It took me a while to find the right place tucked away between high rise flats. By the time I got there the rest of the team were inside having coffee and my blurry mobile picture shows a community garden without people. Even so, the sun was slanting between high walls and if you squint you can imagine what it might be like once fruit trees are showering the ground with blossom.


Community gardens are spreading across Edinburgh. So far I know of two within short walking distance from my front door. And plans for at least another three nearby.

Two weeks ago I went to a wonderfully cheering meeting in the appropriately named Persevere Room at Leith Community Centre. I had been watching Monty Don’s new BBC television series, Around the World in 80 Gardens, and wistfully imagined what Leith might be like if we could capture some of Cuba’s enthusiasm for growing organic fruit and vegetables in every spare piece of land. It didn’t seem likely. Leith is not Havana and we are not facing a food embargo.

But the meeting was full of community groups keen to use common land to encourage local people to get together to grow healthy local food. As a member of a small voluntary organisation, I found myself agreeing to share a plot in the new space (although a voice inside was muttering, ‘you’re crazy, you don’t have time for this’).

So my next visit to the Persevere Community Garden will be armed with a spade as well as my mobile to take part in a tree-planting ceremony with three other groups led by the wonderfully optimistic and persuasive Ally Tibbitt of Greener Leith. At the same time, the garden opening will mark the launch of Edinburgh’s Children’s Orchard – inspired by the fantastically successful Children’s Orchard in Glasgow.

Perhaps Leith could be more like Cuba than I imagined!

(This post, or a slightly tweaked version of it, also appears on Leith Open Space blog)