ALARMISM

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is accused of alarmism. I should hope that alarm is what it has generated. The latest heat re old is a report of 48.8C from Italy. Fires in California, Algeria, Greece maybe partially due to poor management over the last 100 years (possibly a result of population growth in these areas), but they. have been exacerbated by the record high temperatures.

Another, contradictory comment is one about the increase in eco-refugees. Millions of people have been displaced due to climate change, and this is likely to increase exponentially over the next decades regardless of COP26. Sea level rising is a process that takes years to initiate and years to reverse (if possible?). The warming of the oceans has taken place and water will this expand. This combined with the melting of ice on Antarcticas and Greenland will raise sea level over the next century. Pacific Islands and parts of the Maldives amongst others will be gradually swamped. Plans are already being made for a new Thames Barrier, managed retreat is a reality of coastline management in many parts of the UK (and the Netherlands). Signs of stress are appearing in coral reefs which at present protect coastlines from erosion by storms.

And the decline in insects in Europe is marked. I am not sure if this is related to climate change but something is affecting the ecosystem. My garden should be a butterfly paradise with lots of different insect friendly plants in flower. Apart from a few bees, small white butterflies and occasional visits from other species it is fairly lifeless. My trip down the motorway did not result in an insect graveyard on the front as it would have done 30 years ago.

WEATHER

Storm Evert bringing wet and windy weather – not at all summery. Weather likely to be changeable for next 2 weeks before the MET OFFICE tentatively predict a calmer and warmer last couple of weeks of August.

BOOKS

Obviously I would like to plug my (our) books but occasionally I come across books which ‘I love’ for their format and lucidness. ‘The Story of Food‘ is a book I wish I could have contributed to!. Jekka’s complete Herb Book is well organised and informative. Butterflies and Moths – David Carter again lovely layout. I like most Jamie Oliver Cook Books, and Felicity Cloake for her simplicity. More to follow – although I do like romcom novels with happy endings!

DRYING HERBS

I have started drying some of the mints, Japanes, Atlas Mountain, Moroccan, ginger, curly, Bowers, Spanish, pineapple, black peppermint and some basil. I should have enough tomatoes for chutney soon. I will make a mint chutney next time I have a curry.

INSECTS – STOP MOWIN’ THE EFFIN’ LAWN

I am concerned that my attempts at wildlife gardening are not resulting in many insects. My friend Di has said the same and she has a very well established garden with lots of pollination plants. Maybe it is too early after some unseasonal Weather earlier this year. Claims are often made that pesticide use is reducing in the UK. The variety of pesticides being used on single crops has increased and their toxicity is breathtaking – some neonicotinoid insecticides are 10,000 times more toxic than the most notorious insecticide in history, DDT. If we do not look after all parts of the food chain things will not node well for Planet Earth. It has been suggested that solar farms could be planted with native flowers and pollinator plants to encourage biodiversity and insects. Read this

NEW PLANTS

The smallest plug plants ever! 6 of each of the following: Achillea Cerise Queen; Echinacea Nectar pink; Delphinium dark blue and white; salvia Salvatore blue; Verbena Buenos Aires. I have potted them up but will be chuffed if 50% survive. They are on the table as the greenhouse is probably too hot, and the pots will dry out. This way I can nurture them.

2 more cucumbers and my first big tomato – was half eaten by a slug – grrr! Deterents applied. But another handful of smaller ones and another bush providing.

GARDEN

5 am watering of greenhouse (with added hose the last few days), and then the patio and the front garden. All my mints, sages and thymes seem to be doing well. Chickory has spread a little andI love the blue flowers. Pineapple sage has had a lovely red flower and I loved the flax earlier in the summer. Lots of small white butterflies and one painted lady – hopefully the hot spell will lead to a proliferation of them. I have left some nettles and buddlea for them.

Tomatoes are coming on, and another couple of cucumbers – I reckon if I get 10 that is cheaper than buying them (although obviously they have not been sprayed, etc. – and so pleased see them!). Thinking about late planting of parsley, lettuce, whatever, as there are now spaces in the greenhouse. peppers looking good.

HERBARIA

I want one! Just saw this in the Observer Magazine during my busy Sunday! I did water the garden, greenhouse and house plants between 5.15 and 6.30 this morning!.

Obviously it needs something like a conservatory or a wall with plenty of light. But how good would a wall be with 20 to 30 herbs and flowers giving both a vibrant vista and a fragrant scent. If I get rid of the radiator in the conservatory and replace with an electric storage heater I would have a wall that at the moment has a rather brilliant Ceropegia woodii. Maybe I could move the furniture a bit and plan properly for once. But already thinking of Corsican mint, chocolate mint, creeping thyme, greek basil, parsley.

NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY

A grand title with ok ideas, but they are just that, ideas. up to now most initiatives have failed or been so watered down as to be useless. The food lobby is powerful and rich. But the cost to the NHS and government via other support payments, and to industry in days lost is also very high.