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The East London Garden Society

The Voice - April 2020


Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

It is sad when green unused space is not used for what it was originally intended.

Tower Hamlets Council has seen the opportunity to build on land, which was once a nature reserve, and such space is badly needed in The Limehouse area.

The Limehouse Triangle, designated as a treasured nature reserve with its own ecological system, has been ravaged by Tower Hamlets in readiness for the building of seventeen flats. The Council has just issued the notice to build but has already felled eighteen mature trees for its purpose.

Yet again the green space in the East End of London is an obstacle to progress and listening to or talking with the local residents with regard to their environmental needs is ignored.

If you value having someone campaign on your behalf to protect the environment and having access to useful articles about gardening and local environmental matters, please make a donation to help us with the cost of maintaining The East London Garden Society.


Bugs at Risk of Extinction

insect extinction

The United Nations' Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has found a million plant and animal species, mostly bugs, to be at imminent risk of extinction.

Industrial agriculture, millions of miles of road hazards, unnecessary lights, overuse of pesticides, habitat elimination, tens of millions of acres of sterile lawn and the widespread displacement of native plants have caused a 45 per cent decline in insect populations just in the past 40 years.

If insects were to vanish, so would nearly all flowering plants and the food webs they support. This loss, in turn, would cause the extinction of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals: in effect, nearly all terrestrial animal life.

The good news is that there is nothing inevitable about insect decline. We can work to bring back those populations by collaborating on the "Homegrown National Park", a collective reserve built in and out of our own private gardens. About 73 per cent of the continental United States is privately owned, with a similar number for the UK, so only landowners can lead our future of conservation.

Our public parks and reserves are vital, for they are where biodiversity is huddling; but they are not large enough and are too isolated from one another to sustain for much longer the plants and animals that support our ecosystems.

Our public parks and reserves are vital, for they are where biodiversity is huddling; but they are not large enough and are too isolated from one another to sustain for much longer the plants and animals that support our ecosystems.

A green carpet out the front may be a status symbol, but it's an ecologically destructive one. Lawn grass does not support diverse food webs and vital pollinator communities: It degrades our watersheds by increasing storm water runoff and introducing nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as herbicides and pesticides, into our waterways.

It is also a terrible plant choice for sequestering carbon. Under trees, grass fares poorly in the shade and is bad for the tree's root systems. Restrict your lawn to the areas where you regularly walk.

You should strip invasive plants, from your property and resist the temptation to buy new ones at your local nursery. They are ecological invaders that spread to natural areas, where they displace valuable native plants that better support insects.

Simultaneously, you can plant more of the native plants that support the most insect species. In general, native plants support the lifecycles of 10 to 100 times more insect species than non-native plants. You can find out which plants are best at supporting food webs in Britain at the Native Trees and Shrubs advice at the Royal Horticulture Society website.

When you're working to maintain your garden with all of its native vegetation, strive to minimise insecticide use. Homeowners use more insecticides per acre than farms do, and nearly all of them are unnecessary. Your goal is to bring bugs to the yard, not keep them away!

You can also build pollinator gardens - groups of plants with blooms that supply the pollen and nectar that critical insects require. We need diverse communities of pollinator insects, not only because they are important to human crops but also because they pollinate 80 per cent of all plants.

Lastly, you can put motion sensors on your security lights or replace white bulbs with yellow LEDs. White lights draw insects all night long, exhausting them and making them easy prey for bats and birds, but yellow bulbs attract few insects. If each of the millions of lights we turn on in this country, mostly out of habit, kills just a few insects each night - well, you can do the maths.

We can no longer leave conservation to professional conservationists; there simply are not enough of them. Along with land ownership comes responsibility for stewarding the life associated with that land. The task is not as enormous as it seems. Just take care of the life on your property.

It seems a lot easier than trying to save the entire planet, but they're really the same thing. You can't reverse insect declines by yourself, but if we each do our own small part, not only can we restore insect populations, but we will also create the largest collective conservation effort in history - one that can and must succeed, for our own good.


Growing a Tasty Tomato

Tomatoes

The tomato is one of the most cultivated plants in East London. So, what are the top growing tips?

Plant seedlings two feet apart, pinching off the lower branches prior to planting.

Plant the root ball deep enough so that the remaining lowest leaves are just above the surface of the soil and water well to reduce shock to the roots.

Water the plants for the first few days and continue to give them about two inches each week throughout the summer.

There are many other variables that may influence the final outcome of your tomatoes, and most importantly their taste. A tomato’s flavour is the result of interplay between sugars, acids and other chemicals that give a tomato its scent.

Adding compost to soil is important for a number of reasons:

By optimizing soil composition and nutrient application, you can increase your yield by six to eight times.


New 'Green Highway' for East London

Green Route

A Proposal for a Great Eastern Parks Route connecting Bishopsgate with the Lea Valley and beyond has been initiated by the East London Garden Society and supported by CPRE London.

What? - London is blessed with many beautiful green spaces and the east end is no exception. We now have an amazing opportunity to improve and extend green spaces in east London by connecting them up to form a 'green chain' walking trail from the eastern edge of City of London to the Lea Valley and beyond.

Why? - Access to high quality, nature rich green spaces provide many benefits for our health and wellbeing. They can help clean the air we breathe, provide healthy walking routes and space for outdoor exercise and relaxation, and give a home to wildlife. As London grows and becomes more densely populated, we need to protect, connect and enhance green spaces so we can increase the benefits they provide and be enjoyed generations to come.

The Vision - The creation of new public green space as part of the redevelopment of the old Bishopsgate Goodsyard would form the start of an exciting new west-east green trail. The trail would link a number of existing open spaces as a series of green 'steppingstones', enabling people to walk from the City to the countryside without losing sight of nature. This would connect more people to green spaces, encourage more people to walk, and help improve the quality of some neglected open spaces.

Help Make This a Reality - If you support the vision, please sign up and support the work of the Great Eastern Parks Route coalition. London is already a relatively green city, but it could be so much greener if we can realise schemes, such as this.
Email chairman@elgs.org.uk


Protect the Environment

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has declared a "Climate Emergency". However, there is concern in the borough that the environment is not being protected sufficiently.

Planning decisions ignore the concerns of the local environment and Tower Hamlets continue to fell protected trees, mature trees and a veteran tree which ar 500 years old. Please sign our Petition.


Cooking in a Different Way ‐ The Health Benefits of Carrots

Made of organic ingredients this recipe has no side effects and unlike prescribed medication is much safer for everyone. It is particularly good for treating mucus and coughs.

Tomatoe soup

What are the health benefits of carrots?

They promote detoxification, reduce bad cholesterol, protect eyesight, improve skin health, strengthen cardiovascular health and strengthen the immune system.

Ingredients:

Method:

It is recommended that you consume three tablespoons of this solution daily to see improvements within two days.


Finally ...

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