Garden retailers sign up to industry Xylella statement

Following an emergency Xylella meeting held last week at the HTA, garden retailers have signed up to support a joint industry plant sourcing statement about Xylella fastidiosa.

The statement, which incorporates the existing HTA Ornamentals Management Committee statement, reads as follows:-

“As a minimum standard, the following businesses have taken the decision NOT to knowingly purchase any host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist. The decision has been taken after detailed consideration as to the potential catastrophic impact the introduction of the disease could have to the UK environment, coupled with the ever increasing number of host plant genera of this disease. This is in line with DEFRA’s good practice recommendations.”

The HTA is aware that this is a minimum standard and therefore individual businesses are encouraged to develop their own policy for managing the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa.

The following retailers have signed up to the statement.  Orchard Park Garden Centre, St Peters Garden Centre, Henry Street Garden Centre, Aylett Nurseries Ltd, The Gardens Group, Klondyke Group, Scotsdales Garden Centres, Hillview Garden Centres, Notcutts Garden Centres, Haskins Garden Centres, Alton Garden Centre, Burleydam Garden Centre, Fresh @ Burcot, Fosseway Garden Centre, Squires Garden Centres, Hillier Garden Centres.

For the full list of businesses, including growers and retailers signed up to the statement, please see:https://hta.org.uk/plant-and-disease-alert-xylella-fastidiosa.html

Any businesses wishing to show their support for the statement should email policy@hta.org.uk in order for their name to be added to the list.

Commenting on this Raoul Curtis-Machin, HTA Director of Horticulture comments, “Retailers attending the meeting felt that a joined up industry statement for all sectors would be stronger. It became apparent that retailers felt inadequately informed about procedures to follow and the potential impact of Xylella fastidiosa throughout the supply chain. As a result a five point plan has been developed to inform about good practice with regard to plant health management.”

Xylella fastidiosa symptoms on Prunus (cherry). Courtesy: Donato Boscia. CNR – Institute for sustainable plant protection, UOS, Bari (IT) Laboratory, Angers (FR)

Xylella Five Point Plan

Under EU emergency measures there are additional plant passporting requirements for all professional operators sourcing Xylella host plants. This means that all those trading professionally in these plants must issue and retain passports where the plants are being supplied to another business entity, such as landscapers, designers and retailers. It also includes plants being imported direct to the final user.

All those involved in the commercial supply and receipt of host plants should:

  1. Check plant passports arriving with plants are correct and keep the plant passport to aid trace back if necessary. Label and keep records of the identity of all received batches of plants, including where the plants came from and when.
  2. Source from known suppliers or visit suppliers to view their processes, procedures, biosecurity arrangements and the plants they grow.
  3. Make sure that imported plants both originate from, and are sourced from, disease free areas. Details on infected areas are found at:http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/plant_health_biosecurity/legislation/emergency_measures/index_en.htm.
  4. Maintain records of pesticide treatments and destroy old or unusable plants.
  5. Comply with the UK national requirements to notify the UK Plant Health Service about certain species of plants under the ‘EU Plant and Tree notification scheme’.

For trade guidance and information about Xylella priority hosts, follow the links from this page:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-plant-health-topical-issues#new-eu-emergency-measures-against-xylella-fastidiosa-a-bacterial-disease-of-plants

The authorities have also identified six High Risk plants:https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/uploads/Xylella-host-info-note-version3.pdf

For more information about plant passports and keeping updated with legislation:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plant-health-controls

For more information about plant health: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/ or contact: planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk, 01904 40138.

Xylella fastidiosa – a threat to the U.K. Horticulture industry

Guidance on sourcing plant material

For Retailers, Landscapers, Growers, Designers and all dealing with plants in a professional capacity.

What is the threat?

Xylella fastidiosa is one of the most harmful bacterial plant diseases in the world. It can cause severe losses in a wide range of hosts and there would be a massive impact on the plant trade across all business sectors in the event of an OUTBREAK in the UK.

An OUTBREAK of this disease, where several different plants are infected, will trigger immediate stock destruction within 100 metres and a movement ban of host plants within a 10-kilometre radius for up to five years. This will dramatically and immediately affect most plant selling operations, as well as impacting on all businesses dealing in plants within the 10km zone. Gardens could also be affected.

What should businesses do to stop it coming into the UK?

Only buy potential host plants from trusted plant passported suppliers who know where their plants come from. We strongly recommend that potential host plants are not sourced from or near regions where there have been findings of Xylella fastidiosa. Current demarcated areas can be seen at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/plant/docs/ph_biosec_legis_list-demarcated-union-territory_en.pdf

The list of host plants is growing and includes many popular garden and landscape plants, such as lavender, rosemary, oak and many others. The current list of confirmed hosts is at:https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/plant_health_biosecurity/legislation/emergency_measures/Xylella-fastidiosa/susceptible_en

What happens if the disease is found in the UK?

The full emergency measures imposed at EU level are only triggered when the disease has spread and there is an OUTBREAK. The full emergency measures are not triggered if the disease is found on a single plant or within a batch of plants and is diagnosed and contained before it spreads. This is known as an INTERCEPTION. Stock will still be destroyed in this circumstance but the movement ban is very unlikely to come in force.

Several wholesale nurseries have signed up to plant sourcing statements such as the one below:

“The following nurseries have taken the decision NOT to knowingly purchase any host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist. The decision has been taken after detailed consideration as to the potential catastrophic impact the introduction of the disease could have to the UK environment, coupled with the ever increasing number of host plant genera of this disease. This is in line with DEFRA’s good practice recommendations.”

For the full list of nurseries signed up to the statement, please click here.

FEEL LIKE YOU’RE FIVE AGAIN!

A survey by Squire’s Garden Centres has found that 72% of people spend more than 3 hours gardening each week, which is great for health and well-being.

However, getting out in the garden is not just about serious horticulture, 84% of people surveyed have ‘played’ in the garden in the last year, by doing handstands, cartwheels, used a hula hoop or even run through a sprinkler just for fun! The statistics are even more interesting when you consider that the majority of respondents (85%) were aged fifty plus.

  • 33% have run through a sprinkler
  • 23% have done yoga, pilates, or used a fit ball in the garden
  • 21% have been on a swing or slide
  • 16% have used a hula-hoop
  • 15% have jumped on a trampoline
  • 14% have skipped in the garden
  • 7% have done a handstand or cartwheel

So get out in the garden – tend the plants, but try a childhood activity that will make you feel like you are five again, it’s fun and free!

Skin Check Success at Hillier Eastbourne

Hillier garden centres recently teamed up with the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, a local charity that raises awareness of the importance of sun protection and early detection of melanoma.  Each store featured their Watch Your Back! campaign, an initiative supported by 6 of the best-known gardeners in the UK, educating all gardeners on how to stay sun safe whilst pottering in the garden this summer.

On May 20th, the charity teamed up with Mr Siva Kumar and his team from the Melanoma & Skin Cancer Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to run a check clinic at Hillier’s Easbourne branch.

Siva Kumar and Joyce Skipworth, happy after her all clear skin check diagnosis!

Slots were pre-booked on-line and the event was fully booked in just over a week, proving how significant skin problems have become in recent years.  The day generated over 100 appointments with surgeons referring 10 people to their GP for further investigation, plus the early detection of two melanoma’s, potentially saving lives.

Charity representatives chatted with customers about their sun protection habits and provided advice on skin checking, discussing why, when and what to look out for.  The charity gave out bottles of Ladival sunscreen in return for a small donation to the charity, supported by the branch post event, raising a grand total of £1021.86.

All funds received will help the charity run its campaigns, raising further awareness of melanoma, which is now the fastest growing cancer in the UK.

Chris Francis, Hillier Wholesale and Retail Director, said “We are delighted to have helped directly impact the health of our customers by hosting this event.”.

For further details on the work the charity does, please visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk.

Bookings up at GCA Plant Area Forum at Ball Colegrave with more places now available

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) is hosting its second annual GCA Plant Area Forum for plant area managers and plant buyers at Ball Colegrave in July (July 20, 2017).

The event on July 20 will once again be facilitated by GCA inspector, Roger Crookes, who is also the organisation’s Ruxley Rose plant area competition judge this year and believes passionately in the power of plants.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “Our first Plant Area Forum last summer was a big hit with all those who attended. It was a highly motivational day and this year’s event promises to be just as inspiring. Bookings, so far, this year are ahead of last year’s, but we can now take more people if others would like to join us.

“The day will give delegates the chance to see the Ball Colegrave trials grounds and the opportunity to network with like-minded people from garden centres across the country. The event includes a comprehensive agenda covering ways of maximising plant sales, stock management and benchmarking sales.”

Delegates will be asked to share ideas and information, discuss the challenges they face, as well as analyse sales and profitability and discover potential opportunities.

There are still some places, which cost £79 per person, available for the event and members can find a booking form on the GCA website www.gca.org.uk or contact the GCA office direct on 01244 952170.

“All the delegates will be asked to carry out some pre-Forum homework because part of the day will include a session to benchmark key performance indicators to help people assess their own centre’s performance against others. They’ll share information and come away with new ideas and

be challenged to think differently.

“Using the information they bring, delegates will analyse the space occupied by a category in relation to the value of sales for that category. So, it might be that we find some plants occupy a great deal of space but that doesn’t justify the sales they generate or vice versa. It promises to be an enlightening and profitable day all round.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity to see the Ball Colegrave trial grounds in all their summer glory, be one of the first to see their new introductions for 2018 and the day offers the chance to network with colleagues from centres from all around the country.”

GCA Plant Area Forum for plant area managers and plant buyers takes place at Ball Colegrave in Oxfordshire on July 20 from 10am until 4pm. Food and refreshments will be provided.

To book you place, please call 01244 952170 or visit www.gca.org.uk.

B&Q SUPPORTS UK BEES BY ANNOUCING BAN ON GROWERS TREATING ANY FLOWERING PLANTS WITH NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES

To help support wildlife and address the declining bee population, the UK’s leading home improvement retailer B&Q today announced its flowering plant range, available from February 2018, will be grown free from all neonicotinoid pesticides. The move means the retailer is the first to commit to ensuring no neonicotinoid pesticides are used in the cultivation of flowering plants, particularly pollinators where they present the biggest risk of harm to bees. B&Q previously led the field by removing from sale, ahead of legislation, pesticide products containing the three neonics most associated with bee population decline: imidacloprid, thiacloprid and clothianidin.

“As part of our commitment to supporting Britain’s wildlife, in 2013 we reviewed the use of neonicotinoids in our garden chemical products,” explains Rachel Bradley, B&Q’s Sustainability Manager. “As a result of the findings, and ahead of EU restrictions, we withdrew all pest control products containing the three substances most linked to the decline in bee population.  We are now able to confirm that, to further support pollinators, we are encouraging everyone to do more for wildlife and to that end we will ensure that none of the flowering plants we sell will be grown using any pesticide containing any of the nine neonicotinoids.”

The announcement comes on the launch of a new report from B&Q, ‘The Nature of Gardens’, that examines how gardens can be good for nature and how that can be good for us. Though gardens in the UK are changing, every outdoor space, no matter its size, can deliver benefits for wildlife. The report also examined people’s attitudes towards supporting and engaging with wildlife and the environment, seen through the lens of gardens, with a focus on what prevented Brits from doing more.

The report, written in partnership with Bioregional, a charity and social enterprise which champions sustainable living, found that 67% of people were concerned about wildlife in Britain and 63% believed that there was a benefit to bringing wildlife closer to home. However, one in five people with small gardens admitted they did nothing for wildlife citing time, space, money and lack of knowledge as the biggest barriers.

Great Yellow, Credit Bumblebee Conservation Trust

To show how people can do more to support nature outside their own homes, B&Q created 10 Top Tips to Bring Wildlife Closer to Home – that are specifically tailored for the UK. Designed to be easy, requiring minimum cost, time and space, the tips include advice on taking part in wildlife surveys, creating a bird café, giving wildlife shelter and planting for pollinators, demonstrating that helping local wildlife is far easier, more accessible and rewarding than most realise.

The report also found that scientific evidence confirmed the wellbeing benefits of connecting with wildlife are extensive, from better educational attainment, a better sense of wellbeing and better long-term mental and physical health.

Rachel Bradley, Sustainability Manager at B&Q who spearheaded the report, commented “At B&Q, we’ve been helping people to support wildlife in their gardens for years, through advice and products ranging from pollinator-friendly flowers to pond liners. But until we commissioned this report we didn’t realise quite how important our gardens could be for nature. And while we’ve always known that people love connecting with nature in their gardens, we’ve found overwhelming evidence that garden wildlife and greenery is good for us too. We want to help everyone to do a bit to bring nature closer to home, and to enjoy it more too. That’s the aim of our top tips. It’s easy and affordable, makes a real difference and you don’t even need a garden – you can green up a balcony or a doorstep.”

Nick Schoon, Policy and Communications Manager at Bioregional who wrote the report in partnership with B&Q commented “Our gardens have amazing powers to do good for nature and good for us. There is a wealth of evidence for this out there and now we’ve brought it together to make a really strong case. By looking after wildlife and nature in our gardens, we’re helping to look after ourselves and our planet. The good news is that millions of us are already doing something, and millions more could easily join in.”

‘The Nature of Gardens’ is also supported by RPSB, Butterfly Conservation, Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts.

B&Q’s Top Ten Tips to Bring Nature Closer to Home:

  1. Look out for wildlife & share your discoveries : Becoming a citizen scientist by taking part in wildlife surveys is a great free way to become more aware of what’s already out there. The more you talk about what you are doing, what you have seen and encourage others to join,  in the more fun it becomes.
  2. Pop up a bird café: Offering food and water is the fastest easiest way to attract new visitors to your space.
  3. Plant for pollinators: Nothing says summer like the sound of bees buzzing and the sight of butterflies –fragrant flowers in a pot or a bed are an irresistible addition.
  4. Give wildlife some shelter: A log pile is great for butterflies, bug houses provide homes for mini beasts, a leaf pile for hedgehogs or install a bird or bat box – for best results make sure you are careful with positioning.
  5. Get nature savvy with your shopping: Use fewer garden chemicals.  Look out for pollinator attracting plants and insist on forest friendly wood and peat free composts to help nature near and far.
  6. Just add water: A pond can be any size, even a buried bowl can provide a home for various mini-bugs and insects like damsel flies. Constructing a pond using a preformed shape or flexible liner will give much greater variety. Create shallows so that plant life can flourish and allow wildlife to enter and leave. But don’t have a pond if you have small children around. A bird bath provides water for birds to bathe and drink.
  7. Max out the green: Nurture what trees and shrubs you have and bring more in wherever possible. Nature needs habitats at all levels so trees are fabulous but climbers are super space efficient.
  8. Help wildflowers flourish: Plant a mini meadow in a pot, wildflowers in your borders or just spare a patch of lawn to let the grass and flowers grow long.
  9. Open hedgehog gateways at the bottom of your fence: One of our most loved species, hedgehogs love to roam, but fencing can be a barrier. Creating a gateway either in or below your fence will make life easier for them.
  10. Make your cat safe and seen: The United Kingdom is home to 7.5 million cats. Cats can be a threat to wildlife but a bright collar and bell can reduce risk, as can keeping them indoors from an hour before dusk and an hour after dawn.

Import Substitution for Oak

The HTA launches a report today on import substitution of oak trees (Quercus species). Since 2013, the UK has imported 1.12 million oak trees, according to official Defra statistics. There is a great opportunity for the UK to increase production of this iconic tree, thereby boosting the economy and improving biosecurity.

The report identifies the reasons for the high import levels of oak, and suggests collaborative solutions for industry and government to address them. The main challenges are to improve supply chain efficiency, improve public procurement and market conditions, and encourage better sourcing of UK-grown trees.

The horticulture industry exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (40 Sunbury Road – GPE169 in the Great Pavilion) celebrates the oak tree with a fabulous specimen supplied by Majestic Trees, and a beautiful fairy wood of seedling oak, hazel, birch and horse chestnut, grown by school children.

Kevin Hobbs, Raoul Curtis-Machin and Adam Wigglesworth with the Oak Report

Raoul Curtis-Machin, HTA Director of Horticulture, says:
‘There are no physical reasons why we shouldn’t be growing most of our own oak trees in the UK. We hope to discuss this important report with the new Government, once they are settled after the election. It would be great to work together to achieve manifesto promises of millions of trees during the life of the next parliament. The exact same promise was made in the last one, and this fell short.’

The report Import Substitution for Oak (Quercus Species) can be downloaded from

www.hta.org.uk/oak-report

SURVEY SHOWS GARDENING IS GOOD FOR THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

A survey by Squire’s Garden Centres has found that a massive 93% of people said that gardening helps keep them fit and healthy, and 20% of people surveyed said that it was their main form of exercise.

Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s said, “Gardening is a great way to achieve a low impact workout, full of movement and stretching but without the strain on the joints of pounding the streets. Plus best of all it’s free!”

Warm up to gardening

81% of people questioned by Squire’s said that they never stretch or warm-up before gardening, so to make your gardening workout even better Squire’s advise a ten minute warm up and stretch to help avoid any aches and pains.

It’s not just plants that need water in the garden

Only 39% of people surveyed said that they drank water while gardening. Tea or coffee was the drink of choice for 38% of people, 9% drank nothing at all, and 2% of people surveyed enjoy an alcoholic beverage while gardening!

“Just as you would drink water in the gym you should also do so while gardening, as dehydration can lead to increased muscle stiffness after exercise.” said Sarah Squire. “So remember, it’s not just plants that need water in the garden – you do too!”

Gardening is good for your mind, body & soul

As well as being good for your body, gardening is good for your mind and soul too. 92% of people felt that gardening gave them space to think and clear their mind. 45% of people surveyed said that gardening made them feel happy, and 40% of people said it made them feel relaxed and calm. So make regular time for yourself in the garden. Spending time outdoors helps us to feel less stressed, improves our mood and enhances our concentration by allowing us to recover from mental fatigue.

Sarah Squire added: “The therapeutic effects of gardens and gardening are well known, and our survey results demonstrate this, with 92% of people saying that gardening gave them space to think and clear their mind. I defy anyone not to feel relaxed and let the cares of the day slide away in a garden.”

So don’t bother donning Lycra for a grueling exercise class, simply pop on your wellies, get outside, and be a happy gardener!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BARBECUE A CULINARY EVENT

Common sense says you need to check that your barbecue is in good working order, on a flat site away from a hedge or shed and not a magnet for unsupervised children and pets. Never leave it unattended.

If using a charcoal barbecue, invest in an Outback Charcoal Starter to get it going, never have petrol anywhere near, and put only cold ashes in the bin.

With a gas barbecue, make sure the regulator tap is off before changing a cylinder, which should be done outdoors, and brush soapy water over pipe work and joints to check for bubbles from leaks.

Use a sharp knife to check juices are running clear and meat is done, while press fish flesh with a fork to check flakes come apart – indicating it’s ready.

Always allow a grilled steak or roasted joint to rest in foil on the top rack for about five minutes to keep it juicy and tender.

Unless you’ve invested in a piece of well-hung organic meat, which needs only a brushing of oil and some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, then everything else will benefit from a marinade.

With the exception of shellfish, marinade overnight when possible, do not use salt, lemon or lime juice in a marinade for longer than two hours, and avoid pineapple juice.

To avoid a smoking barbecue avoid using extra virgin olive oil in the marinade – save it for the sauce and salad – and marinade in a strong plastic bag before emptying into a glass or stainless steel container.

Always use a separate container or plate for marinades and cooked dishes.

Hillier Supports National Sun Protection Campaign

The start of the growing season is here, with thousands heading off to their local garden centre. As well as tips on how to look after their plants, visitors to Hillier in Eastbourne will soon also be given advice on looking after their skin.

Hillier is joining over 150 major garden centres across the UK in promote Watch Your Back! a sun protection campaign backed by a team of celebrity gardeners, including Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock, Joe Swift, Toby Buckland, Andy Sturgeon, Anne Swithinbank, David Domoney and David Stevens.

The campaign, now in its second year, was devised by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund and is also supported by the Garden Centre Association, The Professional Gardeners Guild and The National Allotment Society.

Although we are all vulnerable, Watch Your Back! targets men over 50 who spend a lot of time outdoors as they are 70% more likely to develop melanoma, typically on their backs and in areas that are hard to spot leading to a later diagnosis.

Melanoma rates in the UK have more than quadrupled over the last 30 years, however many of us, especially men, still don’t understand the need, or have the motivation to use sun protection regularly, check skin for signs of change or know what to look out for. This attitude may explain why more people in the UK die from melanoma than in Australia or New Zealand, both of which have the highest incidence in the world.

To help impact this, Hillier is promoting the following advice:
PROTECT: Wear SP30 sunscreen, sleeves, a hat and seek shade between 11am and 3pm
DETECT: Regularly check skin for changes and ensure you know what to look out for
PREVENT: Melanoma and other skin cancers, but enjoy your time outside

The campaign has the support of a number of high profile horticulturalists. “This campaign makes huge sense and reminds gardeners that their own health is every bit as important as that of their plants,” says Alan Titchmarsh MBE. “Too many of us are unaware of the true dangers of over-exposure to the sun, and how sunburn can lead to melanoma and other skin cancers,” comments Joe Swift.

Top tips from the experts
The charity has worked with Mr Siva Kumar and Mr Samuel Orkar from the MASCU (Melanoma & Skin Cancer Unit) at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to produce a set of sun protection tips, a guide to skin checking and information on how to keep skin healthy, designed especially for all gardeners.
Visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk for further details.

Book a skin check at Hillier Garden Centre Eastbourne
Hillier Garden Centre Eastbourne will be hosting a Skin Check Clinic, overseen by Mr Siva Kumar and his team, on Saturday 20th May from 10am – 3pm. If you would like to book a spot, visit:
http://www.melanoma-fund.co.uk/skin-check-clinics/