Natural features and local materials
When Janet and Stan Donaldson wrote to the Beechgrove Garden one cold dark winter’s night to suggest that Broadford should be one of the locations they featured in their community garden slot back in 2003, little did they anticipate the impact this might have on the village. A flat and rather uninteresting piece of grass in the middle of Broadford was transformed by the residents of Strath and Sleat (with a little help from designer Nick Dawson and the Beechgrove team!) in a varied and colourful mosaic with something for everyone.
The garden was designed to incorporate as many natural features and materials from the surrounding landscape and environment as possible. Apart from the more formal planted beds, there is a wildflower bank, native trees and shrubs and a feeding table for the birds dedicated to the memory of Mary Taylor. Stone walls, built by Hector Nicolson, using largely local stone, providing the framework for the varied landforms; the picnic area around the James Ross Memorial; the information shelter, which houses interpretative panels, seating for those who wish to rest and admire the view (including one donated and dedicated to the memory of another local resident, the late Jack McNicol) and of course the natural stone maze for the children to play in. The maze takes the shape of an ammonite – one of the fossils that can be found in the rocks around the shores of Broadford Bay and the emblem of the Broadford Environmental Group.
Donations of between £5 and £500 from local residents contributed to the funding. However the majority of the funding came from the The Highland Council, the Beechgrove Garden themselves , Portree Rotary Club and Skye and Lochalsh Housing Association.
The garden took thousands of hours of volunteer effort to design and create but that was just the start. It continues to be managed by a small band of hardworking volunteers who would always welcome any assistance you may wish to give – no matter how small.
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