Thursday, 11 June 2015


Image result for branklyn gardens perth

I went to Perth last week; it’s a while since I was there. I used to go fairly frequently when I was in business. We did work on Perth Pool and then later, we had a major supplier who was based there. It isn’t common knowledge particularly but there are a lot of specialist metalwork firms in and around Perth. I suppose it’s that clustering thing: obvious clusters that you might get in and around a motor vehicle plant in the Midlands or around a fishing port in North-east Scotland. Less obvious ones like bakeries around Newcastle or specialist metal fabricators around Perth.

I was saddened to see how the town had declined since I was last there; boarded-up shops are the norm these days in neglected industrial towns like Stockton or Wolverhampton but I had never thought of Perth as being vulnerable to the economy in the same way. Just googled some stats and it says unemployment is only 3%; but of course what that hides is the net migration of good quality school leavers who want jobs in their chosen field. Doesn’t wholly explain the boarded-up shops. Neither does the age demographic, in a resident population of about forty-thousand something like 12-15% are retired with 9% aged over 75. These are the people that use the shops, rather than making their purchases on line. Or so I am told but again, I wonder about that. It’s a statistic that is hard to capture. There is something on the web about the loss of major industries in Whisky and Insurance but Stagecoach are there and that is a large concern and tourism attracts many visitors. Still can’t grasp the reason for the decay, though.

The photograph is of Branklyn Garden where we were fortunate to be given a guided tour by the new Head Gardener, Alistair, who used to work for us. They have the national collection of Meconopsis, the blue Himalayan poppy.

I liked it a lot. It was a beautiful day and we had plenty of Alistair’s time; there is nothing quite like the experience of being taken on a tour by an expert and having them point out things you would never otherwise notice. I should do a post one day about that: the guide in the rainforest in Sarawak; being taken round the Barrow nuclear submarine base by the project engineer; Johnsons factory in Hawick; Aberdeen harbour by the Harbourmaster. Canyon de Chelly by a Navaho guide.

Anyway, a lovely garden. Alistair intends to introduce swathes of planting instead of the way it is now, sorry to interrupt the way it is now, which is lots of rare specimen plants, dotted about the hillside.

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