Saughton Park has a long and interesting history and much of that history has had links with The Caley. In the 1980s The Caley had a very active relationship with the Winter Garden, having made a significant contribution to its refurbishment. We continued to hold many events on site including plants sales, well remembered and missed by many local residents. But the link goes back even further, as a former President of The Caley, James McHattie (the ‘inventor’ of the flower clock in Princes Street Gardens) was responsible for transforming the park after the Scottish National Exhibition in 1908. In 1910 he recorded that:
The Park is now complete… The area enclosed by the old garden walls has been laid out in an ornamental manner. It includes a Rosary, American Garden, Rock Garden and Sweet Pea garden.
The park today
More recently The Caley has been working in partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council on the restoration of the park. Thanks to a successful Heritage Lottery bid, this project that will allow the Caley to have a permanent office base within the park, with active teaching and demonstration gardens. Unfortunately, not all of the elements on the Caley’s wish list are included in the lottery funded element – for example a Caley glasshouse and potting shed, so we have much more work to do. The Caley’s aspiration to have a demonstration garden is not new. Since 1809 the focus of the Society has been to share knowledge and skills and to give advice on the best varieties of fruit, vegetables and flowers to grow in Scotland.
Despite Saughton Park being covered in snow for a while, work continues to progress well. The new cycle paths to the north of the park are now completed. Around these paths are various seating areas, some with some fitness equipment installed! The main access path has now been completed which links the two new car parks together. Two new cycle shelters have been erected, one within each car park, and several cycle racks are located throughout the park.
Down at the bottom of the park, there are several new picnic tables set amongst the wildflowers. Some new benches have also been installed around the sundial within the Rose Gardens. Planting works are progressing
throughout the walled garden, with the main herbaceous border complete, and works progressing into the garden where the bandstand will be located.
Charles Laing & Sons will begin the erection of the bandstand this week, which is very exciting as the bandstand is one of the main structural features of the park.Structural work is progressing on the Winter Gardens in preparation for the new glazing to be installed. Work is also continuing internally. Hopefully there will soon be some plants!
Gardner Malloy’s stone carvings are now on site, and works to the entrance walls are progressing. Once the walls are complete, Gardner will do some in-situ carving, so keep an eye out and you may just see him work his magic!
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