Sunday Supplement #2

Sunday Supplement is an occasional round up of the virtual and real here at VP Gardens. I'd like it to be a weekly event just like the best bits and reviews you get in the Sunday papers, but I'm not promising ;)

Web Watch

Carrying on from last week's fruitiness, my website of the week is Fruit Share: a simple but effective idea which matches potential fruit sharers of orchard fruit with fruit seekers in their area, or vice versa. The website was launched at RHS Tatton Park Show last year, and has been revamped for 2010. Seekers and Sharers aren't restricted to the UK: there's quite a few entries on the website from the USA at the moment. It's a global outreach aiming to provide a local community solution :)

Trending Topic

It has to be this week's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) because it will affect us all in lots of ways without any guarantee the 'nasty medicine' will work.

I'm particularly dismayed at the demise of CABE which was the lone quango voice lobbying the government for the quality open spaces our local communities deserve. As a result, I believe our open spaces will now be delivered solely on cheapest price. We desperately need to build on GreenSpace's business case showing in monetary terms the tangible benefits quality in our parks and other green spaces bring to our society. For example, if patients in hospital recover more quickly if they can see greenery from their bed, what savings does this mean for the NHS?

I'm also concerned how DEFRA's 30% funding cut may impact the management of our national nature reserves. At the moment it looks like many of them will go to organisations such as our local wildlife trusts, but with the expectation they'll be managed from existing funds. I'm anticipating more appeals for donations and volunteer help from my local Trust in the future.

I'm sure we'll see similar results when some of the current centralised responsibilities e.g. the running of the Olympic Park are devolved to local authorities. There'll be more appeals for help from us for these and other 'extras': from tidying up our parks to keeping places like Kew afloat. I also expect the National Lottery to have an increase in applications for key project funding such as major park restorations.

Whilst much of the news has been doom and gloom, I'm happy to report the charity GreenSpace is looking at ways to continue to deliver quality open spaces. They're arranging a conference in Manchester on 24th November entitled Power to the Parks. In The Bench (their email newsletter) they say:

GreenSpace is committed to providing support to, and lobbying on behalf of the parks and green space sector. Bringing the industry together, through our upcoming conference and the GreenLINK initiative, will allow us to evaluate the new political landscape and find a way forward together.
Looking at the conference programme, I'd say it's money well spent: Wiltshire and Chippenham Town Councils take note.

Link Love
Gardens Illustrated magazine has lots of packets of seed left over from their front cover giveaways. Send them a £1.50 SAE and you'll get around 60 packets (flower and vegetable seeds) in return :)

James gave a fantastically funny talk at Bath University Gardening Club last Tuesday, coping with the heckling from Derry Watkins (who corrected him on the pronunciation of Pelargonium sidoides, a plant she introduced to the UK) and a lady who thought one of his ponds was 'rather plonked' with wit and charm. He's already given his account of the proceedings and if you look carefully on there you can see me, Threadspider, Karen and Tim in the audience!

Blog Action

Comment of the Week: is from Gardeningbren, a welcome newcomer to Veg Plotting who added her comment to my Easy Apple Juice post. She said: I would think this would freeze very easily, as we used to do that with excess apple cider when we had an orchard. A much simpler idea than my suggested sterilised bottles, thank you :)
Keyword Search of Note is apple day local authority replace roundabout. Nope, I'm not quite sure what they're after either. It seems Google got a little confused too because it plumped for my A New Approach to Perennials post rather than anything I've written about Apple Day or roundabouts.
Back to Reality

Threadspider and I are planning a trip to The Botanic Nursery tomorrow as they're having an Aster event. I said to Terry's wife at Malvern Autumn Show that it's rather late in the season and she replied it's the only time they have when they're not getting ready for a show, so that's fair enough :)
I'm up to secret things in Bristol today, which I hope I can share with you shortly ;)

Time Out

The GNO film this week was Made in Dagenham. The verdict: very good - funny but thought provoking. Well worth seeing.

I'm reading John Cushnie's Hedge Man whilst listening to a tawny owl patrolling the stream at the side of the house. It's that time of year when they hoot at bedtime :)

The photo is of some rather garish heathers Karen and I found on our trip to Cirencester on Wednesday. The only question we have is Why?

This time last year I was showing you this rather wonderful pie chart, whilst in 2008, I was Monkeying Around.


  1. fruit share sounds a wonderful idea. the p.r. spin that the rich are being hit harder than the poor (or greenspaces/nature) in the proposed budget cuts is so much nonsense. wishing greenspace well & good luck.

  2. Brilliant post, VP - lots of food for thought there.
    Haven't seen Made In Dagenham yet, but saw The Social Network in New York - brilliant.

  3. As ever, VP, an information packed, entertaining post. Thanks for the fruit sharing - a brilliant idea, since so much must get wasted, during glut times.

    As for the cuts - well, you can usually rely on elected representatives and civil servants to work tirelessly together cutting all the wrong things and leaving those which should be cut untouched. But this time everything seems to be going. I fear that wildlife conservation is in for a rough ride and urban parks and green spaces - always the 'poor relations' of local authority budgets - will get it in the neck again.

    As far as Kew is concerned, I'm afraid I'm one of the minority who thinks that it should never have been semi-privatised. I hate the way the world's premier botanic garden has had to prostitute itself to stay solvent. Perhaps I should do a post on that?

  4. Petoskystone - I'm writing to my MP and local councils about it. I've already left a message on the CABE website.

    Victoria - thanks, I thought it was too long a post so it's good to know it's worth the read. The CSR stuff merits several posts alone. I had the opportunity to see a preview of The Social Network, but sadly couldn't go. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Nige - it's amazing how parks were one of the reasons why local authorities were born in the 1800s(that and sewage disposal) and now it's an almost forgotten part of their budget as far as most of us are concerned even though its demise affects everyone rich, poor, healthy or needy.

    Please do write one on Kew. I was horrified at how blatant the governmeent are in saying it could be even more commercialised to make up for the shortfall in funding >:/

  5. Great post, but having already reached new levels of despair re the CSR and its implications, I have to admit to my overwhelming feeling on finishing reading was one of relief. For a while there I feared you were a fan of the garish heather display...

    (Word verification - galilly, which sounds as if it should be a real plant...)

  6. Me again - just found out that our Esteemed Government wants to sell of our forests... Lots of articles, including Guardian, and a campaign to stop this happening at 38 Degrees. Hope you don't mind me putting this in a comment on your blog, but you get rather more traffic than I do ;-)

  7. Janet - thanks for both your comments. I think you've just solved my dilemma on how I was going to work this week's news re the forestry sell-off into this week's Sunday Supplement as I have quite a few candidates for the Trending Topic heading!

    I'd love a galilly - plant breeders and naming people take note ;)

  8. Re the Heathers,

    WHY indeed - but I was so shocked to see someone actually buy one! As Dobbies have been selling them for a few years now I suspect that they must be "best sellers"
    PS I do like this Sunday supplement - great idea VP

  9. Karen - Frank's Plants used to do them but have stopped this year. Looks like they might have gone out of fashion in Chippenham?

    Glad you like the Supplement :)

  10. Thanks for the heads up about the free seeds, by the way. Mine arrived this morning. Lots of duplicates, but I'm sure I can find people to give those two, and several things that I would probably have bought next year anyway.

  11. SteveC - welcome and thanks for coming back and telling me about what you got. It's nice to know when something I've written about gets acted upon :)


Your essential reads

Review: Riverford Recipe Box with guest chef Sarah Raven

How not to look after your Pilea peperomioides

Down to Earth with Monty Don

Ulting Wick: drier than Jerusalem? One of the Secret Gardens of East Anglia

Seasonal Recipe: Garlic Powder

Here comes the judge

Summer Showcase

#mygardenrightnow: there's still plenty going on!

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: Persicaria 'Fat Domino'

A clean break