Getting the kids involved – Glenfinart apples at Scottish Parliament

Strone School's Eco Team
Strone School’s Eco Team

Courtesy: Reporting Scotland/BBC

[pullquote] Fruitful Partnerships for Strone and Glenfinart Walled Garden 

On the 18th September, 2013, Duncan, Sky, Sarah, Mrs Brown and Mrs Brayshaw from Strone Primary School together with Merle Ferguson from Glenfinart Walled Garden Project went to the Scottish Parliament Building to celebrate Holyrood Apple Day. Only three schools in Scotland were invited to the Scottish Parliament Building along with different community groups.

While we were there, we offered people free apples and postcards with apples on them. A lot of people took the apples but not so much the postcards. A while after, the three of us got our photos taken by a photographer. Then Sarah was covered in apples for a national newspaper article.

At about 12:45pm we went into the Parliament Building to display our apples and apple flapjacks, which we had made using the apples that we picked from the Glenfinart Walled Garden. The apples and flapjacks were amazing and the display was fabulous looking with all the apples in the baskets. Strone Primary got a Wee Apples Award for coming along and helping out at the Glenfinart Walled Garden, working in partnership with the garden and their team of volunteers.

After the awards we went and had some lunch then we went on a tour around the Parliament Building. Our tour guide took us to see a model of the Debating Chamber and then explained where all the MSP ‘s sit. Our tour guide then took us to the front desk to collect five tickets for us to go into the Debating Chamber where we saw Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and Mike Russell. It was very interesting. We couldn’t understand why the politicians were allowed to shout out when people were talking, it wouldn’t be allowed at Strone!

Shortly after we all went home with a marvellous apple each.

We had a wonderful day and learned a lot and would like to especially thank all the people at Glenfinart for working with us when we visited the garden.

Written by Duncan, Sky and Sarah
Strone Primary Eco Representatives


Glenfinart Walled Garden’s fruitful partnership with local Strone Primary School has been in the news recently when the three pupils who are Strone Primary’s Eco Representatives were invited to the Scottish Parliament to celebrate Holyrood Apple Day.

The event, which brings together apple growers and enthusiasts from Scotland’s rural and urban areas, celebrates the fruit’s heritage. Strone School was one of only three Scottish Schools invited to attend. Earlier in the week Eco Representatives,  Duncan, Sky and Sarah picked the apples in Glenfinart Walled Garden which were later displayed in Parliament. After receiving a “Wee Apples” award, the group toured the building and attended a session in the Debating Chamber.

On the right is Strone Primary’s Eco Representatives’ account of their day in Edinburgh.

With Argyll MSP Michael Russell

parliament2-2-1 skyapple-2-1



New trustees elected at Trust AGM

IMG_0978-1At the Ardentinny Community Trust Annual General Meeting earlier this week, the outgoing trustees outlined the Trust’s achievements over the previous 12 months. In this the first full year since Glenfinart Walled Garden had been acquired for the community, Convenor Bill Williamson highlighted the following:

– A timber cabin was purchased and erected. This facility is used for meetings and welcoming visitors to the garden. Two storage sheds were also added as well as a polytunnel.
– A vegetable production garden was created with produce being sold at Blairmore Farmer’s Markets.
– Emma and Sophie Thompson became patrons of the garden.
– With the help of Forestry Commission Scotland, community volunteers and National Park volunteers, part of the garden was cleared and an orchard planted.
– An experiential and educational Children’s Garden has been created.
– The garden received many visitors over the year including representatives from The Royal Horticultural Society.
– John Hancox, Chair of Scottish Orchards, advised and participated in the establishment of the orchard at the garden and has developed an excellent partnership with Strone Primary School, which is ongoing.
– In May, Beechgrove Garden representatives gave a presentation to the community, prior to the Walled Garden Project being chosen as their Community Garden. It was the first time in Beechgrove Garden’s 35 year history that the programme was transmitted nationwide. The Trust also received the services of a garden designer and funding towards plants. None of this would have been possible without the support of local businesses and volunteers.
– The Trust has been represented at several Cowal community events over the year including “Little Acorns” at Hunters Quay. Directors also visited other community gardens.
– Funded by Voluntary Action Service  (until December, 2013), the Trust has acquired the services of a professional gardener/volunteer coordinator.
– A monthly newsletter is now distributed to all households in Ardentinny.

The garden has had the services of the H.E.L.P., one day a week throughout the summer. This assistance will resume in the Spring. The Community Service Payback Team has also helped throughout the year.

In the Treasurer’s Report, Dennis Gower reported that the Trust accounts were healthy in March, 2013, however there had been heavy expenditure since then. Trust subscriptions are used solely for Trust business and not garden-related expenditure. Grants had been received from LEADER, which requires 50% match-funding as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute Council and Forestry Commission Scotland.

The Trust now has a full complement of Directors with three new Trustees being elected. They are Lynn Kerr, Linda Naismith and Ian Kerr who join the previous Trustees Bill Williamson, Merle Ferguson, Dennis Gower, Anna Williamson and Jimmy Gordon.

In response to a question from the floor, Bill, Dennis and Anna outlined future plans for the garden including funding for the restoration of the wall; future fundraising events and the development of the children’s area. The Trust is very encouraged by the promises of future support received from schools, nurseries and the Outdoor Centre.

Merle Ferguson explained the criteria that has to be met related to the Voluntary Action Service funding of the gardener post as well as the Trust’s desire to encompass all the Cowal community from the very young to the mature resident as well as the disadvantaged. She also outlined that other than  “digging the garden” there is a wide range of activities that volunteers can get involved in, such as garden guides and fundraising.

The committee thanked all those who had generously donated their professional services, equipment, and time.

As Anna Williamson said “What an amazing garden the community now have. Just one year on and what a positive effect it has had on all. Visitors come from far and wide and there has not been one unenthusiastic comment in our visitors’ book. Instead, they are uplifting expressions of encouragement, admiration and enthusiasm.”


Walled Garden Auction Success

The Glenfinart Walled Garden project is today £1000+ richer, thanks to the generosity of the Cowal community and the hard work by a small group of volunteers who organised last Saturday’s Auction at the Burgh Hall, Dunoon. Bidders were presented with a wide range of donated items, from garden gnomes, sports gear and autographed memorabilia to a spot on Dunoon’s Community Radio. The keenest bidding of the day was for a Saltire flag signed by members of the Scottish Parliament which went for £65.

Lynn Kerr, who organised the event for Ardentinny Community Trust, said “We are very grateful to the locals and wider community who continue to support Glenfinart Walled Garden. While further development of the garden is ongoing, we also need to focus our attention on restoring the Grade 2 listed wall. Therefore, the success of the auction and the income generated is a big help. I would like to thank all those who attended and participated in the bidding, as well as our supporters for their generosity in donating goods. I would also like to give a special thanks to all those who helped on the day, especially our excellent auctioneer Jimmy Gordon and Babs Marshall who demonstrated the items so ably!”.

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open to the public every Monday, Wednesday and  Saturday 10:00 until 15:00. Entry is free.


Being part of the success

Glorious in the sunshine: Glenfinart Walled Garden with backdrop of Loch Long and Roseneath Peninsula.

With the very successful Beechgrove Garden project now behind them and with a beautiful Sensory Garden to show for all their hard work, Glenfinart Walled Garden volunteers and Ardentinny Community Trust committee are gearing up for two important events this month. The first, a fundraising auction in aid of the Garden takes place in Dunoon’s Burgh Hall on Saturday 14 September at 2pm (viewing at 1pm).

This week Lynn, Anna and Ian have been busily collecting donations of new and nearly new items from folks and businesses throughout Cowal. They even managed to fit in a quick half-hour guest appearance on Dunoon Community Radio, where they extolled the virtues of our imaginative community project to the radio station’s growing number of listeners worldwide.

Saturday’s auction will also feature a bottle stall, so now’s the time to get that Hogmanay tipple in (after all, it’s only 115 days away!) and help a good cause at the same time. For a partial list of the auction goodies on offer, see Glenfinart Walled Garden Facebook page. More items are being added daily.

Later in the month, Ardentinny Community Trust will hold its Annual General Meeting at the Village Hall. It’s been a memorable year for the Trust. So much has been accomplished by the small but dedicated team. Who would have imagined that in the short time since the garden was acquired for the community from Forestry Commission Scotland, a productive vegetable garden, an orchard, and an amazing children’s area have been estabished along with the creation of the Beechgrove Sensory Garden, for which the Trust has received rave reviews from its now steady stream of visitors.

Ardentinny Community Trust is aiming to build on this success. If you feel that you would like to offer your time and expertise to help take this project forward, then why not get in touch via email or by phone on 810238 or 810220.