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Led up the garden path

This year's Edinburgh conference (page four) spent some time in "the learning garden", courtesy of a striking analogy from Rowena Arshad, the noted race equality specialist at Moray House.

"The garden was divided into different parts - there was the nursery, the primary garden, the area with the oak trees which was secondary to none, the special area which looked after specific types of special plants and the community garden," she told us. Wonder what she had in mind?

That was only the start, as the discussion broadened into the highways and byways to find further metaphors about weeds, shrubs, hedges, tall poppies, fertilisers and canes to support growth. As Marion MacLeod of Edinburgh City Council said: "I feel like that character in Chewin' the Fat - is this naw gaun a bit far?"

But the audience was well equipped for the task. Among the blooming delegates were Messrs Plant, Gardner, Wood, Garland, Glen, Myrtle and Peat.

Keeping an eye on what the gardners were up to, on the ground and above it, was that colourful and expansive figure - Peacock.

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