Parks and Gardens Open Day 2007

The Edinburgh Civic Trust laid on a day where gardens not usually open to the public threw their gates open, and I organised a cycle tour around a few of the sites. Starting at 60 South Clerk Street with some volunteers from Sustrans — the sustainable transport charity we met members of the public at the Mound and cycled to the botanical gardens. From there, we had a leisurely ride around the North Edinburgh cycle routes to a community back green in Dalry.


60 South Clerk Street

Built in 1870, these tenement flats were allocated generous land at the back. Since 1992 the residents have developed them so that each flat has a semi-private area surrounded by perennial borders, and each area has paths and stepping stones to join up with the rest to form a large communal garden. One area has chickens, another has a firepit, and there’s a smashing shed with a sofa. There’s also a paved area where they were providing refreshments.

sheds firepit friends

In the tenement itself, there’s an A3 bit of paper with the flowering times for each of the plants, and I noticed lots of fragrant plants. Fantastic at midday in May, this will undoubtedly be a magic garden in the evening during Summer.

The tenement next door never had a dividing wall, and recently they’ve started to develop the gardens to merge with number 60. You can see a chicken in the foreground!


Bike ride

19 people on the bike ride from the Mound to the Botanics. I thought it might take longer to do, so when we got to the botanics most people were up for a longer ride (we lost 4). We took a leisurely ride back along the disused railway paths that make up the North Edinburgh cycle paths, stopped for a quick snack near Roseburn, and then made our way round to Dalry Road.


Dalry Road

This project is part of the community backgreen initiative and is managed by the Green Caretakers. They’ve got funding as part of the community composting schemes, and put in a communal composter. On the back of this, 7 tenements’ gardens have been merged into one (they’re individually smaller than the 60 South Clerk Street patch, but collectively they’re bigger). 10 fruit trees and scores of fruit bushes have been put in the area and it’s been planned as a forest agriculture/edible landscape. Much to learn about this; too much for a small post.

I can’t find any links to a Green Caretakers website, but there seems to be many such groups. Crafty green Poet links to Re:solution, and The Edinburgh Evening News has an article on them, as does the Scotsman.

2 thoughts on “Parks and Gardens Open Day 2007

  1. Hi Alex – thanks for visiting my blog and for the link! Our backgreen project is still ongoing, I havn’t been as much involved as I had hoped to be because the workshop days in the garden often don’t suit me and my partner. The composting facilities are supposed to be in place by June and the work is concentrating on the central part of the backgreen and the one tenement backgreen where the tenants have agreed to join up to the stair management scheme. So where the tenants haven’t agreed this, there is no progress on tidying up the gardens! The 60b South Clerk Street Gardne is great, I visted that a while ago.

  2. Hi Crafty … you should look forward to the composting!

    On the guided tour of Cherrytree we saw the monster composter and had a run through of the process. It seems a good way to re-use kitchen waste for a whole tenement. When we poked our heads in the compost bin, Greig was apologetic about the quality of the compost but it looked great; all dark and crumbly after only 2 weeks. The only issue is it “uses the electricity of 2 lightbulbs”, but that’s shared over several flats.

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