ST MARGARET'S HOUSE SHARED GARDEN
Appointed by Edinburgh Palette based at St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh, HERE+NOW have been working with the local community in a continuous process engagement process of dialogue and co-design since 2015.
In early 2017 the team asked HERE+NOW to make an application to the CSGNT (Central Scotland Green Network Trust) Development Fund to seek funding to test the actions and transformations most suitable for this challenging site. The ‘garden’ space is a 1:1 embankment slope which runs parallel to London Road, vegetated with self-seeded woodland cover and invasive weed species. At the beginning of the year, there was no access to this urban greenspace, however the latent opportunity to develop the area as a community garden was recognised and Edinburgh Palette was inspired to take action, directing focus on the embankment as a place for artistic and communal growth of the local community.
At the beginning of the year, in April 2017, HERE+NOW CIC prepared an illustrative plan representing some of the ideas for the garden which had emerged in previous years and workshops. This plan was shared with key project stakeholders to encourage involvement in the programme of ‘kickstarter’ activities, and posted on the community noticeboard on Basement level (access to the garden) so individuals in St Margaret’s House could be inspired to get involved.
The CSGNT, Paths for All, and SMHAFF (Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival) funded feasibility project saw an iterative programme of action unfold over the course of the year. Working with both volunteers and a team of local contractors, including a gate constructed by the Edinburgh Tool Library, the community garden now includes:
- A fully accessible 3x10m timber deck space off London Road
- A community noticeboard
- Upcycled palette seat built by Link Up Women’s Support
- Herb planting
- Steps and a handrail at the hairpin corner
- Clearance of areas of invasive weed species for forest gardening
- Wildflower seed bombs
- An indoor community noticeboard providing a place for ongoing ideas and feedback.