End of Year

Well the kelvin Grove Camp has closed but the movement goes on if temporarily suspended for the holidays

There is a consensus amongst many that action speaks louder than words and a plan to promote sustainable living is afoot


more at the Occupy Scotland Armchair Army Forum Sustainable Project Site


Happy New Year to all


hopefully by the end of next year even more communities will be gardening in their back green spaces







Catching up Dec

Well Occupy Glasgow is still ongoing but is collapsing the Kelvin Grove Camp

There is a new initiative growing - back to sustainable gardening folks yay = all roads do indeed lead to Rome


So perhaps we may get more people involved in this awesome train moving down the tracks - let us all grow our foods and enjoy the delights of seeing something growing / swapping gardening points with neighbours / sharing the delights with neighbours and the taste!!!


Anone interested the facebook group spin off from OS/OG seems to be the meeting page right now 

Occupy Scotland Sustainability Group








Emailed Edingburgh Community BackGreens and Sage and Urban Roots and Glasgow Guerillas to see if there would be any point to creating a Glasgow version of Community BackGreens - there is always the risk of having too many groups which always seems to happen - but this is not so much about comunity gardens as supporting community members if they want to use their green space


For me the point of the communal garden is to inspire community members and send them home all fired up to try something at home - about free food yes but also about the birds and the bees


Maybe we could direct members to local group or send out message of appeal for help with blitz digs etc


The general attitude of Parks is that Glasgow City Council own the spaces and that they would end up with projects started but not maintained


But if we had a central contact point we could be contacted and go round to sort it out / grass it over if necessary or put in plants that would require less maintainence

Am pretty sure this would not really be a serious impediment

Thoughts welcome






Update Community Gardens GHA Meeting

We had a meeting with GHA Lesley McGregor to discuss the possibility of a bit of land for Riverside Community Garde.  The back of Govan Old and the hole in the ground where Napier House used to be were cited as possibles- but we are also interested in the piece of land beside the ferry which is as yet undeveloped and would fantastic with tyre planters full of beans and nasturtiums and tomatoes and herbs etc.  The plan is to have a piece of land that would not mean children having to cross a road to join in the fun


Lesley told us there may be funding up to £2500 to help pay for compost and materials - Napier House ground would need some major security to prevent the public falling over the edge.  Possibly dry stone walling could be the solution.  There may be some group such as Galgael who would be interested in holding dry stone walling courses. 


The Woodlands project was similar in dealing with a large hole in the ground and it would be useful to contact persons involved with the development to find out how and where they resourced materials from


I understand that Woodlands had a fairly substantial grant to see them through but may be able on hindsight to show us cheaper options.  Am sure builders will happily give us loads of rubble to create pathways and different levels and we can get compost from Scottish Hydro, and tyres from many resources and hopefully use our imaginations to find other containers, and maybe even an old vehicle such as a minibus or pallets for a greenhouse?  Dont know if a wee bus would fit in but it would be fun for the kids to play in the driving seat area as an added bonus - and wee plants love and grow well when children are around.  Except of course the glass is always a problem, perhaps better to stick to pallets and plastic sheeting


Meanwhile Moyna McGlyn has promised to look into the use of the ground at the back of Govan Old - Thanks Moyna






Community gardens for Riverside, Crossloan and the White Scheme

Would be nice to emulate Edinburgh Community Backgreen Association groups, and work with the local housing authorities to create some community garden spaces


We meet with Lesley McGregor Monday at the Riverside Halls tomorrow at 2pm.  We are considering the ground beside the ferry which is still undeveloped.  Also Napier House and a piece of ground at the back of Govan Old, which is a tip full of bottles and cans and other rubbish.  The point is to find ground which the children come along and work without having to cross any major roads.


There was a Nourish Scotland conference at the Pierce Institute this weekend, discussing sustainable farming in Scotland, how to encourage people to consider supporting local farmers and buy local produce.  Members are committed to the health and welfare of the community, which includes community control over the food system, "resisting the agro-industrial system and expanding and consolidating a strong European movement for Food Sovereignty". 


It might be interesting to consider using the Graving Docks in some way to assist in restoring the river bed of the Clyde Estuary, which has been seriously smashed up by the dredgers and trawlers leaving the river beds barren.  Clyde Waterfront are encouraging communities to "design and plan their own ‘wildlife reserve’ or ‘green space’"


Generally many councils have been encouraging such projects - to add character and engender community interest in nature and the environment - and the idea seems to have the support of both Holyrood and London, so fingers crossed not too much beaurocratic stuff before we can make a start after the redevelopment team have done their bit






Clearing the Closes

Dangerous landings and drying areas

I used to have an old table for plants and post, a few chairs, my neighbours could use to enjoy the sun in the drying area, and a plant stand on my landing.


I live on the top floor so have tried to cheer up the heavy concrete drying area with some plants.  I have also put up new lines which my neighbours like to use for their washing.


I had dug a couple of wee beds at the bottom of the close, and planted some beans, corn, herbs and tomato, and dug over the old bed at the front which has been water-logged ever since the scaffolding for the renovation works in 2006.  Judging from the bubbles coming up in the grass, I figure the pipes are cracked.  Certainly my neighbour says he cant open his windows for the smell and flies, and although it has been reported many times, including evidence of a cracked pipe, no workers have ever come to dig up and explore.  The shrubs planted inthe area to catch the plastic bags and rubbish swept up by the wind from the saturday market all died / drowned and the council cut them down and sowed grass seed which did not take.  Even the fireweed died.


Workers told us the beds were all to be dug out for new paving to be laid, so I dug out the beans and tomatoes and moved some down to another green space and the rest up to my drying area to await replanting once the works are completed.


Shortly after, letters were posted through the door, advising tennants that all drying areas were to be cleaned the next day and for all possessions to be removed.


Well I keep my drying area pretty clean but imagining that inspections for weather proofing might be needed to be made, moved all plants onto the landing, expecting to move them right back after the work was completed.  So was very surprised to find my housing officer on the doorstep the next day demanding that I remove all furniture and items from the landing. 


I explained they were only there until the drying area work was completed, only to be informed that tennants are not allowed to keep plants and furniture in communal areas.  Apparently this presents a fire hazard, on the grounds that firemen have bulky apparatus to deal with, and may trip over anything in the smoke.  Except of course firemen are not allowed to come in through the windows anymore, so any tables and plants placed in these areas should not prove to be a hazard.  Our landing as can be seen from the images beneath are pretty big. 


It was said that tennants should read their missives.  I took missives to mean lease and checked.  Communal areas are to be kept with respect and agreement to neighbours, and not for storage, but as I pointed out most items in discussion are for decor, ie carpets to warm the landing space; tables to put flower arrangements and post to be collected; chairs and tables to put shopping bags or baskets of washing to save backache, and prevent items trailing in the dirt and wet.  Bikes and buggies are not stored so much as parked, as presumably are the cars stored or parked in the communal spaces outside.


Personally I would imagine any fireman fighting his way through the smoke would rather by far, prams, buggies and bikes in use were parked in the drying areas and landing spaces under the windows instead of flat hallways which are a tight squeeze at the best of times.


There is no downstairs storage for bikes or prams.  The back close bin areas would be ideal, for bike / buggie parking, especially if cleansing would reduce the wheelie bins stored or parked there by half, since we currently have twice as many bins as we in the block have ever used in the past five plus years.


On the Friday when we were all out and took away the neighbours' carpet and small furniture, leaving quite a lot of dust behind - I was surprised I thought they were cleaning the area


Meanwhile the bin area downstairs has still not been cleaned.   It has been reported several times over the past few years as needing a good clean.  The smell is pretty bad and the fans are constantly on which must cost a bit in electricity.  I usually clean my close but it is a bit harder to clean the bin area including the doings in the corner on the loor, which I clened up best I could, but it still needs a good scrub.  All the bins need a good sluice.  If there was a tap I would be quite happy to oblige, but carrying umpteen buckets of water down six flights, not to mention the heavy swing doors would be some task.  The area needing cleaning is quite big if you add eight or more filthy smelly wheelie bins


So now plants and seedling previously on the landing and in the drying area are now stashed around my flat, and apparently we are not going to be allowed to make new beds downstairs once the work is completed, so where they will end up is anybody's guess.   The government is supposed to be encouraging communities to take an interest in our public spaces and start growing things, within reason, and Edinburgh Community Backgreens Association are having a lot of fun growing food and plants to encourage local communities to take an interest in their own green spaces.


Manchester Council has given over land it cannot afford to maintain to local communities, meanwhile the villager in TodMorven and beyond are planting vegetables everywhere.  The nation is on the move let's hope Glasgow is not going to be left behind






The Riverside Gardens are All We'd Away

A few months ago encouraged by all the gardening going on in Elderpark, I began digging outside the back close - it's sunny and drab and was full of glass


For years we used to get the bottom windows broken.  and a few years ago there was a fire in one of the first floor flats.  The windows were broken and lots of glass left lying on the grass outside - perhaps to deter the dogs from leaving their business?  Anyway I started digging and collected quite a pile of glass as you can see from the photos


Inspired by the turf seat in the Forgotten Island Garden across the river, I tried to use the grass to make some seats for my neighbours to enjoy the sun and chat - well they weren't great - looked a bit more like a couple of graves - wonder if that was psychically symbolic?? 


Anyway planted some beans with canes and some of the local young people came to help which was great fun - they took away buckets of earth and seedlings to nurture on their drying area - bet their teachers and parents will be pleased


There are a few small gardens around the block - just folk trying to grow things.


This week the council dug them all up and is now in the process of replacing all with paving and grass.  there may be some beds being built and no doubt stuffed with cottoneaster which will catch all the Saturday rubbish from the market nicely no doubt. 


One garden which has been longstanding for over twenty years was dug up and the plants just left to die, which I thought was a bit mean.   I tried to plant them up into some spare buckets, to save them, but the next day the council emptied the buckets??!!!


It's not as if they have fixed the drains and overflows before all the work - some of which caused much problem last winter making the pathways very very icy

There are heavy patches of damp around the bottom of the buildings which would indicate either excessive overflow or possible cracked pipes from when the scaffolding was put up to renovate the roofs etc. 


We used to have some shrubs out the front of the building.  After the scaffolding went up we began to see bubbles and foam in the grass.  Reported it a couple of times but the council never came to dig it up.  The shrubs slowly rotted away and the council cut them down and scattered grass seed, but even that hasn't taken.  The ground is sodden as I found out when I went out to dig the border full of dead fireweed.  I expect it drowned.  I found some of the old shrub roots quite rotten almost like a peat bog!!  Excepting that the ground is smelly.  The neighbour on the ground floor says he daren't open the window for the smell and the flies


I reported all to local housing again again having found one cracked pipe put a paving stone over it to mark the spot, but the workers have dragged all the paving stones out to replace them with new and the marker is gone


Some plumbers came to have a look, but said they only deal with indoors.  They suggested I might like to shift the soil for someone to have a wee look.  Well I might go out and dig around and see if I can find it if it's not under the ton of topsoil just been dumped in the area


And all the childrens play areas are gone - but some plans afoot to provide swing park.  Maybe some of that wood will be used for climbing frames - who knows we might even have a seat for parents to enjoy






The tree on the Riverside Scheme have mostly gone but have we finally found Doomster Hill ?

For the past few months they have been redeveloping the land around Riverside


This is an environmental landscaping project


So they started on the local trees.  Many trees were marked.  We knew some would be coming down.  A few neighbours do nt get much light to their flats and have to use the electricity during the day.  Fair do.  We thought the rest would get some surgeoning - broken boughs trimmed.  The trees outside my window are ash... were ash.  A glorious riot of golden reds in the autumn.  To my knowledge they were not marked for the cut.  All trees for the cut or care had a red cross. 


I was surprised when the Purple Tree Care company started up outside my window one sunny morning.  They were making a nice job, removing broken boughs, and generally thinning, as I thought, so I wasn't very concerned because those trees weren't marked.  And then they kept on going.  I went out and found that the red crosses were sneakily on the only side of the trunk passers by would not see.  The trees are on a mound, and not really obstructing any light.


Meanwhile, as can be seen from the images below, a number of trees which stand directly in front of properties blocking the light are still standing.  and of course the new builds on the south side of Govan Road will take a lot of light away when winter comes and the sun doesn't rise so high.


One of the images was quite interesting.  The trees look almost like standing stones in their topless state.  Fingers to the sky.  Have we finally found Doomster Hill!!??






All I want for Xmas is a gondola

They finally fixed the flooding problem out the back - apparently grass clippings were blocking up the drains


We used to get terrible flooding after a downpour - the pathway was almopst blocked.  Used to be after a downpour you would be up to your ankles in water


One year the electrics were dug up round the back and for several weeks, the only space available to walk without getting feet soaked was blocked with work barriers, most of which kept falling over and had to be put back up again - well the hole was quite big and we didn't want any of our pensioners falling down the hole did we?


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