I was recently contacted by the people behind Grow Wild who are in the process of starting a four-year campaign to bring people together to sow UK native wild flowers. They believe that they can transform areas in which we live by bringing colour and surprise to our streets. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, three Scottish sites have been shortlisted to win £100,000 of funding to redevelop communities.
Earlier this year, we asked people to nominate a site in their community that would benefit from a Grow Wild transformation. We heard from enthusiastic community members who’d actively rallied local people to decide what their community should do with the Grow Wild funding. Youth groups, community associations and residents groups, artists, high school design students, and landscape architects all worked to pull together some really inspirational plans.
The three shortlisted Scottish sites are:
Belville Community Garden, Greenock
The community wants to create a great big garden of native Scottish wild flowers, all looked after by an on-site community garden officer.
The garden will re-establish a lost link with nature and this brownfield site will become a green sanctuary for locals. Young people will learn about biodiversity through training and education, and there’ll be community events and workshops in outdoor pods made from customised shipping containers.
Frog Pond, Dedridge, Livingston, West Lothian
This project is hopping forwards in time to transform a tired-looking pond into a beautiful wetland and meadow, offering an inspirational focal point in a local park. The idea is to clean up the area, planting wild flowers to fill the park with colour and animals. Young people are designing a special bridge that will also be used as a stage. Plus there’ll be planting days for everyone, so the project will spread throughout the community.
The Water Works, Barrhead, East Renfrewshire
This project puts some TLC into the WC. They want to transform a disused sewage works into a quirky garden. Playing on its industrial past, the site will use the huge sewage tanks as giant planters with beautiful displays of Scottish native wild flowers.
Tanks will recreate different environments such as wetland meadows. Young people will work with a retirement club, and there’ll be cycling and walking links, so young and old will work and play together.
How to vote?
To decide who wins a £100,000 Grow Wild transformation, go to vote.growwilduk.com for more information on each bid as well as voting for your favourite. Voting runs until midnight on 3 November with the winning Scottish Grow Wild site will be announced in mid-November and will open in May next year.