Plants in the News

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

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David Pilling

Tropical plants return to the SS Great Britain

Tropical plants that were once transported on board the SS Great Britain have returned to the Bristol-based ship, for the first time in more than a century.

The weather deck now features replica mini greenhouses or Wardian cases that were adapted in the Victorian era to transport living plants.

Along with the transportation of ferns, which became incredibly popular, the cases also carried orchids, which could command huge prices at the time.

David Pilling

Volunteers needed to halt Himalayan Balsam menace

An appeal has been made for volunteers to help clear Himalayan Balsam from a site owned by the Woodland Trust.

The plant is considered an invasive species in the UK and has taken hold across the country - including at the Smithills Estate near Bolton.

It is hoped volunteers can help remove the balsam before the plant flowers in July and August and the seeds are scattered across the ground.

Himalayan Balsam was first imported to the UK by Victorian botanists in 1839, as a garden plant. It has no natural rivals and can reach a height of up to three metres.

It can quickly dominate ditches and streams because its seeds travel in the water, meaning riverbanks can quickly become infested.

David Pilling

Gardeners 'banned' from using vinegar to kill weeds for stark reason

Gardeners have been urged to take extreme care if they're using vinegar as a weedkiller in their garden this summer.

However, gardeners are being warned that vinegar can still be harmful to bees, which are a vital pollinator we're all trying to protect by avoiding lawn cutting and sewing wild flowers.

As one expert explains: "Vinegar is an astringent. If applied topically in a strong enough solution, it will dissolve the coating on the hairs of the trachea and the bees will drown"

Diane Whitehead

Years ago I read about using vinegar to kill weeds so I went to a garden store to buy some.  They had it in a locked room along with other poisons.  I didn't buy any and have never used anything to kill weeds except a garden fork and muscles.
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

David Pilling

Quote from: Diane Whitehead on June 14, 2024, 08:22:27 AMvinegar to kill weeds

Abraham Maslow wrote in 1966, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail."

The modern amateur is banned from accessing most chemicals, all that is left is vinegar, hence the books "a squillion and one uses for vinegar". However unlikely it is to kill woodworm or whatever one is advised to try it.

David Pilling

Do plants like banana water? Gardening experts weigh in

The pros share their thoughts on this social media trend and explain how to try it at home


Across the desk. I bet many of us know of these folks.

Mark Mazer
Hertford, NC

David Pilling

House-plant craze leaves fragile landscape ransacked

A consumer craze for ornamental house plants has driven a family of cacti to the brink of extinction. Experts are warning over 80 per cent are in trouble because of the illegal trade.

Copiapoa cacti are highly desirable to collectors and this makes them a target for poachers who dig them up, trash the surrounding landscape, and then list them online in international markets.

Poached copiapoa have a grey tone and are coated in a dusty-looking bloom that protects the plants in one of the driest deserts on Earth, whereas cultivated plants appear greener


Quote from: David Pilling on June 20, 2024, 05:30:55 PMDo plants like banana water? Gardening experts weigh in

I used to work with a Nigerian who had lots of fingers in various Nigerian was a soap factory. 
They made soft soap (usually used as shaving soap amongst other uses, and the potassium salt, rather than sodium salt, of fatty acids), using banana skin ash.

David Pilling

Germany using cocoa to battle 'abnormal plague' of mosquitoes at Euro 2024 base

A cocoa-based deterrent is being used to address a mosquito problem at Germany's European Championship base, forcing players indoors due to the unpleasant smell.

Germany's preparation for their last-16 tie with Denmark has been disrupted by a scourge of mosquitoes at their Bavaria base, with players frequently questioned about the issue in this week's press conferences ahead of the fixture.

One of the solutions has created a further problem; the area is being sprayed with cocoa fumes, and while that is deterring the mosquitoes, it is also creating an unpleasant smell in the camp that is forcing the players back indoors.

David Pilling

Families warned of flourishing giant hogweed

People have been warned to beware of dangerous giant hogweed as the invasive plant is flourishing in parts of Lancashire.

Conservationist Alan Wright, of Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said people should be careful when coming close to the weed - which can leave blistering and scarring if it comes into contact with the skin.

'Warn children'
The plant, which can look similar to other kinds, can grow up to 14-15ft (4.5m) tall.


Mint flowers are always very popular with insects......................

David Pilling

Quote from: CG100 on July 02, 2024, 12:23:27 PMMint flowers are always very popular with insects...


"For decades, peppermint oil has served as a potent insect repellent and research has confirmed this fact. When used around entry points in the home and applied via sachets near doors and windows or diffuser or spray, it can help repel ticks, spiders, roaches, moths, flies, fleas, beetles and ants."


I knew a bhuddist who thought the same and used one of the mint oils liberally as they could not kill anything.

Until they opened some chest drawers and found clothes, blankets etc. in tatters.

David Pilling

Gardeners urged to hang CDs in garden this July

You remember CDs - those shiny circular objects coded with music people used to buy before Spotify came along.

Now gardeners are saving their old Busted albums and putting them to use to protect their green spaces.

It might seem odd given their reputation, but birds are scared of CDs, and won't pinch your strawberries or peck at your raspberries if you line CDs along your raised beds.