Archive for January, 2011

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 www.linlithgowallotments.org.uk

Book Review: The Allotment Source Book by Caroline Foley

Friday, January 28th, 2011

After years waiting for that coveted allotment plot, there’s nothing like the thrill of finding your name is at the top of the list. But after the initial excitement many newcomers might begin to feel a little panicked – where do they start and what should they grow? In her new book, the Allotment Source Book, Caroline Foley takes the novice gardener by the hand and gives a step-by-step guide to acquiring a plot, getting started and deciding what to plant.

There is some history, some descriptions of therapeutic and other types of gardening, and mention of what goes on elsewhere in the world. The book is lavishly illustrated with lovely colour photographs by the author’s daughter.

The author has consulted with an interesting selection of existing plotholders.  Her planting plans are based on those used by Garden Organic at Ryton.    For an aspiring plotholder, advice about which plot to select on a site is somewhat academic as demand far outstrips supply in most parts of the UK and most newcomers will be only too grateful to take what is being offered.

The middle chapters are given over to a useful month by month summary of tasks to be tackled.  They are followed by comprehensive lists of fruit and vegetables which read a bit like a seed catalogue!  Not all of her suggestions would be appropriate for Scottish gardeners, and a first time plotholder would perhaps be advised to observe what grows locally as well.  Further chapters deal with pests and diseases and training and pruning fruit trees.  I warmed to the author’s descriptions of how to make the allotment plot wildlife-friendly and I was intrigued to read how to make string from nettles. The section on allotment law is written from an English perspective and it would have been helpful if Ms Foley had noted that the law in Scotland is different to avoid confusion.

The Allotment Source Book is published by  New Holland Publishers

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 catherine@traquair.co.uk or telephone the Traquair Office on 01896 830 323

Destruction of North Kelvin Meadows gets closer

Thursday, January 13th, 2011
North Kelvin Meadows

View across North Kelvin Meadows

Raised Beds

North Kelvin Meadows Raised Beds

After Development

After Development

North Kelvin Meadows in Clouston Street, Glasgow is a green space in a densly populated urban area.  It is a site that has never been built on. For many years it was used as a playing field by the community for sport and recreation. Later it lay semi derelict, although it was still valued as green space by local residents, particularly the dog walkers among them.  Recently the local community has transformed this space, clearing rubbish and creating mini allotments for community use.  They have worked to such effect that they have received awards and commendations from the RHS and Beautiful Scotland.

However Glasgow City Council wants this land to be used for housing.  As a result of a competition they have appointed Glasgow City Vision as their preferred developers.  In March 2011 Glasgow City Vision will submit a planning application to build 115 housing units on this site, consisting of a mix of 1 and 2 bed flats and town houses. This is in spite of the fact that there is supposed to be a strong planning preference for development on ‘brown field’ rather than ‘green field’ sites and the area is full of brown field sites where development has stalled since the recession.

The design includes a  provision for 20% of the area to be used as public open space.  However about half of this will consist of long thin landscaped areas to deal with the fact that trees bordering the site are subject to tree preservation orders and cannot be chopped down (many smaller trees are due for the chop!)  This means that from a site of approximately 14 hectares only about 1.5 hectares, to be called Clouston Gardens,  will be available for genuine community recreational use.

Prior to this application New City Vision are holding two events to consult the community.  This consultation is not about the design and desirability of the whole development.  They are taking this as ‘given’ and the events are primarily about the use and design of Clouston Gardens.  However this is the only official opportunity the community will have to provide input and the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign would like to encourage anyone interested to go along and give their views about the entire development

The events are:

  • an ‘Ideas Workshop’ on Saturday January  15 in Kelbourne Street Scout Hall from 2.15 to 4.00pm
  • a ‘public exhibition’ on Saturday February 12 in Kelbourne Street Scout Hall form 10.00am to 4.00pm

To learn more about the North Kelvin meadows campaign visit www.northkelvinmeadow.com
To learn about the New City Vision proposals visit www.cloustonstreet.co.uk/progress