The Coronavirus has changed every aspect of life in Scotland and for much of the Spring and Summer, we had to close the Garden to the public. As we start to relax some of the guidelines, our focus is on maintaining a Covid-secure Garden and safeguarding against the risks of a second wave. Many of the things we specialise in or take for granted, such as the glasshouse collection, the narrow woodland paths or the coffee shop will need to evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
The Urban Farm has been a great success over the past two years and the arrival of the Coronavirus coincided with the time when we were just starting to sow seeds and prepare the ground for planting out crops like salads, kales, beetroots and leeks. Many of the plants we raised were started off in trays and modules, so rather than planting them into the ground in the Garden, we have worked with Community Aid St Andrews to distribute the seedlings to people in and around St Andrews who need them most. We are delighted that the plants have found good homes in the community, including Stratheden hospital, schools, church groups, community centres and isolated individuals, and hope that growing the crops on brings as much comfort and joy to others as they do for us.
The Garden staff have been studying the wild plants of Fife growing in our towns and the country, launching the Doorstep Botany project. We are encouraging people connected with the Garden or interested in the plants that grow around us to send us pictures of plants that you see in flower – the only criteria are that it must be a plant that you see growing close to where you live and spotted during your daily walk, and the plant must not have been planted or put somewhere on purpose. We will research where in the world these plants grow and what kind of climates they are adapted to, and then using climate models we will study how well the wild plants of Fife are adapted to future climate change. It’s early days yet, but already we have been sent lots of wonderful pictures, and will share the results of the project later in the year. If you’d like to contribute, please send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch with more information.