The Eden Project will bring swathes of colour to the city of Dundee with the planting of a series of wildflower meadows.
The first of these meadows to be developed will be at Seabraes, located near the science centre and approximately a mile from the former Dundee Gasworks on East Dock Street, the proposed site for the Eden Project’s home in Dundee.
Other locations will be at Camperdown Park and the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc.
In addition, a further seven sites have been identified by Dundee City Council that will be developed and maintained through the Nature Restoration Fund. Eden will support the evolution of these sites with training and narrative building.
These meadows will be at Magdalen Green and Dawson Park, Lochee and Myrekirk Parks, Claypotts Pond, Caird Park and Claverhouse Industrial Estate.
The meadows will be planted next spring (2022) and will start blooming in the summer. The planting programme is part of Eden’s commitment to the city ahead of the opening of Eden Project Dundee in 2024.
The funding for the project, which will initially take place over two years, is being provided by the Alexander Moncur Trust, a grant making charity based in Dundee celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2022, and NatureScot, a nature agency with 30 years’ experience advising the Scottish Government, promoting, caring for and improving Scotland’s nature and landscapes.
To mark the occasion of their anniversary, the Alexander Moncur Trust desired to make a significant award to an initiative in Dundee that would reflect its objectives.
Prior to its special award for Eden’s wildflower project the Trust has made 57 awards to charities serving Dundee and its environs during 2021, with a total value of £177,000. The focus of the Alexander Moncur Trust has been on supporting community and voluntary initiative, addressing poverty and disadvantage.
The Trust will be represented on the Steering Group for the wildflower project and will use its connections and network to bring added value to the project.
NatureScot are supporting the kickstart of the project at Seabraes. The area is in a central location and will allow the project to form part of the city’s tourism strategy and will create a large impact habitat for people, wildflower species and pollinators. The developed area, around 2.4 hectares in size, will have the potential to host community markets, student pop-ups and other community events.
Dan James, Eden’s Development Director, said: “We are delighted to announce this fantastic project which will deliver community engagement, biodiversity, wildlife habitat and nature spaces for people to access for wellbeing, health, joy and beautification.
“This project represents hope for a green future. Every community deserves to have green space and nature to explore and it demonstrates our commitment to Dundee to make a real difference to people and the places they live.”
Marjory Knowles, Chair of the Alexander Moncur Trust, said: “We have been setting aside some funding in each of the last three years to enable us to make a significant two-year award without detracting from out annual portfolio of small to medium sized awards.
“During 2021 the trust made 57 awards to charitable organisations which provide a service to people living in the Dundee area.
“The application we received from Eden perfectly fits our objective. Our support should pump-prime the wildflower initiative. The project will make a visible impact in many of the cities most disadvantaged communities and it will work with existing community groups and has the potential to be of both environmental and educational benefit.”
Denise Reed, NatureScot’s Tayside & Grampian Area Manager, said: “It’s wonderful to collaborate on this exciting project for the city, helping to bring nature into central Dundee.
“The wildflower meadow at Seabraes will not only be a special space for people to enjoy, but it will also help our struggling pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and ladybirds.”
Dundee City Council Leader, Councillor John Alexander, said: “We’ve seen from the wildflower habitats already in place across Dundee how much they can transform our open spaces.
“Dundee is perfect for introducing even more wildflower meadows. Some 41% of our city is publicly accessible greenspace – the highest percentage in Scotland.
“While the opening of the Eden Project Dundee may be some time off yet, I’m delighted that our collaboration is already starting to bring tangible and enduring benefits to our communities.”
To achieve its ambitions, the project will see Eden working alongside several partners including Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, Scottish Enterprise, Dundee University, Dundee Botanic Garden, James Hutton Institution and Dundee City Council.
Together, the wildflower sites will support Dundee City Council’s biodiversity strategy to enhance all habitats and to deliver the co-benefits of both climate change adaptation and mitigation. They will also provide accessible spaces with opportunities for recreation, social interaction, outdoor play and learning and spaces to unwind and relax.
The sites will also act as a hub to run creative and arts-based activities and deliver opportunities for families, young people and others to engage in cultural events.
Each of the wildflower areas will contain different, carefully selected mixes of annuals and perennial flowers, chosen due to their adaptation to local soil and environmental conditions.
In May, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Eden, National Grid and SGN to kick off a period to explore the practicalities of converting the site of the former Dundee Gasworks on East Dock Street into Eden Project Dundee. At the same time, the first image of how the attraction may look was unveiled.
Eden predicts that the project will create 200 jobs (with an additional 300 indirectly created) and contribute £27m per year to the regional economy.