Saturday, October 08, 2011

Market Gardens/Garden Centres

Pirate in disguise

Where I live in the SE of England a whole new industry has come into being. There is great enthusiasm for do-it-yourself gardening - in the main, more for decorative gardens than for vegetable and fruit gardens. Market gardening is a competitive business, each centre doing what it can to outdo the other. Very large centres like Alton at Basildon can provide a wide range of plants, garden furniture and related equipment for their clients, whereas smaller ones tend to specialize in particular varieties of plants, flowers, shrubs, etc.

Because of their popularity, large garden centres can offer products that have little to do with home gardening. Alton has a restaurant, and it runs seasonal themes for promoting their goods. Preparations for Christmas are underway, and if the seasonal display of related items for sale is not yet open to the public, it very shortly will be. Most likely they’ll have a grotto, complete with Father Christmas. This will be an incentive for parents to bring their children along when they visit the centre to buy decorations, candles, cards, wrapping paper, presents etc.

There is an upside and a downside to market gardening. I have no grumble with the upside, which is the healthy promotion of plant growing, whether floral, herbal, vegetable or arboreal in kind. What comes with them is the downside, things like garden furniture, outhouses, pergolas, patios, fences, rockeries, and worst of all, garden machinery, such as garden vacs, petrol lawnmowers, electric strimmers, mechanical saws, and even battery-operated hand shears! I confess I’ve been guilty of buying such things.

Battery operated Strimmer

The nurturing of plants is to be encouraged, for without them we cannot exist. Along with them come creatures that are also dependent upon them, including birds and bees. If the chain of interdependency is broken, there’s a problem. That’s an extraordinary fact. We are responsible for playing our part by working with nature, not against it, and yet, we so often do more damage than good by using power tools. We lay patios, and pathways; we cover areas of our gardens with broken slate, pebbles and concrete to facilitate easy maintenance. By so doing, unwittingly we prevent the growth of plants, including weeds, which play their vital part within the ecological chain.

We can get caught up in banditry without realising the damage we cause.

Text for the Day

1 John 1:9 ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’


Alton Garden Centre

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