Read the latest Ardentinny Community Trust Newsletter here (PDF)
As has become customary, Glenfinart Walled Garden took a stall at the annual Dunoon Dazzle event again this year. There was marmalade, pickles, chutneys, home baking and knitting on sale together with a busy raffle. Just over £350 was raised so a big thank you to all the volunteers who contributed to this.
Glenfinart Walled Garden’s open season culminated once again with a successful fund-raising Harvest Fair. The warm sunny day showcased the garden’s autumn hues and there was a raft of things to savour and enjoy. Carefully tended organic vegetables provided rich vegetable soup while apples from the hundred-year-old tree and its younger neighbours supplied crumble, flapjacks and delicious juice.
Live music kept the atmosphere upbeat as visitors took in stalls of Fair Trade goods; arts and crafts; fresh produce; face painting; and kids’ activities. The event raised invaluable revenue to further fund greater infrastructure which in turn extends the garden’s outreach to individuals and communities with varied and specific needs and aspirations.
The garden is now officially closed to visitors until Easter. However, gardener/volunteers’ coordinator, Simon, normally works in the garden with volunteers on Mondays and Thursdays and visitors are welcome to wander around if the gate is open. The garden is also open on the second and last Saturday of the month 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. to accommodate National Park volunteers. Similarly, others are also welcome. Wherever possible, groups requesting to visit the garden on a specific date will also be made welcome.
Those interested in volunteering call Simon on 07962086474 or Lynn (secretary) 07464485380. Tea, coffee and refreshments are provided.
Artist Anthea Gage held her Cowal Open Studios exhibition in Glenfinart Walled Garden recently. Despite the most atrocious weather, 145 visitors braved torrential rain and followed the brightly coloured streamers down the river road to the garden entrance to view and enjoy Anthea’s fun and colourful paintings, prints and cards.
Anthea Gage RSW taught Art and Design in Edinburgh for over thirty years and has since moved to Cowal. She works in gouache and watercolour and takes her inspiriration from the fun and colour of her surroundings and from lyrics and poetry, examples of which can be seen on her website. She can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 8 September 2016 Ardentinny Commuity Trust (ACT) held its AGM. Trust Convenor, Anna Williamson, welcomed the attendees and invited them to take time to read the previous AGM’s Minutes and the Treasurer’s Report prior to reporting on the progress of the Trust’s Glenfinart Walled Garden Project.
The year saw the appointment of gardener/horticulturalist, Franziska Schmidt, who not only oversaw the planting and further development of the garden but also produced an informative monthly issue of ‘Gardener’s Blether’ and ran a series of excellent Masterclasses throughout the year. New Trustees, Jean Rowland and Jim Urquhart joined the committee; and from May 2015 the garden opened to the public to coincide with the monthly Soup and Sandwich event in the village hall.
At what has become something of a tradition, Glenfinart Walled Garden held its spring opening day in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland’s Easter Monday Eggstravaganza. In July the garden was the venue for the wedding of local girl, Claire Tierney and was also enjoyed by many Ardentinny residents.The Big Picnic in August coincided with one of the few dry days and was well attended and a great success. The Garden’s open season culminated with the Harvest Fair in October which coincided with Cowalfest’s visit.
Fundraising and Outreach
A National Park grant enabled trees and shrubs to be removed from the back wall to facilitate access. The resulting logs were sold on to augment garden funds. The Garden had a fundraising stall at Dunoon Dazzle and the Village Hall’s Michaelmas Fair.
In addition to individual visits by locals and those from farther afield, the garden welcomed a variety of groups throughout the year. In May there was a visit from Inner Wheel. Two college tutors plus 6 students from Dunoon Grammar came along to gather information for a PowerPoint for their horticultural group. The Federation of City Farms visited in June and provided lots of helpful information. Students from Dunoon Grammar and Primary learning centres spent enjoyable days out in the garden. Cowal Open Studios held a picnic on a very wet day in July; and approximately 40 art students from Glasgow, who were attending Ardentinny Outdoor Centre, spent much of their week in the garden building up their portfolios. There were also visits by a Church of Scotland Group and Tighnabruaich Rural.
Volunteer and Community support
Throughout the year there was regular and much appreciated support from the following:
Individual volunteers and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park groups of volunteers
ISS Cowal & Bute Team
The Convenor concluded by thanking everyone who had donated their time, funds, energy, goods, and expertise, all of which was greatly appreciated.
On one of the coldest days of spring, Glenfinart Walled Garden welcomed Steven Kenny from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and a group of young adults and two of their trainers from Tullochan Futures.
Despite the snow and rain, the group potted on vegetable seedlings which they had grown. Later, they enjoyed soup made exclusively from produce from the garden’s polytunnel. There were also pancakes, biscuits and hot drinks on offer and a thank you gift of a strawberry plant to take home.
Another group will visit in July but it is hoped that as many as possible from the April group can return to enjoy the garden in better weather and also check on the progress of their efforts.
On 17th April regular (and other) attendees of Glenfinart Walled Garden’s Masterclasses bade resident expert gardener and horticulturalist, Franziska Schmidt, a regrettable but very fond farewell.
The final class of the series covered medicinal and healing plants and, as ever, was expertly resourced and delivered. Content ranged from identifying a number of relevant plants to how to collect and prepare herbs for teas, poultices, infusions, balms, and tinctures and their potential uses and precautions.
The relaxed and friendly group participation has been a trademark of the series and it was with a degree of sadness that goodbyes were said and thanks expressed along with lots of good wishes to Franziska for her personal and professional future.
At what has become something of a tradition, Glenfinart Walled Garden held its spring opening in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland’s Easter Monday Eggstravaganza.
There was free entry to the garden and lots of fun activities for the children, e.g., mask painting; colour a bug glider, egg decoration; coconut shy; and plant a seed in the kids’ garden. As ever, the tea tent, with Ardentinny’s famous home baking, did a fine trade and a total of £437.92 was raised on the day, courtesy of generous donations of time, goodies and cash.
Glenfinart Walled Garden is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays 12.00 – 16.00 hrs and on the first Friday of the month 11.00 – 14.00 hrs. Visitors are also welcome any day the gate is open or, by appointment. All enquiries, requests to visit the Garden and offers of help can be made to Jean on 01369 810075 or Anna on 01369 810238.