For the gardeners
We will share knowledge and expertise on how to encourage biodiversity in our gardens. This covers
- what we can grow: plants, bushes and trees
- constructing and maintaining wildflower meadows
- herbicides and insecticides: promoting good practice and looking at safe disposal
- dealing safely with invasive species, e.g. Japanese knotweed
We agreed that we should produce list of the recommended plants that would support wildlife and be appropriate for our location.
We agreed that it would be useful to look at having an ‘amnesty’ for unwanted chemicals in our garden sheds and arranging to get them disposed of safely.
Design and Resource Management
- landscape guidance on best use of space for wildlife, as well as soil types and appropriate habitats
- impact on general look and feel and aware of building and infrastructure needs — planting for the future
- composting techniques
- water management, drainage, ponds
Getting hold of plants
- seed saving and seed swapping
- shared use of greenhouses for growing from seed
- sharing information about good sources of seeds and plants
The LT streetscape
Since we were talking about our local environment, the streetscape of Leamington Terrace was a popular topic. We discussed:
- the benefits of hedges and trees in front gardens for improving air quality
- possibility of adding trees or planters to the street
- future availability of EV charging points
- potential uses of the policebox at the foot of LT
- pavement width and the importance of keeping enough space for pedestrians, wheelchair users and buggies; routes to school
- bike storage facilities
Inventory of spaces, resources, expertise
LT has a range of properties in the locale; e.g. west or east of the street, ranging from longer narrow gardens to small plots, and including single-household gardens and shared ‘drying greens’. It would be useful to develop an overview of these spaces and any interesting features.
Members of this action group have useful experience and good network links, both personal and work-based. We agreed to build an inventory of people who are willing to be consulted on specific topics of interest to the group.
It was pointed out that there are gardens and spaces along the street that seem to be neglected or under-used. There may also be owners of LT gardens who would be happy to share them with other residents on the street. (The Garden Partners scheme runs along these lines.)
We agreed to investigate ways of engaging all our community (all ages, busy families, professionals, students) in growing and protecting our environment.
An ecosystem perspective
It would be valuable to develop a more holistic perspective over the greenspace in our area. For example, can we help some wildlife, such as hedgehogs and birds, by building green corridors that provide better routes across the different spaces.
To explore this properly we would probably want to join forces with residents of the streets that bound the larger spaces to the east and west of LT.
There aren’t any obvious spaces that could be nudged towards communal use, though it was suggested that there might potential to set up a group composting area for people who don’t use the CEC’s brown bin service.
A small corner of the fenced area on Bruntsfield Links (opposite the Black Ivy pub) has been given over to a wild flower meadow. However, the section of this area that runs along the fence is not very diverse (mainly nettles and thistles) and might be somewhere that would benefit from a hedgerow planting. We agreed that it would be useful to investigate whether LTA residents could contribute more to maintaining this area.
City Planning and Development
There was concern about poor provision for greenspace in local planning initiatives in nearby areas such as India Quay/Fountainbridge and the canalside, Gillespie Crescent.
We agreed that it would be useful for some members of the group to keep an eye on this issue, in collaboration with relevant people in Tollcross and Merchiston Community Councils.
|Compile list of ‘top 20’ plants for encouraging biodiversity|
|Audit of LTA gardening skills and resources|
|Explore idea of local ‘garden partners’ scheme|
|Research which gardens are owner-occupied or part of rental property|
|Plan a stall for the indoor ‘street party’ event scheduled for spring 2022 in BEC|
|Set up Gardens and the Environment group on WhatsApp|