Ancrum wildlife mural unveiled

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A 16-foot mural was unveiled at Woodside gardens near Jedburgh yesterday afternoon.

RSPB Borders commissioned Kelso illustrator Lucy McCririck to produce the work for a wall of their resource building in the walled garden near Ancrum.

Local committee member Keith Davies said: “The mural is absolutely superb, it’s bright and cheerful and it totally transforms the resource centre.”

The conservationist group opened a ‘wildlife garden’ in the south west corner of Woodside last year after raising money for the venture for four years and gaining £10,000 Lottery cash for hard landscaping.

Mr Davies said: “I don’t believe the RSPB have another site quite like it.

“The garden is designed to encourage people to garden in a way that encourages wildlife and it demonstrates you don’t have to have a wild garden to attract wildlife.

“It’s a question of being selective in what you plant, how you plant and how you maintain it – for example sometimes you can leave pruning and deadheading so the seeds develop for the birds.”

The mural was set to be unveiled yesterday afternoon by RSPB’s south and west Scotland director, Anne McCall.

Mr Davies said: “She’s been enormously supportive of the wildlife garden and officially opened it for us last year.”

The work, nearly five metres (16ft) long and over a metre (4ft) high, is in three panels and depicts the garden and wildlife that might be seen at Woodside.

Miss McCririck took photographs and asked local RSPB members advice about flora and fauna at Woodside before spending three weeks creating the piece.

“I was painting it in a hallway and into a room next door because it was so long – I’m impressed it fits together!” she joked.

The Edinburgh College of Art graduate is known locally for her painted model calf designed for the Border Union Show. She has also produced a children’s guide for the Scottish National Trust and illustrated a children’s gardening guide.