The equinox has passed and the turn of the season can be felt at the garden with plants beginning to set seed and the bees, birds and butterflies feeding on the last of the summer flowers and fruits at the garden.
It has been a peaceful haven to work in over the summer with the backdrop of nesting birds in the ‘wild’ areas filling the air with their songs. Brightly coloured bullfinches & golfinches alongside song-thrushes using the old stone walls as anvils for bashing snail shells. A tawny owl or two seem to be in residence in the tall trees to the east of the garden, no doubt enjoying the wildlife as much as the volunteers and visitors.
Helga seated at the crossroads, where North and South meet in the garden
Our first ever Doors Open Day has come and gone, blessed with sunshiny mellow September weather and a gentle breeze. Lots of new visitors sharing the sense of surprise on entering the wee door to Granton’s lost Castle Garden. It is much larger than expected, a green jewel of history and archaeology on the edge of the Forth.
Impromptu additional tours for visitors on the 23rd were kindly hosted by our knowledgeable history and archaeology team members, to avoid disappointment for those that had turned up on the day not realising booking was essential. The deadly hemlock in restricted access areas of the garden was a talking point as were the historic photographs & maps, role of honour of summer volunteers and Improvisation Collective’s dancers, sculptors and filmmakers at work on the day.
What next for the autumn and winter?
Friends Group members and new volunteers have been as busy as the bees over August and September tackling all manner of weeds and sapling trees in a small central area of the garden in preparation for some autumn crops. scotsman.com/heritage/people-places/work-underway-to-revive-long-lost-medieval-garden-in-edinburgh
Pioneer species like birch felled in February have provided a lot of useful small timber to work with either for building gates, composting frames, plant supports, sculptures, rabbit-proof fencing posts and signage supports. Even the roots and rotting logs have been utilised in many different ways, especially in our stumpery garden shaded by the high stone dividing wall and perfect for our rescued native ferns.
Preparing the soil in the kitchen garden
- We hope to continue working with volunteers and local groups on our cleared area in the North terrace, 1/4 of the proposed kitchen garden area: ideas to create linear hugel beds, hurdle fencing, edible hedging and autumn planting of heritage wheat from Scotland the Bread as part of the Soil to Slice initiative.
- October clearance of the scrubby vegetation from the Heritage Orchard area proposed. – Lothian Conservation Volunteers to assist.
Discovering the secret door in the wall
A celebratory ‘Gardeners’ Gathering’ is planned for Tuesday the 24th October at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Cottage. The event is free and open from 2-4pm in the ‘potting shed’. Members shall be demonstrating autumn berry cordials and jams inspired by the walled garden’s seasonal produce and a ‘taste of the past’ shared on the Doors Open Day. On display what we have done so far, plans for the future and ways to join in.
Also present will be Improvisation Collective sharing their beautiful films and responses to the historic garden over the summer. Working together at the beginning of its restoration and how this helped to define their evolving performance and sculptural pieces for the Doors Open Day. Click on the link below to view a snapshot in time, the digitised version of a small booklet created this summer by a diverse group of resident artists.
Crossings and Intervals – IMP
Room for 20 seated and more if you are happy standing. Just come along if you want to find out more, get in touch via our contacts page or FB event