The problem of the illegal importing of plants


The main problem facing gardens in this country at present is the illegal importing of plants, either by businesses or travellers bringing in specimens they have bought or found. These plants often harbour pests and diseases. In the UK large areas of forestry have been decimated. Southern areas of England are having a huge problem with a disease affecting Fuchsias which will soon spread to the rest of the UK.

A bacterial pest, Xylella Fastidiosa, is the latest threat that is nearing our shores and it restricts water movement in plants. This bacteria will affect up to 350 different type of plants, such as Lavender, Rosemary and flowering cherry.

When buying plants please make sure that they are British sourced and grown and take care when purchasing plants at car boot sales, market stalls, fairs or garden centres. If you suspect there may be a problem please tell the environment dept DEFRA.

The RHS top ten things to do this month:-

1. Prune Wisteria.

2. Don't delay Summer pruning of fruit trees trained in a restricted form.

3. Keep dead heading plants to prolong the flowering season

4. Continue watering, particularly new plants and those in containers, using grey water where ever possible.

5. Collect seeds – it's always worth it.

6. Harvest vegetables as they become ready. There's nothing quite like it.

7. Continue cutting out old fruited Raspberry canes.

8 Lift and pot up Strawberry runners.

9. Keep ponds topped up.

10. Feed plants with green manure.

Pyracantha, along with Wisteria, can be pruned now. Hebe and Lavender can have a light prune after flowering. Quite a few people cut the Lavender back at this time of year to where new growth started but the idea now is to leave well alone and cut back in the spring after the frosts. The seed heads help protect the plants. Glenys makes lavender shortbread biscuits with the flower heads. Rambling Roses need to be trimmed now. Be careful how you do this and think about the way you want it to grow next year.

When planting shrubs and other large plants, especially at this time of year, be sure to give them plenty of water. The Beech Grove Garden recommends a length of pipe 2''-3'' in diameter be placed alongside the root ball with the top of the pipe just above ground level. The water will then go directly to where it's needed most.

August is the time to get plants ready for Christmas. Cyclamen that have been resting can be brought back to life by replacing the top layer of compost and watering. Hyacinths, Paper White Daffodils and Freesias should be planted in bowls now. Once they have an inch of growth, they can then be put in a cool room, then back into the warmth to be ready for the festive season.

Next month sees the village show at the community centre, it's a great day, and amazing how all this super sized veg appears from well hidden plots in villagers back gardens. Brian Foster of Church Rise was picking his first tomatoes at the end of June. How do some of these people manage to be eating their veg when the rest of us are still buying produce brought in from all around the world?