By Victoria Plum
I sat at my computer the other day for a Zoom gardening club meeting (not Reepham’s).
It was a chat session; we enjoyed photos of each other’s gardens and a few questions and observations arose.
I asked if anyone had seen aphids this year because they certainly have been conspicuous by their absence in my garden.
No, not many, they said, and I said, doesn’t that worry you? No, they said. They were pleased.
But, I said, if there are no aphids then a crucial bit of the food chain is broken – not only ladybirds, hoverfly, earwigs, beetles and many predatory insects go short of their dinner, but many birds feed their young on aphids.
The result? No insects = no birds.
These people are all intelligent nature lovers and, surely, we all know about biodiversity by now and that it is in our hands, not just the anonymous “them”?
I have since found some blackfly on my cardoons, but there were ladybirds and hoverfly already in attendance, so I left them to it.
Above: Insect life on my cardoons. Below: Plenty of room for the slugs and me to coexist here. Photos: Tina Sutton
The chat went on to slugs. I mentioned how my grandmother taught me to put salt on them, shrivel them up and watch them froth as they died. But now I would no more do that than fly.
In fact, I had to admit to rescuing two slugs from a cabbage I was preparing for dinner last week and throwing them into the depths of my garden to live a happy summer.
Then someone admitted to putting slugs in the green waste bin, so they have a happy week or two before being carted off to the Great Compost Heap.
Someone else said they put them in a plastic bag with the end tied up, and then in the rubbish bin.
I learned of two lots of old people last week.
One lot made it their lockdown mission to get to the garden centre for weedkiller to kill off the few foolish weeds that had the temerity to try to grow through the plastic, gravel and concrete layer they call their “garden” and the other lot sought out Roundup to erase lichen from their paving slabs.
Are they mad? Have they no thought for the future, their children and grandchildren, and the generations to follow?
Here is something “they” (that is, the government) can address. “They” need to ban the sale in garden centres of all these dangerous garden chemicals, and they need to do it now.
Live and let the wildlife live, I say. And I am right.
Another Reepham & District Gardening Club trip was enjoyed recently by 34 members to East Basham Hall. The gardens were lovely and so was the cake.
If you want to be in the know (summer show coming up soon, and perhaps a return to normality), check the gardening club website.