Creative programme Dandelion reveal ‘unexpected garden’, artwork and live music location in Glasgow

A series of specially created ‘edible’ gardens are set to transform patches of unused land and unexpected places all over Scotland as part of a unique nationwide “grow your own” food initiative.

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Bringing new life to community libraries, waterfronts, car parks and even tidal sites from the Western Isles to the Borders, the Unexpected Gardens are set to be a highlight of Dandelion, a new creative programme, taking place from April to September 2022.

Glasgow’s unexpected garden: In Glasgow the unexpected garden will be a floating one - on a barge on the Forth and Clyde canal.

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What to expect: Consisting of two barges and floating ecosystems that will be delivered in collaboration with urban water scaping specialists, Biomatrix, the Floating Garden will engage community networks across central Scotland, from local growers and schools to members of the public, audiences can follow the tour to experience the gardens in all their glory. One barge will carry one of Dandelion’s cubes of perpetual light, whilst the other will host a miniature allotment, complete with its own garden shed.

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    A Dandelion ‘floating garden’ will tour the Forth and Clyde and Union canal network. Picture: Andrew Cawley

    Launching from Glasgow in June, the Floating Garden will pass through Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Auchinstarry, Bonnybridge, Polmont, Linlithgow, Broxburn; Ratho and Edinburgh before docking at the Helix, Falkirk until September 2022.

    Commissioned by EventScotland and funded via the Scottish Government, Dandelion is Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a nationwide programme of creative events and engagement. Driven by the concept of ‘Sow, Grow, Share’ – not just food but ideas, music, scientific knowledge, and community - Dandelion takes a unique approach to growing. Bringing together artists, scientists, performers, and technologists to present events and programmes throughout Scotland, including the Unexpected Gardens, Dandelion will culminate in hundreds of harvest celebrations later this year.

    Each Unexpected Garden will host a programme of events to each location throughout the summer, programmed by a creative producer. A local Musician in Residence will also be appointed to each site, with applications now open, to create a new piece of work to be presented at the culminating Harvest festival event in September.

    Additionally, the gardens will be visited by Dandelion’s specially designed Cubes of Perpetual Light, part-artwork, part-miniature vertical farms, the cubes will grow hundreds of seedlings under LED light, showcasing the latest technological innovation in horticulture.

    Other unexpected gardens: Other sites include Findhorn Bay Arts’ gardens in the centre of Forres. The unique gardens will respond to the town’s main square and multiple alleys, promoting the growing of mushrooms which will thrive in the dark shadowy entryways. Also in the Highlands, arriving in sites across Caithness, Lyth Arts Centre’s garden will roll off a trailer and become home to a performance and workshop space.

    In Fife, the Leven Programme will convert the car park of The Centre – a community space – into a garden site. Elsewhere, Cove Park in Argyll will look to the water as they use tidal sites in Loch Long and Gare Loch to focus on food and flora native to the area such as sea buckthorn and seaweed.

    Elsewhere in Scotland, Edinburgh Agroecology Group will develop a garden site at Lauriston Farm, RIG Arts will take over a site behind South West Library in Greenock, Taigh Chearsabhagh in Uist, Fèis Rois in Alness, The Stove Network and Stranraer Development Trust, Alchemy Film & Arts in the Borders and a partnership of organisations in Dundee are also dusting off their green fingers to get involved.

    Find out more: To find out more about your local ‘edible garden’ visit dandelion.scot.

    10 sites are currently taking applications for the role of Musician in Residence, for more information, and to apply please go to dandelion.scot/opportunities

    Neil Butler, Festival and Events Director, Dandelion said: “We’re excited to announce the locations of our Unexpected Gardens and look forward to watching each of the gardens come to life as they grow. Sustainability lies at the heart of our programme, and we can’t wait to see people from all over Scotland sowing, growing, and sharing food, music and ideas.”

    Fiona Dalgetty, Futures Director, said: “As part of Dandelion, we’re excited to work with a local musician or band who will help provide the soundtrack to our Harvest. Our Musician in Residence role is a great opportunity for artists who are passionate about the environment and the climate crisis to share their voice. Music has the fantastic ability to forge emotional connection and unify people from all walks of life and hopefully create an understanding of the environmental challenges facing our times.”

    Marie Christie, Head of Development at VisitScotland said: “We are thrilled that gardens across the whole of Scotland will be enjoyed by local people and visitors as part of the Dandelion programme throughout this year. It’s wonderful to be part of a project that celebrates such creativity and aims to connect with the widest range of audiences and participants.”

    Who are Dandelion? Dandelion is one of 10 major creative projects commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, which is taking place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2022. The UK’s most ambitious showcase of creative collaboration includes free large-scale events, installations and globally accessible digital experiences, and an extensive learning programme, which aims to reach millions of schoolchildren. Five other projects from the UNBOXED programme will present activities in Scotland, in addition to Dandelion.

    UNBOXED’s Chief Creative Officer, Martin Green said: “UNBOXED celebrates creativity in its widest sense, placing it at the heart of people’s everyday lives, as Dandelion is doing across Scotland this summer. As a project, Dandelion is literally about sowing seeds for the future, which we hope will inspire local communities and the next generation. It’s part of a programme of five brilliant projects taking place in Scotland as part of UNBOXED this year, which combine art, science and tech, offering amazing events and experiences for everyone.”

    The full programme of events taking place at each garden will be released in spring.