Culter in Bloom volunteers hosted a special Stovie and Wine supper last Friday to thank locals for practical and moral support during 2014.
It enabled them to achieve a third Silver Gilt Award in the Beautiful Scotland competition.
Around 62 supporters packed Culter’s Heritage Hall to hear the chair of C in B, Erik Stien, give his annual report, to take part in a horticultural quiz, and to enjoy a two-course supper.
Peterculter has a population of around 4500 and the 13-strong volunteer group has spent the last few years giving up some spare time to enhance their community with flowers, shrubs and trees.
Mr Stien reported on the astonishing amount of planting which they have carried out. There are 26 large planters, 52 barrels, 18 railing boxers, and 46 hanging baskets, many looked after by local residents through an ‘Adopt-a-Basket’ scheme.
One or two special features included a raised flower bed and a flower train (created from barrels) at the eastern entrance to the village, and the new illuminated St Peter sculpture (designed by Maryculter resident Ian Anderson) at the western entrance. New play equipment, trees, paths, flowers and benches have also enhanced the larger green spaces of Johnston Gardens and Coronation Park.
Environmental responsibility is integral to the group’s ethic and, thanks to land provided by former GP Dr Stuart Duncan, plants can be saved in a ‘holding bed’ for future years, while vegetable waste is disposed of there in either a mini compost heap.
The group also organises two ‘litter picks’ in springtime every year, one helped by the Aberdeen Deeside Rotary, and the other by local primary school pupils. Each year, at least £4000 is needed to fund these horticultural activities, firstly raised by fundraising from residents, secondly through plant sales, and thirdly by approaching local businesses and occasional project grants.
Mr Stien added: “There are no major local employers but we are lucky to have one benefactor who runs a major city business (but prefers to remain anonymous) and we do receive cash donations from smaller businesses in the area and we’re happy to work with them on customised schemes for their frontages.
Also, in commemoration of the centenary of the Great War, Marie Boulton, deputy leader of the city council, negotiated with Barratts to take over some waste land to create a community orchard next year at the west end of the village.”
But with tending to former plants and having new projects always in mind, Culter in Bloom are always on the lookout for anyone willing to give up a small amount of their spare time to help, and are always open to donations from local businesses as well. Erik Stien can be contacted on (01224) 734149, and the group’s treasurer, Catherine Lacy, can be contacted at (01224) 733710.