Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Some tasks for November/ December

1. Dig to prepare ground for next year's crops:
Alan Titchmarsh says: "Alas there's no instant remedy for bedsteads and bindweed, brickbats and buttercups. Only hard graft will rid you of them. It's no use rotovating the lot - every chopped bit of weed root will survive - you may have to dig the lot out by hand [unless you want to find a suitable weedkiller?] Take heart; you'll get there in the end. And rest assured that every gardener on this earth thinks their weed problem is worse than anybody else's".
This is probably a task that would be made more enjoyable if we could do it together and have a flask of cocoa to hand! Before we start, a pertinent question if we do want to grow more vegetables may be: 'What area has been designated for this?'

2. a) Spread compost that has already been made: Lots of weeds were heaped up last year against the wall and might now be ready to cover the open ground within the frames.
b) Make two or three compost boxes: As we don't have a waste food collection in Prestonpans, perhaps people might like to contribute their kitchen waste - not meat, fish or cooked foods - but vegetable and fruit peelings, grass mowings, young weeds, tea leaves & coffee grounds, old flowers and bedding plants, vegetarian pet bedding(!) wood ash, cardboard & compostable packaging. Then this would all get mixed in with weeds from the garden.

3. Prune apple trees (with a shape in mind) when there is no danger of frost but training may have to wait if there are not appropriately-placed supple shoots. Sharp secateurs are needed and best to have someone experienced please?
Check tree ties are secure but not too tight.

4. Sow broad beans and garlic, but not together. Do we want organically sourced seeds?
[Early potatoes grow well with broad beans so we could leave space for some between the rows.] Broad Bean Hardier varieties can be sown in autumn and be protected by cloches made from cut-off 'pop' bottles. The Sutton This is a Dwarf variety (only 30cm high) and at 40 seeds for £1.54 can be sown in a double row. Or Super Aquadulce 40 seeds £1.76. Garlic Vallelado 150g for £4.45, Break up the bulbs and planting the cloves will give a 40m row and is suitable for autumn-early winter plantings. Any aficionados among us? Varieties & prices from "The Organic Gardening Catalogue". 

Fat Hen (picture: Rasbak)

5. Get to know the weeds. One of the tall ones with slightly green-grey leaves and spires of small greenish knobbly flowers is Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) of the Goosefoot family and it indicates a good soil. "Once a most valued vegetable for humans it compares favourably in nutritional value to cabbage and spinach. If is a friendly herb to other plants as its deep roots raise mineral nutrients for shallower-rooted companions and its leaves catch and spread water to lesser neighbours." (How to enjoy your Weeds by Audrey WynneHatfield.) So let's not weed it all out.

Friday, 16 November 2012


The work day previously arranged for Sat 17 November has had to be cancelled.
Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Grasslands survey

East Lothian Council are running a number of site projects aimed at improving natural grasslands and it would be really good if some local people could complete this questionnaire to show levels of interest here.
The link - will take you to a 10m minute survey which is a national survey trying to raise public awareness and interest in natural grasslands.
To read more about grasslands, and just why they are so important, you might want to take a look at the relevant Plantlife pages here.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Thank you for making a difference!

We were so lucky with the weather on Saturday 27th October - the last day of British Summer Time.

And, we are so lucky to have so many community-minded individuals, families and organisations to come along and help in the park and make the day such a success.

The 1st Prestonpans Guides did an amazing job clearing the weeds along the borders and between the apple trees.  The Community Garden has never looked so good!

East Lothian Council had kindly supplied a trailer load of bark which our volunteers moved by wheelbarrow to form paths.

We then filled the empty trailer with weeds for the Council to take away.  There was a lot and some of the nettles were taller than us (and given that some of us are 6'3, they were pretty big nettles!).

Thank you everyone for taking part in our third Make a Difference Day event.

The next work day is Saturday 17 November

Monday, 22 October 2012

Make a Difference this weekend!

Following the success of their recent Big Green Weekend, the Friends of Cuthill Park are planning a CSV Make a Difference Day event on Saturday 27 October (11-4) and are looking for volunteers.
Friends' Secretary Charlotte Aitchison was confident that the community would support Make a Difference Day and said "We were delighted that so many people turned up to erect bird boxes, dig up weeds and generally improve the park two weeks ago. We are very grateful to the community in Prestonpans and hope they will support us again with a final push before winter
Charlotte continued “We going to be helped by the 1st Prestonpans Guides who have been terrific supporters of the park and previously helped plant bulbs. There will be something for everyone and whether you can come along for 15 minutes to gather seeds or stay for an hour weeding, whatever help you can give really does "make a difference" and is very much appreciated by visitors to the park”.

Come along and join us - there will be certificates and stickers for our young helpers and a limited number of t-shirts for the grown-ups!

Further information can be obtained from, 07847 566 146 or follow @cuthillpark on Twitter.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

2012 AGM

On 4th October, the Friends held their AGM in the Prestoungrange Gothenburg.

We are pleased to report that Tom Ewing has been re-elected as Chairman with Zoe Inglis elected as Vice Chair.

Jan Holden remains in post as Treasurer but has stepped down as Secretary.  The new Secretary is Charlotte Aitchison.

We would take this opportunity to thank all the supporters, volunteers, families, community groups and individuals who have helped us over the year.

We always need help - administrative, gardening, organising, fundraising, publicising, tea-making.  There are jobs for everyone and we really would appreciate some more friends!

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Big Green Weekend

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October, Cuthill Park will be a hive of activity!

We need as much help as we possibly can get to give the Community Garden a makeover.  There will be weeds to be dug up, fences to be erected, a shed to install, weeds to be dug, litter to be picked, borders to be planted.  Oh, and weeds, did we mention the weeds?

Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October
11 - 4

Please spread the word so the community can pull together to make The Big Green Weekend a truly memorable experience.

For more info, or to let us know you will be coming, please email

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Big Day - Love Parks Week

The Friends of Cuthill Park are celebrating Love Parks Week with The Big Day on Sunday 22 July. The event, which brings together The Friends of Hamilton House, Preston Lodge Rugby Club and other community groups, is an opportunity to put forward your views and learn more about planned developments in Prestonpans.

The Big Day takes place upstairs in The Goth, High Street, Prestonpans from 12.30 until 3 p.m.

The Love Parks Week campaign has always been aimed at raising awareness of the importance of parks and green spaces, showcasing the benefits they bring and highlighting the need for continual investment and engagement. This year the campaign will highlight what a healthy (quality) green space looks like and will begin to assess the nation’s parks by encouraging people to give their park a simple health check.

Jan Barker, Friends of Cuthill Park Trustee, said: "In terms of quality, Cuthill Park scores 40% - well below the standard (70%).  However, the Friends, in partnership with East Lothian Council, have already embarked on a programme of improvement which includes the sowing of wildflower areas, planting heritage fruit trees and community bulb planting.  We have exciting future plans for the park and would love to have more volunteers - and hear more ideas."

Paul Bramhill, CEO of charity GreenSpace, highlights the importance of the campaign: “As the benefits of parks have become more recognised, unfortunately the future of green space management is at risk. Local authority budgets are being dramatically reduced and we cannot expect community groups, that already identify they need more funding, training and volunteers, to be the only solution. Parks need to be properly financed to remain healthy – accessible, safe, lush, full of life, welcoming and a hub of the community. I cannot stress enough how important this year’s campaign is, please start to think about the future health of your park.”

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Friends - a Case Study!

Woodland Trust

Connect with the Woodland Trust:

Woodland Trust Facebook timelineWoodland Trust tweetsWoodland Trust Flickr albumsWoodland Trust YouTube channelWoodland Trust campaigns blog

Give your saplings a helping hand

I'm sure, like us, you want your trees to thrive but did you know the saplings you recently planted will be at their most vulnerable during the next five years?

Why not give them a helping hand by getting your community together for a 'mulch and munch' day, to include a well-earned summer picnic?

As well as providing a tasty treat for animals, young trees compete with grass and weeds for light, nutrients and water. One way that you can give your trees the best start is by weeding around their base.

Love it or loathe it, weeding increases your saplings' chances of survival and enhances their growth rate by reducing competition. If you can follow weeding by mulching the exposed base with a thick layer of bark chips, squares of old carpet or straw you'll be helping your saplings become stronger trees for future generations to enjoy.
© zorba the greek


Tree tidbits

Did you know that blackthorn supports over 100 species of insects and is the foodplant of caterpillars of the brown and black hairstreak butterfly? It's also the favourite nesting place of nightingales.

Although your saplings won't be producing berries just yet have a go at making sloe gin by harvesting sloes from local hedgerows this autumn. Here are two useful downloads: blackthorn factsheet and hedgerow tipples recipe pack.


Community stories

The Friends of Cuthill Park in Prestonpans, East Lothian wanted to improve the facilities and biodiversity of their park, helping encourage more local people to visit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

The group originally wanted to create a community garden but had no funding. After hearing about the Woodland Trust's free tree packs in the national press, Jan Barker applied for a Wild Harvest pack.

Jan says:

"The free trees for communities scheme has brought together a variety of local groups who now help each other out. It introduced me to the Woodland Trust and now my children are proud members of Nature Detectives.

Planting trees was the catalyst for so many more activities within our park. We have since gone on to purchase more trees, including heritage variety fruit trees, and create pathways. It has made our local authority take the efforts of the group much more seriously and we are now much more engaged with the council who consult us before carrying out maintenance.

We have a wildflower meadow and decorative railings planned for the park. We are now a designated QEII Field in Trust so our park is protected for ever – all because we began planting an edible hedgerow!"

Get inspired by this exciting project by clicking on the 'inspiration' tab...

And finally...

Have your trees been planted as part of a larger woodland project? Has your group considered creating a community woodland?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, please spare 5 minutes to answer our short survey.

Don't forget if you know of more space locally that would benefit from trees you can apply now for another pack. Please do share this enewsletter with your friends - they might like some free trees to enhance their community too.

Beverley and Julia

The Woodland Trust community tree pack team

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Love Parks Week

Thursday, 7 June 2012

This fruitful land is your land

Dear all

I have put a petition to the Scottish Parliament - asking for the Scottish  Government to consider allowing people to use underused land for fruitful
food growing. This is before the Scottish Parliament petitions committee on
12th June. The petition is at

(unfortunately their petition software doesn't work! - so I've had to set up
a separate petition that people can actually sign)

I'm hoping to get 1000 signatures to present on the 12th June - so please do
this now. Please encourage people to sign the e-petition below - and pass it on.

All best


 John Hancox
 Tel 0778 606 3918

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Echinacea - from Pine Ridge to the 'Pans

In 1950, Alfred Vogel travelled to the Americas, studying medicinal herbs used by the native people.  He met Sioux medicine man, Ben Black Elk, from whom he learned about Echinacea purpurea and returned to Teufen, Switzerland, with a small bag of seeds.

Using the seeds gifted by Black Elk, Vogel nurtured his Echinacea plans in Teufen, establishing a strong, healthy crop, which was used to create the first batch of Echinaforce®.

Bioforce, who market A Vogel's products in the UK, very generously gifted us 30 boxes of Echinacea purpurea seeds - the same variety that Black Elk once gave to Alfred Vogel.

We sowed some in small pots, ready to transplant into the park in about six weeks time.  We won't see any flowers for two years - but we think they will be worth waiting for.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Thank you Mobex

Mobex East Lothian is a youth based referral project, the aim of which is to deliver training programmes designed in consultation with young people to build confidence, group awareness, leadership and team work skills.

This can include outdoor activities such as bushcraft and watersports, practical involvement with accredited environmental projects, creative arts and craftsm or activities which promote environmental awareness and community regeneration.

The Mobex team have been hard at work installing the timber edging for the paths in the community garden.

Thank you to the Mobex volunteers for all they have done - the Friends of Cuthill Park really appreciate your efforts!

Workshop: Where do we GROW now?

A workshop for community food growers on finding new places to grow fruit and veg in our towns and cities

Tuesday 29 May 2012
6pm to 8pm (registration and sandwiches from 5.30pm)

The Space, Media Education, 183 Dalry Road, Edinburgh

What is it about?
We want to help more communities in Scotland to find more spaces and new ways to grow their own food. National research published last year highlighted that more and more people in Scotland want to grow their own fruit and veg but land availability is a major constraint.

Scottish Government has funded greenspace scotland to bring together community groups who are working on food growing and local food projects to create a vision of ‘our ideal food growing community’.

We will create a visual plan of a typical Scottish settlement which
·           illustrates the range of different community growing models (e.g. allotments, community gardens, edible landscapes) and
·           matches these to the different places where community growing could happen (e.g. school grounds, backgreens, temporary spaces, even road side planters)

At end of the project we will have a big map of a typical Scottish settlement that illustrates all of different places where community growing can happen with supporting information on each of these.

We see it being used by communities to spark ideas, identify which types of growing they want to take forward, and to begin to map their own community growing vision and plans. It will help them to:
·           take a more strategic and community wide approach to community food growing
·           consider all of the different land and growing options that are available to them
·           select the ‘right’ growing model for specific sites and circumstances

What will we do?
This event will involve us in discussing and mapping out the different places and ways communities can grow food. A graphic artist will help us to record and illustrate these. We need your ideas, expertise and knowledge to help us do this.

Please join us and other community growers to help us to help more communities to grow their own.

Places are limited and so please request registration from and return to by 21 May 2012
·           If you are personally unable to attend – we would welcome another representative/representatives from your project/group to attend in your place
·           Travel expenses for community representatives can be refunded - a claim form will be provided at the event
·           This workshop will be repeated on Thursday 31 May 2012 in Glasgow – please let me know if you would prefer to attend this session

Kind regards

greenspace scotland is an independent Scottish charity and social enterprise that works with a wide range of national and local organisations to ensure that everyone has easy access to quality greenspace. Creating a growing community is one of our current projects; find out more about greenspace scotland here

greenspace scotland - transforming urban spaces into people places
Ea O'Neill
Project Manager
greenspace scotland12 Alpha Centre
Stirling University Innovation Park
Tel:  01786 465934
Fax: 01786 469679


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Friends of Cuthill Park Meeting: Thursday 26 April

There will be a meeting in The Goth from 7pm.

Please come along if you have any suggestions for the park or would like to help the Friends further their aims for Cuthill Park, namely:

  • to increase visitor numbers
  • to improve the facilities in/appearance of the park
  • to install play/exercise equipment
  • to create a community garden and growing space
  • to increase the biodiversity of the park
  • to reinstate the path to Prestongrange Museum
  • to promote the park as a venue for outdoor events and for use by community groups

Come along, you'll be made to feel welcome and we always like to meet new people!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

What's that caterpillar?

Which butterfly or moth will it turn into?
Find out with the little book of caterpillars - great for identifying the caterpillars you've seen while out walking in the countryside, gardening, on a family picnic...

the little book of caterpillars

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Ready, Steady, Grow!

With only 100 days to go until the Olympics, we thought you might like some ideas to inspire you to grow all things floral for London 2012.

Step-by-step instructions can be found in this flower guide PDF.

  1. Country in a basket: Run window boxes right down your street, alternating in red, white and blue. Show your support for your team. .
  2. Grow for gold: To celebrate the Olympic Torch Relay, you could grow a garden of lucky golden marigolds.
  3. Grow a Union Jack: Salute our finest athletes with a stunning floral flag.
  4. The Paralympic Agitos: Make an impression on your front lawn.
  5. Floral racing lanes: The race is on. Just don’t run on the flowers!
  6. The Olympic Rings: Embrace the Olympic spirit with all five iconic Rings.

Chris Collins from the Blue Peter Garden was at Kew for the planting of the giant Olympic Rings. Here are some of his top tips to create your own:
Chris Collins'It might seem like a complicated design, but using flowers such a violas in the various colours of the Rings will make things more straightforward. Plant a nice bright leaved plant, low growing like Pyrethrum, around and inside the Rings to make them stand out. Or, you could just do a simple coloured display using edibles like purple lettuce, rocket or mint.'

Have a go yourself! And don’t forget to Tell Tom what you’re planning.

Grow for Gold

Encourage your whole street to follow your lead and make a real impact for when the Olympic Torch Relay comes to town.

Flower guide (pdf)

Flower guide
Get tips from gardening expert Philip Turvil on how you and your friends can put together an amazing Games inspired display.

Or, if all that seems a little too exhausting, why not join Team CP where we take things at a much  s-l-o-w-e-r  pace!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Nettle Cordial

The Friends of Cuthill Park have been busy in the community garden this week.  On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday a number of people helped dig up the weeds and level the earth prior to the paths being formed (next week a team from Mobex will be putting down the timber edging).

As we overturned the soil we kept getting an incredibly strong smell of wild garlic and the conversation turned to foraging. On cue, Jocelyn arrived with a bottle of nettle cordial (made using nettles from Cuthill Park).  It was wonderfully refreshing and a big hit with the children who declared it "better than lemonade".

We will post Jocelyn's recipe for Cuthill Park Nettle Cordial here shortly.  In the meantime, take a look at Eat Weeds website which has loads of wild food recipes including one for Sauteed Hogweed Leaf Stalks With Nettles & Wild Garlic.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Dig in!

There will be a workday and BBQ on Saturday 14th April from 11 a.m.

Come along to the Community Garden at the far end of the park and join in the fun.

Bring your own picnic and tools if you have them.

The disposable barbecue is being provided by the Prestonpans Fairtrade Town Steering Group who aim to show the huge range of fairly traded goods available. Take a look at their blog for ideas of Fair Trade gardening items.

Fingers crossed for good weather!

Have a Field Day

  • Have A Field Day Cuthill Park - the perfect way for communities to get involved in the excitement of 2012 and to feel part of 2012’s national events
  • In June of this year, the whole country will be joining together to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee . So why not get involved? Have A Field Day is the perfect way for communities to get involved.
  • Have A Field Day  offer something for everyone - they can be what you want them to be! Footie skills, sack races, welly-wanging, tug of war, hog roast, picnics... and there's more ideas in the toolkit.
  • If you're organising a Have A Field Day on a Queen Elizabeth II Field (i.e. Cuthill Park), you'll get a free goodie box packed full of bunting, kite making kits, tablecloths, balloons and loads more things to make your day go with a bang! You'll also get a toolkit of tips and ideas, to become your trusty organising companion.
  • If you want some ideas and thoughts on how to organise a great event, you can download a soft copy of the toolkit below. But you won't get a hardcopy unless it's happening on a QEII Field.

    This toolkit provides a wealth of practical information and suggestions to help you organise a day in which everyone in your local area can participate and enjoy. ...I hope you have a wonderful time
HRH The Duke of Cambridge,  KG, Patron of the Challenge
Have A Field Day - be part of it!

Download your toolkit
Not sure where to get started? Why not have a look at the toolkit.

Download the toolkit

If you would like to organise something a Big Lunch, Jubilee Party or Field Day in Cuthill Park, the Friends of Cuthill Park would be happy to help!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Forging ahead

Three of the Friends, together with East Lothian Council's Principal Arts Officer, paid a visit to Ratho Byres Forge where the railings for the park will be made.

The next step is for a section of the wall on Prestongrange Road to be lowered to 4'.  The installation of the railings and panels on top of the remaining wall will take about two weeks.

(The removed stone will be utilised elsewhere within Cuthill Park)

Show below are the designs for the two insert panels.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter in Cuthill Park

Many Easter eggs have been rolled down our slopes over the years (and sledges, and more recently scooters).

Cuthill Park is a brilliant place at Easter!  The wooded area is perfect for a family egg hunt because they are so many nooks and crannies to hide them in.

More Easter ideas
Easter scavenger hunt nature detectives wildlife club arrow scavenger hunt
spring nature trail ticklist nature detectives wildlife club arrow spring nature trail kit
Easter egg large nature detectives wildlife club arrow egg trail
large rabbit picture nature detectives wildlife club arrow Easter bunny trail
Easter hunt sheet nature detectives wildlife club arrow spotter sheet
nest challengenature detectives wildlife club arrownest building challenge
chocolate Easter nests nature detectives wildlife club arrow Easter nests recipe
easter basket nature detectives wildlife club arrow Easter basket
rabbit ears nature detectives wildlife club arrow rabbit mask
Easter card nature detectives wildlife club arrow Easter card template
forest floor cake ingredients nature detectives wildlife club arrow forest floor cake
Easter wordsearch nature detectives wildlife club arrow wordsearch
lamb jigsaw puzzle nature detectives wildlife club arrow lamb jigsaw puzzle
Lesser celandine 'spot the difference' nature detectives wildlife club arrow spot the difference
easter chick nature detectives wildlife club arrow Easter chick art sheet
rabbit outline nature detectives wildlife club arrow rabbit art sheet