and through the wire...

By hesscat

The Lost Garden of Penicuik

Mrs C dragged me off to Penicuik today to for Doors Open Day to see "The Lost Garden of Penicuik". Unsurprisingly, it was very difficult to even find "The Lost Garden of Penicuik", as there were no signposts to find it, we knew it was on the Penicuik House Estate, and we kept bumping into people also looking for it! But we did eventually find it and were given short tour of it.

The history was very interesting... the garden was established in the 1880s as part of the Penicuik House Estate and for decades supplied Edinburgh and surrounding areas with produce to order. In 1899 Penicuik House burned down (and remained derelict until 2014) but the garden continued until the UK joined the common market in the 1970s and cheaper fruit and vegetables became available year round. They couldn't compete against that and changed to supply christmas trees and charcoal... but that didn't last and the garden lapsed into a state of disrepair and became overgrown. 

In 2012, the Penicuik Community Development Trust began a lease with the Penicuik House Estate to restore the garden and begin growing produce again. Run by volunteers a lot of work was done and vegetables have been growing there, but there is much still to do. Recently Penicuik House Estate has taken the lease back with the aim of restoring the garden themselves, but found it to be a bigger project than estimated. So they are again working with the volunteers, however some of them have left the project due to disagreements with the changes.

There are still big plans for it, but it is not clear how long it might take. Looking at the original photos it is clear it would be a stunning place again. The website is out of date and has missing links but shows how it used to look with the glasshouses.

One interesting thing I learned, apparently produce grown at the very edges of suitable weather climates etc are actually tastier than those with better climates as they plants are hardier etc. Well I believed it...

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