Members of the Urr Valley Garden Club gathered in the most unlikely place to visit the nerve centre of dumfries and Galloway Council’s source of all things floral.
In the middle of a large industrial site near the new Dumfries Hospital, mixed in with tall storage towers, forests of blue rubbish bins and large silver prefab buildings, members were greeted outside what looked like four large polytunnels and a very large greenhouse by Brian McAviney and Caroline McLachlan. Members were shown into the first part of the polytunnel, which opened out into acres of trays of bedding plants and hanging baskets. Dahlias, fuchsias, petunias, salvias, begonias, marigolds, gazanias, cosmos, pelargoniums, osteospermums, antirrhinums, silver dust… in the forms of hanging baskets, long tubs, pagodas, half barrels, boxes to hang on lamp posts. How to keep them all growing well and not be damaged by frost, mice, birds, too much sun?
Members were firstly faced with a three masted sailing ship filled with thyme and pink sea thrift which will be used to decorate the museum of John Paul Jones. Brian told members that from June these plants will be used to decorate town halls, parks, civic buildings, public buildings, churches and high streets throughout Dumfries and Galloway.
Labels were attached detailing the places they were to go – such as Sanquhar, Dumfries, Annan, Wigtown, Dock Park, Civic Park, Glasgow Road. Plants were all at the last stage of growth and the buds were just starting to show promise of summer colours.
In the second greenhouse members found staging covered in taller plants in full flower such as streptocarpus in vivid colours of mauves, whites and pinks, giant begonia plants, giant rubber plants and ferns. On the way out, they passed a very large display tray with a nearly complete SWRI emblem celebrating the Rural’s 100 years anniversary, being created in tiny green plants, which is to go outside Greyfriars Church in Dumfries town centre.