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The Voice - September 2020

Comment by Geoff

Geoff Juden

The East London Garden Society has begun listing all the protected trees in London to create a comprehensive list.

Remember, every time a tree is felled and not replaced with the same, we all start to breathe less easily. Trees provide natural wonders.

Every day, a forty foot tree takes in fifty gallons of dissolved nutrients from the soil. This mixture is raised to its topmost leaves where it is converted into ten pounds of carbohydrates and releases sixty cubic feet of pure oxygen into the air.

Check whether trees in your area are shown on our lists. If not, complete the form to let us know.

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.

Ancient Tree Research Project

Anicent Rowan tree

Would you be interested in taking part in some exciting ancient tree research?

As the Ancient Tree Forum team continues to think about its work along the themes of Recognise, Protect, Restore and Enhance, here is a prime opportunity to invest in your own recognition of ancient and veteran trees.

The Woodland Trust is looking for ancient tree recorders who would like to assist by taking part in a field survey to search for ancient trees in 1 of 75 pre-defined areas.

See Ancient Tree Research Project to find out more.

(Photo of Anicent Rowan Tree by Ros Evans)

Nature Has A Way

From plastic to asbestos, cardboard to jet fuel, fungi will eat just about anything. Now researchers have found another dish in the fungal diet: radiation. Not radioactive compounds, which have long been known to be on the menu, radiation itself.

Ekaterina Dadachova and her colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York have discovered that some fungi can use a molecule called melanin, a pigment also found in human skin, to harvest the energy from radiation and use it for growth.

This raises the prospect that astronauts could grow these fungi on long flights into radiation-rich outer space, suggests Dadachova's colleague Arturo Casadevall. The fungi aren't particularly appetizing, however; they resemble the mould on a dirty shower curtain.

Since the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station, the numbers of 'black fungi', rich in melanin, have risen steeply. Casadevall speculated that the fungi could be feeding on the radiation that contaminates the ruin of the nuclear reactor.



The blackberry is an edible fruit produced by many species in the Rubus genus in the Rosaceae family. There are around 375 species of blackberry, which are found in almost all parts of the world.

Blackberries were perceived by the ancient cultures as being a wild plant, and historical accounts for a backyard culture of blackberry bushes are few.

The Greeks used the blackberry as a remedy for Gout, and the Romans made a tea from the leaves of the blackberry plant to treat various illnesses.

Much of the first modern blackberry variety development was done in the United States, beginning with Judge Logan of California in 1880, and the release and introduction of the Loganberry.



“If you go down to the woods today you are sure of a big surprise”. It refers to “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”, of course, but now is the time for those who love organic food, or those who would love to try the experience.

Yes, foraging can occur all year round, but if you know what to look for there is abundance now. If your knowledge is lacking, have no fear, for all you have to do is use your eyes. The most obvious, of course, are blackberries.

Blackberries are a child’s delight. You can always see if someone has been out for blackberries; just look for the stain on their hands! There are more signs in and around an urban landscape. Those in the know will understand where the local apple tree is or when the delicious plums will drop.

Although London is an urban city, we can all learn of the natural wonders. Tasting a food locally may bring a better understanding to a community otherwise bereft of a natural commitment. For some, this is the first introduction of a gardening experience.

As well as delving locally when the fruit has ripened, there are many who will show the best aspects of what is edible or not throughout the year. Many a professional will show you what can be obtained just a few yards from your door.

Cooking in a Different Way ‐ Blackberry Malt Cocktail

The Irishman is a single malt Irish whiskey that deserves more attention than it gets. In the blackberry malt this fine whiskey is paired with fresh fruits which is something that doesn't happen often in Irish whiskey cocktails. This is a cocktail that can start a trend and makes use of a glut of blackberries.

The apricot and vanilla notes of this whiskey are a perfect complement to the fresh blackberries and add to the drink's refreshing qualities. It's perfect in spring and summer and can work for any occasion, including a backyard barbecue.


Blackberry malt cocktail


Serve and enjoy.

Finally ...

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