Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Some thoughts from Lynne

Clever Canopies
As well as climate change, the ever-increasing development of land is undoubtedly adding to the cause of flooding in Wales and the UK. The construction of extensive factories, supermarkets and housing estates is responsible for increasing the runoff of rainfall in two ways. Firstly, by reducing areas of ground that are able to absorb rain water naturally and secondly, contrived methods of managing this excessive run off increases the rate that the water flows across the land surface.
It’s not only the extensive car parks, driveways and roadways that reduce areas that are able to absorb water and so create a swifter surface run off but also the huge areas of roofs!
Retaining ‘Green Seams’ is one method of alleviating this problem. Pieces of land that surround developed sites are left undeveloped to provide areas that are able to absorb rainfall naturally. These Green Seams also preserve wildlife habitats and create public recreation spaces for activities such as hiking and bird watching.
When rain falls on undeveloped ground the local eco-system handles the water with an experienced, unhurried finesse. Tree canopies slow the descent of raindrops and the soil absorbs and holds water until it evaporates or is transpired.
Unfortunately City architecture offers little in the way of retaining or facilitating natural absorption and management of water. This results in chaotic and damaging ‘run off’ or ‘flooding’.
Keeping a healthy tree canopy is a crucial element of successful development; as the raindrops are slowed, other flood management solutions are able to work more effectively.
It is such a shame that Nature’s project management skills are so often overlooked as trees also absorb and transpire water with extraordinary efficiency!

Did You Know?
In the same way that we produce water vapour when we breathe, plants do too. Instead of ‘breathing’, it’s known as ‘transpiration’.
A large oak tree will transpire over 40,000 gallons of water a year or up to 200 gallons on a hot day.

No Butts
Using water butts to collect rainwater from roofs is a step toward slowing the damage that excessive ‘run off’ water can cause and also an effective way of storing water for use in the garden. (And plants prefer it to tap water!) It’s not a new concept but have you got yours yet? Major DIY Stores stock a wide range of shapes and sizes as do most garden centres.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

For more read Lynne in the Western Mail today

The Starfish Story
There are several versions of this great fable ‘The Starfish Thrower’ by L Eiseley.
A woman was walking along a beach in the hot midday sun. As she walked along she scooped up the starfish that were stranded on the beach and threw them gently back into the waves. A man came along and asked her what she was doing. She explained that the tide had gone out and left the starfish stranded on the beach. They would die in the heat before the tide came back in, so she was throwing them back into the sea to save them.
The man replied, “But the beach is so long and there are hundreds of starfish. Most will die before you even reach them. Do you really think throwing a few back into the sea is really going to make a difference?”
As the woman picked up another starfish she looked at it and smiled. Then as she threw it back into the waves she said, “It makes a difference to that one” .

Did You Know?
Nylon was patented by DuPont 70 years ago today. Old tights and stockings make excellent ‘ties’ for staking and tying trees, climbers and taller shrubs. They stretch as the plant grows and won’t cut into the bark.

Super Snowdrops

According to legend, the snowdrop became the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. When Eve could hardly bear the Winter weather any longer, an angel appeared and turned some of the snowflakes to snowdrop flowers to reassure her that winter would turn into Spring.

Feline Forecast
When the cat lies in the sun in February,
She will lie beside the stove in March.

Mike Doyle

Popular entertainer Mike Doyle has me laughing out loud within the first few minutes of our conversation. “I hate spiders and anything creepy crawly” he starts, “and as for those leather jacket bug things, ugh, I really hate them. And I hate their family and all their friends. They are so pointless –they just exist to ruin lawns.” He shudders again, “I hate moths as well; I love butterflies but hate moths.”
‘Aren’t moths just butterflies in work clothes?’ I ask. “No - they’ve got a real bad attitude. Same as wasps; wasps are the skinheads of the Insect World. They just want to cause trouble.”
Despite his insect prejudices, Mike does enjoy gardening. “My father used to grow marrows and when I was a kid I remember looking out into the back yard and being in awe of these huge leaves and stalks, then, hiding under the leaves were the massive marrows. He had a ‘prize one’ once – it was gigantic. I was brought up on marrows and courgettes and still love them today. Dad (Tom Doyle) always grew something - and still does. I’m 47 now but when I pop in he still says ‘c’mon lets go and see how such and such is doing’, and we’ll wander up to the greenhouse to check on the latest vegetable! He always says, “We’ll have a nice feed from that.”

Tips for February

February is a good month to plan improvements and reconsider various aspects of your plot. Compile a book of cuttings, pictures and notes of things you want to do in your garden this year. Make 3 lists – ‘Must Do’, ‘Would Like’ and ‘If I win the Lottery’ and fill the pages.
Make sure you have the right equipment and tools for the season ahead, repair or replace items as necessary. Tidy up the shed, find the mower and prepare it for the season ahead. You’ll be glad you did once the grass starts growing!
Pressure wash drives, patios and decked areas to get rid of moss and algae, don’t forget your waterproofs!
Deadhead containerised winter bedding displays to encourage new blooms, and add a few new plants if necessary. It’s worth raising spirits at this time of year.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Green Thoughts

Allotment Laws
The Government has been promoting allotment growing and regeneration and allotments are uniquely protected through a legislative framework of a National Policy to improve the quality of urban green spaces. To find out more, including how to get an allotment, visit www.allotment.org.uk

A lot more Allotments
The National Society of Allotment & Leisure Gardeners Limited (www.nsalg.org.uk) is a UK non-profit group aiming to minimise the loss of gardens for individual use. For more information about allotment activities in your area contact the Welsh regional representative, Mr Allan Rees 01656 737598 or e-mail allanrees@aol.com

Did You Know?
Having only 28 days, February is known in Welsh as ‘y mis bach’ – the little month. Romans and Celts regard February as the start of spring and we have an extra day this year as 2008 is a Leap Year.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Williams Man of the Match and Man for Marie Curie

According to the BBC web site Martyn Williams - Remains the supreme player and within five minutes had seized on two loose Scottish balls to send Wales marching upfield. Continued his harrying role well and was always on the shoulder of his team-mates when needed. 9 out of 10 performance for Wales today.

Martyn Williams pictured with Lynne supporting Marie Curie

Friday, 8 February 2008

Wales First cap Jamie with Lynne

Jamie Roberts first cap for Wales and supports Calendar as Max Boyce welcomes Hawick to Glynneath this weekend

THE Welsh rugby squad, with a great start to their Six Nations Campaign have given their backing to Lynne's charity calendar.Jamie Roberts (pictured with Lynne and Tippy) wins his first welsh cap tomorrow for Wales against Scotland in the fixture which attracts interest all over Wales.

The Welsh Team are the latest stars to support the “Diamonds and Daffodils” 2008 calendar by TV gardener and Western Mail columnist Lynne Allbutt.

Funds raised from sponsors and calendar sales have already topped £10,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Back row forward Martyn Williams said, “It’s a great way to raise money for a great cause.”

The calendar is part of the charity’s 60th anniversary celebrations and has already received support from Welsh rugby’s “troubadour” Max Boyce, the Royal Horticultural Society, ice hockey team the Cardiff Devils and regional rugby side the Cardiff Blues.

Max Boyce MBE supporting the calendar was today welcoming Hawick Trades to his home Town in the traditional fixture.

To raise the fundraising total even further Ms Allbutt has organise a “craffle” – where a limited supply of calendars will each be sold for £2 with a raffle ticket inside. Prizes will include: two tickets for the Wales v France Six Nations match; a signed rugby shirt; two tickets for a Cardiff Devils ice hockey game, with a chance to meet the players; four tickets and pre-match hospitality to the Blues v Munster match on March 1; and £50 of garden seeds and book vouchers.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Enzo Calzaghe


Green Goddess: Lynne Allbutt
Feb 2 2008 by Lynne Allbutt, Western Mail

Top talk

I HAVE never been a big fan of boxing but after talking to Enzo Calzaghe, I have great respect for the man who has trained three world class boxing champions.

I am mightily impressed by the fact that in a single year, eight members of Team Calzaghe, all trained in the modest Newbridge gym, went unbeaten.

Enzo himself is a human dynamo – he exudes passion and confidence in what he does and it’s very infectious.

Paradoxically he admits to not really caring about gardening, saying that he finds it too much for a challenge.

“You’ve got to be passionate about something to want to do it, let alone be any good at it, and I’m not passionate about gardening.

“It’s too complicated and takes too much time.

“My wife, Jacqueline, is passionate about it though, she’s changing things all the time, getting new ornaments, moving things around.

“If I try to take the law into my own hands she tells me off straight away.

“I do like to be in a nice garden – I just don’t want to do the work. I hate weeds.”

Full interview http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/columnists/2008/02/02/green-goddess-lynne-allbutt-91466-20420127/