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A continuation of #GrowASeed - Look Around You!

27 January 2021

Our wonderful Beautiful Scotland judge and It's Your Neighbourhood assessor, Colin Ainsworth, who came up with the #GrowASeed activity last year now brings you - Look Around You!

The idea

Look around where you live. Find out what is growing. Try to identify the plants and, more importantly, how to propagate them. To illustrate this, here is a story:

The Inveralmond Walnut Tree

At the Highland Gateway in the Inveralmond Industrial Estate on the Northern edge of Perth, there is a mature Juglans regia (Walnut tree). In October 2019, I happened to be waiting outside Marks & Spencer’s when I noticed walnuts lying on the grass. Please note that a walnut just fallen off the tree is a greeny brown thing. The edible fruit is held within a hard brown seed coat within a fleshy green outer. I took two off the grass and brought them home. I kept them in a cool dark place until the fleshy outer coat had started to split and decompose. I removed this to reveal the nutshell, which at this stage looked like the walnuts you might see in a net of nuts for sale at Christmas. I then placed the nut in a plastic bag with some general purpose compost and grit, and left it hanging outside in a small cold frame for the rest of the winter. In early Spring I found that a root had started to poke out of the shell. The newly rooted seeds were potted up into small pots and put back into the frame. Once a new shoot had started growing, I kept the plants moving by potting on as soon as fresh roots could be seen at the bottom of the pot. After a year I have one young walnut tree, about six inches tall. This Spring I will pot on again, and hopefully by Autumn it will have doubled in size. In 2022, it may be ready to be planted.

Walnuts are large trees so it won’t be planted in my garden, but it will be given to a park or larger garden to be permanently planted. As it is growing, I will visit and know that the tree growing has a known history (provenance).

How do I get involved?

You all can have a go. Firstly, try to identify what is growing around you. Do some research and find out how to grow the plant. When you get started, and if you don’t have room in your own garden or you have too many young plants, then think about giving the plants to a community group or local garden. Please, when you give the plants a new home, give the new owners the history or story behind the plants. Who knows, in the future the hawthorn hedge at the end of the playing fields may be attributed to you or your group. Also it brings a new meaning to ‘locally sourced and grown’.

If you need any help with identification and/or propagation techniques, contact Juliette at KSB who will forward it onto one of the Beautiful Scotland judges, who, between them, have a vast amount of horticultural knowledge.

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