The award winning Hidden Gardens is a public greenspace and community development organisation which exists to promote understanding between people of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds.
A beautiful and tranquil space where people can relax away from the busy city streets, the Gardens is a place of learning and exchange where individuals and communities can come together to share stories, skills and histories through a varied year-round programme of events and activities.
The Gardens has been awarded a multi-annual grant of £149,685 by the Big Lottery Fund towards our volunteering and learning programme. Annually the programme will offer volunteering and learning opportunities accessible to local people of all ages and abilities during week days and weekends. A self-directed volunteering opportunity called Volun-tours will also train and support local people to become story tellers providing guided tours of the gardens revealing their hidden layers of meaning and inspiring visitors to get closer to nature.
The Hidden Gardens is a multi-award winning public greenspace operated by The Hidden Gardens Trust offering free access to citizens of Glasgow and beyond, six days per week. The Gardens also offer a programme of creative and engaging activities to promote community integration and intercultural dialogue.
Over the last 15 years it is estimated that over 800 people have benefited from volunteering opportunities in the Hidden Gardens; encouraging people of all ages, abilities and ethnicity to spend more time outdoors, together and to learn new skills and make friendships along the way. This grant award will help the volunteering and learning programme to grow, increase opportunity for local people to participate in greenspace, learn new skills, make new connections and friendships and improve health and wellbeing.
The Gardens depend on the support of Trusts, Foundations and public funds to be able to deliver a programme of work to engage communities of need and those members of society that are all too easily forgotten or seldom heard.
The Hidden Gardens Trust Chair, Melanie Sims, said: “The Hidden Gardens Trust wants to express their sincere thanks to the Big Lottery Fund for this vital funding towards its expanding volunteering programme for the next three years. The programme will make a significant difference to individuals and groups within the local community.
“The programme will be delivered in The Hidden Gardens, Scotland’s first Sanctuary Gardens dedicated to peace. The upkeep of the gardens is funded by Glasgow City Council, without which this jewel in the city would not be sustainable to deliver what it does in its progressive community engagement programme.”
The Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “I am delighted that The Hidden Gardens has been successful in securing a Big Lottery Fund grant. This is raised through the National Lottery. The funding will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish The Hidden Gardens every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”
Bees, butterflies and moths have quite limited options for food in the city but, Pollokshields East train station’s mixed planters are a delectable buffet with their choice of nectar-rich flowers, such as the verbena and lavender. Many of the plants, for example the ivy, provide a helpful habitat for tiny insects and other little creatures.
Our volunteers, who do most of the planting, take great pride in keeping their local train station looking and smelling great – all that lavender and rosemary is quite a treat for the senses! They are keen to play a part in supporting the area’s biodiversity and often comment on this.
Driven by feedback from volunteers, the planters are all quite visually different. The range of wildlife-friendly plants include pretty flowers and structural evergreens, with grasses and some familiar herbs. There are also plants with interesting textures, such as the incredibly soft lamb’s ear.
Through maintaining the Pollokshields East planters, our volunteers learn how to maintain wildlife-friendly raised beds. That knowledge can then be used in their own garden space. And for those without their own garden, they get the therapeutic benefits of both working with plants and doing something positive for the local community, their community. Passengers sometimes stop and ask us for the names of certain plants, and on occasion we’ve had passengers stop to thank us for what we’re doing
After 14 years engaging the local community in growing fruit and veg and discovering wildlife at Plot 10 – the Community Plot at New Victoria Gardens Allotments off Glenapp St, Pollokshields, The Hidden Gardens have recently handed the plot back to the committee so that they can engage another local organisation to continue this work with other community and school groups. The Hidden Gardens has worked with everyone from toddler groups at PDA to local primary schoolchildren from local schools in Pollokshields and Govanhill, secondary schoolchildren from schools for those with learning needs and various adult community groups.
A lunch was held at the plot on Fri 16th August to thank all NVG plot holders, committee members and Southside Housing Association who have supported us and given us advice over the years. Past and present volunteers had an opportunity to enjoy the space they have helped to nurture over the years – digging the wildlife pond, building & maintaining the beds, growing produce etc. The plot will be missed by all, but we will be continuing this project at The Hidden Gardens – growing produce and exploring wildlife with nurture classes from local schools. The Hidden Gardens will also continue to offer wildlife activities for all at public events such as Bioblitz on Doors Open Day 16th September 2017 and our volunteers will still continue to maintain The Hidden Gardens and the planters at Pollokshields East station.
Many thanks to all who have supported us over the years and I am sure will continue to do so when the plot is handed over to another local community group.
The Hidden Gardens commissioned artist Lucy Payne to design some new interpretation panels all about bees. The panels are located in some of the most bee-centric areas of the Gardens: the White Wall Border, the Mint Border, the Herb Border and the Floral Meadow. Have a look for them next time you are in the Gardens!
You can also find pictures of the panels in our flickr album.
In Summer 2016 The Hidden Gardens embarked on a pilot project that brought together participants from all of our programme strands with some others who had never visited the Gardens before. They embarked on a 12 week programme of activity that centred on arts and creativity, horticulture and the environment and health and wellbeing.
Allotmenting, Ceramics, Foraging, Cooking, Walking Mindfulness and spoon carving were some of the activities tried, and Artist Ewan Sinclair worked with the group, producing a series of beautiful digital drawings which were collated into a keepsake publication for participants.
Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers who potted on numerous plants and took charge of organising a really fantastic plant and wildlife activity stall at Bungo in the Back Lanes raising over £150 for The Hidden Gardens.