UK flood risk survey fears

Homeowners fail to find out whether homes are at risk

Flooding fears highlighted in new survey. Picture; YouGov

Ten years since the devastating summer floods of 2007, which saw more than 48,000 homes affected by flooding, homeowners and landlords are failing to find out whether their homes are at risk.

It’s possible we’re all in denial, but a new survey says we’re ignoring the fact our homes may lie in flood zones, especially if we live in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Continue reading “UK flood risk survey fears”

Brits 41 before they get into gardening says survey

Fiskars survey paints desperate picture of young people in horticulture

Mandy back yard
Me circa 1970, in the back yard I would eventually grow an apple tree from a pip and other such wonders

How old were you when you got into gardening? According to a new survey, it’s 41, which makes grim reading – but not entirely unexpected –  for the horticultural industry.

I think there is a lot of truth in this. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t garden – but I did go through a ‘cooling off period’ when the kids were younger, I worked full-time and was studying part-time for a degree. There just were not enough hours in the day.

According to the researchers involved, up until we are 41, nearly three in 10 adults continue to rely on elderly parents to sort out their outdoor space – with one in 20 calling on grandparents to tend to their gardens.

A further one in 10 watch clips on YouTube to solve their horticultural problems. Continue reading “Brits 41 before they get into gardening says survey”

Sign petition against bee-harming pesticides

People power can get neonicotinoids banned on garden centre plants

Bee chives
Help to save our bees

B&Q’s announcement that from next February, it will stop their suppliers from using pesticides toxic to bees on any of the flowering plants they sell.

This has been met with a great deal of delight in the environmental world and has sparked the question – why don’t other garden centres do the same?

Beekeeper Martin Corbett has launched a petition on 38 Degrees asking Homebase and other garden centres to do the same.

The online petition reads: “Toxic pesticides are killing Continue reading “Sign petition against bee-harming pesticides”

Gardening and climate change: RHS report

Not so grim up north in RHS’s climate change report

Canary Island date palm
Echoes of holidays… drought tolerant Canary Island date palm (which stays outside all winter), Cordyline and geraniums

Despite many people in power’s rhetoric, most gardeners in the UK see on a daily basis that climate change is a fact of life.

From my garden in NE England, milder winters, drier springs and erratic weather patterns have changed the way I garden over the past few years – my base rule is now drought tolerance.

Wherever we live, the climate is going to change the way we all garden, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has claimed in a new report.

In Gardening in a Changing Climate, the lawn could become a thing of the past (hurray); gardeners in the north could enjoy a longer growing season (hurray) and pests and diseases could become established in new areas (boo). Continue reading “Gardening and climate change: RHS report”

Gardening to help mental health

How gardening helped my depression

I’ve not always been such a happy chappy – that’s why we need to talk openly about mental illness and mental health

It can only be a good thing that people are talking about mental illness and health – Princes Harry and William opening up about their experiences after their mother’s death, the Heads Together charity and the documentary, Mind over Marathon.

My family, like most others, has suffered from one form of mental illness or another – my grandmother was bipolar, nearly everyone has suffered from Continue reading “Gardening to help mental health”

Planting trees near houses

NHBC’s guide to safeguarding homes and trees

Eucalyptus gunnii kept well pruned

It’s the peak time of the year for new gardeners to plant trees and shrubs – but do you know some root systems can damage your home?

Inexperienced gardeners often pick up the first thing that catches their eye with little regard to its eventual height or demands on a garden.

The prime culprit is the Leylandii conifer, often seen towering over gardens, planted when they were tiny and often sold as ‘dwarf’ conifers by unscrupulous (or ignorant) sellers in the 1970s.

Even experienced gardeners can fall foul of this – in my case, a now huge Phormium in the front garden which is proving impossible to tame, sold as a ‘medium-sized’ plant. Continue reading “Planting trees near houses”