Tag Archive | Garden

Rare French flowers from 1850s destroyed in Australian bio security bungle

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Australian biosecurity officers have potentially caused a diplomatic nightmare, after they destroyed “irreplaceable” historic plant specimens, on loan from Paris’ National Museum of Natural History, following a bureaucratic bungle with the paperwork.

The French museum is understood to be “very unhappy” after losing its rare and valuable collection.

A box of daisies dating back to the 1850s had been sent to the Queensland Her barium for research in early January, but got stopped in Brisbane while going through quarantine.

Paperwork accompanying the flowers was only partially completed, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said.

While the department held onto the flowers “46 days longer than required” while clarification was being sought, the flowers were eventually incinerated – a move the department admits was “premature.”

Authorities are now reviewing the handling of the situation.

The original documents were said to be missing information about plant species and whether the flowers were preserved – and clarification was delayed when there was a mix-up with an email address.

For More Information: Tenplay

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Warracknabeal celebrates its entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to agriculture

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A town in Victoria’s wheat belt is celebrating its history of agricultural machinery manufacturing.

The town of Warracknabeal turns 150 this year, and the historical society has gathered wagons, tractors and other machinery from the town’s founding to today.

The invention of the tractor was a game-changer in agriculture, and innovation and invention are what keep the industry going.

Warracknabeal Historical Society secretary Leslie Steffen said the first blacksmiths to come to the town were the beginning of a long line of manufacturers to make their mark.

“The blacksmiths were really the foundation for a lot of the manufacturing that happened here,” she said.

“Because the blacksmiths then turned to making ploughs and other machinery that the farmers needed to grow crops, basically to start the wheat industry in Australia.”

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The Wheatlands Warracknabeal Agricultural Machinery Museum re-opened its newly refurbished museum at the weekend to coincide with the annual Easter Vintage Machinery Rally.

Outside, the museum is surrounded by vast amounts of space displaying old wagons, tractors, harvesters and more.

Ms Steffen said it was a draw card for all kinds of tourists.

“I’m really not into machinery, but you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty amazing collection,” she said.

Innovation in firefighting

All sorts of agricultural tools were invented in the town, including a vital tool used in fighting fires.

Ms Steffen said an important firefighting tool was invented in Warracknabeal, a water pump called the Aussie pump.

“This Aussie pump was used by the CFA and right throughout Victoria. It was put on to a lot of fire engines many years ago,” she said.

“It was very popular because it was very good at pumping a large amount of water.”

Ms Steffen said Warracknabeal had an entrepreneurial spirit.

“It’s certainly not boasted about, but I guess there is,” she said.

Fordson tractors over a century

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As well as Warracknabeal-made machinery, there is also a display of Fordson tractors.

Gordon Mills runs the Warracknabeal Machinery Show, and said the organisation wanted to celebrate 100 years of the tractors.

“Starting from one of the earliest models they ever made and right up until the 60s or 70s,” he said.

“The Fordson tractor was one of the cheapest tractors that farmers could buy at the time, and most of them were reliable.”

For More Information:- Jess Davis

 

 

Blue and yellow flowers are a classic colour combination

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A perennial type of veronica, Veronica Mongolian boasts alluring spikes of flowers that are so loved by bees and insects. Perennial veronica aren’t native but were once popular cottage garden plants. Those elegant spires contrast perfectly with the round balls of repeat-flowering roses such as Rosa ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and if you deadhead them promptly in summer they produce a lovely late flush of blue.

Opposite on the colour wheel, yellow and blue always make each other sing when placed together.

While yellow is forthright and warm and pushes forward, cool blues pull back – drawing the eye deeper into a scene. It’s a ting-and-yang, sweet-sour sort of set-up – opposites creating tension and excitement for the eye.

Yellows are still easy to find in the April garden – mainly from within the daisy family, which are so generous in their flowering. So don’t be snobby about this cheerful colour; go out and grab a pot or two of gold

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Two plants that give generously a second time are pale blue Campanula lactiflora and dark spires of Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna‘. After the first flowers have faded, trim off the spent bits and leave the leafy stalks below, which will quickly make side shoots. Both need good staking to keep them from toppling over.

For More Information:- NEIL ROSS

Congressman Abraham honors men for decades of agriculture work

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Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, honored two residents of Louisiana‘s 5th Congressional District for their recent induction into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction with a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, March 20.

Dr. Abraham recognized Ray Young of Wisner and Charles “Buck” Understand of Alexandria for their decades of work contributing to the success of farming and forestry in Louisiana. Both were inducted into the hall of distinction earlier this month.

A transcript of Dr. Abraham’s comments can be found below:

“Mr. Speaker,

“I rise today to recognize two of my constituents, Ray Young of Wisner and Charles ‘Buck’ Understand of Alexandria, for their recent induction into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction.
Since growing up on his family farm, Ray Young has dedicated his life and career to farming.

“After earning a degree in Agriculture from Louisiana Tech and a Masters in Entomology from LSU, Ray went on to pioneer the ‘Stale Seed Bed Conservation Tillage System,’ known today as no-till and used across the South to enhance crop production.

“In 1989, Ray presented to Congress an application to charter the Federal Land Bank of North Louisiana. He has served on the board of directors for the Federal Land Bank, as the Board Chairman of the Louisiana Land Bank, and as a leader of numerous state and federal agricultural organizations.

“Ray and his family still farm cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, corn, vegetables, cattle, hay, wheat and pine trees. He is a tremendous example of a Louisiana farmer making a life and a living off his land, and his insight is always valuable to me when I’m working on agriculture policy for our nation.

Buck Understand has spent 34 years presiding over the 4,000-plus members of the Louisiana Forestry Association, a past president of the Southern Forest Heritage Museum, and a past president of the National Council of Forestry Executives.

“During that time, Buck has helped pass the Forest Productivity Program to get part of the state’s severance taxes distributed to forest landowners as cost-share for replanting. It’s recognized as one of the top programs in the nation.

“He’s been instrumental in advancing forestry education at the Technical School and University levels so that we can have sustainable and productive working forests.

“Buck continues to serve the forestry industry today, and I look forward to working with him in my role on the Working Forest Caucus on behalf of foresters across our country.

“Mr. Speaker, Louisiana is one of the top agriculture states in the nation, and I am proud to serve on the Agriculture Committee here in Washington to represent our state’s farmers, foresters and ranchers.
But the real contributions to our state’s agricultural prowess can be traced back to folks like Ray Young and Buck Vandersteen, men who have spent their lives enhancing the industry that is so vital to Louisiana.

For more Information:- WASHINGTON D.C

Cut flowers should never be put near fresh fruit

A Cut Flower can simply be defined as any flower that is cut from the plant, thorns trimmed, and are ready to be used in a fresh flower arrangement. Cut Flowers are available at the florist or can be cut from the home garden

Caroline plouff

Most Cut Flowers are popular choices as gifts on Special Occasions, either as a single cut flower or as a bunch or a bouquet of cut flowers.

Rose is the most popular cut flower. Carnations, Gerber’s, Chrysanthemums also enjoy a huge demand in the cut flower market.Tulips, Gladioli, Lilies, Gastroenteritis, Sanitariums etc., are also popular with the flower lovers.
What makes a Good Cut Flower?

A Cut Flower should meet the following parameters-

    Appeal and beauty of the Cut Flower.
Sweet fragrance of the Cut Flower.
  Long stemmed Cut Flower.
Extended vase life of the Cut Flower.

The following features of a Cut Flower make their trade profitable for Cut Flower growers and traders.

More production per square foot of flower bed.
Extended production and a productive life as long as the marketing season last.
Ability to be marketed as Fresh Cut Flowers, while the surplus are sold as dried  florals.

    Resistance to disease and pests.
    Resistance to heat and droughts.
    Relatively easy to harvest and handle.

Cut Flower Care

Caring for Cut Flowers and keeping them fresh is indeed a science in itself. The first step towards making Cut Flowers last longer is to make sure that they are quickly placed in water to prevent them from wilting.

Cut stems should be placed in water immediately, as air rapidly moves into the water-conducting tissues and plugs the cells. This is why a Cut Flower that has been out of water for more than a few minutes should have a small portion of the lower stem cut off so that water moves up freely when the stem is returned to water. Cuts can be made under-water to assure the no air enters the stem. Further, care of your cut flowers is enhanced by following the tips given below-

Commercial floral preservatives increase the life of Cut Flowers and should always be used. A floral preservative is a complex mixture of sucrose (sugar), acidifies – an inhibitor of microorganisms, and a respiratory inhibitor.

  • To aid the floral preservative in slowing down the growth of microorganisms around the Cut Flowers, always clean the flower vase or container.
  • Remove all leaves on the stems of the Cut Flowers below the water surface as they soon deteriorate.
  • Place the cut flowers in a cool location for an hour or two. Cut Flowers placed in cool temperatures lose less water.
  • A process called hardening ensures maximum water uptake, where the freshly cut stem of the Cut Flower is placed in 110 degree Fahrenheit water (plus preservative).
  • Check the water level of the floral container or vase, where the Cut Flowers are placed, daily and add water plus preservatives when needed.
  • Let the cut flowers get a good amount of ventilation.
  • Keep Cut Flowers away from hot or cold air drafts and hot spots (radiators, direct heat, or television sets).
  • Never store fruit and Cut Flowers together. Apples produce ethylene gas, a hormone that causes senescence or aging in the Cut Flowers.

For More Information:- The Flower Expert

If your green thumb is getting itchy, tend to your houseplants

Caroline plouff

There is a note of desperation in the voices of my gardening friends right now along with wistful looks out the window as yet another snow flurry sweeps through. Spring is not going to come easily this year.

So we are going to have to look inside for our green fix for a while longer and play with the next best thing; our houseplants. As the daylight lengthens, this is the perfect time to spruce them up and get them ready for their yearly adventure on the patio or deck.

Start by checking the plants for water. Most of our houseplants go semi-dormant in the winter so they don’t need as much to keep them alive. With the return of longer days, they are starting to wake up and will need a good drink. Small plants can be set in the sink while larger ones can be put in the bathtub or shower and given a long slow drink to re saturate the soil. Once they have had their fill, let them drain the excess water away before returning them to a brightly lit place to finish drying off.

Resist your first impulse to water more and fertilize. Plants need much less food and water during the winter in order to remain healthy. Only feed your plants when there is active growth; this pretty much eliminates the need for fertilizer during the coldest and shortest days of winter. If fertilizer is necessary, it is best to only use about half as much as the directions call for. Once spring and summer arrive, go back to full strength. NEVER feed a plant that is very dry. If the plant is dry, water it well and then feed it a couple of days later. Plants that are stressed should not be fed and if there is ever a doubt, just skip the feeding. Plants will do much better for much longer without food than with too much food.

Sometimes we forget to water until it’s too late. If the soil has dried out completely and is shrinking and pulling away from the edge of the pot, it is unlikely to get properly dehydrated with regular watering methods. The best thing to do is fill the sink or a pail with tepid water and plunge the whole pot under water. It is really best if the water is over the surface of the soil. If it floats, hold the entire pot under the water surface or weigh it down so it remains submerged. Leave it submerged until it stops bubbling. Drain and if the plant is wilted, set it in a cool shady spot to recover. Remember that plants don’t need as much water in the winter as they do during the summer. Keep an eye on your plants and adjust their care accordingly.

Re potting can be done at any time, but the best time is just before growth begins, which is in spring for most houseplants. Here are four signs that a plant is ready for reporting: New leaves appear slowly and are very small compared to older leaves; soil dries out very quickly or water runs down the inside of the pot without soaking in; roots are growing out through the drainage holes or are appearing above the soil’s surface in the pots; or roots are so tightly coiled that when you pull the plant from the pot, you see all roots and no soil.

If you’ve stored dahlias and other tender bulbs in a cool spot for the winter, check on them now and then and remove any that are moldy or rotted. Also they may begin sprouting prematurely if they’ve been a bit warm, and then you’ll need to pot them up and grow them indoors (in as cool an area as possible, but not freezing) until spring. If you let the stems grow without being planted, the bulbs will soon die.

If you just need some color to brighten up winter days, consider a pot or two of forced bulbs (if you didn’t start your own), or some cut flowers. Buy cut flowers in bud, just opening, for longest life. Keep cut flowers protected on the way home from freezing, and put right in water containing a flower preservative (available at most florist shops and garden stores).

For More Information:- Pat Munts

Best Environmental Initiative – Winner Flowers from the Farm

Yorkshire farmer Gill Hodgson set up not-for-profit group Flowers from the Farm in 2011 to promote British-grown cut flowers and to encourage more growers to produce them for the home market, so reducing imports while making less familiar varieties available to the public.

Caroline plouff

It now boasts more than 300 UK cut-flower growers, ranging from the Scilly Isles to central Scotland, and aims to reach 500 within the next four years.

Around 90 per cent of cut flowers sold in the UK are imported, typically having been grown in Holland, South America or East Africa, air freighted and traded through the Dutch auction houses before being transported on wards by air or refrigerated transport to their point of sale, entailing a large carbon footprint.

As a result, flowers that were once viewed as exciting and rare such as chrysanthemums, lilies and Gerber have become commonplace, while the traditional varieties they replaced – dahlias, pinks, bells-of-Ireland and sweet peas – have become rare and sought after, leaving a gap in the market that Flowers from the Farm seeks to fill.

Most of the group’s members grow on plots of less than a hectare, use no extra heat other than for germination and, while not claiming official organic status, avoid using pesticides, with flowers growing and flowering in their natural season in fields full of wildlife. Members help and support each other, buying inputs in bulk and sharing transport to market wherever possible.

Flowers from the Farm’s extensive appearances at flower shows and in national media last year has greatly raised public awareness of the benefits of locally grown flowers.

Finalists

PJ Stirling (Berry Gardens), Building Biomass Technology into Scottish Strawberry Growing

Vitacress, The Vitacress Conservation Trust

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For More Information:- HortWeek