BURYING your nose in a bunch of lavender or running your hands along a hedge in full flower is one of life’s pleasures. Whether it’s an old-fashioned rose, a small bunch of freshly picked violets or a pungent herb, the heady smell is a reminder of the joy that nature – and gardening – bring to our lives.
Lilac trees hold a special place in my heart. My mother grew them in Nottingham and she picked the flowers in spring to bring inside so we could enjoy the delicate blooms and revel in their beautiful perfume. Likewise with sweet peas, which she grew in abundance every year.
An Australian friend got quite teary in the 1960s when he came across some gum trees while in the Canary Islands, which shows how evocative a fragrance can be.
No garden is complete without something exuding an aroma, be it a tree, vine, shrub, ground cover or herb – unless, of course, you’re highly allergic. So let’s start from the ground up.
Obvious flowers that have a delicate smell are violets, but they can be a curse when they multiply, unless you go for native violets (Viola hederacea), which aren’t quite so prolific. Dianthus or pinks (smaller relatives of carnations) have a very sweet smell. Lily of the valley has a lovely perfume and flowers on Caulfield Cup Day, but I find them tricky to grow. Then there are the many heavily scented spring-flowering bulbs such as freesias and jonquils.
BY JIM WAYMER
Call it canker on steroids.
Citing ineffective quarantines and other stopgap measures, a new warning from agriculture officials tells homeowners to get rid of backyard citrus trees and stop planting them.
The goal: Stop "citrus greening," which experts say could devastate the state’s $9.3 billion citrus industry.
"It’s the enemy at the doorstep," said Bud Crisafulli of Crisafulli Enterprises, which operates groves on Merritt Island. "If you’re a citrus grower, you’ve got to be concerned about this."
The Asian citrus psyllid spreads the bacteria that causes greening to citrus stems and leaves. While growers stay on the lookout and immediately destroy infected trees, backyard trees often are left to deteriorate and continue the spread of the incurable disease.
Officials acknowledge that convincing people to abandon their orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime trees may be going out on a limb in the Sunshine State, given citrus’ deep roots in Florida culture.
"People are attached to their trees. People love their trees. But citrus greening is a disease that many people have yet faced," said Nolan Lemon, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Trees that would normally thrive 50 to 100 years, you’re looking at them dying within five to 12 years of infection."
The bees and the trees (and tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, mac nuts…)
Special to Hawaii247 by Andrea Dean/Volcano Island Honey
Do you know that one-third of all the food you eat is pollinated by bees?
The decimation of bee colonies is a threat to food production in Hawaii. In Hawaii we do not have the disappearance of bees (Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD), but we now have the devastating and aptly named varroa destructor, commonly known as the varroa mite.
The varroa mite is a parasite that attacks honey bee adults, larvae, and pupae. The varroa mite has been know to destroy up to 90 percent of wild hives and beekeepers can easily lose all or a majority of their managed hives.
Until recently, Hawaii and Australia were the only remaining varroa free places in the world. The varroa mite was found on Oahu in 2007, unfortunately this did not result in quick and aggressive action by the private or government sector. As a result, the mite has now been found in hives on the Big Island.
by Dan Vallada – FoodBizDaily.com Sao Paulo
The macadamia nut has been cultivated in Brazil for four decades. Researchers are trying to increase its productivity and resistance.
The commercial cultivation of macadamia nuts in Brazil is recent, started only 40 years ago and productivity is still low. The country, the seventh in world production (2,400 tonnes in 7 thousand hectares), has about 250 producers, 160 of them in the State of Sao Paulo. The biggest Brazilian harvest happened in 2006, with 3,500 tons. Therefore, technicians and researchers are joining forces to study its varieties, nutrition, genetic improvement and phytosanitary control.
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
Budget cuts have left California with fewer inspectors and made that state more prone to slap sanctions on importers when pests are discovered. Hawai’i may also lose inspectors if the state lays off workers in November as planned to balance its budget.
Five key agricultural officials sent a warning letter this month to hundreds of Hawai’i growers and shippers who sell flowers, foliage, herbs, vegetables, potted nursery products and fruit, alerting them to the potential risk of not cleaning up their shipments.
"Anyone that currently ships to California can be the ‘last straw’ that triggers the decision by California to impose severe restrictions on the movement of all products from Hawai’i into the California market," the letter states.