Thursday, May 6, 2021

Garden Paths

From Ideal Home:

Whether it’s a route to your front door, a walkway that meanders around your back garden, or a destination path that leads to a particular spot, our garden path ideas are here to enhance your front or back garden. Paths create depth and bring structure to your garden, as well as setting the tone for planting and style, so you’ll need to pay attention to the materials you’re choosing. From bricks and stepping stones, to decked and gravel options, check out these great ideas to inspire you…(Read more.)

From GardeningEtc:

Dry stone walls are built without mortar, and can be seen throughout rural Britain, in areas such as the Cotswolds or the Lake District. The popularity of the craft stems back to the 18th century, where builders would use local stone of various sizes to create boundaries for land or livestock.

Today, they are a beautiful addition to a cottage garden, due to their rustic and traditional look. And, as seen here, they look fabulous lining a pathway and topped with masses of classic cottage style blooms, such as lavender and Digitalis. 

You can also introduce flowers and foliage to the wall itself. Erigeron, for example, would make a beautiful addition with its soft mounds of small pinkish-white daisies. 

Take a look at our small rock garden ideas to discover other plants that will thrive in stony conditions. And, if you'd like to build a stone wall yourself, then the National Trust has a very useful step-by-step guide. (Read more.)

More cottage garden ideas, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Share


 From The Blaze:

It's still a mystery to the media why crime is skyrocketing in much of the country, but any sane person knows that when you let criminals back onto the streets, you get more criminal behavior. When you treat the police like criminals, you get less policing. The result is utter anarchy.

Evidently, in California, the only crimes one can commit are not wearing a mask or opening a business against coronavirus edicts. Murder, robbery, or assault? Not so much. The AP is reporting that "with little notice," California decided to increase good behavior credits for 76,000 inmates, "including violent and repeat felons," which will enable them to trim their already diminishing sentences by as much as one third. So much for the promise of only offering more chances to "first-time, nonviolent" offenders. More than 20,000 people serving life without parole – something very hard to achieve in California these days – will be eligible for early release. (Read more.)

More Harm Than Good

 From DW:

When Prosopis juliflora was introduced to Kenya's Baringo County in the 1980s it was heralded for the benefits it would bring to the area's pastoral communities. A native of arid lands in Central and South America, the woody shrub, known locally as mathenge, was promoted by the Kenyan government and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to help restore degraded drylands.

At first, mathenge helped prevent dust storms, supplied ample wood for cooking and construction and provided fodder for animals, said Simon Choge, a researcher with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute in Baringo County. But after the El Nino rains of 1997, things changed.

Mathenge seeds dispersed widely, and without any local fauna adapted to eat the foreign tree it spread aggressively. Impenetrable thickets overran grazing pastures, displaced indigenous biodiversity and depleted water sources. The trees' thorns pierced the hooves of livestock, while its sugary pods caused tooth decay and loss, sometimes leading to starvation among the animals it was meant to nourish.

"Now, people have no livelihoods," Choge said.

Large-scale tree planting programs have been heralded as an effective way of drawing CO2 from the atmosphere. Yet in the verdant vegetation that has transformed Baringo's grasslands lies a stark warning: Sometimes, planting trees can do more harm than good. (Read more.)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Restored Seventeenth-century Farmhouse

From Scene Therapy:

Rollitt also researched and acquired era-sensitive hardware that suited the 1675 building such as reclaimed kitchen floor flags, suitably sized chimneypieces and 17th-century parquet floors. However, the house is not stuck in the past, with lots of vivid pops of colours and strong prints to add flair and personality to each room, such as the specialist teal finish on the kitchen base cabinets, the zig-zag Watts of Westminster prints on the dining room chairs, and the deep red velvet regency sofa in the sitting room.The unique box bed in the attic’s eaves was made by Dunne & Co, and is the perfect space-saving creation for the awkward angles of sloping attic roofs, but is also a nod to the historic origins of this house. The rustic woods match the timber beams, while the print curtains add warmth to this snug sleeping space. (Read more.)


Forced Labor in China

 From Forbes:

America’s leading climate and environmental groups including Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Energy Foundation, and Environmental Defense Fund have not responded to repeated queries about evidence that China is forcing Uyghur Muslims to choose between forced labor at factories which make solar panels which all three groups promote, or being sent to concentration camps.

NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund, and Energy Foundation are the three most influential environmental organizations within the Biden Administration and among Democrats in Congress. In December President Joe Biden named NRDC President & CEO Gina McCarthy as his National Climate Advisor. The  organizations routinely denounce abuses of human rights and issue regular calls for environmental justice

Yesterday, the Solar Energy Industries Association issued a set of guidelines, or a “protocol,” for solar panel companies to use to avoid the use of genocide labor. “Solar customers expect their products to be ethically produced, and this protocol helps ensure that solar products coming into the United States are not made using forced labor,” it says. (Read more.)


Portugal and the Slave Trade

 Some of our ancestors may have had slaves but our ancestors also abolished slavery. We need to focus on abolishing the slavery that exists today. From DW:

"Portugal has long swept the history of slaves from Africa under the carpet," said Evalina Dias, president of the Lisbon-based association of Afro-descendants, Djass. A native of Portugal with ancestors from Guinea-Bissau, she is now demanding that Portugal finally face up to its historical responsibilities and thoroughly reevaluate its role in the story.

"We know that the structural discrimination of African people today is also the result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which was largely introduced by the Portuguese starting in the 15th century," Dias told DW.

The Portuguese have always covered up this stain on its history, she said. In Portugal, it is always said that slavery was not an invention of the Portuguese or the Europeans and that there always were slaves, even before the 15th century. (Read more.)


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Growing Wisteria

 From Country Life:

How I love wisteria! It graced the front wall of our modest three-up, three-down terrace house when we got married and I trained it proudly so that, in the six years we lived there, its territory was extended year on year. It was the common Chinese wisteria (W. sinensis), generally the only kind that existed in our gardens for many years. Today, there are countless cultivars, mainly of Japanese origin, with strange names and, in some cases, strange colours and flower formations.

If you’re planting a new one, first check that you like the colour and flower form and buy a grafted plant, as it will bloom more reliably and at a much younger age. The graft union will be clearly visible a few inches above soil level. Plants that aren’t grafted and have been propagated by layering or cuttings can be irritatingly flower shy; there are ways to encourage blooming in older reluctant plants.

Wisteria needs a sunny wall. Don’t waste your time giving it a wall facing north or east. South and west are the more favoured aspects, where the wood will ripen most effectively. Then there’s the twice-yearly pruning. In July, tie in all questing growths that are needed to extend the plant’s coverage, but shorten all others to about 1ft. In January, cut back all sideshoots to finger length. Do this every year and your plant should not disappoint. (Read more.)


Parents Need To Speak Up

 From The Federalist:

This story is instructive for a few reasons. First and foremost, it shows the public what critical race theory training actually looks like. In this case, critical race theory asserts that society is racist, whiteness is a problem, and that all unequal outcomes between different racial groups are proof of racism. To address this, employees are asked to denounce their whiteness, pledge their support of antiracist organizations, and work to equalize outcomes by penalizing privileged groups and rewarding victimized groups.

One can easily imagine how this kind of thinking can easily corrupt any organization. On an intellectual level, it is divisive, illogical, and unfair. On a practical level, it only worsens the problem it intends to solve. A school district that adopts critical race theory training and antiracist policies in the hopes of improving the academic performance of racial minorities only enables the behaviors and attitudes that create academic disparities in the first place.

Second, the story of critical race theory in Southlake shows that this type of thing can happen anywhere — even in a ritzy suburb in the heart of Dallas-Fort Worth. Unlike the people in the far-left suburbs of Illinois or California, people in Southlake lean conservative.

This fact is probably why the president and vice-president of the Carroll Independent School District school board likely broke the law by deciding by adopting critical race theory without public discussion. Few parents and employees would have approved of it and would loudly protest it if they knew — which is exactly what happened when they finally found out. (Read more.)