Paisley is to benefit from a new community garden inspired by its local heritage after it was named Scottish winner in the RHS’ Garden Day Competition.
Barshaw Park will see the creation of a new space that nods to the town’s textile past for local people to enjoy, learn and garden.
On the site of a former donkey paddock, the community garden has been designed by landscape duo Nicola Semple and Susan Begg of Semple Begg and will be managed by volunteer collective Friends of Barshaw Park.
The design features the world-famous paisley pattern in the creation of its curved and accessible raised beds and extensive trellis work for fruit and flower training that frame the entry way and ensure an inviting and sociable space. Moveable beds, with curved undersides to sit a wheelchair under comfortably and provide much needed versatility in a community space, will be made from local distilleries’ recycled barrels.
The space will be framed on all sides by walls made from larch sleepers sourced and grown on the Isle of Bute, espalier fruit trees of local varieties, and edible hedges with Scottish berries. Natural composting, wormery and extensive rainwater collection underpin the garden’s green credentials.
Friends of Barshaw Park will run a series of workshops from the space, such as the harvesting and cooking of crops, promote a gardening buddy system to help with hands on learning and operate a tool library, filled with equipment, to inspire and facilitate gardening beyond the confines of the site. Local people will also be able to take home fresh produce and cut flowers grown in the garden.
Paisley is one of four areas in each of the UK’s home nations to receive funding for a community garden as part of the RHS Garden Day Competition. Unveiled on BBC One’s The One Show by JJ Chalmers, Paisley joins Huntingdon in England and Randalstown in Northern Ireland who have been announced so far.
All four gardens will go on to receive an additional £15,000 over the course of the next three years for investment in the garden and groups’ work with the community.
The gardens will open to the public on Garden Day – 2 May – which kick-starts National Gardening Week.
Irene McDonald, chair of Friends of Barshaw Park, added: ‘Community gardens are all too often formal affairs, fenced off from the very people wanting to access them. The redevelopment of our space prioritises creating a warm welcome with benches for socialising, or simply observing, with fragrant, colourful climbers for inspiration and relaxation. The moveability and versatility of the raised and border beds means everyone should have the chance to learn and bestow new gardening skills in Barshaw Park and we’re excited to open it to the public this spring.’
Angela Smith, RHS Development Officer for Scotland, said: ‘Friends of Barshaw Park are an energising and inspiring group of gardeners who are helping to restore their namesake space to its former glory. The creation of a new community garden will serve as a local hub, enabling the group to even more freely share their skills with residents and inspire many more people to get growing.’
The new community garden for Paisley will be built by MacColl and Stokes Landscaping.
For more information about the Garden Day Competition, Garden Day and National Gardening Week visit www.rhs.org.uk