Archive for February, 2012

Kirkaldy gets new allotments

Friday, February 17th, 2012

At last there is good news!  Two new community gardens and allotment sites have just opened in Kirkcaldy with a third, smaller site due at the end of March.  One site is at Glamis Road with 21 plots and the other is Ravenscraig Walled Garden with 44 plots. Fife Council are currently managing the Glamis Rd site while the Kirkcaldy Community Gardens & Allotments CIC (KCGA CIC), (formerly Kirkcaldy Allotments Group) manage Ravenscraig.

The Allotments Group finally decided to become a Community Interest Company, non profit making with a large number of members each with £1 liability should the group fold at some time in the future.  They now lease the land from Fife Council and are responsible for developing the 7 acre site with allotments, community garden, community orchard and various other areas still to be decided upon. The plots are now being allocated much to the delight of all concerned.

Was your Great-Granny a gardener?

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Phd student Deborah Reid is researching the story behind the Edinburgh School of Gardening for Women – a trailblazing institute founded in Inveresk before moving to Kaimes Road, Corstorphine, in 1903.  If you have any memories of stories from your Granny about her gardener Mum, or any letters or certificates hidden away in your attic, then Deborah would love to hear from you.
The school helped sow the seeds of women’s involvement in an occupation that was – until then – exclusively male and ensured horticulture in Scotland finally gained a feminine touch. It was the brainchild of Annie Morison and Lina Barker, who made history by being among the first women employed as “practitioner” gardeners at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1897.
Women’s advocate Lady Aberdeen, who officially opened the school, praised its founders for empowering female workers despite the detractors who believed they “could not dig any more than they could hit nails on the head”.

You can contact Deborah through the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper by emailing

Courses for allotment holders and keen gardeners near Edinburgh

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The City of Edinburgh Council and Bridgend Growing Community are offering their successful hands on growing course for allotment holders and all aspiring gardeners, again in 2012.  The course will be delivered in twelve 3-hour sessions throughout the year, and provides all the knowledge and skills needed for a successful growing season. It will take place at both Inverleith Park and Dumbryden allotments in Edinburgh.

The first date of the course is February 25.  To see all dates and  times and discover how to apply download the flier here

Another course in the general Edinburgh area is being offered at Amisfield Walled Garden near Haddington.  This course is offered on Wednesday afternoons, starting on March 7.  The tutor will be Rob Ford formerly head gardener at Phantassie and Damhead.  The course is sponsored by East Lothian Council in association with Jewel and Esk College.  For further information and details of how to apply click here

Photography exhibition at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Exhibition Photo For the past year Scottish photographer Carlo D’Alessandro has been documenting Scotland’s Allotments, focusing on plot holders and their stories for the first time.The pictures featured in this exhibition represent the first leg of that tour.

“People are attracted to allotments for many different reasons, whether it’s an escape from the stresses of the world, or a reversion back to nature. It often represents a sort of backlash against the trappings of the modern world, and the need to keep hold of a tradition that has to increasingly fight for its relevance in a society populated by plentiful access to food from cheaper and easier sources.”

Get involved and see more work at

Planning permission granted to Blane Valley Allotment Group

Monday, February 6th, 2012

SAGS is delighted to learn that the Blane ValleyAllotment group has been granted planning permission to develop its allotments.  The allotment site is former farmland belonging to the Duntreath estate, It is within easy walking distance of Strathblane and Blanefield.

The application was supported by the Strathblanefield Community Council.  There has been  a full consultation process during which the group have listened to the concerns of local residents, and have put robust rules in place to address these concerns.  In addition the group have grant funding from the LEADER fund and the Climate Challenge fund that will be used to engage with the local primary school and to set up courses for local residents to learn about growing fruit and veg.

The hope is that development of the actual allotments will be completed by the end of March ready for the next growing season.

New ‘Growing Communities for Health’ grant scheme launched

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

The Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT), has announced the launch of a new community grants scheme, designed to help people reap the health benefits of community gardening. ELGT believes that community gardening can be a sustainable and cost-effective means of improving health and well-being, self confidence and self worth. The small grants programme is designed to help groups and communities in Edinburgh develop and improve therapeutic and community gardens for people affected by health and social inequalities.

The ‘Growing Communities for Health’ scheme will be administered by ELGT and is supported by NHS Lothian and the City of Edinburgh Council.   The fund will support community gardening projects that will benefit people with existing health issues, those experiencing cultural or social barriers to accessing greenspaces or those living in areas of deprivation.

Successful applicants will receive up to £750 to support a new or existing community gardening projects – to support activities such as buying tools, equipment and materials, creating raised beds, setting up composting facilities, paying for volunteer expenses etc.

Information on how to apply and application forms can be downloaded from the Trust’s website or contact Mark Vrionides on  0131 445 4025 for help in developing your project or completing an application.

The grant scheme complements ongoing work by the Trust to develop community gardening projects throughout Edinburgh, supported by the Trust’s newly appointed Community Gardening Development Officer, Mark Vrionides.  Mark’s work will focus on developing and supporting projects which use community gardening as a positive tool to help tackle health and social inequalities, such as mental or physical ill-health, working to overcome social or cultural barriers, to promote positive access to greenspace.

Help needed with research into use of peat in gardening

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Do you care about the products you use in your allotment?  Do you have an hour to spare?  If so you could help with an interesting research project.
Amy Waterson, an honours year ecological science student at the University of Edinburgh,  is currently undertaking a research project exploring the use of peat and alternative growing media in the UK horticultural industry. She hopes the findings will support ongoing DEFRA investigation into sustainable alternatives to peat.

As part of the research project she would like to interview a number of stakeholders about the factors that affect their decision making regarding choice of growth media.  The interview will last no more than one hour and the information gained will remain confidential.

Anyone willing to participate in the research should send an email either to or to  We can then put you in touch with Amy, who can answer any questions you have about the project.