What to plant in 2017, using the gardening lessons of 2016 - Financial TimesFriday, January 13, 2017
Gardeners have yet to use these heavenly meadows as their models.
My loveliest garden day of the year was spent in a garden which exemplifies this controlled informality. At Hermannshof near Weinheim and Heidelberg, I walked in early May through an avenue of wisteria and looked out on lilac in full flower and rivers of carefully selected tulips. The finest tulip was yellow Honky Tonk, now waiting to honk in my raised beds where its short stems and elegantly shaped flowers will be a revelation in May, badgers permitting. The Hermannshof style is informal, within a carefully designed framework, and its models are the differing styles of differing ecologies, from steppe to marsh to mountain. In Kyrgyzstan I was able to see from a four-legged vantage point similar changes in each ecological zone, from blue aconitums and salvias in the lower pastures to subnival primulas at heights of 3,500 metres. By rethinking wild groupings, gardeners can find a new style.
The recently bred David Austin rose, Olivia Rose Austin, is the best value of any bush rose now on the market
My second lesson was also taught by absence. Plants which flower for a long season are ever more valuable as they span our times abroad and persist in the prolonged seasons of warmer Britain. Roses had faded when I returned from the mountains and so had most of the low-growing dianthus. However, there were great exceptions, my best finds of 2016. The recently bred David Austin rose, Olivia Rose Austin, is one of them and the best value of any bush rose now on the market. It shows its first flush of cupped soft pink flowers from late May onwards and then it flowers for two more seasons, ending this year with yet more buds in early December. The scent is elusive and on young plants the flowers will sometimes hang on their stems, but they grow out of this habit after their third season. This exceptionally healthy rose is only about 4ft high and can fit into any front garden. Even after a midsummer absence I do not feel I missed it at its best.
Nor did I miss two fabulous new pinks, a double white and a double red dianthus. White-flowered Dianthus Memories and deep red-flowered Passion were recently bred in Devon by Whetman Pinks and have promptly refuted my scepticism by doing just what the breeders claimed. Outdoors they flower for an amazingly long season from late April until late autumn. This year’s non-winter went one better and kept them in flower until the week before Christmas. In a frost-free greenhouse they can then be forced into flower again in February. The flowers are well shaped, much finer than those sprays of small-flowered dianthus from florists. The plants are vigorous and root ridiculously well from cuttings. Like Olivia Rose they are now essentials for any thoughtful garden.
So is my unexpected plant of the year. For decades I have avoided pink-purple cosmos daisies and only grown the white-flowered ones, especially the tall Purity. For 2016 Thompson & Morgan came up with a new dark red-purple variety called Rubenza, which it praised for its continuing contribution to late summer borders at a height of about 3ft. Rubenza is a winner. The flowers are silky with a depth of colour that does not fade back to mauve. It goes on flowering when even the white-flowered varieties are losing stamina. It stands out in any border and is wonderfully easy to grow. It is not at home in Central Asia, but will still be at its best when you return from 2017’s adventures on the wild side of life.
Photograph: Dave Zubraski/GAP Photos
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The garden in Germany that has its planting down to a science - Financial TimesSunday, January 8, 2017
Crab apple, wisteria, Chinese lilac and tulips at Hermannshof Gardens in Weinheim near Heidelberg © Hermannshof Gardens
The best day of my gardening year has not been spent among lilacs, wisterias or even good old hawthorns. All of them have had a fabulous year, but not as fabulous as my time in a German garden, a simple bus ride from Heidelberg. Hermannshof in Weinheim is increasingly well known from photographs, which show its profuse summer planting and brilliant colours in autumn. A photo is never the same as a visit. Having seen it last month, I can well understand why 150,000 visitors now come to admire it every year. It is a beacon of scientific planting, beauty and sheer skill. I hope that many FT readers will go to look, rethink and learn, even if they find its drifts of late-season grasses a challenge to their taste. Entry is free, as 17 per cent of the garden’s costs are met by Weinheim’s local council and 75 per cent by charitable foundations of the Freudenberg family, formerly owners of the site, with the rest coming from plant sales. Both par...
The Pesticide Industry's Playbook for Poisoning the Earth - The InterceptSunday, January 26, 2020
The study produced results that echoed what the Americans had found.
Drifting clouds of neonicotinoid dust from planting operations caused a series of massive bee die-offs in northern Italy and the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. Studies have shown neonicotinoids impaired bees’ ability to navigate and forage for food, weakened bee colonies, and made them prone to infestation by parasitic mites.
In 2013, the European Union called for a temporary suspension of the most commonly used neonicotinoid-based products on flowering plants, citing the danger posed to bees — an effort that resulted in a permanent ban in 2018.
In the U.S., however, industry dug in, seeking not only to discredit the research but to cast pesticide companies as a solution to the problem. Lobbying documents and emails, many of which were obtained through open records requests, show a sophisticated effort over the last decade by the pesticide industry to obstruct any effort to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Bayer and Syngenta, the largest manufacturers of neonics, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of seeds pretreated with neonics, cultivated ties with prominent academics, including vanEngelsdorp, and other scientists who had once called for a greater focus on the threat posed by pesticides.
Syngenta AG’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, on Feb. 4, 2015.
Photo: Philipp Schmidli/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe companies also sought influence with beekeepers and regulators, and went to great lengths to shape public opinion. Pesticide firms launched new coalitions and seeded foundations with cash to focus on nonpesticide factors in pollinator decline.
“Position the industry as an active promoter of bee health, and advance best management practices which emphasize bee safety,” noted an internal planning memo from CropLife America, the lobby group for the largest pesticide companies in America, including Bayer and Syngenta. The ultimate goal of the bee health project, the document noted, was to ensure that member companies maintained market access for neonic products and other systemic pesticides.The planning memo, helmed in part by Syngenta regulatory official John Abbott, charts a variety of strategies for advancing the pesticide industry’s interests, such as, “Challenge EPA on the size and breadth of the pollinator testing program.” CropLife America officials were also tapped to “proactively shape the conversation in the new media realm with respect to pollinators” and “minimize negative association of crop protection products with effects on pollinators.” The document, dated June 2014, calls for “outreach to university researchers who could be independent validators.”
The pesticide companies have used a variety of strategies to shift the public discourse.
“America’s Heartland,” a PBS series shown on affiliates throughout the country and underwritten by CropLife America, portrayed the pollinator declines as a mystery. Onea href="https:/...https://theintercept.com/2020/01/18/bees-insecticides-pesticides-neonicotinoids-bayer-monsanto-syngenta/
Germany's second-highest traffic bridge opens - DW (English)Sunday, January 26, 2020
Mosel River in western Germany. Within Germany, the new bridge in the Rhineland-Palatinate is second only to the 185-meter-high Kochertal bridge in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Read more: World's longest pedestrian suspension bridge opens in Germany's Harz region Authorities expect about 25,000 vehicles a day to cross the bridge that now provides a direct link between the regions of Eifel and Hunsrück. Several hundred people gathered for the bridge's opening on Thursday. Over the weekend, thousands of pedestrians crossed the bridge by foot as part of the opening festivities. "Today is a good day for the Rhineland-Palatinate," said State Premier Malu Dreyer. She added that she was convinced "that the bridge will help advance our economically strong state even further and will strengthen ties between the people in Eifel and Hunsrück." Europe's largest construction project The controversial building project kicked off eight years ago. Some critics argued that the massive bridge would destroy the area's idyllic vineyard landscape, while environmentalists argued it would pollute the ground water. Others spoke out against the cost. The building of the bridge was part of a greater road project that included the construction of an additional 25 kilometers (16 miles) of federal highway. The total project is estimated to havecost €483 million ($535 million), with €175 million dedicated to the bridge alone. Read more: Everything you need to know about the German ...https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-second-highest-traffic-bridge-opens/a-51355455
The perfect destination foHere is why Germany is the perfect destination for your next holidayr your holiday! Discover nature in Germany - Emirates WomanSunday, January 26, 2020
Black Forest National Park, Baden-Württemberg, South GermanyPerfect for cleansing your lungs. The remarkable feature of this national park is that some areas have been able to develop for more than 100 years without human intervention. This means that all the animals and plants that are found here live in authentic, natural surroundings.You can use Deutsche Bahn trains all over Germany, where it uses 100% green energy. In addition, you can take the InterCity Express for a unique experience, as it is a high-speed train that connects all major cities in Germany with speeds of up to 300 km / hour, and this is one of the fastest ways to reach between Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne!Check out their Instagram: GermanyTourismAr, and Facebook: Germany Tourism Arabia– For more about Dubai’s lifestyle, news and fashion scene straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook Media: Supplied...https://emirateswoman.com/germany/
'Flower Power': Photovoltaic cells replicate rose petals: Scientists increase the efficiency of solar cells by replicating the structure of petals - Science DailyTuesday, August 20, 2019
Scientists at the KIT and the ZSW (Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg) now suggest in their article published in the Advanced Optical Materials journal to replicate the outermost tissue of the petals of higher plants, the so-called epidermis, in a transparent layer and integrate that layer into the front of solar cells in order to increase their efficiency.
First, the researchers at the Light Technology Institute (LTI), the Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT), the Institute of Applied Physics (APH), and the Zoological Institute (ZOO) of KIT as well as their colleagues from the ZSW investigated the optical properties, and above all, the antireflection effect of the epidermal cells of different plant species. These properties are particularly pronounced in rose petals where they provide stronger color contrasts and thus increase the chance of pollination. As the scientists found out under the electron microscope, the epidermis of rose petals consists of a disorganized arrangement of densely packed microstructures, with additional ribs formed by randomly positioned nanostructures.
In order to exactly replicate the structure of these epidermal cells over a larger area, the scientists transferred it to a mold made of polydimethylsiloxane, a silicon-based polymer, pressed the resulting negative structure into optical glue which was finally left to cure under UV light. "This easy and cost-effective method creates microstructures of a depth and density that are hardly achievable with artificial techniques," says Dr. Guillaume Gomard, Group Leader "Nanopothonics" at KIT's LTI.
The scientists then integrated the transparent replica of the rose petal epidermis into an organic solar cell. This resulted in power conversion efficiency gains of twelve percent for vertically incident light. At very shallow incidence angles, the efficiency gain was even higher. The scientists attribute this gain primarily to the excellent omnidirectional antireflection properties of the re...https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160624110028.htm