Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens – May Update

After the record breaking temperatures of April, we have been less fortunate with the weather during an unusually cold and blustery May. Taking the rough with the smooth, community gardeners have bashed on undeterred with the job of reclaiming and beautifying this blessed and venerable corner of our green city.

We have been (re) joined this month by Daisy Muir, who has covered some of my days while I’ve been working on related projects. Daisy was around quite a bit last summer, and helped out a lot during the frantic preparations for the Beechgrove garden filming in August.

Some of the more tender crops have struggled a little with the inclement conditions, but we have still been able to enjoy plenty of veg, especially Radishes, with Lettuce, Parsley, Spinach, and the first (Autumn sown) Broad Beans coming through towards the end of the month. Fruitlets are swelling in the orchard and forest garden areas, Elderflowers are in bloom, while Tomatoes are ripening well in the Glasshouse. Approval has been granted from the NHS to bring Honey Bees on to the site, and a local Apiculturist has come forward with a proposal to keep Bees on site using a ‘natural’ approach – minimising hive disturbance while prioritising colony health over honey production.

Plenty of people have made use of the gardens again this month, with school groups featuring strongly once more. Two classes from Craiglockhart Primary have made three visits each. They have been able to watch things develop over a period of weeks, while mucking in with planting Strawberries, Herbs, Lettuces and Cucumbers. We have been really glad of their help, while teachers and kids commented on how much they had learned over the visits.

Along with groups from Carr-Gomm, Greyfriars Mission, the Steiner School, and New Caledonian Woodlands, many independent volunteers have been along to garden this month. People are always welcome to drop in to the open garden days; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, muck in for a couple of hours, and take some veg away with them!

We were lucky to enjoy a visit on the 21st from Lord and Lady Wilson of Tillyorn. Lord Wilson holds the post of Lord High Commissioner, and acts as the Queen’s representative to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The visit was an opportunity to voice the importance of community growing for people living in Edinburgh. Our distinguished visitors were able to sample the wholesome produce for themselves; Lettuces presented to Lady Wilson were served up in Holyrood Palace that evening!