Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire

Winter, November 2008

Do you garden organically? If the EU gets its way, you may soon find you’re not getting the choice…

There is a new regulation currently working its way through Brussels which will dramatically affect the number of garden chemicals available in the UK, and if it becomes law, you will see many familiar products disappearing from garden centre shelves.

Industry experts are predicting that as many as 85% of the chemicals currently used in agriculture and horticulture will be outlawed, and while the most dramatic effects will be felt in farming, gardeners might also be surprised when they try and buy weedkiller, slug pellets, or fungicides for their roses, and find that they too have been banned. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in brand-leading weedkiller Roundup is on the list, as are popular slug pellet ingredients methiocarb and metaldehyde. Many rose growers who rely on regular fungicide spray programs are seriously worried that their businesses will become unviable if the regulations become law.

When it comes down to it, Barlow Nurseries take as pragmatic a view as we can – if we can garden without chemicals we do, but if it comes down to “its us or the pests” we’ll reach for the sprayer. It’s nice to have the option.

The initial vote in the EU was on November 5th, and the regulation now goes forward for discussion by member states governments in mid-December. Watch this space – gardening may never be quite the same again.

Although its always been a bit unpredictable…we had a few unseasonal frosts in late October, and as a result the bare root tree season is already upon us, at least a couple of weeks earlier than we’d expected. At the time of writing, we‘ve already shipped our first batch of trees, and they’re settling into their new homes in customers gardens. If you’re thinking of adding a tree to your garden, or someone you know has one on their Christmas list, order soon. The early bird gets the best trees, and planting before the end of the year gives them the best chance to settle in well before they have to burst back into life in the spring.

The good news about leaf fall is that it means its time to make leaf mould – a thoroughly good way to stay warm in the garden, and one of the most satisfying clear-up tasks: a tidier garden, an exercised gardener, and the best soil conditioner known to man, all in one go! Even if you only have a few leaves to worry about, and don’t have space for a large netted bin, you can still have a go – just stuff wet leaves into black bin liners, tie the tops, pierce a few air holes, put them behind the shed and forget about them for at least a year, ideally two. Then treat you most precious plants to the best free mulch in the world!

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