Views from the edge of Auld Reekie

On The Beach
For the past six weeks, having watched Seaspiracy, and been shocked into action, I’ve been picking up litter from a beach I pass on my morning cycle. It’s a potentially beautiful spot where the Dolphinton Burn meets the Firth of Forth, and swans, geese, ducks, oystercatchers, and gulls are just some of the birds you’ll see on any day by the water.

However, the Firth of Forth is, as a dog walker proclaimed this morning – ‘a dirty river’. Too true, I bought myself a litter picker and armed with it and a bag I’ve now an intimate relationship with human trash. Tyres, plastic bottles and tops, sanitary towels, a lot of sanitary towels, innumerable pieces of plastic of all sizes and types, shoes, lots of shoes, clothing, ropes, wipes, food packaging, fibrous and congealed human-made materials, just about anything you can think of that humans make and nature has to suffer. I always think of a whale or dolphin or any sea creature consuming this stuff, and the complete misery of that vision is sobering. I can clear that beach, just about, in a month, but then it all comes back again. How not to despair?

Well, what good would that do? The problem facing humanity at this juncture, with regards our relationship with the natural world is indeed huge, but the solutions are simple, and I’m not going to tell you what they are, because you already know them and if you don’t you can find them out for yourselves, failing that, come along to The Lions’ Gate sometime…

The future is green
Though having no political affiliations, I was cheered by the increase in representation of the Greens at the Scottish Election, which I thought (as a bit of an election nerd) was very well covered. Lockdown has increased our connection to nature and we must not lose that, we must all work toward nourishing bio-diverse systems as a core activity, and that includes taking care of ourselves as symbiotic parts of that diversity.

The Lions’ Gate Fringe
No, not an new hair cut…yet. We’ve been successful in securing some Public Engagement funds and our plan is to have a Fringe event in the garden between the 6th and 13th of August – involving talks, food and drink, music, digital technology and gardening. If you’d like to participate in this in any way please get in touch: callum.egan@napier.ac.uk. We could represent quite a lot of ‘sustainability’ activities from across the university. It’s a lot of work and I could really do with the help too :).

Hedgehogs and Apple trees
A shout needs to go out to Heloisa and the Hedgehog Friendly Campus crew at ENSA for their awesome hedgehog house pictured below and Miles Weaver and Ankit for helping out with the planting of a Cambusnethan Pippin Apple tree and associated herb guild up at Craiglockhart.

To round of this ramble here are a few shots of the garden taken last week. I was enthralled to see that one of the plants we left in the space from the past – a Japanese Quince, was in flower. Also, the intensity and variety of greenery was quite overwhelming, even to an anomolous trichromat like myself.

Elephant Ears (Bergenia cordifolia)
Elephant Ears (Bergenia cordifolia)
Japanese Quince
Japanese Quince
Conference Pear
Conference Pear
Hedgehog House
Hedgehog House
Lovage
Lovage

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