Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lawn Care Services Are Worth Having

One of the things I really like about the house I`ve moved in to is that the landlord pays for the lawns to be cared for.

I don`t mean cutting the grass. I`m talking about someone coming along at various parts of the year and spraying the grass so as to fertilize it, and to keep those dreaded weeds at bay.

At my previous home I had to go out and buy the products and do it myself, but even then the job was never really complete. A weed would somehow always appear not soon after the treatment.

But now, the guy comes along, does what he does, and the grass looks healthy all year round. And I never see a weed on my lawn.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Butterflies under threat

Two species of butterfly and the juniper plant are to receive special protection in a new conservation effort by Scotland's Forestry Commission.

Numbers of the pearl-bordered fritillary and chequered skipper varieties of butterfly have been in decline.

Their habitats will be protected by creating corridors to link butterflies in different colonies.

The chequered skipper was now only to be found within a 25-mile radius of Fort William. It became extinct in England in 1976.

The very specific needs of the species means too much grazing can make sites unsuitable for it to inhabit, he said.

The pearl-bordered fritillary, which is mainly to be found in the Highlands and Perthshire, is currently the most rapidly declining butterfly species in England.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Daffodils in Fight Against Alzheimer's

A daffodil crop grown in Powys which will be used to produce a drug to fight Alzheimer's disease is ready for harvesting, its growers have said.

Alzeim, in Talgarth, Wales, farms daffodils for a compound called galantamine, which slows the progress of the disease.

Until now, galantamine has been extracted from snowdrops grown mainly in such places as Bulgaria and China.

It is already available in Scotland but it has to be prescribed privately elsewhere as it is not on the National Institute for Clinical Excellence's prescription list.

The flowers are grown on the slopes of the Black Mountains. It`s considered one of the best locations for growth due to its blooms with greater concentrations of galantamine than those grown in lower areas.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Cut Down On Water Wastage, and Costs

If you are like me, a water rates bill has recently dropped through your letterbox telling you what your water rates will be for the coming year.

At my last house I had a water meter, but in the home I`m in now, it`s done the `old fashioned` way, and bills are based not on usage, but on the Rateable Value of the property.

Now of course that could be advantageous to a largish family in a smallish home. Water usage is likely to be high, and a water meter might mean paying more than a flat amount based on the rateable value of the home.

But, for the `average` size family in an `average` home, it`s likely that a meter will work out more cost-efficient.

So, in line with many people at the moment who are looking for ways to decrease outgoings, I thought I`d see about the pros and cons of getting a water meter fitted.

My supplier is United Utilities, so I went to their website and completed the Interactive Calculator. It`s easy and quick to use, and at the end of the exercise you can see whther you stand to save any money by changing over to a water meter. You have to be realistic in completing the questionnaire, otherwise you could be fooling yourself into thinking you use far less than you do.

Some of the questions involve water usage outside. That of course includes the garden. Is a hose used to water the garden? If so, for how many minutes, and how often? Is a watering can used instead of, or, as well as a hose?

These and other factors determine how much water in total is used, and at the end you are bracketed as being a below average user of water, average, or above average. If above average, maybe it`s time to start thinking of ways to cut down. Not just for the environment`s sake, but for your wallet`s sake as well.

In my own case, I stand to save around £100 a year by converting to a meter. So, I`m going to fill the forms in (online), and start the ball rolling.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Scientific Test To See If Talking To Plants Works

When Prince Charles revelaed over twenty years ago that he talked to his plants, many thought that, to put it diplomatically, he was a litle eccentric.

Now, however, scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society are conducting a study into whether plants really are affected by the human voice.

The RHS is now trying to determine if he was right by reading works of literature to tomato plants. The recordings will be played to ten plants, around the clock, through the headphones of an MP3 player attached to their pots at root level.

The plants will be measured before, during and after the experiment and a set of control plants will be left in silence.

Some believe that low-frequency sound might vibrate the plant and so affect its growth.

It`ll be interesting to see the results.