Powis Gardeners grew out of Aberdeen's first community allotment, back in the mists of time. They have particular interests in urban wildlife, pollinator-friendly green-spaces management, permaculture, community food growing, guerrilla gardening, composting and up-cycling.
In 2023, the group was recognised with the Beautiful Scotland discretionary award - the Garden for Life Biodiversity Award: Sustainability, biodiversity and environment are at the heart of Powis Gardener's ethos. A number of residents’ gardens allow wild plants to grow, to provide habitat for wildlife. Others are more conventional, and there is an emphasis on sustainable planting throughout, with many flowers that attract pollinating insects.
A swift project encourages local people to put up specialised nest boxes high up on their houses, and The Swift Tour in May invites local people to learn about the importance of noting and protecting nesting sites for a species that is in serious decline in the UK. The group is actively creating and maintaining wildlife habitats and corridors. There is a particular interest in hedgehogs, another species in serious decline at a UK level. A local resident is active in recording local biodiversity through his wildlife photography, shared through social media. He works to raise awareness among the local community.
In 2019, Powis Residents Group won the 'Young People Discretionary Award': This is a unique community, where the environment, culture and outdoor shared space has been transformed. This has been achieved in a truly organic way, and a way which reflects the wishes and ideas of the whole community and where children are valued and involved as much as the adults. Young people are at the heart of everything in this residential community, they mow the grass, pick the crops, and select what plants to grow as well as being involved in litter picks. They are welcomed into the permaculture forest allotment where they learn about ‘garden to plate’ in a very real way, and a way which engages their interest and learning. The many children in the community followed the judges throughout the tour, keen to chat and show things they had created or grown. Through the children it has been possible to engage with and involve ‘harder to reach’ adults, for example, some of the men and the women from different ethnic backgrounds. In return the children and young people enjoy safe and friendly spaces to play and to congregate. Young people learn in an informal way about horticulture, about wildlife and about biodiversity. So much enthusiasm has been generated that the school, St Machar Academy, is considering the development of a foundation apprenticeship in horticulture. Powis Residents are not only cultivating flowers and crops but also a healthy community where things are shared, people are respected and there is a responsible approach to the environment, both on a very local level and also in the broadest global sense.