Weather hampers garden scheme progress

PROGRESS on the YM’s new garden is “slow but sure” but there are hopes the project will start to take shape by the beginning of the autumn.

Manager Val Cooper this week said the weather as much as the summer holidays had affected how much work has been carried out so far, but the youngsters are aiming to knuckle down to the task after their return to school, and weather permitting.

She said: “We’ve just been able to do a little bit each time we’ve been and the kids were really annoyed because they had a whole bit cleared then couldn’t get out to it for about four days because of the rain. By the time they did the weeds had come back.

“They’re still determined to do it themselves though.”

Angus councillors decided last month to lease the ground at Strathmore Place to the YM as the group is keen to use the ground as an allotment to supply its successful community cafe with fresh vegetables and fruit.

The land was occupied formerly by the Angus Mental Health Association’s Motivators Angus Community Garden Project but has lain vacant since last year.

It will also complement the YM’s partnership with Montrose Academy to provide a 10-week cooking and hospitality course for fourth year pupils, which also includes budgeting and money management. The intention is for it to have a strong community element and be enjoyed by its neighbours.

Val said this has already begun, judging by the amount of gardening books handed in to the YM and contact with nearby residents.

She revealed: “Several neighbours have been over already saying that they’re glad we’ve got the garden, and we’ve also had offers of help and some donations of tools.

“People have also handed in books about keeping allotments and that will help us plan out what we’re going to do.

“We’ve given this some considerable thought and have come up with a lot of really good ideas. It needs a complete redesign and to start again. We’re rethinking exactly what we want, and that includes elements to encourage wildlife, which the kids are really keen on.

“As well as the actual garden project we thought we’d take advice on garden art and maybe try our hands at a mosaic which could go on the back wall. We’re also planning to provide bird feeders which will be pleasing for us, the wildlife and five the residents something to look at.

“It would be great if we could get a whole weekend when we could get a lot of the kids in to just blitz it.”

Val added that the youngsters themselves are constantly looking around for ideas to incorporate into their plans.

She said: “There’s a real willingness on their part and they’ve made a lot of suggestions that have come from talks they’ve had a school from different experts ranging from wildlife to composting and pointed us towards people who could help and advise.

“They’re also starting to look around for ideas whenever we go anywhere as a group. A recent trip to a safari park, though, led to a suggestion that we keep meerkats, but that was a swift ‘no’.”

The group is still on the look-out for help with acquiring tools and gardening equipment. Anyone with spare tools and seeds, or even seedlings and plant which are surplus to requirements can hand them in to the community cafe, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 98 Murray Street.