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Our groups and individuals recognised by prestigious horticultural society

19 March 2021

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley) presented awards to a number of our Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood groups, and individuals, at their annual awards on Tuesday 16 March.

The Society issues a number of prestigious awards, medals and certificates of merit in recognition of the achievements of professional horticulturalists, nurserymen, amateur gardeners, student and apprentices.

We are delighted that the following of our groups and individuals were recognised this year:

Certificate of Merit (acknowledging a wide range of service to gardening or horticulture)

Mary Holligan: Mary is a teacher at Grove Academy in Dundee. She is also the school’s Eco-Coordinator and has, for many years, motivated, supported and encouraged pupils to learn, enjoy and grow in confidence in gardening activities. Through her passion, enthusiasm, sense of fun and selflessness in terms of her time, Mary has empowered pupils to lead on two projects turning disused waste ground into wildlife havens. The community gardens created at Queen Street and Shiell Street have been recognised in a number of ways: through our It’s Your Neighbourhood initiative for many years, both being awarded the highest level of achievement and Certificate of Distinctions; through Dundee City’s Beautiful Scotland entry and RHS Britain in Bloom UK finals; and through Dundee City Council's annual Garden Competition.

Rab Moran: From the outset, Rab has been a key volunteer with Blooming Haddington. He very quickly decided that he would be the volunteer responsible for the hanging baskets in the town.  From early June until October, he is out before 6am, every day if necessary, watering and feeding up to 200 baskets. The baskets always receive many compliments from residents and visitors while judges regularly describe them as the best they have seen. Haddington would not have achieved the awards it has to date without the significant contribution made by Rab Moran. 

Stuart Ritchie: Stuart is the Educational Gardener working for Lanark Community Development Trust at their Horticultural Centre at Castlebank Park. He is responsible for providing horticultural, educational and volunteering opportunities to local people from all ages and backgrounds. These groups include long term unemployed young people, those returning to work, children and adults with additional support needs, and older isolated residents. He delivers lifelong learning through activities, demonstrations and teaching to school and community groups, encouraging good horticultural practice.

Horticultural Groups Award (an award that recognises the achievements of the many and varied groups working across Scottish horticulture – community groups, friends groups and many more)

Bonnie Blantyre and Friends: This ‘Bloom’ group has had an enormous impact on their community. Led by Susan Lindner Kelly (Bonnie Bee) and her mother, Margaret (Grumble Bee), and not forgetting Mary Cowan from TACT Healthy Park, the group has worked in partnership with, among others, the Community Council, Blantyre Project, Blantyre Telegraph, Friends of the Calder, and TACT Healthy Park. The ingenuity of Bonnie Blantyre has endeared this group to the judges and mentors within the Keep Scotland Beautiful team. To promote the group, Susan regularly dons her Bee costume and can be seen at open days throughout North Lanarkshire. In 2020 they continued to go from strength to strength, with Susan and Margaret inspiring community growing through use of social media, supporting others, and through numerous seed and plant exchanges.

The Maxwell Centre: The Maxwell Centre in Dundee is host to the community gardening project, Every1’s Garden. Originally a builders yard that had become derelict, the Maxwell Centre identified an opportunity to develop a community green space. They transformed the lot into a community garden, with an array of raised beds, allotments, a polytunnel, orchard, seating areas, and a building used for education and garden therapy activities. Many of the children who visit the centre for regular workshops have little access to gardens, and the space provides children with educational opportunities relating to food production, healthy living, the environment, and ecology.

Alcohol & Drugs Action – Recovery Garden Project: Started in 2015, the Recovery Garden Group is run by volunteers to support people in recovery from substance misuse. The project is supported by Aberdeen City Council which provides a polytunnel where the group meets. Each year, a core group of participants decide what they want to grow at the start of the year and then plant, care for and harvest the produce to either use themselves or give to other vulnerable people in the community. The group helps the Aberdeen City entry in Beautiful Scotland by partnering with the council and others to provide small planters for shop keepers and maintaining a larger planter which is dedicated to people who have lost their lives due to addiction. These are planted with flowers and plants that reflect hope and remembrance. Involvement with the project also led to some group members becoming beekeepers with the Aberdeen Urban Bee project. This influences the plants grown as they want them to be pollinator friendly.

Dr Andrew Duncan Medal (for distinguished service to horticulture by an educationalist, advisor or administrator)

Colin Ainsworth: Colin is one of our longest serving Beautiful Scotland judges and It's Your Neighbourhood assessors. He worked in public horticulture for over 40 years and was heavily involved in the Dundee Flower and Food Festival. He was Chairperson of the Letham Gardening Club for over 20 years, organising annual shows, plant sales and talks held throughout Autumn and Winter. For the past few years Colin has been show convener for the new Scottish Auricula and Primula Society. He has judged at many flower shows including, Carnoustie, Aberdeen, Dundee, Newtyle, Perth and Auchterarder. Colin is also an essential member of the Caley team at Saughton Park, including leading propagation workshops.  He has a strong interest in herbaceous perennials, plant propagation and growing vegetables, so it is not surprising that he has become such a valued member of the team – and is greatly appreciated by the Friends of Saughton Park as well as Caley members.

Colin has also just become the new President of The Caley, so we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Society.

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