A local group of committed volunteers has been busy cleaning up the centre of Dalkeith since it was founded in August.
Dalkeith Guerrilla Gardeners weed, plant and tidy the streets of Dalkeith for locals and visitors to enjoy, taking pride in their hometown.
In a matter of weeks the group has grown as quickly as the weeds they aim to rid the town of, with 170 volunteers now registered with Dalkeith Guerilla Gardeners.
Dalkeith Guerrilla Gardeners founder Denise McKenzie from Kippielaw spoke about just some of the good work the group has done already in the town.
She said: “We have been working outside Crystalmount retirement home, and at the bottom of the High Street there were some beds that were overgrown.
“So we tidied them up. We also picked up litter.
“Previous to that we were at Eskdale Court. We had 25 bags of cuttings and rubbish. And thousands of cigarette butts.
“People seem to think its inconsequential to drop a cigarette in the streets, but it does build up and have an impact on the environment.”
Denise is delighted that the group has “brought the community together”.
She said: “We have got a really good community feel in the group, everyone is happy to help.
“And it’s made up of volunteers of all age groups. From young mums to people that are retired.
“It’s really brought the community together. We all have the same purpose in mind, to make Dalkeith a great place to live. Keeping it green and clean.”
Denise believes it is important that local people take pride in their town, and is glad she founded the group.
She said: “I would say it’s needed. A lot of people think it’s the council’s job to keep the town clean.
“But really the statutory obligations of the council don’t extend to weeding for example. They are not spraying the weeds anymore.
“So if we want to live in a much nicer environment, people should come together and look after it.
“It’s good fun as well.
“We put in a hard shift.”
Denise has been pleased with the progress made by Dalkeith Guerilla Gardeners, as have local businsses.
She said: “We had a really kind donation from one of the members from Crystamount. £50 to buy plants.
“And the Ford garage recently offered to sponsor us to tidy up the roundabout where the Lugton used to be.
“So we planted the bed at the Ford Garage roundabout at the entrance to Dalkeith. Dalkeith Ford Centre sponsored us and paid for the plants.
“Crystalmount residents were happy with their new flower beds too. They thanked us, serving us with tea and biscuits to keep us fuelled for the job.
“It was really great to see the community of all ages coming together!”
“As we got more well known, the appreciation grows.
“Just in the last few months we got together and now we have 170 members already.
“So people want to do it.”
Denise explained how the group started, and hopes it can continue to help Dalkeith look its best for a long time to come.
She said: “I was working with One Dalkeith and it was brought up. So I thought why not just do it. Since we started word has spread really quickly. It’s been brilliant.
“It’s all for the benefit of Dalkeith. It’s sad to see Dalkeith looking a bit tired, as I grew up there.
“But it only takes a bit of hard work, with everyone chipping in, to really make a difference to our town.
“It’s been great to see everyone come together to show a real love for their town and do their bit to make it look better.
“Long may it continue.”
To keep up to date with what the group are up to, search ‘Dalkeith Guerilla Gardeners’ on Facebook.
Denise added: “If you fancy coming along to help us clean-up the town, you should if possible bring gloves, a sweeping brush, rubbish sacks, a shovel, and a weeding tool .
“However, if you don’t have any of that don’t worry. There are plenty of jobs and tools to go round. Please note though, participants take part at their own risk.
“And kids are welcome to take part, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.”
Dalkeith Guerilla Gardeners next event is ‘Show Woodburn Some Love’, on Sunday, outside the MARC building at 1pm. The group will be weeding, clearing and litter picking along the front of the shops on Woodburn Road. Denise said: “Are you fed-up of hearing people complain about how untidy and unloved Woodburn is looking? Well now is the chance to change that.
“The area is regularly used by many amazing community groups and we want it to reflect how much we care for our community.
“Woodburn should be somewhere we are proud of; don’t wait for someone else to take pride in your community, get involved!”