Diggers move in to begin work on community garden at Paisley’s Barshaw Park

Work on building a new community garden in Barshaw Park has officially started with contractors setting up on the site.

The community garden, which will be on the site of the park’s former Nature Corner, has been designed by landscape specialists Nicola Semple and Susan Begg, of Semple Begg and will be managed by volunteer organisation Friends of Barshaw Park.

The garden will feature the world-famous Paisley pattern in the creation of its curved and accessible raised beds and extensive trellis work for fruit and flower training that frame the entryway, creating an inviting and sociable space.

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It is expected to take six weeks to complete, and work started on Thursday.

There will be moveable beds, offering privacy for activities such as yoga sessions which are planned for the garden.

It will be fully accessible, with curved undersides to sit a wheelchair under comfortably and local distilleries’ recycled barrels will be used to shape the site.

The space will be framed on all sides by walls made from larch sleepers sourced and grown on the Isle of Bute, espalier fruit trees of local varieties, and edible hedges with Scottish berries. Natural composting, wormery and extensive rainwater collection underpin the garden’s green credentials.

And there will be a memorial garden where people can donate plants and shrubs in memory of their deceased pets.

Irene McDonald, chair of Friends of Barshaw Park said: “It will be for everyone in the community, it will be welcoming and it will be open most of the time once we get established.

“We’ll be running workshops, small events, the Royal Horticultural Society will be doing workshops as well.

“We’ll be doing events around Halloween and Christmas to make your Christmas decorations using the foliage from the garden.

“It will create a social space for things like perhaps yoga, Tai Chi classes, the workshops that the RHS are organising as well.”

Planters dotted around the site will be looked after by different local groups and organisations such as nurseries and schools. There will be a polytunnel where volunteers can grow fruit and vegetables as well.

The plan is to have an area in the park where people can come along and take seeds or plants for use themselves. Similarly there will be a plant swap area.

Start of work to Barshaw Park Community Garden
Start of work to Barshaw Park Community Garden
(Image: Andrew Neil)

And green-fingered folk can take advantage of a tool shed that will feature a range of garden tools refurbished by inmates at Soughton Prison.

Irene added: “Apart from coming along and learning gardening skills, people can come and just enjoy the garden, there’ll be plenty of seating areas where people can relax in the peace of the garden and get involved in any way that they’d like to. We’ll always have on hand a couple of volunteers to help anyone out.

“We hope that we’ll be able to encourage people to come along just to see the garden and maybe take an interest in gardening.”

The Renfrewshire greenspace was the Scottish site selected in each of the UK’s four home nations to land funding following a contest to secure Royal Horticultural Society funding to back the project.

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Up to £50,000 was up for grabs for each site, with a judging panel consisting of garden designers, horticulturists and television presenters.

Winners were unveiled on the popular BBC evening magazine programme, by presenter JJ Chalmers in April.

Friends of Barshaw Park will receive £15,000 over the course of the next three years for investment in the garden and the group’s work within the community.

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Daily Record – Paisley