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 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. We would love to have 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. 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.
Spring 2019 – everything inside of the Walled Garden due to re-open including (however, this has been delayed slightly pending the investigation of the recent gas leak at the site):
- The Winter Garden which has been completely re-engineered and landscaped with exciting new displays featuring plants from the Americas, South Africa and the Himalayas and the Atlantic Islands.
- The Courtyard with the restored stable block which will house the Caley Office.
- The Bothy, a base for volunteers and community groups to use, which has a kitchen and a wood burning stove.
- The Bandstand – the original Lion Foundry model No.23 Bandstand is back, fully restored to its original glorious beauty.
- The new café – it is hoped that the café will open to the public in May 2019.
- The redeveloped Rose Gardens with their new pergolas, restored sundial, seats and wealth of new roses and other complimentary planting, The Friends of Saughton Park’s new Scottish Physic Garden, The Caley’s Demonstration Garden, The Bandstand Garden with its lawns and prairie planting and the Royal Promenade which was created for the 1908 Scottish National Exhibition is now one of the largest and most spectacular herbaceous borders in the City.
Both the Caley and FoSP are taking very active roles in the planting and future maintenance of various areas within the park including the new Winter Border, Physic Garden and Community Orchards.
Saughton Park Gallery
(click on image to view gallery)
(click on image to view gallery)
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