Archive for June, 2017

Is science going to solve all the world’s problems? Can we continue engaging in practices which cause environmental damage and disregard our impact on the planet because ‘one day in the future’, through our technological brilliance, someone else will be able to fix it and all other problems? This is what the ideology of Technological […]

via Technological Utopianism – Why bad ideas cause very real environmental problems — Deep Green Permaculture


To Walter de Grasse

Dear Walter,

Hello from Australia! We’ve been here about 10 days, staying with our eldest and her partner just outside Melbourne. Having finally got shot of the effects of jet lag, yesterday we found ourselves getting little sleep as daughter was in hospital delivering our first grandchild..a lovely little girl (name tba)! As you can imagine the build up to this has meant staying relatively close to home, but this hasn’t prevented me from finding some places of horticultural interest to share with you.

We left the UK in something of a heat wave, and despite my efforts to provide a supply of water to many containerised plants, and even with a very diligent neighbour, I was expecting some casualties on our return in a few weeks time; especially in the kitchen garden where I’ve planted carrots, runner beans and squashes alongside new potatoes and onions (and a whole lot of fruit). I heard yesterday that there’s been heavy rain in East Anglia, so maybe the position isn’t entirely hopeless.

Turning to matters horticultural ‘a la Aus’, we’ve visited a nice little botanical garden in nearby Williamstown (a quaint little place with lots of interesting old houses), as well as a  a rather  a grand old mansion with some beautifully kept gardens and parkland at Werribee. I’ll do a more extensive piece on these, and other, yet to be visited gardens, in due course, but for now here are a few pictures to whet your appetite..

Apart from these largish spaces I ‘ve found a lot of interesting examples of domestic suburban gardens round abouts, best summarised as an eclectic mix of contemporary, cottage and tropical styles, usually nicely complimenting the architecture of the associated houses. Here’s a sample…

I’ve also noticed how tidy the grass verges outside these properties are. I gather it’s considered a civic duty (and maybe there’s a legal obligation too?) for householders to take care of their immediate strip of what is usually springy turf, including not only keeping it close mown, but also the edges cropped to neat straight lines, usually using a ‘whippersnipper’ (strimmer) to achieve the desired finish. The overall effect is one of quiet orderliness, rather like the atmosphere of these suburban streets, where there are few people out walking…well it is winter I suppose.

Having said this, and being aware of movements in the USA to allow such grass strips to be used more imaginatively, creating wildlife friendlier spaces and even food production, I was heartened to find one attempt to turn over the grass to a community garden in nearby Altona..

Well, old friend, hopefully I’ll be able to share some other Aussy horticulture with you next month, as we shall still be here, and maybe have visited some of the gems in Victoria and possibly further afield…oh, and of course doting on my new grand daughter!

Old School Gardener










According to food activist Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.” I would add that in addition to fixing our farming methods, we need to reverse population growth, allocate half the Earth for nature, stop generating greenhouse gases, clean up our environment, recycle, eradicate invasive species, and get at least one hour of exercise every day. But no hurry, as pointed out in this article, we have five to ten years to get ‘er done.

via Can “Regenerative Farming” Save Us From Global Catastrophe — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

It’s time that governments, bankers, industry leaders woke up to the reality that the world economy is threatened by growth, threatened by the accelerating destruction of this planet’s air, water, land, and biodiversity. The destroyer is the growing human population and its growing consumption of ever more unnecessary products and unnecessary energy use.

via The nuclear industry and the concept of ENOUGH — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Lathyrus belinensis In this instalment of our series, which looks at reasons why we need to be aware of the importance of conserving the rare plants that grow in our gardens in the UK and Ireland, we explore Lathyrus belinensis, a plant with a significant history of discovery, loss and an important place in plant breeding. […]

via Rare plant of the month: June 2017 — Plant Heritage

This summer, visitors to the National Trust will be able to explore and celebrate the places in its care through a series of creative programming, exhibitions, visual arts, crafts and architecture as part of its Trust New Art programme. Trust New Art is a programme of contemporary arts run by the National Trust in partnership […]

via Look forward to a summer of contemporary art at National Trust places — National Trust Press Office

Now that all the hubbub has died down and I have had time to think about this year’s Chelsea, I thought I would report on the lasting impressions, rather than my instant reactions. And as this was the first Chelsea in sixteen years that I have attended without an editor’s hat on there was no…

via Reflections on Chelsea 2017 — The Enduring Gardener

Three highland cattle are helping bluebells bloom again in one Snowdonia wood. The National Trust introduced cows Myfi, Wmffre and Hugo to Coed Ganllwyd on the charity’s Dolmelynllyn Estate in 2015. Livestock had been excluded from the woods for the past 40 years. Rhodri Wigley, National Trust ranger, said: “Before the cattle arrived it was […]

via PICTURES: Bluebells blooming thanks to Snowdonia cattle — National Trust Press Office

On a recent trip to Devon we revisited a couple of favourite National Trust properties on the south coast. The first, Coleton Fishacre, is an arts and crafts house and garden originally owned by the D’Oyly Cart family of ‘Gilbert and Sullivan’ musical fame. The house, built in the 1920’s, is furnished in period style and provided an interesting example of a homely scale house, in contrast to so many huge ‘vanity projects’ of the pre First World War age.

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But even more impressive is the garden with its typical valley microclimate providing the opportunity to grow some rather exotic species. I was especially impressed with the borders near to house with the array of Echiums in full flower and a splendid alpine raised bed. The wider estate is a rich mix of trees and shrubs with some wonderful views towards the sea. Well worth a visit.

Further information: National Trust website


More seats…

So back again with another selection of garden seats discovered on our visits and wanderings around gardens of all sizes. Every garden however small needs one seat, but every garden deserves as many seats as the design allows. Gardens are to be enjoyed, by the gardeners themselves first and foremost but also by guests and […]

via Are you sitting comfortably? Part 12 of a very occasional series. — greenbenchramblings

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