Saughton Park has a long and interesting history and much of that history has had links with The Caley. In the 1980’s, The Caley had a very active relationship with the park, having made a significant contribution to the refurbishment of the Winter Garden, and had a small office and store there. We continued to hold many events on site including plants sales, something well remembered and missed by many local residents. But the link goes back even further; John McHattie, superintendent of Edinburgh Parks, who was responsible for transforming the park after the Scottish National Exhibition in 1908, is a past president of the Society. 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.
By 1911, Saughton Park was nationally recognised as one of the finest public parks in Scotland. Mr McHattie was a very active member of The Caley and was awarded the Patrick Neill Medal in 1912. This is the oldest of our awards and is presented to biennially to a notable Scottish botanist or cultivator. He became Caley President in 1923 but sadly died later that same year. His legacy to Edinburgh and its parks is still very much in evidence.
The park today
More recently The Caley has been working in partnership with The City of Edinburgh Council and the Friends of Saughton Park on the restoration of the park. Thanks to a successful Heritage Lottery bid, this project allows 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 were included in the lottery funded element. We would love to have a Caley teaching 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. We have a very clear aim: to inspire, encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches and to advance education in gardening and horticulture for the public benefit of Scotland.
We have a programme of activities at Saughton Park called Saughton Sundays. These are held on the first Sunday of every month, and are a mix of talks, practical demonstrations, workshops and gardening activities for you to take part in.
We will also continue to hold special events throughout the year.
Check out the events page of the website for details of what is happening.
Caley Show Garden
Last year, one of our student members built a show garden in our Demonstration Garden. “The Resourceful Garden” was designed and built by Kristyna Andrlova, This garden has been so popular with visitors that we have decided to leave it in place. It is a fantastic example of what can be accomplished in a small space.
Caley Teaching Garden
You will find the Caley Teaching Garden in the Courtyard area of the park. Julie, our Administrator, has a great view of the garden from her desk in the office so she can keep a close eye on things.
The Teaching Garden is used for a variety of workshops and classes. At the moment we have a great crop of potatoes growing – something that the kids love to come along and dig up. What can be better than fresh potatoes for tea!
Caley Demonstration Garden
Designed to give you ideas for your own space, it features a multitude of different planting ideas. We have raised beds and more traditional borders, alpine plants, herbaceous perennials, Meconopsis, fruits & vegetables and so much more.
The most recent additions, besides Kristyna’s garden mentioned above, is a small raised crevice garden.
We encourage you to come along to the Saughton to see our Demonstration Garden – we hope it will inspire you to grow in whatever space you have available to you. The Demonstration Garden, like all of the other Caley areas within the park, are looked after by our fantastic volunteers. If you would like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caley Winter Border
This is a fantastic area within the park. The driving force behind this project was garden designer and Caley Honorary Vice President, Jasmin Cann. She took a dark and boring area that was filled with conifers and designed a border that is beautiful all year but really comes into its own in the winter.
Filled with plants to give winter interest to your garden; with flowers, fruits and bark colours you are sure to find something that you would like to grow in your own garden.
Designed as a border you can walk through, you can totally surround yourself with plants.
Take a virtual walk around the park with us.
A walk in the park.
The herbaceous borders in Autumn
The Caley at Saughton
Saughton Park Gallery
(click on image to view individual album)
(click on image to view individual album)