Goodness knows we’ve all earned a bit of good news after the dreary and deadly year that was 2020, so I thought I’d start my new year of postings with some good-hearted stories from our world of plants and gardening.
When I lived in London the sight of mounted police never failed to impress – clip-clopping past my central London office or occasionally even past my west London home. But how about having them stride all over your garden? Just the ticket, say the good people at the Barbican Wildlife Garden, who invited Clyde and Iris, both cross-large horses, to wander about for 30 minutes.
“Grazing animals play an essential role in maintaining traditional wildflower meadows because their hooves create dips and furrows that help push seeds into the soil and create microhabitats. More than 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the Second World War,” reports The Guardian. Read more here.
Karl Maughan is one of New Zealand’s most successful contemporary artists and I’m sure most Kiwis would recognise his paintings of gardens, usually depicting rhododendrons in flower, even if they don’t know the artist. Auckland University Press last month published a coffee table book about his work, edited by Hannah Valentine and Gabriella Stead. Read a Stuff profile of Karl marking the publication (note that Gordon Collier’s garden, Titoki Point, was near Taihape and is no longer open to visitors).
Dr Peter Sergel, the driving force behind Hamilton Gardens since 1979, has resigned, although will be back for a bit this year on a part-time basis to finish off a couple of projects. Under his stewardship, Hamilton Gardens become a major visitor destination with about one million visits each year, and in 2014 won the International Garden of the Year Award. Read more here and see some stunning photos of the gardens.
Recognising the downtrodden … a Guardian report from earlier last year highlighted the More than Weeds campaign where an “international force of rebel botanists armed with chalk” have started writing the names of the flora growing in urban pavements and walls across Europe. “The idea of naming wild plants wherever they go – which began in France – has gone viral, with people chalking and sharing their images on social media.” Read more here.
And with that, I’m off to pull a few weeds! Mind how you go and take heed of any water restrictions in place at your place …