Guerrilla Gardeners take over derelict site

Monday April 15th 2024

guerilla Danderhall

Danderhall Guerrilla Gardeners young volunteers received certificates after giving up their holiday time to help turn a derelict site into community woodlands.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A community gardening project has taken over a derelict council site behind shops to turn into a woodland garden.

Danderhall and District Guerrilla Gardeners were given the land next to the village shops by Midlothian Council to transform into a community space.

And some of the group’s youngest volunteers spent part of their Easter school holidays helping plant its first saplings which have been tagged with their names and will be owned by them as they grow up together in the community.

The volunteer group formed during lockdown to represent its local community after it united against the use of pesticide by Midlothian Council.

It signed an agreement with the local authority to take over maintenance of public spaces so they were not sprayed with toxic chemicals.

The group won a prestigious award in the summer for one of its kids projects from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

And primary school aged children were on hand to help as saplings were planted.

The group is working with the Scottish Woodlands Trust as part of its project to plant thousands of trees across the country.

Helen Graham, from the Danderhall group said: “Lots of trees saplings such as wild and bird cherry, Alder, birch, fruit and many more, were planted by 45 Primary 5, 6 and 7 children.

“Our children learned the magical process of trees, taking in bad air, carbon dioxide and breathing out the clean air, oxygen, that we need to live and breathe.

“The kids planted a tree, put their name tag on it and now own that tree.”

Local businesses helped provide the young volunteers with an Easter egg and drink as a reward for their work and the group was provided with a cabin which will be used as their new base and decorated with nature and floral artwork.

Helen said: “The council gave us this site to develop and, with us, will help maintain the area. This site helps to compensate for the loss of green fields with the extensive house building all around the village.”

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