Community group heartbroken after council bins herb garden with no warning

A community group that supports the city’s most vulnerable said they are heartbroken after the council ripped up their herb garden with no warning.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:55 am

Let us know what you think at the bottom of this article.

The Grassmarket community project said they were furious after the council didn’t tell them the herbs and plants in Greyfriars Kirk would be binned, after their volunteers looked after the garden for ten years.

The herb garden which was filled with bulbs and plants donated by local communities was looked after by people with mental health issues who are supported by the GCP.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The herb garden before it was destroyed
The herb garden before it was destroyed

Bosses at the social enterprise whose services are mainly volunteer-run branded the removal of the plants “a disgrace.”

Posting before and after photos of the garden on Twitter GCP said: “This is so distressing for the people we support. They have tended this garden as volunteers for over 10yrs. The herbs, plants & bulbs were donated out of the kindness of #Edinburgh s public. They have been pulled out & binned with no warning by @Edinburgh_CC Heartbreaking.”

One volunteer responded: “Why has the display bed looked after by volunteers at GCP been destroyed? We have lost bulbs, flowers and herbs. If we had been informed we could have saved our plants. I am so upset. It was looking stunning.”

"We could have saved our plants alas the council have binned them. Years of hard work destroyed in a day.”

After the council ripped out the garden

Mike, a service manager at Grassmarket Community project said: "It really took us by surprise and it’s disappointing for the volunteers, who have a lot of passion and commitment. It’s a disgrace. We know they will be upset about this. Many have mental health struggles. Our biggest concern is how things like this will affect their mental health.”

A spokesperson for council said: “We are aware of concerns raised and apologise for any distress or upset to the volunteers who tend the seven herb gardens in the graveyard caused by our ongoing maintenance.

“The works are part of plans to refresh the entrance flower bed at Greyfriars kirkyard to mark 400th anniversary of the kirk as well as upcoming 150th anniversary of Greyfriars Bobby.“Our officers will meet with the group next week to discuss the matter further and identify how we can support them.”

Greyfriars were contacted for comment.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.