Wildflower hub at granton:hub

Making use of derelict land for nature always grabs our attention. And when it includes a wildflower nursery, we’re extra intrigued. That led us to visit Granton:hub, a volunteer-run community arts charity and garden based at historic Madelvic house in north Edinburgh. The work they’ve achieved in creating an open and inviting social space in a built-up area to include a community garden, scrap-store and event space is a huge achievement, creating an excellent area for pollinators as well as people.

Now, the outdoor space of Granton:hub is developing as a raised-bed community garden. Previously concreted, the raised beds are a great solution to growing on sites with thin soil depth. The garden is open to everyone throughout the week, with a gardening drop-in session every Wednesday between 10am and 1pm, encouraging people to get hands on and gain confidence in gardening.

Recognising the importance of pollinators to the success of fruit, vegetables and plant growth, there is a wildflower nursery located within the community garden. Volunteers help grow native wildflowers from locally sourced seeds or seeds purchased from Scotiaseeds. This not only teaches volunteers about the different species pollinators prefer and their growing conditions, but plug plants can be bought, helping to encourage more pollinator-friendly habitat creation across the city.

Leonie Alexander, a volunteer of Granton Hub who also works for Royal Botanical Gardens as their Urban Biodiversity Project Officer talked about the importance of manging expectations when encouraging others to create wildflower meadows. You can never predict or guarantee what will flourish, and you never know what might come up in year three or four that hasn’t flourished before then. That’s one of the interesting and exciting things about growing wildflowers – the result can be a surprise!

Although aspects of what will flourish are left to nature, what you can control is how you prepare the site for wildflowers and how you manage it. The nutrient-levels, depth and type of soil all influence successful establishment. Wildflowers flourish on low-fertility soil, which can make degraded brownfield sites perfect for wildflower establishment. If managed sympathetically, your wildflower site can have ample benefits in offering food and shelter for a range of pollinators and other wildlife.


If establishing a wildflower patch or meadow, wildflower plug plants are good alternatives to growing from seed. They can be planted straight into existing or new grassland areas, bare ground, under trees, in glades etc., and have greater chances of successful establishment. Granton:Hub sell their wildflower plug plants, and can grow to order if requested.

For more information on the great work Granton Hub are up to and how to get involved yourself, visit: https://grantonhub.org/