Bird feeders

It’s quite astonishing how little bio-diversity there is at Merchiston campus. It’s basically a series of concrete boxes, on a mono-blocked floor. There is almost no soft landscaping, everything is an angle.

We do however have a resident Robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the Lions gate, so I’ve hung up two bird feeders to encourage this avian companion to stick around and to encourage more birds to visit the site. One hangs on the Mahonia (commonly known as Oregon grape), so that the staff in the library office can enjoy the view, and another on the Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) so that staff and students in the main part of the library can share the same simple delight.

I’ve seen photos of a fox on campus and caught sight of a blackbird once too. Is that really it?

The installation of ponds on both sites should help to redress this poverty.

It’s crucial that early on in our design process we attract as much wildlife as possible to kick-start ecological processes that will aid good health in all its guises.

Bird feeder at proposed garden entrance/reception area
Bird feeder at proposed garden entrance/reception area
Bird feeder on Rowan in proposed entertainment area
Bird feeder on Rowan in proposed entertainment area

Horticulturist

Delighted to have employed Kat Dunlop (the harmonious gardener), to kick-start the growing process and run volunteer sessions and events. Kat has tons of gardening experience, especially in working with volunteer groups. She’ll also be drawing up volunteer policies, helping with risk assessments, health and safety, research and other administrative tasks. Welcome aboard Kat!

Tools.

We’ve begun purchasing tools for the project, so we can start to roll out volunteer sessions late-February/early March (watch this space). We’ve got spades, forks, rakes, secateurs, hoses, watering cans, saws, drills, wheelbarrow’s, first aid kits, a shredder, and much more, with more specialised tools on the way.

Tool shed
Tool shed

Lions Gate Cleared

Clearing of the Lions Gate garden, so we have a blank canvas for implementing our interactive permaculture space, is now complete. Many thanks to Hutton and Read, and especially Scott, Lochlan and Jordan for their back-breaking assistance.

Huge thanks to Lochlan, Jordan and mostly Scott for clearing our space
Huge thanks to Lochlan, Jordan and mostly Scott for clearing our space
Sycamore with retained shrubs for mulching
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) with retained shrubs for mulch

We’ve retained the uprooted shrubs for mulching, and now the design process moves onto path design with help from Lead Scotland (handily situated within Merchiston Campus) and Edinburgh Access Panel for advice on making a path accessible.

Work on the horizon includes; soil enrichment, landscaping, composting and water harvesting systems, white-washing walls and hopefully before Christmas we can plant out our prototype interactive guild we exhibited at Gardening Scotland in June.

Also, we’re about to order some tools, so we can kick-start participation with volunteers.

Entertainment area - looking toward food forest
Entertainment area – looking toward food forest
Food forest from lean-to
Food forest from lean-to

Free trees from the Woodland Trust

I ordered 270 trees from the Woodland Trust earlier in the year and they arrived today. Thankfully they are whips – young, slender, unbranched shoots.

The Woodland Trust provide free trees to community projects – a fantastic opportunity for all to provide much needed lungs for the planet.

We’ll use some of the trees in both the Lions Gate and the rooftop kitchen allotment/orchard as stand-alones and hedging.

The pack includes; Grey Willow (Salix cinerea subsp. oleifolia), Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Cherry (Prunus avium), Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), Elder (Sambucus nigra), Field Maple (Acer campestre), Goat Willow (Salix caprea), Hazel (Corylus avellana), Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Oak (Quercus robur), Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris), Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Dog Rose (Rosa canina). Lot’s of scope for edible hedges, wood harvesting, jams, jellies, sloe gin, christmas decoration and nuts. The trees will also provide windbreaks, wildlife, soften the landscape and lighten the mind.

I’m hoping to utilise them on other campus’s too.

Free trees from the Woodland Trust
Free trees from the Woodland Trust

Nature, Technology & Modern Life

C.G Jung
C.G Jung

Reading C.G. Yung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life. Wonderful text from which I will post quotes here.

“The word ‘matter’ remains a dry, inhuman and purely intellectual concept…How different was the former image of matter – the Great Mother – that could encompass and express the profound emotional meaning of the Great Mother.”

“Without my piece of earth, my life’s work would not have come into being.”

“Man…is a top animal exiled on a tiny speck of a planet in the Milky Way. That is the reason why he does not know himself; he is cosmically isolated. He can only state with certainty that he is no monkey, no bird, no fish, and no tree. But what he positively is, remains obscure.”

“We need to project ourselves into the things around us. My self is not confined to my body. It extends into all things around me. Without these things, I would not be myself; I would not be a human being. I would merely be a human ape, a primate.”

“Civilised man…is in danger of losing all contact with the world of instinct – a danger that is still further increased by his living an urban existence in what seems to be a purely man-made environment. This loss of instinct is largely responsible for the pathological condition of contemporary culture.”

“The dream is a hidden door into the innermost recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night…All consciousness separates, but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of the eternal night. There he is still whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood.”

“The dreaming function in mammals is approximately 150 000 000 years old.” (Anthony Stevens)

Lions Gate Progress

The Lions Gate Interactive Permaculture Garden has been donated a bench by the brother of a long-serving, now deceased, former Napier employee David W. Wright who taught for many years at Merchiston in the Department of Biological Sciences. I look forward to our interactive permaculture garden blossoming around this contemplative place to be.

Commemorative garden bench
Commemorative garden bench
David W. Wright plaque
David W. Wright plaque

Thanks to Iain Whittick and Eric Munro from Edinburgh Napier Estates we now have two taps in the Lions Gate Garden. Big thank you to both. This has allowed me to keep the plants from our Gardening Scotland event alive, and will contribute to life flourishing in the coming garden.

Newly installed taps
Newly installed taps

Lastly, I’ve also now got my own keys so I can access the garden when I please without having to hassle security all the time.

Keys to the garden
Keys to the garden

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN Sustainable Development Goals
UN Sustainable Development Goals

I’ve just signed the SDG Accord (as an individual) to advance the critical role that education has in delivering the SDGs and the value it brings to governments, business and wider society, and to make a commitment via my learning institution to deliver the goals.