Suntrap Garden

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


Gardening Scotland – The Results

Congratulations to everyone who was involved with Gardening Scotland.  Thank you for giving your time, skills and enthusiasm.


Oatridge/Suntrap/Perennial, Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society

Ann and the team get GOLD

Ann and the team get GOLD


Pinewood Day Centre




Cedarbank School



Blooming Beetle on road to gold

From –

Horticulture Week
05 June 2009

Flower power drove gardening charity Perennial and land-based college Oatridge’s clapped-out VW Beetle to gold at Gardening Scotland.

Co-designer with Oatridge horticultural team leader Ann Burns, Oatridge Suntrap Garden leader John Smith said the most colourful car in Scotland could now be recycled to make an entrance feature at nearby Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway.

Perennial Beetle

Old Beetle Crawls into exhibition (from Edinburgh Evening News Thursday May 28, 2009)
Click on thumbnail to view image
Click on thumbnail to view image
Click on thumbnail to view image
Published Date: 28 May 2009

IT’S not the kind of beetle most people would expect to find in their garden.

But green-fingered charity workers and students have given a 38-year-old Volkswagon a makeover – and made it the centre-piece of their exhibit at Scotland’s largest gardening show.

The horticulture charity, Perennial, was offered the old car by the Lothians-based VW Club.

They had used it for fundraising events, including making it amphibious, but it was reaching the end of its life.
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The charity transformed it with the help of students from Oatridge College in West Lothian, painting it bright yellow and filling it with marigolds and sunflowers. Their garden, named Perennial Petal Power, promises to be one of the quirkiest exhibits at Gardening Scotland this weekend.

Thousands of keen gardeners are set to flock to the show at Ingliston. Now in its tenth year, it will feature more than 400 exhibitors and 15 show gardens. Other highlights include the BBC Scotland Beechgrove Theatre, a craft and food fair, and gardening and cookery demonstrations.

Alex Rutherford, Perennial’s Scottish organiser, said the group was keen to use recycled materials to create a quirky exhibit and highlight its work.

The charity won the Best In Show award for its garden made from recycled junk in 2007.

She said: “This was really created to reflect the work we do. We do a lot of work with retired gardeners and horticulturalists who are often forgotten about. We give them and their families financial, social and emotional support.

“The VW was decrepit – it had done a lot of charity work but was reaching the end of its life. It was sitting in the bottom of a garden in Ratho. The students brightened it up a bit by painting it – it looks a bit like the flower power car.”

The car had been adapted by the VW Club so it could be used as a motorboat on water. It has crossed the Firth of Forth and travelled to Skye, helping raise £10,000 for arthritis research.

It has now been filled with special plant containers, with more on the roof, and was installed yesterday in the centre of Perennial’s show garden.

Ms Rutherford said one of the most difficult parts was moving the car. She said: “We took it on a trailer. It has no brakes, so we needed the students to stop it rolling down the hill.”

Agnes Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Gardening Scotland, said: “Perennial have a history of doing unusual gardens, and this year is no different.

“They do everything to an exceptionally high standard, and I imagine they’ll be in the running for a medal.”

She said this year’s show was set to be the biggest ever, with more than 30,000 people expected. The Princess Royal, who is patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, will be visiting on Friday.

Gardening Scotland – Beatlemania

It was a hard day setting up the beatle at the site.

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Gardening Scotland – Getting ready for the Pallet Competition

We’ve been extremely busy in the garden over the last month.  Our gardening classes took part in Gardening Scotland.

We entered three containers – Blackburn Support Centre, the Portobello Project and Cedarbank School, two pallet gardens – Cedarbank School and Pinewood Day Centre and along with Oatridge and Perennial, Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society we entered a show garden.

Here are the students from Pinewood Day Centre preparing their garden.  The design involved an old drawing board – on one side was a drawing of the plan of the garden they would like to create and on the other the finished garden.

Pnwd potting

The students planted and drew the design themselves.

Pnwd making pal

Placed the pots into the frame on the design board and on the other side wrote down the names of the plants.

Pnwd finished

Julie and Gillian from Suntrap helped to set it up on site at Gardening Scotland.

Suntrap Open Day – Sunday 24 May

The annual open day will take place this year on Sunday 24 May 2009 from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Entry is £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for concession with proceeds going to Perennial, the Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society.

It will feature the usual range of events, garden tours with John Smith at 11.00, 12.00, 2.00 and 3.00,  teas and coffees, plants sales and of course, our beautiful garden almost in full bloom.

It’s always a delightful occasion with the garden full of visitors.


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