Monthly Archives: September 2009

Creating a new gardening tradition


Edna Walling grew up in Devonshire England, but was destined for renown as a landscape architect in a very different landscape and climate from her native home.

Her family migrated to New Zealand when she was fourteen and three years later to Australia.

Following the tradition of Gertrude Jekyll who was influenced by the design philosophies or the Arts and Crafts Movement, Walling sought to unify the garden with architecture.

Her design approach is said to be based a set of design ethics;

* Work with existing landscapes and existing features such as slopes, rocks and trees

* Begin by sculpting the surface of the land, preferably not levelling it

* Create a unity between the house and garden

* Use architectural principles to structure the garden and soften with dense planting

* Individually design for each house and garden and the needs of the client

* Keep garden maintenance to a minimum

To read more

Source:  Garden at MAWARRA

UK organic farming and government

Industrial factory farming and organic farming

Industrial factory farming and organic farming: which would rather consume? (left image courtesy

For reasons of unblinking short-sighted dumb stupidity, the UK government continues to support science-based agri-business  – and to do its best to kill off organic farming. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) commissioned a group of researchers to collate the research of other people who had  found that organic beef , for example, has few nutritional advantages over  inorganic beef. If they can’t tell the difference between the two approaches shown above, the fault lies with their researchers and their taste buds. Future government report is expected to prove that haute couture clothing has no medical advantages over bargain basement clothing and expensive perfumes do no more for your sex appeal than cheap perfumes. Then we will have reports to establish that the differences in flying time London to New York, business class and economy class on the same plane are ‘statistically insignificant’  and that Dyson vacuum cleaners are no better than Hoovers.

The  DEFRA blockheads should remember how their friends in government wrecked  the UK’s car producers: they poured in government money to support cheap, shoddy, rust-prone ‘volume’ car producers. In fact, the only hope for a country with expensive land and labour was to concentrate on low-volume high-quality cars. That is why the racing car end of the industry is the only remaining fragment of UK-owned car production. The best long-term policy for UK agriculture is to become a producer of high-quality organic produce with superb animal welfare standards and a glorious reputation. The UK is an island with a very beautiful agricultural landscape. We should become an organic-only food producer, banning all use of GM products. Still trying to ‘beat the world’ one suspects DEFRA of not having noticed that the UK is a group of islands which CAN remain GM-free and which COULD charge a substantial premium for higher quality products. If the UK could also be a low-cost producer, so much the better. But the emphasis should be producing the highest quality food: no factory farming, no GM crops, minimal pesticides, minimal antibiotics, minimal inorganic fertilizers.  Hilary Benn should be kept in a veal cage and fed with the cheapest burgers on the market until he repents and recants – or resigns.

Note Hilary Benn became Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs DEFRA in June 2007 and spoke in favour of what the UK press calls Frankenstein Foods (ie genetically modified GM foods) in August 2009. Never mind the science: look at the business opportunity!