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Generous Water Butts Donation From Wickes Helps Sustainability Practice at Inverness Botanic Gardens

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Four new water butts have been donated to the Inverness Botanic Gardens by the Inverness store of major DIY home and garden retailer Wickes.

These water butts will collect over two hundred litres of rainwater each, to then be used across the plant beds in Inverness Botanic Gardens in a triumphant effort to operate and maintain the space as sustainably as possible.

Rona MacFarlane, High Life Highland’s Horticultural Trainer at Inverness Botanic Gardens, shared:

“Wickes have been very generous to Inverness Botanic Gardens through the years, and have been particularly strong supporters of the ‘GROW Project’.

“The ‘GROW Project’ has around 50 people involved on a weekly basis, and we share thoughts and ideas about being happy, productive, and sustainable.

“Long-time ‘GROW’ Gardeners Carol, Michael, and John, have been over the moon with the four new water butts as a means of sustainably collecting and recycling rainwater for the project.

“Each water butt has a 210-litre capacity – that’s the same as about 140 orange juice cartons!”

‘GROW’ stands for Garden-Recycle-Organics-Wildlife, and the project provides a sympathetic environment for adults with a learning disability that uses horticulture therapy to deliver training and work experience which goes towards improving trainees’ levels of independence, social inclusion, health, and happiness.

Rona continued:

“In the last few years, Scottish Water have issued water scarcity alerts for parts of the Highlands, so we have had to change our gardening techniques to be even more sustainable.

“Collecting and reusing rainwater is one of those ways.

“Currently, the new water butts are part of our new-build educational classroom, and we encourage everyone to consider futureproofing by saving water in this way – water butts can be easily retrofitted to existing drainpipes for which Wickes have many options to choose from.

“We have positioned one to display good practice to our visitors, and another for our vegetable patch which as well as rainwater is filled with nettles, to create a nutritious ‘tea’ for courgettes, tomatoes, fruit trees and roses.”

Inverness Botanic Gardens has been actively revising their garden-wide practises to factor in climate change and a reduction of carbon footprint.

One of these techniques includes ‘No-Dig’, which reduces watering needs and carbon release by maintaining and continually improving the soil structure with mulches.

By doing so, rainwater collected from the Wickes water butts can be more relied on going forward.

Aiden Wiseman, Operations Manager for Wickes Inverness, said:

“I’m glad to hear the volunteers are so thrilled with their donations, it gives a real sense of satisfaction to know that we at Wickes are helping out in the community.

“Each Wickes store has an annual budget that allows for donations to various community projects.

“This year alone, the Inverness store has donated to a number of different projects around the Highlands.

“Any community project who wishes to seek donations just needs to contact the store and let us know a little bit about what the project is, what specific items they are after, and a few personal details.

“We have utilised our full budget for 2023, however the budget renews every January so will be open again for 2024.

“Please note that Wickes is unable to help every community project that gets in touch, but we always do our best to make a difference.”

Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, concluded:

“High Life Highland is blown away by the kindness and generosity of local businesses in giving back to their community.

“The donation of water butts from Wickes is an important addition to the sustainability goals of Inverness Botanic Gardens and is highly appreciated particularly within the ‘GROW Project’.”

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