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

You don’t see this everyday


Evening Classes and Workshops

EVENING CLASSES 7.00 – 9.00 pm

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;

limited to 12 places. (Materials and flowers extra.)

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

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



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:

(in association with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society)

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.
june 2009 492

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.