Garden of the Season – Saughton ParkJanuary 25th 2022
Why We Should Visit
The space which Saughton Park now occupies was once a grand house and gardens on the outskirts of Edinburgh. For a time it was also a popular park for the citizens of the capital, before falling into disrepair, but today it is an outstanding example of regeneration, a flourishing green space where visitors enjoy flowers and fresh air and a centre for horticultural education that is cherished by local residents.
The park covers 34 areas, large enough to accommodate playing fields, gym equipment and the largest skateboard park in Scotland while still allowing space for formal gardens and meadows.
Story of the Garden
During its long history, Saughton Park has been the site of both an imposing mansion and of the Scottish National Exibition, which was held in 1908. Its gardens have their origins in the18th century and for a time, after its purchase by Edinburgh Council in 1900, it became the fashionable place for citizens in the Capital to take a stroll. Its decline began during WWII when its gardens were ploughed up to grow onions for the war effort and even the redevelopment of Winter Gardens in the 1980s were not enough to halt its decline. Eventually it took funding of £8m from the Lottery Heritage Fund and Sustrans, along with the invaluable volunteers of Friends of Saughton Park to bring this historic green space back to life. Now the glorious wrought iron bandstand has been re-instated, restoration work has been carried out to the historic sundial and the park has received a Green Flag
The refurbished winter gardens and conservatory are the perfect spot to spend time during the cold winter months. On milder days the Physic Garden, which is filled with healing herbs offers a fascinating look at the importance of plants to health and in summer the flower borders are filled with bright colour.
The herbaceous border is the longest in Edinburgh and the many trees, shrubs and hedges provide shelter and food for a wide variety of birds. However for many visitors the heart of Saughton Park is its formal rose garden, which has been a feature of the park for more than 100 years.
The Royal Caledonian Horticultual Society (The Caley) now has a base at Saughton Park and its allotment and demonstration beds provide a master class in how to grow flowers and food. The Caley holds regular classes where members, who include amongst their ranks some of the leading figures in Scottish horticulture, share their knowledge.
Anything Else To Look Out For
Orchards are a huge feature at Saughton Park and besides a formal orchard, where fruit trees are expertly trained to grow along walls and wires, there is also a community orchard and a wild orchard too. These are beautiful spots to visit in spring when the blossom is in flower.
Best Time To Visit
The Friends of Saughton Park organise a year-round programme of activities to encourage gardeners and families to enjoy the park and its facilities.
Any Recommendations In The Area
Its a stiff climb to the top of Corstorphine Hill, but the views are worth it and this Edinburgh landmark isn’t only home to a Zoo but also to a nature reserve where native birds and mammals find shelter in the midst of the city.
Saughton Park is situated on Balgreen Road, between Corstorphine Road and Georgie Road.
Saughton Park is open daily. The walled garden is open from 9am to 6pm.
Courtesy of The Herald