Stonefield Public Park Orchard

Open grassland in Stonefield Public Park in Blantyre has been transformed this week as many dozens of fruit trees were planted to form a little orchard.

The public park is one of 13 parks throughout Lanarkshire which are receiving hundreds of new trees to beautify the area and being planted as a memorial to the areas Covid-19 victims.

The council have been working hard yesterday and today to commence the endeavour. Under the Council plan, a fruit tree has been planted in memory of every local person who lost their lives in the pandemic.

Local community groups will be encouraged to be involved in the care of the trees and including the harvesting of crops in future years as part of South Lanarkshire Council’s commitment to food growing.

Council Leader John Ross said: “The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but obviously the worst aspect has been the loss of so many lives.

“In looking for fitting ways to commemorate those deaths, we thought that one way would be to create a living memorial, in the shape of a tree planted to mark every person who sadly lost their lives in South Lanarkshire because of the virus.

“There are likely to be other Covid-19 memorials in the future, but I hope these trees become a place where people can go to pause for reflection and mark their respects for many years and decades to come.”

There are an estimated 62 trees at each of 13 locations.

These are: Overtoun Park in Rutherglen; Cambuslang Park; Stonefield Park in Blantyre; Bothwell Road Park and Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton; Town Centre Park, James Hamilton Heritage Park and Calderglen Country Park, in East Kilbride; Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse; Strathaven Park; Biggar Public Park; and at Lanark Loch.

The plan is being funded through the council’s Food Strategy. Trees are not marked with individual names but will instead represent the community’s loss as a whole.

In addition to linking into the Food Strategy, the planting will also improve biodiversity, the amount of tree canopy in the area, and carbon removal. Discussions will also be held around how local schools and social work clients can get involved in management of the sites and how the fruit is used.

We’d live to see a new community group popping up to look after this park. It’s a fab idea and one which has so much potential. We only need to look at Strathaven park for example to see what is possible.

Meantime, we look forward in future years to see crops of many fruits in this area and hope Blantyre folk give these young trees the respect and care that they will require.

Photo Courtesy: G.Sowerby

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