Words by Amanda Eleftheriades-Sherry
Photos by Angela Clark and Action Old Kilpatrick
Agnes McGettigan from Dalmuir is one of many people across West Dunbartonshire who has discovered the simple pleasures of lockdown gardening.
The 81-year-old has been shielding since March and decided to put her time to good use by getting out in her garden.
She said: “I’ve always pottered about the garden but I moved house three years ago and it’s a much bigger garden than I had before with a greenhouse, so I decided to see what I could grow.
“I’ve got three big tomato plants in the greenhouse and also lettuces, sunflowers, dill, chives and radishes which I’ve all grown from seeds and a chilli plant
“and snack peppers which are both coming along well. My carrots were a disaster but everything else seems to be doing well.
“I also had some flower seed packets from last year and I’ve put them into pots and they are doing great. ”
Not only is Agnes’ garden reaping the benefit of her hard work but so is she.
“It’s keeping me busy during this lockdown, I can go out there and lose myself for hours.
Between being out in the garden and watching the gardening programmes on the telly the time is going by quickly.
“I’ve been isolating myself since early March and just started going out now, so it’s been good to be busy in the garden.
“I’m getting a lot of pleasure out of seeing everything growing. I love tomatoes so I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out.”
Agnes plans to keep working on her garden once lockdown is over and her son is going to build her some decking to help her get the most from her garden.
Community Gardening Blooming
Over the past couple of years there has been a surge in community gardening across West Dunbartonshire which we have reported on in previous issues of the Clydesider.
Prior to lockdown volunteers from Action Old Kilpatrick (AOK) would regularly be seen cleaning up, planting and caring for flower beds and raised beds throughout the village.
They are hopeful that the green revolution taking place in local back gardens will grow out to the community garden spaces.
She said: “I think because people have been confined to limited space and activities it has helped us all value what is on our doorstep.
“At a time of angst and confusion, gardens are giving us a bit of control over something.
“A lot of people are discovering they are getting pleasure from the colour, being outdoors, the birds singing, and they’re appreciating their gardens in a way they may not have done in the past.
“People have also come together during this time of crisis to help their neighbours and wider community.
“I’m hopeful that these two things will come together in the future once the crisis has passed and more people will want to stay involved in supporting their community and looking after the local environment.”
AOK have been following the Scottish Government’s guidance and put their community gardening on pause during lockdown.
As Scotland moved into Phase 1 of the Route Map out of Lockdown, members of AOK participated in their first socially distanced community garden session.
Christine explained: “We got the okay from the Council to start working on the beds again in May as part of our daily exercise and we’re going to be focusing on tidying up and adding colour over the next couple of months.
“We’re hoping to have our first public session at the start of August. If anyone is interested in getting involved they can contact us via the AOK website.
“We don’t expect people to commit themselves to regular involvement, just come along as often or as little as you like.”
You can find out more information about AOK here: www.actionoldkilpatrick.org.uk