Our gardens may be under threat

I saw this perturbing report on the BBC News website at the end of last year.

Gardens under threat from ‘game changing’ plant disease.

Apparently Xylella fastidiosa has caused widespread problems in Europe, wiping out entire olive groves. It can infect plants from lavender to cherry trees and is of real and growing concern in the UK. Experts at The Royal Horticultural Society say the disease could arrive in the UK on imported stock, threatening gardens.

Read more on the BBC website.

The government’s DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) website has more detailed information about Xylella fastidiosa.

Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease with many sub species and strains not known to occur in the UK.

In mainland Europe, most notably France (Corsica and mainland France) and Italy there have been several outbreaks of different sub-species which have led to significant impacts on plants both in the wider environment and those grown commercially for olive production. In 2016 Xylella was detected in Spain for the first time on cherry trees in a nursery. Although EU regulated, there remains some concern about the risk of introduction to the UK via infected host plants imported as plants for planting considered to be the most likely pathway for entry. The disease is spread by insects that feed on the xylem fluid, that is the vessel of the plant which carries water. This includes the widespread and common meadow spittlebug, which is the principle insect spreading the disease in Italy and France.

Read more on the DEFRA website.

The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) are offering advice to members.

So far, we have had no recorded cases of Xylella in the UK. However, X.fastidiosa has been identified in Italy, southern France (including Corsica), Germany and now Spain (Majorca).

The NFU considers that:

Xylella has the potential to be a big threat to ornamental plant production in the UK if it reaches our shores.

Read more on the NFU website.

And the Forestry Commission

has produced a useful leaflet with some photos of Xylella fastidiosa and information about reporting any suspected cases.

The leaflet is at https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FCPH-XF.pdf/$FILE/FCPH-XF.pdf but  might not be accessible if your device can’t read pdf files.

Hopefully the eradication measures in Europe will be successful and Xylella fastidiosa will be consigned to the dustbin of gardening history.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

You might also like How will climate change affect your garden?


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How will climate change affect your garden?

Although I’ve read a great deal about climate change

and worry about it a lot,

I’ve never given any particular thought as to how climate change will affect our garden.

I live in a chalky area where the soil drains quickly even after the heaviest of downpours. I haven’t planted anything very delicate apart from my potted camellia. I’m just as happy for wild flowers to live in our little space  alongside anything we’ve planted there.

But a few days ago I read an article which raised the question for me.

Climate change could transform gardens says BBC Science editor, David Shukman.

Shukman reports on 90 year old Jean Combes. She’s been keeping records of the dates when certain trees in her locality come into bud. She’s recorded this for over fifty years and she’s found that the trees at her Surrey home burst into leaf about three weeks earlier than they did in 1960.

The city of Northampton, Shukman explains,

is right on the divide between two distinct climate zones. Residents of the north of the city find that their lawns don’t need cutting as frequently as those who live in the south of Northampton. It’s been like this for decades but now the more northerly residents are finding they need to cut the grass much more in early Spring and late Autumn.

In some areas excess rain is causing huge problems for gardeners

while in other areas reduced water is creating just as many difficulties. Increasingly violent, stormy weather can be devastating and an excess of strong winds is highly problematic.

The director of the Harlow Carr Gardens in Harrogate, Paul Cook,

told Shukman that it was more and more important to keep watch on the highly changeable weather conditions. “My biggest worry,” says Cook, “is that these major weather events do such a huge amount of damage to the garden.” However, he’s not completely pessimistic believing that there could be opportunities to grow a wider range of plants.

We’re not planning any great changes in our garden this year.

A neighbour has recently removed a giant double Leylandii which has transformed the garden by letting in so much more light. I just want to observe the effect this has on everything that’s already growing in our garden.

So far the greatest beneficiaries of the increased light levels are the dandelions which are in profusion at the moment. The lilac tree is more heavily laden with flowers than ever before, presumably because it’s now in direct sunshine instead of the Leylandii shade. It will be interesting to see what else grows stronger or proliferates as we move into summer.

Actually, we were delighted when the Leylandii was removed.

In high winds it lashed from side to side and we were anxious about our fate if one night we were sleeping and an extra gust of wind brought it down on top of the roof. But once we’ve become accustomed to the increased light levels, we’ll have to start thinking about what we need to do to cope with climate change in our garden too.

Thanks for visiting 3sixtyfive Blog and hope you find some other posts to interest you.

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Two plants for a cheap and easy splash of summer colour.

I found a couple of half-used packets of seeds in the garage yesterday.

And there was a nice empty space in one of the large containers at the side of the house.

So, I just shoved the seeds in,

gave them a dash of water

and now I’ll sit back and wait for a splash of summer colour in a few weeks time.

(I hope!)


Common Marigold

calendula marigold
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/marigold-calendula-officinalis-437818/

Must be the easiest seeds to grow.

They’ve never let me down and I love their bright orange flowers. As the RHS says:

a fast growing annual or biennial with aromatic leaves

and heads of vivid orange daisy-like flowers,

borne in long succession in the summer and autumn until the first hard frosts.

What do they mean – common marigold indeed!


“Even kids can sow them easily!”

image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/nasturtium-red-flowers-blossom-444387/

And these might actually be even easier to grow than the calendulas.

I had nine seeds left in last year’s packet and they’re supposed to trail so hopefully the nasturtiums will cascade over the edges of the pot.

As the oracle says:

easy annuals

with seeds so big that even kids can sow them easily.

They germinate quickly,

grow quickly too,

and the flamboyant flowers are large and colourful.

I’ll let you know when the seeds germinate…….

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great day.

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