Beyond the garden wall …

There are many groups and organisations delivering outstanding community benefit across Cupar & Country – and we are very happy to support them through a number of initiatives, including this Blog to help raise awareness for their work. The latest to feature is Over Rankeilour Walled Garden. We caught up with Louise Crombie to discover more …

Over Rankeilour Walled Garden is a not-for-profit organisation based in the former walled garden of Over Rankeilour house. Their location? Just to the west of Cupar, opposite the Scottish Deer Centre – the former steading for the house.

We asked how Louise became involved in the unique project: “I previously worked as an NHS GP in Methil and had seen the good that green space projects were doing in that part of Fife.” It was through her work as a GP that she started to see the benefits of being outside in a green space, working in and with nature – whilst also working alongside others. Louise adds: “The sense of teamwork and community I saw when visiting projects such as CLEAR Buckhaven and Methil and Silverburn Park in Leven inspired me to want to create something similar in the Cupar area.

The large, unused walled garden was available and she hoped a green space initiative could be established to benefit people in and around the town. That was in 2021. A year later – in June 2022 – the Community Garden project launched. She explains their small beginnings: “We started by growing a few cut flowers and selling them at Luvians Bottle Shop on Bonnygate – and later also at Cairnie Fruit Farm.

From little seeds …

Today, they have “a thriving cut flower business” and that success and income has helped them to raise funds to support the project ongoing. Louise adds: “We have also been fortunate enough to receive generous funding from the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, for which we are extremely grateful.

She explains their work saying: “We aim to provide a safe and supportive green space environment in our 200 year old walled garden.” To that end, they run twice weekly gardening sessions to which “everyone is welcome“. They also take referrals from NHS organisations and third sector groups.

Four seasons …

Over Rankeilour Walled Garden operates year-round and relishes the seasonal change to help support their work. Louise says: “Through the help of our wonderful volunteers, the garden changes every day and, as a result, our ways of generating income also evolve.

Currently, the flower business generates the most income. Louise says: “We sell cut flowers grown in the garden as a way of supporting the project and are introducing regular plant sales and open days so that the wider community can also have the chance to enjoy the garden and see what we are doing.

Green shoots …

The team has very exciting plans for the future that result from being approached by interested parties hoping to run “forest school type sessions” within the garden – as well as creative and artistic workshops … even yoga and pilates classes are being considered.

Currently, they have three volunteer coordinators who lead sessions from 10am – 1pm every Tuesday and Thursday. It is this aspect that Louise sees as the greatest achievement: “Finding a regular team of wonderful volunteers who seem to really enjoy being with us! Seeing the garden being enjoyed again after many years is very rewarding.” She adds: “Our project is all about people. There is a wonderful feeling of teamwork in the garden. Everyone has something to contribute, whether they come with any previous gardening knowledge or not, and that feeling of being valued is what we most hope to achieve for our volunteers. Watching the garden change and develop is also rather wonderful!

As with all who feature on our Blog, we asked Louise what she would recommend to someone visiting Cupar for the first time – or for the first time in a long time: “A Saturday market day in Cupar is such a lovely experience. A multitude of friendly stalls selling wonderful local produce creates a real buzz and is well worth a visit.

Need more?

You can follow the Garden on Facebook via this link.

If you’d like to visit or get involved, please message via their Facebook page or email Louise via this link.


Thank you for reading!