Frequently Asked


There are many questions that we get asked on a regular basis.  We hope this list will clear up any queries you may have.  Please feel free to contact us if you have anything else you'd like to know.

Who is Riverside Naturally?

Riverside Naturally is made up of people who love Riverside, you can be a resident of the area or you can simply be keen to get involved and look after one of the most beautiful areas in the City Centre.  

There are a range of people involved - some with experience in environmental issues and others who are simply enthusiastic and want to get involved.


Do you have to know how to garden to join Riverside Naturally?


In fact one of the best things about Riverside Naturally is that there are a lot of people who are very knowledgeable in all things green and are delighted to share information and support you.


What does it mean to be a member of Riverside Naturally?

Being a member of Riverside Naturally means you will get information on events and volunteering opportunities.  You will receive our regular e-bulletin and you will be entitled to attend the Annual General Meeting.

Membership is free and is available to anyone aged 16+ who supports the work of Riverside Naturally which is to make Riverside a better place to live by making it a better place for nature.


How do I join Riverside Naturally?

Visit this page and complete the form, it's that easy!


What does 'Biodiversity' mean and why is it important?


Biodiversity is the term given to describe a wide and varied selection of living creatures including plant life, wild life and bug life.  In this situation we are referring to our gardens and green spaces.  

Biodiversity is important because each living creature fills an important role in balancing our ecosystem.  If there are too many or too few an imbalance occurs which can result in an number of undesirable consequences including plants failing to thrive and wildlife dying off. 

We believe that if we make choices that support and promote biodiversity in Riverside's green spaces we help the plant and we enhance our area for all the living creatures that call it home.

Further Information:  Why We Encourage Biodiversity


What does 'native' mean?


A native species is one that originated in its surrounding habitat and has grown to be best suited to the environment.

Native plants support significantly more wildlife as they have adapted to all the local conditions - weather, soil, wildlife.

What do you mean by invasive species?

An invasive species is a one which negatively impacts their environment.  In our case we use it to refer to plants that overwhelm and eradicate many other species.

This is problematic because a thriving ecosystem needs to include a variety of plants, this attracts a diverse range of creatures which is our aim.  

Riverside has two species in particular that are invasive


Why do you cut down trees?


We understand that cutting down trees seems at odds with out pledge to protect and enhance our green spaces.  

If we ever take the hard decision to remove trees it will be based on a few considerations:


Diseased - Sometimes trees can become diseased and may have to be removed for public safety.


Overcrowding – in the case of the Northern Woodland D, a lot of the trees were self seeded which resulted in over crowing and a lot of trees fighting for the same resources. Different tree species have totally different needs for light, soil, water, nutrients and having a variety allows them to complete less and thrive.


Biodiversity – Trees cast shade which limits the productivity of the ground beneath. A thriving woodland space will have a variety of trees, shrubs and plants and with careful planning everything can grow successfully.


We would like to assure you that we will always replace a tree we remove and it's our aim to plant even more around Riverside, ensuring that we choose the right tree for the right place.  

Further information:  Woodland Gardens    Trees


When talking about trees, what do you mean by unproductive?


This term is typically used to refer to fruit trees which are not producing as much as they are expected to. 


There are many possible causes of poor crops of fruit, from bad weather conditions, pests or disease to things within our control such as underfeeding or excessive pruning.

Further information:  Riverside Community Orchard


Why do you want to weed out the pretty pink flowers along the river?


This plant is called Himalayan Balsam.  It has a very effective seed dispersal system where it can shoot pods up to seven metres away.  The seeds are also swept down the river which spreads it even further.    It is also very hardy so it grows abundantly very quickly and doesn't give other plants a chance to grow.


This is considered an Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) - this means it is illegal to cause it to spread which makes the removal of more complicated.  


The most effective way to control the spread of this plant is to dig up the roots and allow the plant to dry out and die in the same location.  This means that if any seeds do fall out and germinate they will not be spread any further.

But if the bees really like it, does it matter?

We love bees - they are excellent pollinators but they are only part of the picture.  There are a lots of other creatures that pollinate and millions more, that may not be so obvious, that play a vital role in keep our ecosystems in balance and thriving.

We need lots of different creatures to do lots of different jobs and having a range of plants is essential for this to happen.


Can you sort out the Giant Hogweed?


Giant Hogweed grows in abundance around Riverside, and in particular on the riverbanks.  Due to the location of these plants we are not equipped to attempt to remove them.

This plant is also problematic because of it's toxic sap and we would advise against anyone to touching Giant Hogweed.

Stirling Council has a programme to address this issue though the spread of the Giant Hogweed has got worse over the months of lockdown and the restrictions on the grounds teams and the stretched resources due to the Coronavirus crisis.

As a priority they are addressing any plants found in public spaces and when guidelines and resources allow they

will deal with the plants on the riverbank.  


What do I do if I come into contact with Giant Hogweed?


If it comes into contact it can cause photosensitivity  and your skin can become very sensitive to UV ray which can cause burn, blistering and long lasting  issues.  ​If you find it in your garden and want to remove it, do so with care, cover your arms and legs, wear gloves and a face mask is advisable.

In the event you come in to contact with the plant keep your skin out of the sun and rinse with cold water immediately.  If in any doubt, seek further medical advice.