Tell us a bit about what you do and what the key challenges are?
I'm Jane, and I'm the head gardener for Glasgow Flower Garden. We just changed our name. That's why the hesitation. Glasgow Flower Gardens is a club and we exist in order to make Glasgow more blooming beautiful. So we take areas which are not being looked after and we do make more beautiful either with wildflowers or as weare here in the Botanic Gardens where we're just enhancing the herbaceous borders. We were given a little bit up at the top and we have created on this particular site a rainbow in which hopefully you can see very clearly just out with tulips of all the different colors. Apart from blue, we found engineered a blue tulip just yet! And so the club is open to everybody and whether you know about gardening or know nothing about gardening, we learn together so we're learning about cultivating plants organically, looking after the soil environment and we're also one part of the club is very interested in picking the flowers and giving them to charities, making up lovely bunches for charity and anything creative that you can do with plants, such as press them or make wreathes, that sort of thing. So there's an artistic side and there's a garden side to what we do.
What kind of activities can students expect to get involved in?
So if students would like to join us and you're very welcome, you can get involved with gardening. We usually garden the weekend on Saturday morning or afternoon, and that might involve anything through the season. What we're doing here is taking up turf and potting up some plants, which we have to move. Or it could be sowing plants, sowing annuals, planting, weeding, or taking up the leaves in the autumn, cutting back all sorts of things, any gardening fields that you do through. And likewise, we have the special sessions where we run workshops for doing some pressing of flowers whatever it might be.
Do student need any particular training or experience or can they just sign up?
Yeah. You can show up and learn the ropes so if you're interested then sign up and we'll send you a schedule so you know what's going on during the week and to let us know if you'd like to come. If there's time that suits you and then we can book you in, make sure you've got the tools and all the rest of it and then you just go from there.
How much of an impact have UofG student made since volunteering with GFG?
Well, actually, I would say the university students make a huge difference to us. It's just lovely having all your enthusiasm and questions and energy. We're the guys that probably look after the gardens more during the week. But it's lovely to have all that energy coming in and enthusiasm to learn and curiosity that makes us think a bit more about what we're doing as well.
What would you tell other students who are thinking about volunteering?
Well, I would say that whoever comes for gardening and doing things outside is going to get a benefit just from being outside. It's so relaxing. Your headaches go away, any cobwebs are blown away as well. So it's a good thing to do just to refresh. It's a nice way of meeting people as well. I think just as we enjoy meeting the students, it's quite fun for students to meet people who live in Glasgow just to talk about other things.