure to inform the very community whose members should be the main beneficiaries of its success.