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Important consequences of a passion to collect plants

An international team of researchers has recently warned again that the number of non resident species that propagate in nature are continuously increasing. A well known reason for this worldwide spreading of plants and animals since the 1950th is the globalization of commerce.

A largely unknown fact is that many invasive plant species had already started their journey to Europe during the 18th and 19th century: researchers travelling around the world brought their discoveries back from Asia and America and these plants were then cultivated with enthusiasm in parks and gardens. In this way the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) originating from China already came to Europe around 1700. The Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) was an appreciated ornamental plant during the Victorian age and was even awarded the gold medal as most interesting plant of the year in Utrecht in 1947. And in the past the giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) was highly appreciated as plant for the garden.

In August 2016 the first regulation concerning invasive alien species of Union concern entered into force. This list is called "list of the European Union". It contains 37 animal and plant species. Among them 24 really live freely in nature in Germany. During this summer this European Union list should be completed by 12 additional species. Among them two ornamental plants of gardening importance: the giant rhumarb (Gunnera tinctoria) and the African crimson fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum).

Gabriele Rautgundis RICHTER
Gartenfreund August 2017

Study session in Copenhagen

From 24th August until 27th August 2017 the delegates of the allotment gardeners met in Copenhagen in order to discuss the future of the international allotment movement and to well position it while taking into consideration the current situation and surroundings.

The Office grants every year diplomas for an ecological gardening, for social activities or innovative projects.

In 2017 already two diplomas for ecological gardening and one diploma for social activities were granted to allotment associations.

In Copenhagen three additional associations were rewarded with diplomas for ecological gardening.

- The association "Mariahoeve" from den Haag (NL)

- The allotment association "Eigen Hof" in Amsterdam (NL)

- The allotment association "Zonder Werken Niets" in Haarlem (NL)

You'll find the motivation and the description of the projects in the joined appendices.

The XXVI Congress in Finland

Mr. Pertti Laitila The Federation of Finnish Allotment Gardens held its four-yearly Congress in Tampere 5th-6th August 2017.

One of the congress delegates and continuing member of the Executive Board, Ms. Marjukka Metsola from the northernmost allotment garden in the world in Rovaniemi, summarised the Congress on the Finnish Federation's Facebook-page: "Lively discussions, several views. Finally we made the important desicions. Democracy works!"

Mr. Pertti Laitila re-elected as President

The Congress unanimously re-elected Mr. Pertti Laitila as President of the Finnish Federation.

Pertti was elected President in the previous Congress in Forssa in 2013. Before that he had been a member of the Executive Board in 2010-2013. Pertti is an experienced allotment gardener. He has been a member of the association Nekalan Siirtolapuutarhayhdistys in Tampere since 1995 and actively taken part in the administration of the association since 1996.


The Executive BoardThe Executive Board

The newly elected Executive Board represents 37 % of the Federation's member associations and the geographical representativeness is excellent.

The first meeting of the new Executive Board will take place on September 5th. In that meeting the Board will appoint the two new Vice-Presidents, the new Management Committee and various working groups.



Two new Honorary Members


Two new Honorary Members

The Congress called two new Honorary Members:

Leena Heino from Tampere is the Honorary President of her association Litukan Siirtolapuutarhayhdistys. She has been working for the improvement of allotment gardening in her own association, on a regional basis and also nationwide.

Liisa Vasama from Helsinki was the President of the Finnish Federation in 2001-2009. During her presidency Liisa actively improved the Federation and many allotment gardeners remember her sympathetic editorials in the Federation's magazine. Liisa Vasama is also highly respected internationally.

Swedish associations were honoured

The Swedish allotment garden congress was organised in Uppsala on 12th and 13th August 2017.

During this congress two allotment associations were honoured.

The allotment association  “Gubbängen” in Stockholm was rewarded for their activities in the nature and environment protection area and the allotment association “Pepper and Pumpkin” in Stockholm for their social activities.

GubbÄngen Pepper&Pumpkin

You’ll find more information about these projects in the documents below.

Biological protection of the garden

Let us take the International Organisation for Biological Control's definition: "human use of natural enemies such as predators, parasites or pathogens to control the population of harmful species and keep it below a harmful level."

Some definitions

What is a predator?

A predator is a living organism that captures other living organisms dubbed "prey" to nourish itself or its offspring. Here are some examples:

coccinelles- Ladybirds: the larvae and adults are predators that prefer to eat aphids and the larvae of white flies and mites;

- Lacewings: the larvae attack aphids, and the adults feed on pollen and nectar;

- Seedcorn beetles: very polyphagous, the larvae and adults feed on a large range of pests: Colorado beetles, slugs, wireworms, chafers;

- Bedbugs: predators at all stages, they feed on mites, thrips etc;

- Syrphid flies: the larvae eat aphids, and the adults feed on pollen and nectar;

- Predatory mites: (Amblyseius, Phytoseiulus) they eat pests at all stages of their life (spider mites, thrips).

What is a parasitoid?

A parasitoid is a living organism that feeds, grows and reproduces on or inside another living organism but, contrary to parasites, inevitably kills its host. The majority of parasitoids are insects. Here are some examples:

- Micro-hymenoptera (parasitic wasps): they live on aphids, ringworm, noctuids, houseflies etc;

- Rove beetles: they prey on larvae and parasites of soil-inhabiting flies (cabbage fly, carrot fly, seed fly);

- Nematodes: they limit the numbers of fungus gnats, otiorhynchid larvae and slugs.

les micro-hyménoptères

What is an auxiliary?

These are living organisms, predators or parasitoids that control or eliminate the enemies of the plants to be protected. Auxiliaries can be specialist (prey or hosts) or polyphagous (diversified).
Pollinating insects are also considered to be auxiliaries in so much as they pollinate plant species. For example, the large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) pollinates greenhouse tomatoes and seeds.

What is a pathogen?

This term refers to certain agents, bacteria or viruses, which attack insects that are a pest to plants. Mushrooms are equally capable of destroying other mushrooms. For example, Coniothyrium minitans in the fight against Sclerotinia. A number of other animals present in the garden environment are also auxiliaries to plants:

- Insectivorous birds: they feed on all insects, but particularly young caterpillars;

- Birds of prey and cats: very efficient at limiting the numbers of field mice and voles amongst plants;

- Dragonflies and spiders: great consumers of flying insects;

- Hedgehogs: they attack slug populations.

Setting up biological protection in the garden

This practice is based on the relationship between species in the environment, and aims more to manage the number of biological pests than to eradicate them. On the one hand, it is necessary to know the pest/auxiliary combinations that are potentially present in the garden; and on the other hand, the bio-control products that are available.

The aim is to protect plants rather than fight their enemies. It is about searching for allies to act with nature and not harm it.

The new concept of gardening

Its spatial organisation may or may not facilitate the connection between the different garden environments and between different gardens. The garden is not isolated, its protection is an integral part of the land on which it is situated. It is absolutely essential to create links from garden to garden with low hedges, for example. Here we are introducing a new concept: that of the integrated protection of garden plants, "the setting up by the gardener of a coherent collection of direct and indirect means to minimise the competitors for growth". Here are some example methods:

- Growth control: prophylaxis, ways of growing (size, fertilizer), growing techniques;

- Genetic control: varieties or rootstocks that are resistant or insensitive to biological pests;

- Biological fight by conservation: preserving auxiliaries;

- Biological fight by increase: massive releases of auxiliaries to enlarge the population;

- Biological fight by disruption: trapping through sexual pheromones;

- Physical fight: protecting nets, solarisation, bio-fumigation;

- Biological fight: micro-organisms, macro-organisms;

- Trap plants: plants that have an attractive or stimulating effect on a pest;

- Using natural substances: minerals (anti-slug iron phosphate), plants (vegetable extracts, manure) or animals (dried blood to repel game).

exemples de méthodes

These new gardening methods really show us that we are at the crossroads between "synthetic" chemistry and "natural" chemistry. The latter cannot truly work unless we agree to change our practices and adopt the new ways.

Olivier Guérin
Le Jardin Familial de France no. 501/2017

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