Suntrap Garden


Save our Suntrap Campaign

The public have a chance to stop the demise of Suntrap Garden

Suntrap Garden’s Open Day in May 2011 could be its last unless the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and Oatridge College’s scandalous decision to sell the Green Belt located Garden to property developers is halted.

But all is not lost.

A group of representatives of the organisations which use Suntrap is seeking a rescue package by pursuing funding to run the Garden with the help of volunteers.  And as part of the effort the Garden volunteers are holding a further Open Day as part of its fundraising efforts on Sunday 22nd May from 10.30am – 4pm.   Attractions will include a sale of plants, displays, exhibits and demonstrations, face-painting for the youngsters, Eubee a snowy owl, gardening for children, refreshments and home baking.

Entry to the garden is £2 for adults and free for children and OAPs, with the money from that and several of the stalls going to the Friends of Suntrap and Save our Suntrap Campaign. Parking is free.

Suntrap is reached from the A8 and is signposted about half a mile west of the Edinburgh City Bypass roundabout. It is served by Lothian Buses services 25, 34 and 45 to the Park and Ride at Riccarton/Heriot Watt Campus.

Benefactor, George Boyd Anderson, gave the Garden to the NTS in 1966 as a place for horticultural education for those with small gardens – a concept well ahead of its time.  He wanted the NTS to ensure it would be really useful to the public.  It has provided advice and classes to generations of gardeners and, in recent years, has been a special therapeutic training resource for students with learning difficulties who find the place relaxing and rewarding.

Suntrap is well known in the Gardening Community.  The Save Our Suntrap (SOS) Group, led by the Friends of Suntrap (the very first NTS Friends’ group) comprises members of national and local organisations such as Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, Perennial, Scottish Gardeners’ Forum, National Bonsai Collection and Suntrap Gardening Club.

SOS is fighting passionately on behalf of the Garden.  This community group proposes to continue to open the Garden to the public and reinstate classes but also has plans to expand the role of the Garden in therapeutic and other ways, including gardening space, providing the public with fresh opportunities to garden in a healthy environment.

SOS is seeking to lease the Garden to prove that it can be run effectively in accordance with the principles under which it was gifted as a legacy to the gardeners of the future.  The members have support with the campaign from a variety of sources, including politicians.

It would be an outrage if this Garden is lost to the property market when there is a chance that it could be saved!  With help, the sun could shine again on Suntrap!

Members of the public can do their part in saving the garden by showing their support and coming along to our Open Day on Sunday May 22nd.



Suntrap to Close

Yesterday we got the awful news that due to cut backs Oatridge College who run lifelong learning classes at Suntrap Garden are handing the garden back to the National Trust for Scotland at the end of July.  The NTS are themselves in trouble financially and it looks as if the garden will be shut permanently unless someone appears very quickly with a rescue package. The volunteers who help in the garden are willing to continue to support the garden and the Friends of Suntrap also want to continue to support the garden.

There is doubt about what will happen to the National Bonsai Collection which is housed in the garden. A new bonsai house is nearing completion. In the last year volunteers have been keeping the garden open to visitors over the weekends and visitor numbers have increased as have sales of plants grown to help maintain the garden.

If you have not yet visited this treasure then please do so before the gates close for the last time. If you think it should be saved for its teaching facility which will be impossible to replicate at Oatridge then write to your MSP, MP, etc. So much lottery money is going to support the Olympic games but we need funding now for a basic educational facility for the most vulnerable members of society. On this site alone day in and day out we see people asking basic gardening questions like how to grow potatoes. At Suntrap, adult education night classes cater for the increasing numbers who want to learn about gardening.

Hidden Treasure to Close

Taken from the article from the blog – Grows on You, to find out further information http://www.sos2010.btck.co.uk



Evening Classes and Workshops for Autumn and Winter

As many of you may be aware Oatridge College notified us on Wednesday 9 June that they would no longer be involved with Suntrap Garden as they are withdrawing from using the garden as a teaching facility. 

At the moment consultation is going on with the National Trust for Scotland who are joint owners of the site.  The garden will remain open until Tuesday 31 August and may well continue to be open after that date of the college withdrawal.

It is therefore with huge sadness that we have to inform you that all evening classes and workshops are being cancelled as we cannot run them from Suntrap Garden and Oatridge College has decided not to transfer classes to their main campus.

We would like to thank everyone for their support over the years and hope that you have enjoyed the classes and that they have inspired you and relaxed you.



Suntrap Garden Open Day – Sunday 23 May 2010 – 10.30 am to 4.00 pm

Everyone has been busy preparing for our annual charity Open Day, which again this year is being held in support of Perennial, Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society.

Our students, with learning difficulties, from local Day Centres,  have been busy planting up containers and hanging baskets.  As you can see they’re resting in the Mist House until they’re ready to go on display

and the beetle from last year’s Gardening Scotland arrived yesterday

just in time for us to plant it up for our big day.

Why not come along and join us.

It’s a great day out.



Trees and Shrubs in the Garden for Winter Interest

Long nights and short days are upon us.  Most of us will only see our gardens at the weekend for the next few months.  So how can we brighten things up and ensure that our plot does not resemble a driech moor land until next spring?  There are many tricks that we can employ when using plants that will make things a bit more interesting and there is a plethora of worthy ornamental plants to choose from that really come into their own in autumn and winter.  It’s important to remember stems, structure and scent when choosing plants for the winter months.  Try some of the following ideas to enliven your garden:

Plant evergreens

  • Conifers and other evergreen plants such as box, Hebe, Bracyglottis or Viburnum Davidii really give structure to the winter garden.  Most of these plants are easily walked past in the summer time but in the winter they appear to stand out amid the barrenness of the garden.
  • For dark corners choose evergreens that are variegated such as Ilex ‘Golden Queen’, Aucuba japonica and Eleagnus pungens maculate.  The golden yellow on these leaves catches even the smallest amount of winter light and reflects it back ten fold.

Hebe Bracyglottis

Plant for Long Lasting Berries and Fruit

We all like to feed the birds and they are already making off with the red berries from Rowan’s and Cotoneaster’s around the garden.  Try planting shrubs with other colour berries and the birds will leave these alone for a longer time:

  • For yellow fruits try Malus ‘Golden Hornet’, the golden crab or alternatively the evergreen large Cotoneaster ‘Exburiensis’ whose yellow berries stay on the plant in my garden well into March.
  • Pale pink and white berries are produced respectively by Sorbus vilmorinii and S. Cashmeriana, both exquisitely ferny leaved and small rowans.
  • For the craziest, most unbelievable berry colour search out Callicarpa bodinieri with its bright purple fruit.

Callicarpa bodinieri

Plant for winter stem interest

  • Trees with interesting bark include the Eucalyptus group and many of the birches which range from pale bronze through white to almost pink.
  • For shrubs don’t be without the old favourites Cornus and Salix for glorious stem colour.
  • Add a bit of madness with the tortured stems of Corylus avellana contorta or Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick.

Silver Birch Tree

Winter Flowers

  • Many are highly scented in an attempt to attract pollinating insects – so make sure you plant them where you can appreciate the perfume; include Sarcoccoca, Hamamellis and the Mahonias.
  • Don’t forget catkins – the best of which can be found on Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’.

Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’

Taken from an article written by Ann Burns, Team Leader Horticulture, Oatridge College



There’s still time to book a place on our evening classes and workshops

Flower Arranging Monday 24th August – 28th September (6 weeks) £ 75.00

Set of Workshops for both beginners & those who wish to develop their existing skills (Materials and flowers extra.)

Design Your Own Garden (11 weeks) £105.00
Wednesday 30th September – 9th December

Introduction to  Gardening (10 weeks)
Thursday 1st October – 3rd December £ 80.00

WORKSHOPS

10.00 am to 12.00 Noon on Saturday Mornings
£25 for booking all three workshops or £10 each workshop
(Cost of plants and materials extra)

Winter Containers & Hanging Baskets 24th October
Explore how to fill containers for colour through Winter and Spring. (Plants, compost and containers supplied at cost or bring your own.)

Gardens by Design 21st November
This workshop offers guidance on basic design principles to help you make the most of your garden.

Christmas Decorations 19th December
Help is at hand to create two floral displays to make the home festive and colourful for Christmas.

Be the envy of family and friends. (Materials approximately £25.)

To book or for more information contact Suntrap Garden, 43 Gogarbank, Edinburgh –
Tel: 0131 339 7283 (Answer Phone) or e-mail: suntrap@btopenworld.com

(in association with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society)



The Royal Highland Show

It’s a very busy week in Edinburgh this week with the Highland Show – Thursday to Sunday.

Highland cow small

It’s a great day out with something for everyone.  Oatridge College will be there, why not visit them at Avenue Q, Stand 212?   You can check out all the show details here.

If it all becomes too busy and you want some peace and quiet you can always drive round the corner and come for a visit at Suntrap Garden, we’re open every day from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.




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