Gardens in Renfrewshire have been awarded the highest level of distinction from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

The walled garden and community garden are maintained and run entirely by volunteers from The Friends of Barshaw Park, where they are located.

They were assessed on how well the community participates in the gardens, the environmental responsibility the group shows and the range of plants and flowers they manage to grow.

The Gazette:

Their Level 5 – Outstanding Distinction award is part of the “It’s Your Neighbourhood” campaign, which recognises where improvements have been made to community spaces for the public good.

Irene McDonald, chair of the group, told the Gazette: “This is a sign of what the community can achieve when we get together for the common good.

“Rain or shine, we’re here making sure that the garden remains a beautiful and relaxing spot that anyone can come to enjoy and this recognition helps it all feel worth it.

“Having the support of Renfrewshire Council, local residents and the amazing funders and donors that we have is what has made all of this possible.

“We are especially pleased to see our efforts to get people connected recognised in the assessment.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the gardens, to feel welcome and to know that they will always have a place to belong in the park.

"To know that this has been noticed feels great.”

The Gazette:

The walled garden was originally constructed in the late 19th century, during the Victorian era, as part of a broader movement to create public parks and gardens for the benefit of communities.

Like many walled gardens across Scotland, it fell into disrepair in recent times.

In 2014, however, a group of volunteers set about restoring it the garden.

Now, having been returned to its former glory, volunteers meet on Saturday mornings to maintain and develop the garden.

The community garden, meanwhile, which had its first growing season this year, is home to ten Paisley-based community groups.

Each group uses their plot in the garden to grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Supported by the Royal Horticultural Society, the garden has also been the venue for a range of educational workshops, supporting people to learn about sowing seeds, harvesting crops and creating a compost heap with garden waste.

“People have put their heart and soul into making Barshaw Park somewhere that everyone can enjoy and it’s great to see this effort come through in the Keep Scotland Beautiful assessment,” explained Jamie Kinlochan, who worked on the bid to establish the community garden.

“Over the course of the year, we’ve tried to make sure that no one who comes to the garden leaves empty handed.

“Whether people have left with a seed to grow on their windowsill, lettuce to put in their salad for lunch or flowers to put in a vase, we hope we’ve brought a little bit of joy to everyone who has come to visit the garden.

“With the autumn now coming in, we’re thinking about next year.

"We want to do more and we’d love to hear from people who want to help us grow.”