Brighter Bervie and More

3rd November, Inverbervie

Two of us from Newport&Wormit In Bloom went to The Scottish Gardener’s Forum AGM  which is an umbrella organisation for Scottish gardening groups and clubs. They had organised 3 excellent speakers.

The first told the story of the Brighter Bervie group and the Community Garden created, centrally situated, between Church Hall and Primary School. Quite a tale of how a neglected old Manse garden has been transformed with help from the Chelsea medal winning designer, Julian Dowle’s. Apparently, some of the group fell into conversation with him at Chelsea Flower Show, and he offered to help! It has a theme – a Spiritual Voyage, although it started with a digger to clear the site. The Group have developed links through involvement with many diverse groups, schoolchildren, primary and, impressively, some secondary school youngsters, the media – Beechgrove Garden TWICE , Before and After, prominent gardeners and suppliers such as Rumbling Bridge Plant Nursery in Fife. A strong partnership has been encouraged by Aberdeen Council, who also asked the group to regeneration another neglected area by the local beach telling of the town’s history (this is where King David and his Queen landed) with art work and seaside planting. A sustainable approach is followed, plants from home-grown small, private suppliers from Scotland or the UK for all the right reasons so low transport etc. The group also tackled invasive species in a waterway to sea. The garden offered a good show of foliage and flowers even in November. As the talk ended we could hear bagpipes to welcome the group into the garden, impressive!

Julia Corden spoke after lunch. She runs the Explorers garden in Pitlochry and is now President of Scottish Rock Garden Club, and she goes plant hunting! The talk was about trekking in the footsteps of George Sherriff in the mountains of Butang. He was one of the first after many adventurous plant hunters to the area to send back plants by air, so shorter journey for the plants and seeds. No plant removal now of course, just noting and photographing. Many meconopsis and primula have sheriffii after their name and many that don’t, but he found and we now have in our gardens. Renaming many of these is now being investigated. Julia Corden had tales of rough terrain, yaks, tents, rain, mist and suspicious locals – and beautiful plants of course. George Sherriff and his wife retired to Kirriemuir and created a wonderful Himalayan garden, hence Primula Denticulata being locally known as Kirrie Dumplings. Enthusiastically knowledgeable, Julia Corden is the speaker at Newport & Wormit in Blooms AGM, 22 April in Rio in Newport.

Finally, one of the owners of Scotia Seeds, very interesting and generous with her knowledge, eager to promote unadulterated Scottish Wildlife seeds which they produce on their ever expanding land near Brechin. We learnt which Butterflies like what, same for bees and other pollinators. She emphasised how many wild flower areas had been lost and that all wild flowers attract pollinating insects and how important gardeners and their gardens are for ecology, we all agreed with that!

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