Dobbies garden centres launch 'parklets' in Edinburgh

Garden centre chain Dobbies has designed two temporary mini park in George Street, Edinburgh.

The two parklets – the term was coined in San Francisco when the first "parklet" was established in 2010 – will see space previously used for cars used as a park.

Dobbies Garden Centres, Essential Edinburgh and The City of Edinburgh Council are getting together to create the two mini gardens. The creative work has been taken on by Dobbies, who are designing, building and planting the urban gardens – with one themed to reflect the street’s high fashion offering and the other to emphasise its food and drink.

Each urban garden will be 12m x 4m in size. One will be between Castle Street and Frederick Street and will be themed "Colours" to reflect fashion, with the other "Cocktails" to reflect the street’s hospitality offering situated between Frederick Street and Hanover Street.

The urban gardens will be in situ until September when the traffic order which enables the George Street trial is due to end.

Tesco-owned Dobbies managing director Andy King said: "These urban gardens show that whatever the size of the outdoor space you have, you can still do something wonderful with it.  We believe we’ve created mini oases in a space that was used for traffic in what is a UK first.

"Dobbies celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and we expect to see thousands, if not tens of thousands of people benefitting from the gardens over the summer.  Creating the parklets seemed like a very fitting way to thank the people of Edinburgh for their support over the last 150 years by bringing beautiful gardens into the heart of the city."

City of Edinburgh Council transport convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: "Recent changes to the layout of George Street have allowed shoppers, pedestrians and cyclists enjoy a relaxed, more attractive environment, and these gardens will really add to the street’s atmosphere.

"Our trial is all about making the city centre a better place for people to live, work, dine and shop, and spaces like these will provide passers-by with the perfect haven to enjoy."

Roddy Smith, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: "This is a fantastic pilot and we are delighted that Dobbies has come on board as a partner. The gardens will be terrific spaces for people to enjoy, and will show what can be done in the street setting alongside some of the other things that are being trialled to bring the bars and cafes out onto the pavement to create a vibrant café culture.

"George Street is a great street, with stunning architecture and wonderful shops, bars and restaurants and we very much believe the urban gardens will be a further enhancement."

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