Archive for 13/12/2013


I recently attended a lecture by Sir Gordon Conway, the gist of which I hope to reflect on and share soon- its all about ‘sustainable intensification’ of food growing as the way forward to tackle global hunger…fascinating projects and innovations from around the world point the way. Here’s an article that captures the approach.

One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-10088298Professor Sir Gordon Conway and Katy Wilson highlight the need for innovative solutions to food insecurity

Article originally appeared on The Economist Insights

With global population expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 the world faces unprecedented demands on its resources – not least water, biodiversity and land. Add to this the likely impact of climate change, and the challenge of feeding a world where some 870 million people are already chronically hungry appears a difficult one.

Governments, NGOs, academia and the private sector are searching for long-term sustainable solutions to global food insecurity and future resource scarcity.  One solution, first proposed by Jules Pretty in the 1990s, and backed by the Montpellier Panel, a high-level group of European and African experts in the fields of agriculture, trade, policy, and global development, is sustainable intensification. At its heart sustainable intensification is about producing more food, more efficiently.

Achieving global…

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Shine A Light

By Wayne Kett

When Jeremiah James Colman was asked how he had made such a vast fortune from the sale of mustard he replied ‘I make my money from the mustard that people throw away on the sides of their plate’.

When, after the death of his father in 1851, 24 year old Jeremiah James Colman assumed control of the family business. It was a small local company selling modest amounts of mustard. In the space of 50 years he built the company into a global brand using innovative marketing techniques and through his hard-work, honesty and integrity as a business man.

In 1856, Colman’s employed just 200 people, by 1862 this had risen to 600 and by the time of his death in 1898 it was closer to 2,000. He expanded the range of products under production to include laundry blue, flour and starch.

The story of the rise of…

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cornus alba sibirica and green yellow stems of C. flavirameaCornus is a genus of about 30- 60 species of woody trees and shrubs, commonly known as dogwoods. Most are deciduous, but a few are more like herbaceous perennials (subshrubs) and some are evergreen. Cornus is the latin word for ‘horn’ referring to the hardness of the wood.

The name “dog-tree” was recorded in 1548, and this had changed to “dogwood” by 1614. After this the plants soon became known as the Hound’s Tree, while the fruits came to be known as dogberries or houndberries (the latter is also the name given to the fruits of the black nightshade- alluding to Hecate’s hounds).

The plants may have become known as ‘dogwoods’ from the Old English word dagwood, which refers to the ways it’s slender stems of very hard wood were used to make “dags” (daggers, skewers, and arrows).

Another, earlier name of the dogwood in English is the whipple-tree. Chaucer refers to the “whippletree” in The Canterbury Tales (‘The Knight’s Tale- verse 2065). A whippletree is also a part of a horse – drawn cart; the link between the drawpole of the cart and the harnesses of the horses lined up behind one another, and commonly carved from the Whippletree or Dogwood.

Some of the Cornus species names are:

C. alba = white

C. canadensis = of Canada

C. candidissima = very white- the flowers

C. capitata = headed- the grouping of flowers

C. florida = flowering richly

C. fragifera = strawberry-like – the fruits

C. glabrata = glabrous

C. kousa = a japanese name

C. mas = male (mascula of Linnaeus)

C. nuttallii = after Nuttall

C. sanguinea = blood-red- the twigs

Cornus are either grown for their flowers, interesting leaves (some both of interest during summer and autumn) or for their colourful winter stems. These are just coming into their own in winter gardens around Britain – including Old School Garden. I have several groups of C. alba ‘Sibirica’, C. sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ and C. sericea ‘Flaviramea’ (some grown easily from hardwood cuttings). I ‘stool’ these (i.e. cut the stems to the base) each spring to encourage new growth, which once the leaves have fallen (these are also very colourful in the autumn), reveals bright red, orange and yellow- green stems, which really glow in the winter sunshine..

Sources and further information:

Wikipedia

Seven Plants for Winter Wonder -article on Old School Garden

Cornus- RHS advice

Cornus- an essential winter shrub- Daily Telegraph

Old School Gardener

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