Locals in Kirkcaldy are being urged to help the town look its best ahead of a visit by Britain In Bloom judges next month.
The appeal comes from members of Growing Kirkcaldy, the group which promotes and develops horticultural projects in the town, before their work comes under the microscope of judges on August 2.
Growing Kirkcaldy is one of just three Fife groups chosen to represent Scotland in the prestigious Britain in Bloom finals this year.
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And it joins 70 other groups from the across the UK to compete across 12 categories to be selected as the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful place in the country.
Judith Kerr, secretary of Growing Kirkcaldy, said they have been working hard over the last few months to add a splash of colour to the town, with a particular focus on creating a ‘colour corridor’.
She said: “We have been developing a colour corridor from the bottom of Charlotte Street up Nicol Street to the Beveridge Park.
“We have cleared beds and done replanting at the roadside in front of the Charlotte Street pumping station as well as at the island opposite The Duchess pub and filling the barrier baskets at the flats in Nicol Street.
“We have also planted lavender in Volunteers Green with a bed at Bennochy Bridge cleared and planted with donated sustainable plants.”
The group has been developing a stumpery in the grounds of Kirkcaldy Galleries where they intend to start planting different ferns in September to celebrate the town’s links with coal mining.
The members have had a lot of support from Fife Council’s parks and open spaces staff who helped them clear undergrowth in the area, bring logs and start work on the stumpery.
Judith said: “We would like to congratulate the parks and open spaces team on their work such as the bedding at the War Memorial and the baskets, planters and roundabouts around the town the latter being helped by the businesses who sponsor them.
“We would also like to acknowledge the work done by the Adult Basic Learning group which has planted and cared for the EATS bed at the Town House. It is looking fantastic.”
Judith said they have also been working closely with groups in other parts of Kirkcaldy with the overall goal of enhancing the town as a whole.
Kirkcaldy West Community Council, Kirkcaldy 4 All and Growing Kirkcaldy have hung 53 baskets and placed eight beehive planters in the High Street area for the summer; Several Tenants and Residents Associations have also been planting in their own areas for example in Invertiel, Linktown and Ravenscraig.
Judith said: “Growing Kirkcaldy has also helped locals from Bennochy Church, Fraser Place and East March Street with their community developments.
“In addition planters were donated to our group and were painted with the help of a member of Kirkcaldy Art club before being placed in the Waterfront area. Residents have also taken responsibility for watering a specific planter or planted area.”
A number of other groups have gained “It’s Your Neighbourhood” Awards from Beautiful Scotland for the work they have been doing including Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust, Hayfield Community Centre Growing, East March Street, Kirkcaldy Community Gardens and Allotments and Ravenscraig Walled Gardens where Growing Kirkcaldy has a plot for storing donated plants and access to a hut and a polytunnel.
But as well as groups in the town looking after their own areas, Growing Kirkcaldy is also wanting individuals to do their bit.
Alice Soper, chairman of Growing Kirkcaldy, said: “We are asking people if they see litter to pick it up or if they see a weed sticking out somewhere to pull it. Many people think they are taking jobs away if they help us look after the town but this isn’t the case.
“The Parks and Open Spaces team are doing all that they can but their resources are limited. So if we can pick up litter here and there it means they can be freed up to do other things. We want people to take a pride in their town.”
Judith said on the day the Britain in Bloom judges arrive, they will be taken on a four-hour tour so they can see first-hand the projects Growing Kirkcaldy and other groups in the town have been working on.
They will then head back to Greener Kirkcaldy’s new base in East Fergus Place where groups across the town will be given the chance to show the judges the work they have been doing.
Alice added: “People are invited to help us wherever they can, for example, with watering or picking up litter. The more attractive we make our town the better. Kirkcaldy is a lovely town so let’s look after it!”
Growing Kirkcaldy’s future
Growing Kirkcaldy has grown substantially in the seven years since it was formed. Its future plans include replacing the need for annual planting and maintenance by replacing with sustainable planting where possible, trying to be self-sufficient through fundraising and continuing to be a major partner in the development of the town’s waterfront. It also aims to bring life to the town centre, which is sadly struggling from the decline in retail, and continuing to encourage business participation. Alice said: “It is good to see more businesses supporting us with hanging baskets outside places like The Elbow Room, The Beach salon and the Merchants’ Quarter.