Plants in the News

Started by David Pilling, May 27, 2022, 01:43:24 PM

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David Pilling

Families with bigger gardens could also see growing water bills, Thames Water boss warns

'We're looking for proxies for relatively high income households,' she told Bloomberg at following a London Assembly environment committee meeting.

'One of those proxies might be big gardens, and therefore high levels of water use.'

David Pilling

The secret to avoiding brown lawns in summer

"Planting clover instead of grass this summer will keep lawns green, the Royal Horticultural Society has said.

While grass varieties fade in colour during sunnier months with little or no rain, clover is more resistant to drought, a spokesman for the RHS said."

David Pilling

Can houseplants purify the air in your home?

"Most people don't realise just how many pollutants are swirling around indoors, where they typically spend most of their time.

This is one reason that it's so appealing to think of potted plants as passively, and inexpensively, cleaning the air. Essentially, plant leaves take in carbon dioxide and other pollutants, which are then used in various plant processes or broken down."

Spoiler, there's a law of headlines that says when they ask a question the answer is usually "No".

David Pilling

Alan Titchmarsh warns of garden trend he 'hates' that will be 'catastrophic' for wildlife

Despite the growing need and popularity of rewilding and eco-friendly gardening, well-known gardener Alan Titchmarsh has warned against embracing the trend, arguing that it could pose a risk to wildlife and reduce biodiversity.

David Pilling

3 gardening 'mistakes' you need to stop that 'attract rats' and 'bigger pests' to gardens

"Nobody wants to spot a rat in their home or garden - especially when there's a group of them. An expert has warned there are a few mistakes gardeners are making that encourage rats and often "bigger pests" into their gardens."

David Pilling

'King Charles' visits Blackpool to launch garden attraction

"A waxwork replica of the King took time out from his Royal duties at Madame Tussauds just along the promenade to come to Blackpool Tower to launch the "summer of smiles garden".

With more than 50,000 colourful bloom, creating the perfect selfie moment spots 380-feet in the sky, the garden is said to bring smiles to faces whatever the weather is doing outside."


Quote from: David Pilling on July 22, 2023, 04:10:42 PMAlan Titchmarsh warns of garden trend he 'hates' that will be 'catastrophic' for wildlife

Despite the growing need and popularity of rewilding and eco-friendly gardening, well-known gardener Alan Titchmarsh has warned against embracing the trend, arguing that it could pose a risk to wildlife and reduce biodiversity.

Native shrubs and trees are especially important to birds. All of the smaller birds, even insectivorous ones, feed their young caterpillars. Native plants support large and diverse populations of caterpillars; ornamentals are more like supermarkets with bare shelves in the baby food isle.  That being said, the world is full of interesting and wonderful plants that are a delight to have in one's garden.  It's nice to have both native and non-native.

Robin Hansen

I'm sorry, I think this man is on another planet. His remark about nothing available to eat in the winter is nuts. This might possibly be true in some areas of the world but mostly not. Diversity yes, including natives, but ignoring natives that are adapted to the area where you live requires using up more resources than are needed or even essential, certainly more water.... And it requires garden practices that may be detrimental to the soil, i.e. pesticides and herbicides, among others.
Robin Hansen
President, PBS

Diane Whitehead

Perhaps wild Britain is as bare as all the landscapes I see on the mystery programs I watch on TV.  There are no trees or bushes at all - just short green stuff that is probably grass.   The programs might all have been photographed up in Scotland, and maybe further south there are woodlands, but generally,  it's a good thing that people plant gardens.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

David Pilling

Quote from: Robin Hansen on July 30, 2023, 09:56:05 AMI think this man is on another planet.

Alan Tictmarsh, is a secular saint, celebrity royalty and a winner of the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour. If you're in his pay bracket, you may encounter problems like wanting to turn the one acre field next to your large home into garden and being told by the local planners that a flower meadow would be more beneficial for the environment.

I suspect that is the problem, do-gooders saying what has to be done. They're sort of neo-gardeners.

Left to its own devices, re-wilding if you like, most of the UK would revert to woodland as it was before all the trees were cleared for fuel and ships. Some of the more exposed places would turn back to tough grass.

The current state is maintained by grazing sheep and other uses. Some of that is very pretty.


The reason for retaining edible landscape for wildlife should also be consider about introducing the concept such as novel food species for human and for wildlife.
For example, the native chestnut for food in the EU is Castanea sativa.  Castanea mollissima and Castanea crenata (Japan) which are traditionally consumed by the East Asia people are novel food for the European people. And the concept should be  also applied to the wildlife.
NOTIFICATION 2020.0577 Novel food in chestnut snack notified 5 FEB 2020 by  Italy | last update 5 FEB 2020
NOTIFICATION 2022.6799 Nuevo alimento (Castanea mollissima) no autorizado procedente de China // Novel food (Castanea mollissima) non authorised from China notified 22 NOV 2022 by  Spain | last update 22 NOV 2022
NOTIFICATION 2023.4663 Unauthorized novel food (castanea mollissima) in chestnut jam and from China notified 11 JUL 2023 by  Italy | last update 26 JUL 2023


Nothing is cut and dried, nothing is simple.

In mild-wintered UK there is invertebrate food available in all except the worst weather. Many native and non-native plants produce food for wildlife, especailly woody species, especially in winter, although fruits and berries are foods of last resort for most birds as they can digest rather little of them, crows being a major and obvious exception.

As for rewilding - that name covers all manner of sins, from long grass to endless scrub, and almost nowhere in the UK is it unmanaged, using flooding, livestock, and/or mechanical methods to produce what somebody has arbitarily decided is what "should" be created.

The major "natural" modifiers of the UK landscape (in addition to man) are not even native - roe and fallow deer are introduced and there is increasing debate over whether red are introduced or not. Add in Reeve's muntjac, Chinese water, and sika (and the tiny managed herd of reindeer),  plus rabbits - also introduced,. and you have a potentially, actual in some areas, huge grazing/browsing pressure.

As for trully natural habitat - where the soil, climate and aspect allow, it is now reckoned that the UK was something like what the New Forest currently is - a patchwork of open woodland.

Quote from: Diane Whitehead on July 30, 2023, 12:35:59 PM.......bare as all the landscapes I see on the mystery programs I watch on TV.  There are no trees or bushes at all - just short green stuff that is probably grass.

That will be rather small areas, proportionally, where arable agriculture is profitable, and the green will be very largely cereals.
Very little grazing livestock in the UK is housed (or held in yards), except dairy and some (rather few) beef cattle for the worst of the winter weather when pasture would be puddled to death.
Huge areas that are grazed are rough, largely "unimproved" land - all of the moors in the SW, large areas of Wales and Scotland, the Peaks, the Lakes, Breckland - the list is almost endless.
You have a very mistaken impression of UK countryside - not all of it is like Lincolnshire (which is in large part, recalimed bog/marsh).

David Pilling

Lake District: New Zealand Pigmyweed spreads in Derwent catchment

"Conservationists are in a race against time to stop the spread of a highly invasive weed in the Lake District.

New Zealand Pigmyweed, which can spread from a tiny fragment, has taken hold throughout the Derwent catchment.

Swimmers, anglers and water sport enthusiasts are being asked to check, clean and dry their equipment to make sure it is free from weeds.

New Zealand Pigmyweed was recently found in Crummock Water and has been detected in Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Loweswater.

Izzie Mullin, invasive species officer with WCRT, said: "It is incredibly adaptable and the smallest fragment measuring only 2cm can see it spread from one area to the next and it just grows into great dense mats on the water surface, completely outcompeting everything else."

David Pilling

Alan Titchmarsh hits out at Kew Gardens' plan to move botanical collection

"Alan Titchmarsh has said there is "no possible advantage" to Kew Gardens moving its historic botanical collection of dried specimens to a science park in Reading.

The proposed move has sparked anger among hundreds of scientists as the Herbarium, which dates from 1853, holds more than seven million specimens dating back to the 17th century, including a Galápagos fern collected by Charles Darwin and plants from the East India Company that launched the tea trade.

The Royal Botanic Gardens wants to relocate the plant library an hour away in the Thames Valley Science Park, a decision which botanists say will end careers, damage science and lead foreign countries to take back their collections."


Quote from: David Pilling on August 09, 2023, 06:42:14 PMLake District: New Zealand Pigmyweed spreads in Derwent catchment

I bought some dwarf water-lillies 3-4 years ago and had a "discussion" with the seller about what he listed as this plant by Latin name. He insisted that what he was selling was not NZ pigmyweed. It was illegal to sell it then, as it is now.

A more recently banned plant in the UK is water hyacinth - Pontederia crassipes - but I have seen that being sold in a garden centre this year. (I have always liked the idea of growing it in an indoor tub, it is interesting in all stages of growth and the flowers are rather pretty.