As I walked through the greenhouse door, I was confronted by the unmistakable heady aroma of hyacinth. That was the first thing that hit me as I visited the Greenfingers Project in Fort William. The next was the enthusiasm of Sheila Sen, the driving force behind the team of volunteers, who, three mornings a week, don their gardening clothes and head to the seed propagators and vegetable beds that are tucked away in a corner of Claggan Park.
For 15 years, they have worked with disabled people, as well as adults with learning difficulties, providing a welcoming environment where they can enjoy gardening together. Some of the examples Shelia gave me, have a striking horticultural parallel, as she described how she has watched people grow in confidence from one visit to the next.
They have had a tough winter, as their polytunnel finally succumbed to the storms, leaving just the frame and contents behind. So this spring, they are on a major fundraising drive. Every year, a big expense is the cost of seeds; any gardener flicking through a seed catalogue, will know how quickly the cost of a seed order can mount up. They also know that they will always have seeds left over, normally left to gather dust in a corner of the garden shed. They would be very welcome at the Greenfingers Project. I want to support this project in a practical way, by asking Lochaber residents to donate any unwanted, half packets of seed or by buying an extra pack of seeds when planning what they are going to sow this year. To help you make your donation you can drop them off at the Highland Council Service Point in Fort William or at Kinlochleven Post Office, please place in an outer envelope, along with your name and address, and mark “Councillor Andrew Baxter, Greenfingers Seed Donation.” Alternatively, you can post them to me at 12 Riverside Road, Kinlochleven, Argyll, PH50 4QH.