Saving Granton’s secret garden

Posted on 16/05/2014 by


Walled garden

A group of North Edinburgh activists have got together to save one of the area’s hidden gems. Granton’s walled garden has lain neglected for years, but gardner Kirsty Sutherland and her friends are determined to save the site from redevelopment and return the garden to it’s former glory.

The ‘secret’ walled garden on Granton’s waterfront is very overgrown but it’s still there, somehow still alive surrounded by derelict industrial land.

“A few of us got together last autumn and started researching this garden’s amazing social history. I was inspired by the Never Give Up book created by local activists”, Kirsty explained.

Granton Castle’s garden has been around for over 450 years and survived many changes in the surrounding land – and wars!  The castle may have gone, but from 1914 the walled garden was lovingly tended by three generations of one family. However it is now under threat – developers plan to build 17 luxury townhouses on the site.

Kirsty said: “We want to save this rare garden from development, and safeguard its incredible social history dating back to Mary Queen of Scot’s time.

“There is no need for this walled garden to be developed for housing as it is surrounded by vast areas of vacant post-industrial land, much more suitable.”

The Granton Castle Garden Group is appealing to local people to help preserve the site for future generations to enjoy, and they have created an on-line petition.

The group explain: ‘The petition is aimed at raising local awareness of a quite well hidden garden, which many people have never heard of living locally far less elsewhere in Edinburgh. It has a remarkable social history including almost 100 years of being a working market garden owned and run by three generations of one family.

‘Local community gardeners and folk interested in the story put together a list of ideas for the garden too which I am sure could work in harmony with the aims of Granton Improvement Society.

‘Time is what we requested of the development company, to allow local people to hear about the garden and plans to build in it, and add their opinions and ideas.

‘Some really positive ideas have been generated already and discussed by keen gardeners living in Granton and Pilton. They focus on local food production, and environmental education and activities: ideas are bulleted below:

◾Heritage Orchard restoration and expansion.
◾Retail nursery for production of plants with a purpose; fruit, herbs, vegetables, nectar plants and native wildflower species.
◾Base for a local ‘edible garden design’ social enterprise.
◾Medicinal and culinary herbs production for use in a community café and workshops.
◾Permaculture garden design area showcasing planting to combat environmental changes and save water. Forest garden approach.
◾Victorian Glasshouse restoration for use to supply local community gardens and cafes with both winter crops and vegetable plants in spring
◾Beekeeping and honey products.
◾Small scale free range chickens for egg production.
◾Community education workshops centred on gardening, crafts, herbal medicine, environmental education and seasonal food.
◾History/visitor centre combined with the community café showcasing the gardens long and sometimes dramatic history, dating back as far as Mary Queen of Scots time.
◾Oral and visual History of recent horticulture from Victorian era to present day.

Kirsty added: “Please help us stop demolition planning permission before it’s too late. Help raise awareness of this ‘secret garden’, and save two acres of historic greenbelt for future generations!”

If you think this garden is worth keeping, go to:

to sign and ‘share’ the e-petition.

If you have any ideas or questions, email:

draft response2 to petition 15 5 14