On the 28th of September, the Seed Truck took a trip to the south to visit a wonderful community garden in Girvan. We went there to run a workshop on the the healing powers of wild fruit trees, and the stories behind them – and we came back full of inspiration on how to use recycled materials to bring a community garden to life.
While we were there, Girvan Community Garden had organised a seed swap, with all sorts of herbs, flowers and vegetables, all from seed collected in the garden and round about. We joined in by opening up our Seed Kist, and as it was such a balmy sunny day, we brought out the mill bike too- and why not?
This was the first workshop we have run where we combined herbalist Elspeth Killin’s knowledge of the medicinal powers of plants and Marie Louise’s (a.k.a. Mrs Mash the Storytelling Cook) talent for telling a good yarn. While Elspeth was showing the good people of Girvan how to make Elderberry Syrup, Bramble Oxymel and Apple and Bramble Butter, Mrs Mash was telling the tales of trees and foraging, some as old as the trees themselves – such as the search for Rowan berries in the tale of Diarmuid and Grainne from the hero tales of the Fenian Cycle (the famous Irish-Scottish tales of Fionn MacCumhail and his band of warriors)
While we were there, we were very impressed by the level of quirky recycling and clever solutions at the garden. There was also a good sense of humour, with a TV and chest of drawers sprouting flowers – have a look at the photos!
After our the Seed Truck Summer Tour, when we were visiting all sorts of growing spaces across Scotland, the visit to Girvan Community Garden made me realise that it is a great example of the value that community gardens across the country have: they are often unique as communally owned outdoor spaces where people can work and spend time outdoors together, grow their own food, hang out in a cosy shed and make cups of tea, sit in the sun and chat, and most of all, use their creativity to build fun and innovative structures that perfectly suit their environment. It makes you realise that when people have access to their own bit of land, and some time and the means to build things, they do not need to go to a garden centre to buy unsustainable mass manufactured solutions. That is why everyone needs a community garden!