Today is biodiversity day. I have been contemplating the wonderful diversity of plant life in the Ayrshire hedgerows and roadsides. We have blackthorn, hawthorn, and apple, the latter cut into hedging as well as allowed to be bushes and trees. We have water avens, and marsh marigold, primroses, bluebells, and bushels of cow parsley or Queen Anne’s Lace, as my father knew it. We have stitchwort and campion. In and through it we have a myriad of bees and hoppers and flies. In consequence, we also have swallows and finches and warblers. Each tier a joy.
As I drive to work on Tuesday and Thursday I go through a particularly delicious and rich stretch. The narrow lanes at this time of year burst with colour. Until I get to Morgue Row. In Morgue Row some tidy-minded farmer has decided the weeds must go. He has, and I suspect it has taken years, knocked most of the diversity out of the place, but until a few days ago the cow parsley was flowering bonnily. Now there are tortured remains, and agonised twisted shapes. He has sprayed each and every inch of the wayside with weed-killer. It makes me wretched to pass it.
Biodiversity is not something for others, biodiversity lives or dies on our own roadside.