Dandelion was an ambitious community growing project which took place across Scotland in summer 2022, creating thirteen Unexpected Gardens as spaces to Sow, Grow and Share not just food, but ideas, music, knowledge and communities.
Local partners came together to bring the Dandelion project to the city, including the University of Dundee, Creative Dundee, Dundee City Council and community group, Friends of Fairmuir. Dundee’s Unexpected Garden, Fair Growing Green, now brings new life and fresh produce to the former bowling green in the popular Fairmuir Park.
The garden has now been handed over to the community, run by passionate garden volunteers and supported by Dundee City Council’s Green Spaces team. Community growers are ambitious and enthusiastic about the future of the garden and what they can achieve there as well as what they can contribute to the wider Fairmuir community.
You can see some of the highlights of the harvest festival and hear about the community growers experiences this summer as well as their aspirations for the future in this short film by Zoë Swann. View photos by Lydia Smith of the garden here and the Harvest event here.
Dundee has many incredible growing spaces and initiatives, with an existing culture of food growing and sharing. Dandelion was an opportunity to showcase and connect with these existing community gardens to learn and collectively imagine the future of growing in the city.
Visitors are welcome to drop-in to help out in the garden, share a cup of tea, and find out more about how they can get involved. Visit the Friends of Fairmuir facebook page for seasonal opening times and further information.
Centuries ago, the Fairmuir Park site was a market-muir (moorland) for cattle, and at that time sat far beyond the city’s boundaries. It later became the site of weekly markets and an annual Fair, hence its name. In 1883, landowner Sir John Ogilvy gifted it to the people of Dundee as a recreational park. As Dundee city grew rapidly around it, Fairmuir Park quickly became an important green space and remains well used and loved today by local residents and footballers alike.
Fair Growing Green was named by locals at the gardens launch event in April 2022. It playfully alludes to its history and location, and captures the fair principles behind this new growing space. Providing food for both people and pollinators, the garden will be achieved through thoughtful planting and design. This is a space where everyone is welcome to gather together, grow something for the first time, share experiences with others, or simply sit and enjoy some company.
Friends of Fairmuir originally formed in response to the potential sale of public land; they believed passionately that the precious green space should remain. They dreamt of a community garden that would bring people together once again, and during the project worked closely with the Dundee partners on the vision and legacy of the garden beyond summer 2022.
Fair Growing Green’s summer programme of free events included learning practical skills, creative workshops and coming together to eat and chat, with a celebratory Dandelion Harvest on Sat 10 September.
Dandelion’s Sow, Grow, Share concept has been brought to life in Dundee through events and workshops programmed by Emerging Creative Producer, Eilish Victoria. Together we learned about the importance of biodiversity and how to improve it, practiced new skills around growing and sustainability, cooked food and ate together, and experienced the wellbeing benefits of being active and outdoors with others.
Musicians in Residence brought new sounds to each of the Unexpected Gardens. In Dundee, local musicians Claire Gorman and Mark Urban work together as St Kilda Mailboat. After a mini-tour of community gardens across the city, they connected with people at Fair Growing Green through a series of workshops to develop new songs inspired by the garden. They explored the relationships between people, plants and pollinators, and the ways we can have a deeper relationship with nature and each other through music and sound-making.
Connecting to the wider Dandelion programme, an installation inspired by Luke Jerram’s artwork Of Earth and Sky features in the garden. Working with Art Angel’s Creative Writing Group and illustrator Mairi Isla, words and phrases representative of the themes of the project were developed and painted onto the gardens hexagonal planters.
The programme culminated in a Dandelion Harvest on Sat 10 September 2022, alongside events happening at Unexpected Gardens across the country. These events brought people together to celebrate all that we had achieved in the gardens over the summer, and to share thoughts on the future of growing, over food, music and chat.
Location: Fairmuir Park and Green is situated in the Coldside area of Dundee. The garden is close to Dundee & Angus College, Old Glamis Road campus, and minutes from the Kingsway and Strathmartine Road roundabout. Free parking is available.
Fair Growing Green, Fairmuir Park, Dundee, DD3 8JE
Approximate journey times from Dundee City Centre:
Access: Fair Growing Green has toilet facilities available within the clubhouse pavilion when the garden is open, but these unfortunately are not accessible toilets—please get in touch f you’d like information about nearby accessible toilets. The garden is paved on all four sides of the main green; the path on the west side of the garden is currently partially covered by foliage. The main green is a relatively level surface of grass and features a drop from the paths, and is accessible via two custom-built ramps. There is also a ramp to enter the clubhouse pavilion, but please note that the doorway is not wide enough for wheelchair access.
The Fair Growing Green Unexpected Garden was created and delivered in collaboration by: University of Dundee project team Mel Woods, Tania Kovats, Jek McAllister and Jack Fletcher; Creative Dundee’s Gillian Easson and Eilish Victoria; and Musicians in Residence St. Kilda Mailboat (Claire Gorman and Mark Urban); in partnership with Claire Dow and the Events, Greenspace and Neighbourhood Teams at Dundee City Council; and Friends of Fairmuir Community Group.
Dundee’s Fair Growing Green was one of 13 Unexpected Gardens commissioned through Dandelion by EventScotland and funded by the Scottish Government, and is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.
For more information about Dandelion visit dandelion.scot.
Creative Programme – Eilish Victoria: firstname.lastname@example.org
Garden Project and Press – Mel Woods: email@example.com
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