Tag Archives: Edinburgh

101 Greenbank Crescent

So, as part of my new job at Scotland’s Garden Scheme, I’ve decided that I’m going to try and ‘bag’ all the gardens – with over 500 open in any one year (some opening every other year), this could take me some time but at least I’ll now have plenty of opportunity.

As well as meeting lots of our wonderful volunteer garden openers across the country who open their gardens to visitors to raise money for over 200 charities, I should be able to get a whole heap of tips, and who knows, maybe even some seeds or cuttings.

Ready for veggies

My first ‘officially’ bagged garden is 101 Greenbank Crescent in Edinburgh. Jerry and Christine invited me along to show me around their labour of love. The garden is a steeply sloping series of terraces overlooking Braidburn Valley Park, each with a very different look and feel.

It’s a really interesting garden with winding steps, ponds, seating areas, a fairy garden, and a stunningly-shaped Kilmarnock willow, which annoyingly I didn’t photograph. Their aim is to have year-round colour, shape and structure. The Magnolia was looking wonderful as was the pear blossom. It’s not a highly manicured garden and has an air of easy charm that belies the years of hard work they’ve put into turning a grassy wilderness into what they have today – it’s definitely been a labour of love with most of the work being undertaken by Jerry and Christine themselves.

They’ve been opening for SGS for 10 years now and I can see why people would want to visit. They are open to visitors by arrangement from 13th April, until September and will be hosting an open day on Sunday 19th May. More info here.

Pear Blossom

Power of Food Festival 16th-17th June (Full Line Up)

The Power of Food Festival will return to Edinburgh for two days of celebration of community food growing.

This year again, visitors to The Power of Food Festival will enjoy free entertainment for children and adults alike, in venues scattered around the city and beyond. Activities on offer include music and singing, guided walks, talks, and tours, yoga, bioblitz, bug hunt, games and crafts, and of course, food and drinks to enjoy together: from a menu reflecting the cultural diversity of the community, to home-grown herbal teas.

Entry to the gardens and all Festival activities are free (food may invite a donation), and all are welcome to attend.

The full programme of free activities on offer in 23 community gardens is now available hereCheck it out and start planning your weekend of community celebration!

Please Help Save Our Beautiful Hills From Development

One of the main attractions of moving to the hamlet of Nine Mile Burn was it’s peaceful location at the quieter end of The Pentland Hills Regional Park. We’re lucky to be part of a wonderful small community in an area of historical importance (we live along an old Roman Road) and undisputed natural beauty that is much enjoyed by ourselves and regular visitors and hill walkers seeking the tranquility that is on offer just on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Sadly, it’s currently under threat of development by a local landowner who wishes to host quad biking, 4×4 off-roading, clay pigeon shooting, archery and Highland Games for stag/hen parties and corporate events for a large part of the year.

Naturally we are horrified at the thought of the degradation to the environment, the landscape and wildlife, let alone the noise pollution and the effects to our quiet community and those that seek the peace that these hills provide.

We also very strongly believe this proposal to be the very tip of the iceberg in terms of what the applicant is planning and that by starting on a smaller scale they hope to more easily gain approval for further plans. (they are property developers and know their onions!)

So, now we’re taking a leaf out of the applicant’s own book (they’ve been asking family and friends to post comments in favour of their application, regardless of whether they live in the community, or even this country for that matter)!

As a matter of interest the applicant received £46,000 in subsidies from the EU/UK in 2015 (in the top 15% for the area). Supporters state that the applicant has planted trees and created ponds to encourage wildlife and that it takes money to maintain the landscape – arguably that is precisely why this funding was provided. This new proposal can only lead to the destruction of the land, fragile ecosystems and wildlife habitats for the benefit of a few thrill-seeking individuals and at the expense of everyone else.

If you care in any way about protecting our environment from commercial enterprises such as this for ourselves and generations to come then please take 2 minutes to copy and paste the objection text highlighted in bold below and register it here:


(You will need to create a log-in but it will only take a minute) Of course you’re very welcome to write you’re own but we just thought we’d help out with all the salient points as to where the proposal contravenes the Midlothian Development Guidelines and the aims of the Pentland Hills Regional Park.

Please, please help us to prevent this! Together we can, hopefully, prevent this awful proposal going ahead and creating a precedent in other regional parks and green spaces. The thought of which doesn’t bear thinking about.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to register an objection to Application 18/00001/DPP under the grounds that the proposed development is not in accordance with the aims of the PHRP or the Midlothian Local Development Plan 2017.

The Pentland Hills Regional Park is an important recreational and environmental asset to the area and the nearby city of Edinburgh and is enjoyed by many for it’s tranquility and natural beauty. The PHRP is a designated non-motorised region.

The aims of the PHRP as set out on its website are:

– To retain the essential character of the hills as a place for the peaceful enjoyment of the countryside

– Caring for the hills so that the landscape and the habitat is protected and enhanced

– Within this caring framework to encourage responsible public enjoyment of the hills

– Coordination of these aims so that they can co-exist with farming and other land uses within the park. 

Appendix 6 to the Midlothian Council Development Plan adopted in November 2017, sets out a range of specific planning policy considerations applying within its boundary. Paragraphs 1, 2 (a), (b) and (c), 7 & 8 (and responses to each point below)  state:

“1. The Special Landscape Area designation affecting the Pentland Hills Regional Park will be the overriding factor when considering proposals which may be acceptable under other MLDP policies.”

In considering this application regard must be had to the designation criteria for SLA/Local Landscape Area status and in particular:

“-help to protect a landscape from inappropriate development

– may encourage positive landscape management

– play an important role in developing an awareness of the landscape qualities that make particular areas distinctive

– promote a community’s sense of pride in its surroundings”

 This application does not achieve or address any of these objectives.

“2. Development, redevelopment and the conversion of existing buildings within the Regional Park will not be permitted unless essential for the purposes of agriculture (including farm-related diversification), forestry, outdoor recreation, tourism or other rural activities compatible with the aims of the Regional Park.”

Use of the word “essential” imposes a very high threshold for permissible development within the Park. The material submitted in support of the application makes no attempt to justify the development as “essential”. Mere economic advantage to a landowner/developer does not render a development “essential”. In the absence of any evidence to satisfy the Council’s specific policy on this point the application must, as a matter of law, fall to be refused.

“Any such development proposal will be considered against the following criteria:

a) it should make a positive contribution to the amenity of the Park in terms of design and landscaping;”

The contribution of the proposed development to the amenity of the Park is entirely negative. The area proposed for 4 x 4/Quad bike activity is highly visible from the hills above. It will involve unsightly scarring of the surface with the formation of tracks and will generate a great deal of noise. This activity is essentially inappropriate within the Park. The proposed car park for 15 cars and the proposed use of “metal containers” and portaloos will represent an eyesore and will detract materially from the amenity of the Park and the approach to it through Spittal Farm. It should be a requirement of any grant of consent in terms of this application (a) that any new buildings be of traditional construction in line with the existing farm and other buildings and (b) that any such new buildings and the proposed car park should be appropriately screened to minimise their impact on the amenity of the Park.

“b) it should not be visually obtrusive or necessitate visually obtrusive constructions;”

As set out above the area proposed for 4 x 4/Quad bike activity and the metal containers, portaloos and car parking area will all be visually obtrusive. While screening of the containers and car parking might be possible there is no practicable way in which the 4 x 4 area can be screened to reduce visual and/or noise related impact.

“c) it should be compatible with existing adjoining and neighbouring developments and uses;”

The proposed development is incompatible with the current non-motorised recreational use of the PHRP and in particular is incompatible with the quality of peacefulness which is a major attraction of the Park.

“7. Intrusive tourist developments, including static and transit caravan and camping sites, will not be permitted within the Regional Park.”

The proposed development represents an “intrusive tourist development”. As such this policy consideration requires refusal of consent.

“8. Public car parks will be provided only on the periphery of the Regional Park. They must be related to specific recreational opportunities and will be designed to integrate with the landscape and character of each particular location.”

The proposed 15 car parking area will be available for use by such members of the public as may use the proposed recreational facility. As such this policy consideration applies to it. No steps, such as landscaping or screening, are proposed to achieve the required integration with the landscape and character of the location.

To summarise – the key policies relating to this application are RD1: Development in the Countryside and RD3: PHRP

RD1 states that development in the countryside must be:

“of a scale and character appropriate to the rural area and well integrated into the rural landscape”

It can be clearly seen that this proposal does not meet these requirements

RD1 also states that the amenity must be

“capable of being serviced with an adequate and appropriate access”

The Old Roman Road is a single track pavementless road of historical significance that faces degradation from a significant upturn in traffic to the area. The increase of traffic also presents a risk to residents, children, pets and hill walkers alike.

Additionally, RD1 states that it must be

“capable of being provided with drainage and a public water supply at reasonable cost, or an acceptable private water supply. Development must protect and where appropriate improve the water environment, avoiding unacceptable and unnecessary surface and foul water discharges to Watercourses”

There is no mention in this proposal of water supply/discharge despite the application for an onsite canteen. There is also no mention of fuel storage and the health and safety factors associated with this.

4. “accessible by public transport and services (where appropriate), either within 1,600 metres (1 mile) of a settlement or a bus route with a frequency of at least 1 bus per hour.​”

The Stagecoach 101/102 bus that services Nine Mile Burn does not run at the frequency required of a least one bus per hour throughout the day. There are only four buses running in total on a Sunday. As such this does not meet the requirements.

On all of these grounds I object to this application and urge you to reject it in accordance with MLDP 2017 Policy.

Yours Faithfully



The New Food Writing: an evening with Caroline Eden & Louise Gray

Louise has become a friend of mine this past year, since attending her book launch of The Ethical Carnivore and sharing a weekend of processing geese for Christmas on a small farm in Angus – I’m very much looking forward to this event on Wednesday. Thought it might also be of interest to other foodie writer with a concern for the environment and ethical production and consumption issues…

Golden Hare Books are welcoming two fantastic local authors to their Edinburgh shop on Wednesday 8th November. Caroline Eden and Louise Gray, both culinary experts who use food writing to exemplify both the issues and wonders of our world. Caroline, a travel journalist and co-author of Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia uses food to portray places and people across the world, and Louise writes about food to highlight damage to the shared environment and the importance of more ethical lifestyles.

What makes good food writing? Should it have a purpose beyond showing off tasty food?

Caroline and Louise will be in conversation at the Golden Hare to discuss these questions and the uses and future of food writing. Both winners of the Guild of Food Writers Awards, this is a very special opportunity to see two of the country’s most talented food writers talk about what they know and love best.

Snacks and wine will be served.

Tickets cost £3 each to help cover costs of putting on this fantastic event – the ticket price is fully redeemable against any book in the shop on the evening of 8th October.

To book tickets please follow the link below, or don’t hesitate to pop into the shop, email mail@goldenharebooks.com or phone 0131 629 1396 with any questions.


Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Venue: Golden Hare Books, 68 St Stephen Street, EdinburghEH3 5AQ

Food Beyond The Plate – Foraging and Foodie Events


One of my Gastronomy lecturers is working on a collaborative project between food educators, foragers, chefs, artists and producers in the Edinburgh area.

They are offering workshops and experiences from July 2017 which explore the world of food in its broadest sense in the beautiful Newton Walled Gardens at Millerhill just outside Edinburgh.

You can find out more about the project on their Facebook page here

Upcoming events include Wild Crafts: beautiful botanicals with forager and herbal medicine specialist Anna Canning , Killing Cooking, Writing – a workshop with Ethical Carnivore author Louise Gray and How and Why to Eat The Wild – explore the possibilities of using wild foods with Rupert Waites of Buck and Birch, wild-chef and co-creator of Aelder Elixir – all of which sound fantastic for those with a love of the great outdoors, food and cooking, self provisioning and home crafts.

You can find more details on their upcoming events here

Guess I may well see some of you at one of these!

Power of Food Festival – Events Programme – 17th-18th June

The full programme of events has now been launched, click on the image below to see what’s in store for this year’s festival…

The Power of Food Festival, a great celebration of community food growing, will be held in 29 gardens across Edinburgh on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June.

2017 marks the third edition of the Festival and showcases community food growing as a way to promote greater societal well-being and environmental sustainability. The Power of Food Festival provides a unique opportunity to (re)discover the city and take the pulse of its vibrant and varied neighbourhoods.

There is a wide range of free entertainment for children and adults, including: music and singing, edible plants walk, yoga, talks & stalls about the impact of our food choices, bioblitz, bug hunt, dance performance, food-inspired poetry-making workshop, a drystone dyking course, as well as sharing in the pleasure of eating together.

Entry to the gardens and all Festival activities are free (food may be offered on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis), and all are welcome to attend.

There is a short film about the Festival which offers an insight into what the Festival is all about. You can watch it here.

The detailed programme includes maps for different parts of the city to help visitors plan their weekend’s exploration, sustainable travel information, and a schedule of timed events. The full programme is available here.


The story of The Power of Food Festival itself is a simple one. With so many inspiring food gardens springing up around the city, transforming individual lives and communities, the Festival seeks to highlight community food growing as a powerful force for social change – connecting people, building trust, doing something together that’s greater than the sum of the parts. It aims to raise awareness of the environmental and social impact of our everyday food choices. It centres around a joyful garden gate open weekend and offer an exciting programme of free events and activities at local venues. Hosted by community food gardens, the Festival is the opportunity to be inspired by positive stories of collective action. Unlike traditional food festivals, this event gives the public the chance to go on location and experience how food is grown by local residents in their own neighbourhoods.

The Festival is entirely volunteer-run and operates without any grant funding. It seeks to harness the great human potential of our city and draws on people’s energy, enthusiasm and talents. The Power of Food Festival team would like to thank all those who are working hard to make the gardens and this Festival grow from strength to strength. It is a heart-warming sign of the community empowerment the Festival aims to celebrate.

A Visit to Gardening Scotland 2017

Despite being a little underwhelmed with the show last year, we got some discounted tickets and headed over to Ingliston for a quiet mooch about.

We like to go on the Sunday as they break the display stands down at 4pm and you can get some great bargains.

The weather was great, not what was expected but we were feeling a little jaded from a late night so just had a quiet mooch about which was very pleasant and not too taxing. 

As usual there were lots of inspirational gems to be seen and we could’ve spent a small fortune. We were very restrained though and just came back with some plant ties and labels, a large rosemary in a lovely pot (for £5!!), a meconopsis and a couple of pretty chinensis (my love of orange and yellow extends to plants).

Here are some more pictures…