GARDENERS decided to dig deep as they created a horticultural haven in honour of healthcare staff and key workers on the coronavirus frontline.

Members of Blooming Inverkip have been beavering away during lockdown and their special garden at the community hub was officially opened by IRH staff nurse Louise Tedeschi, pictured, cutting the ribbon.

Bob Russell, who led the project, said they decided on the theme of 'you're a star' and used the garden to tidy up a barren area at the front of the building.

He said: "As the reality of Covid 19 in Inverclyde began to take its toll on friends, family, neighbours everyone has had to think outside the box and adapt as best they could.

"We started to talk about doing a slow build garden that would be ready once lockdown was over to brighten up this area, but had no funds available."

Undeterred, the gardening groundforce decided to pitch in their own money for plants and compost and agreed to use recycled materials.

Bob says the project has been important for the wellbeing of everyone involved.

He said: "Some are retired, furloughed, single, married and everyone brings something to the table.

"We knew that by incorporating this into daily outings and exercise routines, whilst minimising social contact within the guidelines set, we could give it a go.

"We came up with the idea of a garden which we could dedicate to say a thank you to our local key workers."

Special guests invited to the opening included nurse Louise, postman George McPaul and Mary Beveridge and Colette McKendry from Sainsbury's.

The garden incorporates pastel-coloured planters to represent 'an atmosphere of tranquility and calmness that key workers have been giving us' whilst saving lives.

Four white roses were meanwhile planted as a sign of hope.

Children and a local artist painted rainbows on stones and a local craft expert has been making crochet rainbows.

Bob hopes that the public will enjoy the garden as much as the members do.

He said: "We say 'thank you' to them and also pray that this gives a flicker of hope to people who see this, and and bit of colour and pleasure to our local community in the knowledge that we will come out the other side of this fighting and moving forward but never forgetting."

As well as volunteers local businesses have pitched in to help the project.

Bob wants to thank Westcoast Woodfuels for their donation of woodchip and B& Q in Port Glasgow for their generous gift of bedding plants.