Islay House Community Garden News

After a welcome spell of dry weather, cultivation and planting proceeds apace. The team, ably led by Tom Skinner, have done a fantastic job over the winter in clearing the old greenhouse area, the terraces and the old orchard, giving us the potential for some new varieties and increased production. Many locals have commented that the garden looks better than ever! Apart from Tom, we now have two young men working full-time and learning about horticulture. George Hathaway and Connor Baker are proving most willing and able, and this along with a loyal team of volunteers means we hope to keep everything under good control.

Following the recent Annual General Meeting, the current office-bearers will continue for the year, and the committee has fixed dates for two "Open Days". The first of these will be on Saturday 31 May from 11am. This will include a sale of a wide variety of plants, tomatoes, herbs in pots, and also teas, coffees and home baking. Present on the day will be the RSPB, demonstrating how to make your garden bird, bat and bee friendly, and there will be a display from the Museum of Islay Life. All will be welcome on the day, and our own produce will be on sale. The popular "Strawberry Teas" day will be on Saturday 26 July, when we expect to have available a further variety (Sonata) alongside the well-known Elsanta and Symphony. Continue reading...

In conjunction with the community gardens in Campbeltown and Bute, we have been able to secure some external funding which will be aimed at encouraging, training and rewarding new volunteers in the garden. A plan of campaign will be developed and will be announced in due course. The Bute garden has been granted funding to develop a library of heritage varieties, and we will be participating in this project from the autumn.

Islay House Community Garden

The encouragement the team gets from both Ileachs and visitors makes all the hard work well worthwhile and we have already seen an increase in footfall in the garden, growing sales, and welcome small donations. We believe the Islay House Community Garden generates more income from its own produce than any other similar venture in Scotland, and is well on the way to becoming self-sustaining. With the continued support of the community we can achieve a secure and fulfilling future. And while you are considering whether to eat 5-a-day, 7-aday or even 10-a-day, be assured that the garden will offer you the widest choice of fresh local vegetables, salads and seasonal fruit, to help you meet your healthy eating goals.

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Written by George Dean and published with kind permission of the Ileach Newspaper