Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, November 28, 2008

Get The Sparrows Back To Our Towns

The sparrow used to be a familiar sight in our towns and cities, but within a generation, numbers have plummeted.

Modern garden design, urban development and paving over front gardens to use them as parking spaces could all be contributing to the catastrophic decline in the numbers of sparrows in our towns and cities.

It seems that numbers started falling in towns and cities in the mid-1980s. Cockney sparrows are almost non-existent, and the species has almost vanished from London.

House sparrows are also disappearing from Bristol, Edinburgh and Dublin.

Being a lazy gardener can actually be a good thing.

Honeysuckle attracts loads of spiders and insects, which the sparrows love, and leaving vegetation to grow gives the right conditions.

So, now you have an excuse for doing nothing in the garden - you're helping one of Britain's best loved, and rapidly disappearing, birds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Honey Bees On The Decline

The UK's leading honey brand, Rowse, this month introduces new ‘Save the Honey Bee' labelling to its Blossom Honey hero range.

The striking communication announces its commitment into research investigating the decline of the honey bee and can be seen on Rowse Blossom Honey packs and trays.

Labels encourage the public to provide their support by purchasing the Blossom Honey range where £100,000 raised from sales will be invested into sustaining the future of honey bees.

In recent years hive numbers in the UK have fallen drastically; in the 1950s, 400,000 were in existence yet present day there are only 240,000.

Beekeepers from across the country gathered in London to demand increased funding into research on bee health.

Two billion honey bees died last year after being struck by an infestation that is devastating hives across the country.

The crisis is so severe that England could run out of home-produced honey by Christmas.

Ivor Davies, of the British Beekeepers Association, said: “Over the last five or 10 years the number of bees dying every winter has increased.

“There is something going on with our bees that we do not understand.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

EU to allow 'wonky' fruit and veg on supermarket shelves

Rules governing the size and shape of fruit and vegetables have been relaxed, thank goodness.

In all, marketing standards for 26 fruits and vegetables are being scrapped, paving the way for the return to shopping trolleys of forked carrots, onions that are less than two thirds covered with skin and the bent cucumbers among other deviant vegetables.

The rules were bonkers, and now that prices are going up and up we need less red tape to help shoppers make ends meet.

The rules are to be scrapped for apricots, artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, avocados, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflowers, cherries, courgettes, cucumbers, cultivated mushrooms, garlic, hazelnuts in shell, headed cabbage, leeks, melons, onions, peas, plums, ribbed celery, spinach, walnuts in shell, water melons, and chicory.

Standards are kept in place for 10 others, including several of the most popular items in European kitchens; apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches and nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Autumn Brings Beauty

Parks and forests in the UK are making up for the miserable summer by providing visitors with spectacular autumn leaf displays, experts say.

Public gardens have been carpeted in an array of deep red and yellow leaves, thanks to the year's unusual weather.

Experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, say a wet summer, followed by mild frost and some warm September days, were perfect for the display.

American oaks, ash, and sweet gum trees provide some of the best colours.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Convert Idle Land to Veggie Plots Plan

With the United Kingdom expected to be the hardest hit among mature European economies with the global financial meltdown, London officials are searching for ways to help ease the financial pressures on residents.

One measure proposed Monday by London Mayor Boris Johnson is to encourage backyard gardening among residents, even on top of flat roofs. The first phase of Capital Growth project, which will be overseen by London Food head Rosie Boycott, is for city residents to grow food on 2,012 patches of land by 2012.

Councils, schools, hospitals, housing estates and utility companies will be encouraged to pinpoint idle lands which could be converted into vegetable gardens by green-thumbed Londoners.

Boycott said the veggie gardens do not need to be only on flat lands, it could be small plots of soil on canal banks, reservoir banks and unused railway yards.