Sandy's Garden ... An Update

I don’t think that I have ever been so glad to have a garden.

By Sandy Simpson
Monday, 18th May 2020, 10:34 am
Updated Monday, 18th May 2020, 10:34 am

If I had been confined to a north-facing apartment on the umpteenth floor of a high-rise block, I think I might have thrown myself out of the window long ere now!

And not only do I have a garden to enjoy, I have a south-facing, professionally-designed, private garden to the rear of my home, a garden which I can appreciate whenever the weather permits and a garden where I can potter about doing a multitude of gentle tasks, passing time which would otherwise hang heavy on my hands.

I doubt if my garden has ever been so weed free! Many an hour has been spent in the past eight weeks removing young weeds … weedlngs? … meticulously, eschewing the use of chemical weed killers and reverting to old-fashioned removal by hand. To be honest, I have enjoyed this activity more than I thought I would.

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Falkirk Herald gardening guru Sandy Simpson

It is also more in line with recent recommendations from the cardiology department at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. Regular readers may recall that, some week ago, I spent a day there being subjected to a battery of tests which established that the immediate cause of my increasing breathlessness was my habit of adding salt to my food, leading to my body retaining fluids, including fluids which were gathering in my lungs, inhibiting my breathing.

Well, I have completely stopped adding salt and am now enjoying the taste of the food rather than the salty overtones which formerly accompanied every savoury dish; and the immediate result of this change in my diet has been to ease my breathing a great deal and almost eliminate the swelling of my ankles.

However, those tests revealed that some additional examination of my heart’s function would be a good idea; and the result of these further tests is that I now know that, like the rest of my muscles, my heart is not in the best of condition and should not be expected to cope with energetic activities which I would once have managed quite easily.

Medication, regular fairly gentle exercise and the application of common sense is the prescription to go on enjoying life. And I will reiterate that, while I have friends who consider that these several appointments in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital prove beyond any doubt that I have gone doolally, I have benefited greatly from the excellent service and, indeed, have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic by virtue of the absence of waiting times for the appointments I have needed and the time which staff have had to examine and advise me.

Let me say again; if you need the skills of specialists at Larbert, make and keep appointments; you really won’t find yourself jostling shoulder-to-shoulder with Covid-19 sufferers – honest!

But let’s return to the garden; the tits which were examining a potential nest site at the back of my house … and had actually begun construction work … have decided to abandon the project.

Perhaps my embarrassment at having a tit watch me getting dressed was less than the tit’s dismay at realising that this alarming sight might confront it every time it entered or left its home!

The young azalea which only just survived its first night in my garden when I let the frost catch it is still with us, having been nursed back to health in its very own intensive care unit – a clear plastic former fertiliser pellets jar (minus its bottom) with a variable opening … or removable … cap, which formed a Lilliputian igloo with its own microclimate.

This one-plant ICU is now occupied by the last surviving root of a once-robust parsley plant which fell victim to vine weevil. Waste not, want not! And, in a further illustration of this old adage, I have retrieved a couple of largish common foxglove plants … Digitalis purpurea … which had migrated from Network Rail’s embankment to an almost-inaccessible part of my garden and potted them up to give to a friend who wants them once the lockdown has been eased.

And when will that be, we all want to know! Roll on that day.