3 June 2011

Community gardening in bloom

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson encouraged families and people of all ages to get involved in community gardening as he visited Gardening Scotland 2011 in Ingliston today.

As part of the Living Garden exhibit, local nurseries and primary schools took part in a competition using teapots as plant pots, and the resulting display is being used to promote the benefits of biodiversity.

Visiting the show for the first time since recently taking up office, Mr Stevenson said:

"I'm delighted to attend Gardening Scotland during my first weeks in office, to see the part which gardening can play in creating space for natural habitats and wildlife to flourish.

"The Living Garden in particular is a fantastic way of demonstrating how to make our gardens both attractive and environmentally friendly, to encourage native biodiversity to thrive. And this year's theme is even more creative than ever, with the teapot planting 'Alice in Wonderland' theme involving children and their parents in planting and growing.

"It is important to get these messages across from an early age, to help promote and protect our precious ecosystems in the future. Everyone can do their bit to help make Scotland greener by rolling up their sleeves and getting involved in the great outdoors this summer."

Whilst at the show, Mr Stevenson took the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in the field of biodiversity.

He added:

"The National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) published yesterday gives us the most thorough overview so far of the ways in which the natural environment impacts on our lives. This major UK-wide study provides vital information on the true value of nature which will help to inform the Government's work on reviewing the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.

"As part of our review working with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and other partners, we will need to reflect new international targets to protect our natural resources.

"I will also want to ensure that the good work already being carried out across Scotland to protect our biodiversity continues, from smallest gardens to the largest open landscapes."

Whilst at the show Mr Stevenson also visited the Zero Waste Scotland stand, the Plantlife Be Plant Wise campaign and met pupils from Cockenzie and Kinlochleven Primary Schools at the 'Cooking Bus', which promotes healthy eating messages through practical cooking skills.

The Scottish Government supports the creation of the Living Garden area, which has been commissioned by the Scottish Natural Heritage led Gardens for Life Forum and created by British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV).

Zero Waste Scotland will be promoting home composting, waste minimisation and other eco-friendly gardening advice.

The Scottish Government is sharing a stall at the show with Plantlife, who are promoting the Be Plant Wise UK-wide campaign to stop the spread of invasive non-native plants. The stall also provides more general advice on wildlife friendly gardening.

The Cooking Bus aims to teach children some of the basics about where food comes from and how to cook healthy, tasty meals, run by the Scottish Government, the Food Standards Agency Scotland, the Focus on Food Campaign, local authorities and community groups.

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