The women have just finished their ten week course! Click here to download the mouthwatering recipe book with dishes from Poland, Italy, Malaysia and India to name a few….
Spring gives new life to us all
Spring brings joy to us all
Spring bestows light on us all
Spring heralds Mother Nature’s love to us all
by Allan Hughes, Volunteer
What is your role at the Hidden Gardens?
I have been a volunteer at the Gardens for 5 – 6 years. My main role in that time has been helping Paula Murdoch with the Grassroots group of volunteers, who met on Wednesdays.
I am part of the group of ‘Voluntour Guides’ who give guided tours to the gardens for individuals or groups.
I joined the Board in Spring 2016, and hope that my experience as a volunteer will help the board to support the valuable work the volunteers do.
What is your role outside the Hidden Gardens?
Before I retired I was a librarian working in education (schools and colleges) and most recently in the health service. I am also interested in art, working mainly in ceramics, and have recently moved to a house with a garden so I’ve been spending a lot of time on that.
What are your special areas of interest?
Volunteering, garden management & design and art
Why do you like the Hidden Gardens?
What attracted you to the Hidden Gardens?
I like the Gardens for their beauty, the history of the site shown in the design, the variety of styles & environments, I like the fact that people can engage with the Gardens on a variety of levels – a place to relax, to connect with nature, to look at plants, to learn.
What is your role at The Hidden Gardens?
I joined The Hidden Gardens Board in February 2016. While I’m still very new in post I’m enjoying being part of the team and getting to know more about how the Gardens operate.
What is your role outside of The Hidden Gardens?
I work as a gardener part time for Thomas Angel Gardeners in the north of Glasgow. I also do freelance public relations and copywriting work for organisations such as Gardening Scotland which takes place every year at Ingliston near Edinburgh.
What are your special areas of interest?
Public relations, public affairs and media relations. I’m also a qualified horticulturalist and love learning about plants and wildlife.
Why do you like The Hidden Gardens?
What attracted you to The Hidden Gardens?
The Hidden Gardens provides a green space for people to enjoy and relax in. I think that’s really important for people who work and live in the city and may not have their own garden or outdoor space. I was attracted to the gardens because I believe in the power of gardening and plants to inspire people and bring communities together.
The Hidden Gardens staff and volunteers had a lovely morning taking part in
the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch on Saturday 30th January 2016.
Our initial excitement at seeing a Sparrow hawk fly over the gardens was dampened when we realised that the silence meant all the wee birds had stopped singing and gone into hiding! However they did venture out again and we were very pleased with our ‘snapshot’ of the bird life in the gardens. Here’s what we saw during our hour:
blackbird x 2
bluetit x 4
crow x 3
chaffinch x 4
coaltit x 1
dunnock x 1
feral pigeon x 2
goldfinch x 1
great tit x 2
greenfinch x 1
magpie x 3
robin x 2
wood pigeon x 2
bullfinch x 3
sparrowhawk x 1
Allan Hughes, one of our dedicated gardening volunteers, wrote a piece of prose inspired by seasonal beauty of The Hidden Gardens.
Entitled ‘A Winter Solstice’, it is our pleasure to share it with you:
A Winter Solstice
The Shortest Day
A winter mist silently shrouds the Hidden Gardens. The still white cloud quietly cloaks the sleeping settlement. The air is cold, fresh and moist.
High up, a crow’s caw cuts into the sky as the diffuse glow of morning light begins to permeate the slowly rising haze.
The shimmering shadow of a returning fox briefly disrupts the calm; then fades. The quiet returns.
As dawn gradually breaks, groups of nestling bushes and shrubs awaken with the rustling of rousing wildlife.
Trees stretch with a concertina of balletic branches praising the arrival of the new day. The clinging mist finally releases and ascends, leaving a glistening layer of silvery white frost settling on the emerging pasture.
The delicate blades of grass sparkle in the morning light.
At the far corner of the extending lawn, the solitary figure of a Ginko tree stands tall and proud like a wise tribal elder. Its branches spiral upwards to the heavens. The surrounding congregation bows reverently in anticipation of the winter solstice.
Then, all is hushed. A single track of tiny prints zips through the crisp, white frost. All focus on the track as it makes its way towards the bottom corner of the lawn. Towards the Ginkgo Tree. The footprints come to a halt.
A little Robin Red Breast stands boldly on the cold, glittery grass, arching its head, to address the rising giant.
A loud silence fills the air. The little Robin hops closer, perching on the tree’s knobbly roots. Its tiny beak chirps……the silence gets louder……the Ginko considers the wee postulating creature……the silence intensifies…..then…at last, all is well…harmony prevails as the Robin Red Breast takes off, spiralling upwards, playfully twirling in and around the giants welcoming branches. All is bright.
The Longest Night
It’s Dusk. A single snowflake drops delicately downwards towards Earth, floating precariously with the light breeze, hovering over thousands of orangey-yellow iridescent lights. A dark, imposing, organic shape
appears amongst the opalescent illuminations. As the little snowflake descends, the contours of the mysterious formation slowly expand, revealing a vast landscape surrounded by an abundance of diverse
dense foliage. On entering the grounds, the snowflake gravitates towards the long strip of land. Downwards it falls, steadily descending, prepares to land, then settles safely on the glistening grass.
The little Robin perched up high, shivers as it quietly looks on as more and more fragile crystals parachute by, filling the air with a kaleidoscope of colliding snowflakes forever freely falling. The wind picks up. More
and more frozen flakes are boisterously launched into the air in a sustained onslaught. Myriads of sparkling fragments hurriedly jostle for space, propelling bursts of snow into every nook and cranny. No corner is spared. Then, when the biting gusts of wind, at last, relent, the hail slows up, until, eventually, the invasion finally ceases. The quiet returns.
The Robin peeps out from its shelter. All is clear. The landing is complete. The slumbering garden is now thickly blanketed by soft, pure, white snow. All is calm.
A full moon illuminates the newly colonised terrain. The lunar light diffuses a cool, serene glow over the opulent gardens. The undulating snow softly cloaks the clusters of huddling bushes. Branches bend with lilting leaves. The undergrowth is hidden out of sight. As the last snowdrop falls to earth, the tranquil evening moonlight blesses the winters night. The long, untouched lawn elegantly emerges evenly covered, edge to edge, with a thick coating of soft, fresh, snow. Up above in the clear night sky, the Ginkgo tree is eloquently silhouetted by an aurora of celestial light, as a constellation of stars twinkle brightly in celebration of the solar resurrection. It’s the longest night.
The long silent night encloses in on the world. The Earth is at rest. The garden is sound asleep. The evening is still, quiet, at peace.
Reaching upward, the Ginkgo tree embraces The Heavens. The surrounding ensemble bows as the ethereal cycle unfolds. The tree’s outstretching branches herald the Transformation of Time.
It is a time of change. Seasons change. Dark gives to light. Night to day. What was dormant, will now grow. As the night passes and eventually draws to a close, the passage of Time will bequest its gift to Creation. The hidden world will awaken to the unveiling of the divine light of dawn, radiating with the essence of the suns’ warming presence, that shall transfigure a new beginning, a new day, a new life.
It’s not just us humans that like to take a moment and smell the roses!