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 http://www.sos2010.btck.co.uk

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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.



Flower Arranging for Beginners

I went along to the class yesterday with a wee bit trepidation.  I’m not very artistic and a wee bit clumsy.  We had been asked to bring along 7 single stem roses or carnations, 2 chrysanthemums and a bunch of carnations.  Irene and Suntrap provided the greenery.  What a great time I had.  Irene, the class tutor, did a demonstration arrangement explaining the whole time what she was doing.

Then it was our turn.  It was great fun, you start off thinking I have to get this right and then realise if you want you can take everything out and start again.

First Attempt

I have to say I’m delighted with my arrangement.  I’m now trying to work out how I can get out of my Monday night taxi duties with the kids to enrol in the Flower Arranging for all Occasions course which starts on the 12 April.



Birds Enjoying the Snow in the Garden



Garden and Plant Sales

We are open Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.   Please feel free to come along and have a wander around the garden and plant sales area.

Alternatively, if you would like to come as a group for a guided tour of the garden or you might like to host an event at the garden please call us on 0131 339 7283 or email suntrap@btopenworld.com.



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