Midwinter in the garden

Magical moments caught on camera as our intrepid volunteers and visitors keep coming to the garden despite the frosty weather in December. Landmark events continue like the planting of the first handful of new fruit trees at the walled garden in decades, the best of old and new varieties of an ancient delicacy….the Damson.

delightful damsons

Some we grew earlier, at the nearby community garden in Muirhouse

Our experimental permaculture based approach to preparing the land for planting is in full swing with the first hugel beds being built. Using up the branches from tree saplings cleared from the ‘kitchen garden’ area earlier in the spring.

Hugel bed builders

Hugel bed builders

Birch, willow and ash branches have been used to weave a hurdle edge to the long raised beds for hedges of soft fruit, flowers and herbs in-between the veggies.

Over the summer and autumn the garden space has attracted a lot of creative interest from photographers, sculptors, dancers and filmmakers. Crossings and Intervals by Improvisation Collective The garden volunteers have enjoyed creating their own structures and embellishments too, with art and gardening naturally going hand in hand. A huge thankyou to photographer Ashey Erdman for capturing the essence of the walled garden this summer, people working, plants and the atmosphere during our first season. A link to our 2017 progress Granton Castle Walled Garden

Recently documentary filmmakers visited the garden and were entranced by the story of Granton’s ‘lost castle garden and the energy and enthusiasm of the Friends Group volunteers in taking on the restoration of this unexpected treasure. A massive thankyou to Trina and Kev for their hard work in making a film of our December work. Written in Film

The hardest question to answer was, “what has been most special at the garden this year”? Answer, too many things to write on this page, but a common theme has been the joy of sharing the surprise with first time visitors at finding such an unexpected living link to the past in a derelict area of Granton. Since January a diverse group of volunteers have spent hundreds of hours working to restore a tiny bit of the once magnificent 2 acre garden. Many visitors from different nationalities and lots of highlights to celebrate in our first year at the walled garden only possible because of continuous support and hard work from community volunteers, visitors, Friends Group members and associated groups.

Plans for the spring

Plans for winter and early spring work

The aim of creating a space to dream, learn and grow together seems to have been infectious and a leap of faith taken by many people working together to restore one area of the historic garden, showing the potential for the rest.

There is still so much left to save in this sleeping beauty garden” Nov 2017

Hope to see you in the New Year, when we are back at the garden on the 6th January for an informal gathering to welcome back the light, celebrate the achievements of 2017 and discuss plans for 2018. 



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October news and our 1st ever Door’s Open Day

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.

guardian at the crossroads

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. 

Gardeners Gathering at botanics cottage 24th OctAlso 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

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Peek behind the walls of Granton’s lost Castle Garden.

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Long summer days in July have given the Friends Group volunteers the chance to really get stuck into the garden. We hope to have cleared and prepared 1/4 of an acre by the autumn, ready for a bit of planting … Continue reading

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Midsummer News from Granton’s lost Castle Garden

Our Friends Group were excited to sign an agreement with owners Waterfront Edinburgh Limited at the end of April giving the community access to the walled garden for the first time in over a decade.

Group photo 2017

Keys to the Garden Door 27th April 2017

May and June have been busy months with a whirlwind of activity and new visitors to North Edinburgh’s secret medieval garden. Everyone has shared the sense of surprise and wonder when they step through the little wooden door and wander inside the larger than expected hidden gem. It is 2 acres in size and mostly overgrown with tree saplings, brambles and other tenacious plants which can self seed and colonise fertile land if it is left to its own devices.


Getting started in a small patch in May: clearing tree roots for the ‘kitchen garden’ & stumpery

The garden is full of life, with lush vegetation everywhere compared to the dormant grey garden we viewed earlier this spring. ‘Birds Bees and Trees’ is the theme for this years Its Your Neighbourhood scheme by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Lots of birds currently nesting and singing their hearts out, flying constantly searching for food for their chicks. Best practice in managing habitats for wildlife and timing of works like clearance of scrub means most of the garden will remain overgrown for the rest of the summer, but great for birds! So far, wrens, goldfinches, blackbirds, songthrushes, chaffinches and a tawny owl. Lots of butterflies, bees and other critters too, beautiful flowers amongst the weeds like old roses and dames violet.

The walled garden is certainly off the beaten track but well worth a visit if you can find the little door: along a cycletrack hidden amongst the trees between the shore and the industrial landmark of the Granton Gasholder. new location map for the walled garden with cycletracks and FG door

Pleased get in touch if you haven’t visited before & would like to come along to one of our planned July and August Mini-sessions in the garden. Please note it isn’t quite open access as yet, with quite a few hazards and ongoing work on dangerous structures within the garden planned over the summer by the owners. Make sure you have read and signed the following. Visitor Induction form with health and safety warning

FGCG Worksessions flier July to August

The Friends Group hope to continue restoring one area to cultivation this season, showing the potential for the rest of the garden in the longer term. Great ideas bubbling away for sustainable uses and regeneration of the heritage environment. Lots of chances this summer to add your ideas and thoughts on Friends Group plans, explore and dream of what could be…Quote below from a recent visitor.

There is something very special about this garden

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Happy Easter and a chance to visit Granton Castle Garden

March was a busy month for the Friends Group with our second AGM held at North Edinburgh Arts, and outreach community gardening work flourishing in Pilton and Muirhouse. NEArts garden developing. Great to meet like-minded people keen to discuss local environmental issues and get involved. Inspiration from community led organisations like Granton Community Gardeners, regenerating greenspaces, growing more fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers around North Edinburgh.

Openspaces and Environment Planning Meeting

April has started with sunshine and Friends Group members are excited to announce the latest news: in the upcoming months Granton Castle Walled Garden is to be opened to small visitor groups and workparties (by invitation only at first). Developers EDI Group ltd have worked hard over the spring to make the walled garden safe and accessible to community members keen to get started inside. Our proposed Date of Entry is now the 27th April, fingers crossed.

Linda at the new door

Earlier this month we visited the garden site along with Historic Environment Scotland staff to chat about a few ideas and activities as part of Scotland’s Urban Past

Our ‘History’ branch are making plans for possible archaeological investigation, garden interpretation and ways we could raise awareness of this heritage environment.

Weekly gardening and environmental activities to involve local people and meetings to plan things at the walled garden are high on the agenda. Keep a look out for dates to follow soon!

Join in for free and help shape and restore this historic garden for future generations to enjoy.

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Meeting Notes 2016

Our Friends Group meets monthly in North Edinburgh. Our last public meeting at Royston Wardieburn Community Centre generated some interesting ideas, and lots of enthusiasm and support from outside organisations too.

Get in touch if you want to come along – grantoncastlegardengroup@gmail.com


Social-Bite-meeting-2nd Dec

21st Nov letter from EDI to MSP Andy Wightman



Community Plans presented to the developers on 5th October


Community council supporting letter -of-wg-petition-7-9-16 and coverage in local press of petition hearing Edinburgh Reporter article



Drawing up our plans


botanics cottage meeting 4 28th June

June meet at Botanic Cottage

Friends Group Committee Meeting 28th June

19th May Friends Group Public Meeting approved

Friends Group meeting April 28th 2016

Feb 18th Friends Group meeting notes


Sketch of new steps and wheelchair accessible footpath proposal

29th Jan 2016 Friends Group meeting with Lesley Hinds

Jan 21st 2016 Friends Group Meeting notes

view over the garden 1 Oct 2015

The garden from above in October 2015 – a bit overgrown!

Meeting notes from 2015, our first AGM and earlier meetings are available too, under the archive category ‘Meetings notes & Discussions’.

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Space to Grow, Learn and Dream

Winter has brought together people ready to make a start in Granton Castle Walled Garden, tending to it and bringing it back to life this spring. Over the last three years many of us have planned what we could do in the garden based on hopes and dreams, a shared love of the history and potential of this ‘secret’ garden.

23rd Photo pose Save GCWG!

Some of the Friends Group Members outside of the garden

Last week we received word from the owners, they are to proceed with making a new doorway into the walled garden and a temporary licence agreement with the Friends Group. This means we could start hosting activities and small group visits as soon as April 2017! 

Help our community group get growing in 2017 by supporting our crowdfunding campaign to raise £10,000 for essentials needed to begin work. Read more about our proposals for 2017. Share and donate if you can at, Space to Grow, Learn and Dream 

170211_cowdfunder_poster_1Every £1 raised will go towards involving community members in reshaping the neglected historic garden to benefit people, the environment and wildlife. 

This appeal has been aided by Greenspace Scotland who support MyPark Scotland and fundraising undertaken to help manage and improve urban greenspaces. Some help people grow too,  MyPark Projects

Our next public event is an exhibition at North Edinburgh Arts beginning on the 20th February: to display our garden plans for the two acre walled garden and share photos of community growing around Forth Ward’s regenerated openspaces. We will be under the heading Community Food Growing and Sharing.  North Edinburgh Arts community plot

Friends Group February meeting date tba, new local venue. March 11th AGM where everyone will have a chance to join in, ask questions and add ideas.

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