Floral rainbow a message of hope to Borders health workers

Garden centre workers planted 5,000 flowers in the shape of a rainbow at the entrance to the Borders General Hospital at Melrose as a show of support for staff there during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 16th April 2020, 10:39 am
A floral rainbow tribute at the Borders General Hospital.
A floral rainbow tribute at the Borders General Hospital.

Ross Allan, owner of the Milestone Garden Centre at Newtown, came up with that display to cheer medics up as they arrived and left.

The idea came from the drawings of rainbows being put up in windows nationwide as a thank-you to National Health Service staff and care workers.

Mr Allan was also inspired to create the floral artwork by one of his suppliers, Perthshire farmer Garry Young, who planted more than 150,000 flowers in the shape of a rainbow to encourage people to be “inspired to hope” during the pandemic.

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The Borders display, created from plants used in that original work in Perthshire, was intended as a temporary tribute, but the hospital was so impressed that a permanent floral rainbow has now been created at the same location.

Mr Allan said: “We were offered some of these plants from one of our bedding plant suppliers and I thought it was a good idea to contact the Borders General and take them along there and do a mini-rainbow of hope and offer all the hard-working staff the chance to take some of these plants home and hopefully put a smile on their face.

“Because of the feedback we got from the hospital, they asked us if they could make the rainbow a permanent planting there.

“They have cut out a new border in front of the chapel and planted the primroses in the rainbow design because so many people were stopping and admiring it when coming in and out of the hospital.

“The extra plants were given away to staff but the estate’s gardeners have now planted that as a permanent display.

“We are having to adapt to survive like every other business in the UK and are now offering a home delivery service to all our customers in the Borders, and we have had a phenomenal response to that and have had to hire in extra vans.

“We are working on very limited staff, so we have 10% of staff working and the rest are furloughed at the moment.

“They are challenging conditions, and we are learning every day and trying to offer the best service we can and keep people safe and happy in their gardens.

“By encouraging them to stay in their gardens, hopefully we are doing our bit to keep people safe.”

Brian Renwick, fundraising officer at the Borders General Hospital, said: “The front-line staff are under such tremendous pressure just now and the display put a little smile on their faces on the way to those long shifts.”