To learn more about environmentally-friendly gardening and farming in a world-wide context, here are some links that may prove useful:
The Soil Assocation
To learn more about the principles behind organic farming and gardening, join the Soil Assocation, based in Bristol and founded in the 1940s by Lady Eve Balfour, author of ‘The Living Soil’. The Soil Assocation is the main lobbying organisation in the UK, fighting against the introduction of GM crops into Britain, and recently waged a successful campaign against the neonicotinoid insecticides that are such a threat to bees and other wildlife, resulting in a two-year moratorium: visit: www.soilassociation.org
Garden Organic, based at Ryton near Coventry, is the new name for the Henry Doubleday Research Association, set up in the 1950s by Lawrence D Hills, primarily to aid research into the use of comfrey in organic vegetable gardening. Join this organisation of choice for all keen amateur organic gardeners. There are also many affiliated local organic groups to join. Visit: www.gardenorganic.org.uk.
Royal Horticultural Society
For serious gardeners, there is no substitute for joining this prestigious society, if only to be able to visit the Society’s glorious gardens free of charge and receive the monthly magazine, ‘The Garden’, packed with informative articles, both practical and scientific, throughout the year. Examples of top articles of interest to organic gardeners are the five-page RHS Masterclass on Compost Making by Tony Dickerson and the three-page RHS Plant Trial results for best salad potato cultivars grown in containers, both in the February 2014 issue. Visit: www.rhs.org.uk.
If you are concerned about the effects that the use of chemical insecticides and molluscides by farmers and householders have had and are still having on the bird population of Britain, and what we, as organic gardeners, can do to encourage birds into our own gardens, join the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at: www.rspb.org.uk.
Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK)
This organisation is working to eliminate the dangers of toxic pesticides to workers all over the world, transforming the lives of cotton farmers, for example. PAN UK also has downloadable fact sheets on all aspects of pesticides and their adverse effects on bees and other pollinators. Visit: www.pan-uk.org.
Scientific advances in international eco-friendly pest control
For descriptions of the latest experimental scientific integrated pest control techniques based on insect pheromones being developed in countries such as India against large-scale infestations of food crops, such developments being in direct opposition to the genetic engineering methods of multinational chemical companies, visit: www.exosect.com.
The beautiful organic gardens belonging HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of both the Soil Association and garden Organic, are a source of inspiration to organic gardeners everywhere. Visit: www.highgrovegardens.com.
Organic gardening the natural no-dig way
Charles Dowding, author of ‘Organic Gardening the Natural No-Dig Way’ has a technique of gardening on permanent raised beds that has enabled him to run a successful organic gardening business in Somerset supplying local restaurants and shops for over 25 years. He gives inspirational talks and has his own website at: www.charlesdowding.co.uk.
Schumacher College at Dartington near Totnes has long-established and prestigious courses in sustainable horticulture. Visit: www.schumachercollege.org.uk.
Tiger Log Cabins
An online blog about eco-friendly gardening, from useful ideas to eco gardening methods and products. Visit: http://www.tigerlogcabins.com
Topiary tree.net (US Site)
Recommended by Cindy who has been recently been studying for her gardening badge, Topaiary.net is a dedicated to providing quality topiary trees and plants and products. With the greatest quality and biggest selection of topiary trees on the web, we can cater to all of your topiary needs. http://www.topiarytree.net/greatgardendingresources.php