SHE has a background in fine art and graphic design, but a change of career opened up a whole new world for Jean Gavin who decided to explore opportunities in horticulture.

Stemming from what she described her as her midlife crisis, Ms Gavin went on to pursue a new path as a gardener and has never looked back.

The enjoyment and tranquility she gets from gardening is one reason she is backing The Herald Garden of Remembrance campaign which has recently seen us launch a £50,000 public fundraiser.

The former head gardener of Glasgow’s Hidden Garden, which is at the rear of the Tramway Theatre in the city's south side, has a vast amount of experience in garden design and believes they can be areas which provide solace for people.

Read more: First Minister shows support for Herald memorial garden campaign

She is one of many experts who have offered their help to create a memorial cairn and garden for Scotland’s victims of coronavirus.We have received a number offers of help but readers were also asking how they could donate financially. This is why we launched a fundraiser to build a fitting tribute to those who have lost their lives and somewhere their families can go to remember them.

The Herald has been offered at site at Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park and our vision is to create a cairn with a stone to represent the lives of every Scottish victim of Covid-19.

Ms Gavin, who is currently Grow and Learn Development Officer with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, said: “I think the idea of a memorial garden is just wonderful and I would love to be involved in whatever way I can. The venue of Pollok Park seems perfect. I live in a flat and don’t actually have a garden. For me being able to walk through Pollok Park has been part of my daily lockdown routine and I think it is an amazing area that the city has. For me it has been a godsend.

“A garden can be very restorative and peaceful and I think we all need that in our lives right now. I think this period has shown us how important nature is and people might be able to find solace in nature.”

Read more: Herald memorial garden fundraiser for Scotland's victims of Covid-19

During her time as head gardener at the Hidden Garden she designed a number of special areas.

She added: “My role there involved the development and maintenance of the garden. I was involved in designing a bee and butterfly border and carefully looked at what kind of plants we would use to help increase biodiversity. I designed a special border for the 40th anniversary of Scottish Ballet as they were using the Tramway as rehearsal space focusing on plants with a ruby red colour. The Hidden Garden is a wonderful place and there are even areas where you can see the old tram lines as its built on the site of a former terminal.”

It was through her work at the Hidden Garden that Ms Gavin became involved in workshops and training. And in her current role she helps support people on the RCHS grow and learn project. Sadly most of that activity has been postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Ms Gavin added: “Working with people with additional needs on the grow and learn project has taught me so much more about how important gardens are and what they can do for people. Seeing what other people get out of working on a garden has been very rewarding. There are a number of activities that people who are on the scheme have to complete and I am there to offer support. We have projects taking place from Shetland to Stranraer and we must have had more than 1000 people take part over the years. It would be lovely if there was some way the people we work with could be involved in the memorial garden project.”

Already people have very kindly donated to the fund which also received an initial offer of £5000 from Hillington-based firm HCS Mechanical and Electrical whose director Mark Lammey was a close friend of Glasgow trucker Jim Russell, 51, who died from the virus in May. Mr Russell had been due to marry his fiancee Connie McCready this month.

On Saturday we launched a public fund in aid of The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign.

Donald Martin, editor of The Herald, said: “There has been a growing demand from people, including readers and well-wishers, to put money towards the campaign. In response, we have launched a fund and set a nominal target of £50,000 to allow us to create what we believe will be a memorial which serves as a fitting tribute to those who have died and their families.”

To donate go to: You can also send donations via post to The Herald Garden of Remembrance Campaign, Herald & Times, 125 Fullarton Drive, Glasgow G32 8FG.

If you want to get in touch, email us