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Unexpected Garden – Stranraer

Unexpected Garden – Stranraer

The Unexpected Garden along the Stranraer waterfront has transformed the area and enabled local people to meet, grow, sow and share.

The Stove Network and Stranraer Development Trust’s Unexpected Garden is an invitation to residents and wider communities to come together to learn and grow. It presents an opportunity to put food growing into the heart of the community, whilst giving all local people of any age an opportunity to get involved to celebrate Stranraer’s local produce, arts, crafts, heritage and culture.

Our site is one of 12 Unexpected Gardens around Scotland, installed by creative programme Dandelion, showing that even the unlikeliest of places can bloom.

Who was Involved?

The Stove Network and Stranraer Development Trust (SDT) partnered with Dandelion, to create the Unexpected Garden at Burns House in Stranraer. Led locally by, Emerging Creative Producer, Bethany Piggott who worked with both the partners and community to deliver the project.

Commissioned by EventScotland and funded via the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. 

About the Project

The Unexpected Gardens were central to Dandelion’s ambition to get everyone in Scotland sowing, growing and sharing. From the Borders to the Highlands, along Scotland’s canals to urban, rural and island locations, whether indoors or open-air, on unused or forgotten land; these gardens – created by and for local communities – showcased that even the unlikeliest space can bloom.

Dandelion was an ambitious creative programme running from April to September 2022 that demonstrated the power of collective action in a major “grow-your-own” initiative.

Dandelion invited everyone to sow, grow and share – not just food, but music, scientific knowledge and ideas. Rooted in Scotland, with an international outlook and sustainability at its heart, the Dandelion programme followed the arc of the growing season, from April to September 2022, and culminated in hundreds of local Harvest events across the country.

What’s Next for The Garden?

There has been very little physical change in the town since the closure of the ferry terminal in 2012 and the Unexpected Garden has become a symbol of a possible future that is breeding renewed confidence in the community.

Six key local community organisations have plans for the garden to be part of their ongoing service delivery and have agreed to be part an advisory group that will direct the future development of the garden.

Plans for the garden revolve around community food growing and supplying food for town events and the community cafe.

The theme of resilience in the community through food production is being built into the Community Place Plan that is currently under production and the Unexpected Garden will be incorporated into the planned marina re-development of Stranraer harbour – it is hoped that this will include a pavilion building adjacent to the garden that can become a base for educational activity and administration for the garden.

The Stove will support planning and fundraising for the sustainable future of the Unexpected Garden, which we hope will include an independent management structure for the project.

For more information and to keep up-top0dae with the project, visit our Facebook page or website:

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