Archive for July, 2008
In the UK we are being urged by the media to plant drought loving plants.
Mediterranean style Gardening is very popular in the magazines
My question is
After several dry and hot days we had rain this evening.
I love the smell of evening rain after a hot day.
Sometime during the next couple of days – I will have my 10,000 visitor to this blog!
I think that is amazing. I just think it is so nice of you guys to come back for more.
So what I thought was, Anyone who leaves a comment (on any post – new or old) between now and 11th August 2008, your name will go into a hat and I will get Shedman to draw one name out. The winner will get to choose one picture from this blog and I will send you a high resolution A4 photograph.
So that was my thought – I leave it in your hands now.
A sunny afternoon
A golden evening
Shelling peas for supper.
Taking the photographs for the July GBBD was, as always a delight. I was pleased with what is flowering in the garden but the majority of them were from the kitchen garden which Shedman and I have created from scratch over the past 18 months.
I find the kitchen garden quite charming and very therapeutic (note the chair for thinking deep thoughts!)
However the blooms I photographed from the main garden – well you saw them
“up close and personal”
Flowers always look good in close-up. However you didn’t see them in the context of “the garden” so the bits that “could do better” are edited out. For example – the penstemoms are in front of the particularly unattractive dying poppies which I am not pulling up because I want to save the seed.
I found it a good experience to give myself a C+ because it really has made me stop and think about what plants I want in my garden. What will follow on from the plants that make June so special?
This is a good thing to think about, as I am planning on stocking quite a large flowerbed in the Autumn – otherwise I would have gone out and bought loads of peonies and still have little to show in July!
It has also made me stop and consider plants that I have too easily dismissed in the past for one reason or another. Daylilies – dull, all leaf no lily. Dahlias - why bother they get eaten by earwigs.
So while visiting bloggers in the UK on bloom day these are what I noticed.
The Constant Gardener Had rather nice Helenium, her rose “Darcey Bussell” looked wonderful. Both the Constant Gardener and the Patient Gardener had Ammi Majus – which I am very taken with. (Must try that)
Patient Gardener also had an interesting Salvia.
Victoria had a lovely daylily – El Desperado – which confirmed I really must give daylilies another look – and so spent several happy hours on the Internet. (It is raining here to-day, and yesterday, and the day before ….)
Shirl Had wonderful blooms up – but as she combined it with wordless Wednesday, she did not name them – however my eye was caught by some rather lovely deep reds one of which was a clematis (possibly Niobe?) – but her post reminded me of color.
On VP’s slide show – I was attracted to her Dahlia Moonfire and the Allium spaerocephalum – (but the allium doesn’t count as it was all ready on my shopping list).
So I am spending happy hours planning planting that will carry the “keyhole” flowerbed from May to August – although I have to say – I would rather be IN the garden. (sigh)
The best thing about joining in with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden is that you can see where obvious gaps are. Here we are in July and I have a gap. There is nothing “Wonderful” blooming in my garden just now – but I knew that.
(Although the Kitchen Garden is looking lovely – that’s where most of the flowers on the slide show live!)
However it does mean that I shall be visiting other bloggers who are posting for GBBD and I shall be on the lookout for plants that look scrummey in July – day lilies come to mind. I will be particularly interested in what gardeners in the UK are showing on their blogs to-day.
It is not often that I stick my head above the parapet and look the world in the eye. I don’t read newspapers, and I don’t watch or listen to the news. I have even been known to ask friends, “Which political party is in power?” – or, “Who is the prime minister at the moment?”
Is this socially irresponsible? – Possibly. Is it better for my peace of mind? Definitely.
However over the past month– something has come up and been voiced around the blogs and forums that even I cannot ignore. Yesterday Little Gem’s post prodded my conscience and I am adding my voice to hers and other bloggers to express concern over the hormone herbicide “Aminopyralid”. Which is produced by Dow AgroSciences
I don’t know if this is a “storm in a teacup” or something that will have a longer-term effect on our land and it is perhaps this “not knowing” that distresses me most of all.
Those of us that grow our own veg – care for our soil. We know that soil in good heart will produce great veg.
We know what is in our soil because we dug it in. I try and be organic in my vegetable garden and what is the first thing organic gardeners turn to? – a pile of well-rotted manure.
However it would now appear that some farmyard manure is contaminated. This contamination is the result of spraying grassland to kill off broad leaf weeds with an industrial herbicide, aminopoyralid (It also goes by other names). Animals have then grazed the land or been fed hay or silage made from the treated land. Traces of the herbicide remain in the animal dung – even after this manure has been rotted down and sold on to the gardener.
If you use “infected” manure – the resultant plants are distorted (see links below) – so I guess you wouldn’t be eating those anyway – but I do have to ask myself – What about the plants that don’t show distortions – how safe are those to eat? What about next years veg? What are the long-term effects of strong industrial herbicide to our planet?
The PSD (Pesticides Safety Directorate) states that; – as long as the contaminated manure has been fully rotavated into the soil to aid decomposition it should be safe for growing plants in the Spring of 2009.
The PSD also says that; -
“…. using manure which may contain residues of aminopyralid does not have implications for human health”
Quoted from the PSD websites regulatory update 18/2008 Issued 11th July 2008
I think that currently we are only seeing the tip of the ice-burg – and, if what I read in the forums proves to be true – it may be the case that this contamination has also got into grow-bags and commercially bagged soil improvers – but I imagine that the suppliers of these products are still testing for this.
It is not just vegetables that are affected – it may also damage some flowers, trees and shrubs that have “infected” muck spread over the beds.
I have written this post because I am concerned about anything that may poison our earth – despite assurances that in a years time, if the contaminated manure is well rotavated into the soil the herbicide will break down.
Although we have been assured that this contamination will not affect the health of either the animals it passes through or humans. What about other costs? The financial cost of loosing a season of vegetable growing? – The emotional cost of poisoning your own patch of dirt?
This all applies to the UK – I don’t know about other countries – and I would urge you to discover for yourself if this product is being used in your country
Please don’t use the comments to name and blame, but do check out the links and draw your own conclusions and formulate what action(s) if any you will take, whether it is writing to your MP, calling for some accountability, boycotting a particular product, or just avoiding shit for the time being.
Me – well I will be ducking back down behind the parapet again – contemplate my big pile of animal poo and wonder what to do with it. Then I will just do my best to ensure that everyone I come in to contact with is aware of the situation.
Links for you to check out.
Allotment Growing Diary. Again a lot of information and pictures of affected produce.
Royal Horticultural Society - Weedkiller in Manure.
PSD – 11th July Update
Garden Organic – The UK’s Leading organic growing charity. An interesting article.
Dow AgroSciences – A notice for UK allotment holders and gardeners.