Friendship stories

Dumfries Adoptive Railway Gardeners – Frank is pictured in the back row (right)

Frank’s friendship story

Frank Jones is a volunteer with Dumfries Adoptive Railway Gardeners (DARG). Frank explains how this It’s Your Neighbourhood group is connecting with people day in day out.

DARG, Dumfries Adoptive Railway Gardeners, design and maintain the railway station gardens at Dumfries with funding from ScotRail. Dumfries railway station is a 10-minute walk from the town centre.

There are 10 of us volunteers, all retired and from a variety of backgrounds. We work hard on one shift per week but enjoy the breaktime banter as much as anything.

“Our motivation is seeing the happiness and the positive impact on wellbeing that the gardens bring to people. These may only be fleeting contacts, but we feel a real connection to the people passing through.”

Over the past 18 months, we have been working hard to make the gardens as sustainable as possible – replacing annuals with perennials, propagating our own plants and mulching. We are also encouraging wildlife to the gardens and have reclaimed, cultivated and transformed a derelict woodland area.

As work has progressed, we have received many kind comments and words of encouragement from passing members of the public. Here is just a selection:

One commuter, walking in the woodland area, told us:

“I can’t believe how you’ve transformed the gardens over the past 18 months.”

A horticulturalist from Leeds said:

“I can’t believe the range of plants that you’ve included.”

A train driver said:

“It always brings a smile to my face when I see Dumfries Station gardens.”

Sitting one evening on a bench in the formal garden, two middle-aged gentlemen explained:

“We sit here often. It’s a peaceful place. We talk about our own gardens that we left behind in Ukraine.”

A couple of twenty-something-year-olds, one bright summer lunchtime, as they ate sandwiches in the garden, said:

“We work in a warehouse close by. We’re so lucky to be able to bring our lunches to a lovely garden.”

How lucky are we as a volunteer gardening group to be able to bring joy to folks who pass by and form these momentary friendships?

DARG is part of It’s Your Neighbourhood. Each year the group receives feedback from experienced mentors on how to grow and develop. Why not sign up today?

Platform 1 new perennial bed at Dumfries station

Volunteers planting out the reclaimed woodland garden

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