Elmwood students help to create sensory garden in St Andrews

Elmwood students Lisa Cattenach and Colin Brown are pictured in the garden with fellow classmates.
Elmwood students Lisa Cattenach and Colin Brown are pictured in the garden with fellow classmates.

Horticultural Students from the Elmwood Campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are creating a sensory garden within the grounds of a famous St Andrews museum.

Elmwood Campus was approached by the St Andrews Preservation Trust to create an interactive garden area – which will feature music and light – to a newly acquired area of the museum’s facilities in North Street.

The charity – which focuses on 200 years of social history of the townspeople – recently acquired a dilapidated wash house which has since been converted into a modern research facility.

This left the old drying green – in front of the building – untouched and museum staff got in touch with Elmwood to offer students the chance to become involved in the project.

Andrew Johnson, St Andrews Preservation Trust Museum development advisor, said: “We decided to create a sensory garden in the grounds of the museum and approached Elmwood to ask if the project would be of interest. The project appealed to the tutors and they could see that a great number of students would benefit from participation.”

The Introduction to Horticulture class submitted designs based on the brief to their lecturer Bruce Robertson - who selected the best design features which were used to create the final proposal. Working within the budget provided by the Trust, the SVQ Level 2 and 3 students involved in the construction of the garden which includes raised beds, a pond and a waterfall. Other features designed to stimulate visitors include vibrant colours and sounds and scents include mirrors, relaxing music and bird feeding areas.

Andrew Kydd, horticulture lecturer, said: “This project has provided our students with real commercial training and the opportunity to add long lasting benefits for the community.”

Andrew Johnson added: “The work undertaken so far has been of a very high standard. Students have been working very professionally on the project.”

Lisa Cattenach, an SVQ Level 2 horticulture student from Glenrothes has been involved throughout the whole project and attended the very first meeting with the college and the trust.

“When we all sat down to discuss the project I was very excited about the size and scope of the task. It was a great opportunity to take everything I had learned in the classroom into a real life activity. I enjoyed the designing stages the most and it’s great to see everything coming together.”

Fellow student Colin Brown from Springfield is also enjoying his role in the project. “For me it’s the construction and landscaping I like. I’m really looking forward to developing the pond area.”

Colin is hoping to return to complete the SVQ level 3 before embarking on his own garden design business.

The completion of the project is going to be celebrated with a garden party which will also mark the 80th Year of The Preservation Trust and will be an ongoing feature of the Trust’s annual Hidden Gardens day event.