Sandy’s Garden ... Memories

Sandy Simpson
Sandy Simpson

Every so often, I am cruelly reminded that I used to have a good memory.

Recently, boarding a bus in Callendar Riggs, I placed my Bairnsplus concession travel entitlement card on the reader and said to the driver: “Em … em … the road past Larbert Station please.” “Main Street?” he asked. “No, it’s … em …” “Foundry Loan?” “No, no, not that one.” “Muirhall Road?” “Yes, that’s it!” (I didn’t realise my card was called a Bairnsplus; you live and learn!)

I suppose I should count myself lucky that I recognised the name of my intended destination when I was reminded of it! It is, however, very embarrassing to be unable to bring to mind the names of unexpectedly-met people, to forget details of the layout of supermarkets … like where this company puts sugar on its shelves … or even to struggle to convince myself that I really did lock the front door.

What brought this to mind was reading a veritable catalogue of the visual pleasures enjoyed during the past summer by visitors to Grangepans and to hope that the vast majority of them can remember these visual delights. Here is the start of this list: “This summer local people and visitors to Grangepans, Bo’ness enjoyed a stunning wildflower spectacle. They weren’t the only ones enjoying the new wildflower meadow. A host of pollinating insects including butterflies, bees, moths and hoverflies also made the most of the expanse of perennial and annual wildflowers and meadow grasses. The new meadow, created by Buglife and Falkirk Council, provides a vital area of habitat for local wildlife. It helps to create a large corridor of wildlife friendly habitat from Kinneil Foreshore along to Bridgeness – a fantastic resource for our pollinating insects.”

To illustrate the point, the words are accompanied by a spectacular photograph of what must surely be one of the highlights of the wildflower meadow, a positive riot of vibrant colour. But, of course, a summer meadow lives on only in photographs or in the memories of viewers. To return to the article from which my earlier quote was taken. “This year’s meadow will be cut in autumn and the hay removed to help the wildflowers to establish and thrive. Annual flowers like poppies, cornflower and corncockle provided a blast of red, blue and yellow in this year’s meadow. Next year beautiful perennial wildflowers like the purple knapweed, electric blue viper’s bugloss and nodding oxeye daisies should be more dominant, painting a different picture for us. Spectators can expect a colourful journey of discovery as, over time, the meadow matures into an established perennial meadow with all its associated wildlife.” Now doesn’t that sound like something well worth a visit?

If you do like the sound of that, gentle reader, and would like to learn more, my quotations are taken from Issue 18 of Life, Falkirk Council’s biodiversity newsletter, which you can find by typing Falkirk Council Biodiversity Newsletter Vol 18 into your preferred internet search engine. Alternatively, you can contact Falkirk Council’s Biodiversity Officer … Anna Perks … at Abbotsford House, David’s Loan, Falkirk, FK2 7YZ or by e-mail at biodiversity@falkirk.gov.uk. By the way, just in case you are wondering, I did find these contact details in what remains of my memory, although I thought it wise to check that I had recalled them correctly. And with that, I shall return to contemplating a beautiful photograph of real poppies this early November day; I shall reassure myself by recalling that I really do remember admiring the most spectacular drifts of wild poppies alongside the railway line in the Adige Valley in northern Italy; and I shall be grateful that such memories remain alive!