The Winter Garden

Winter is finally coming to a close! The first two months (June/ July) were very cold, with heavy frosts, which were much worse than last year, damaging all the fresh new growth on the citrus trees (first photo) and almost completely destroying our beautiful native frangipanis, which had been doing so well (second photo). Hopefully, they will recover this Spring!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 11.01.35Most of the salvias in the Moon Bed, a large area of agapanthus slope (1st photo) and the giant bamboo and the pots of succulents, daisies and aloe vera were also hit, and even the pink rock orchid (2nd photo) and the elkhorn (3rd photo), both of which should have been safe in their relatively protected positions! Luckily, they are both tough and show signs of recovery.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 10.56.32BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-23 14.42.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.54.51Heavy frost certainly sorts out your plant selection! Only the tough survive!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.52.38BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.43.18Winter frosts also mean blue and gold sunny days and cold Winter nights and while the Winter Garden takes a holiday from blooming, we still did plenty of work in the garden, preparing for the new season, as well as exploring the local area and enjoying the Winter fires (both in the house and a friend’s bonfire night) and indoor activities.

I will start this post with an overall review of the garden in each month, followed by a recap of our garden jobs; creative pursuits and exploratory days out.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.53.21BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0253June saw the end of the Autumn foliage (1st photo above of the Japanese Maple), a bounty of ivy berries for the bowerbirds (2nd photo above) and the last of the late roses. The photos below are, in order: Stanwell Perpetual; and David Austin roses, Heritage and LD Braithwaite.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.45.22BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.46.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-28 10.46.36from which I made my birthday bouquet below: David Austin Roses: Heritage; Eglantyne; Fair Bianca; and William Morris; Feverfew; purple and white Dames’ Rocket; violets; Ziva Paperwhites and Buddleja foliage.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 13.04.00BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 13.29.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-06 13.49.24 From then on, it was vases of violets and Winter bulbs: Galanthus; Erlicheer and Ziva Paperwhites, all of which are flourishing in their new positions and naturalising well.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.44.24BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0215BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.51.42BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0177BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 14.56.25 Other June bloomers included: Primulas and Primroses; BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.51.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.44.01Winter Honeysuckle and Winter Jasmine;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 16.11.03BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.39.25 and Japanese Anemones and Wallflowers. Lots of  whites; purples; lemons and yellows, with sharp sweet clean scents! The bees just adore the wallflowers!BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0179BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 13.22.48BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 14.43.38There were also the richer colours of gold and red in the Hill Banksia and the Grevillea. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 13.46.16BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0192 The first crop of our citrus was also very encouraging, though I should have harvested the limes and lemonades earlier before the frost damaged them! Seen below are photos of our lime tree; lemon crop (cumquats in background) and lemonade tree.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-05 14.56.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-05 14.58.27BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0307BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0153 I was very impressed with the sweetness of our first and only Navel Orange!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-06 12.34.34In July, I was also very excited to see the emergence of our first Winter Aconite, which I had bought at great expense from Moidart Rare Plants last Spring, planted in the Treasure Bed and then waited for signs of life for months, resigning myself to the thought of having totally lost it! Now, it needs to multiply, then I will try naturalising it in the bird bath lawn with the Galanthus, which enjoys similar requirements.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 16.17.01BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-08 14.18.30By late July, the leucojums (photo above) and hellebores had joined in. The first photo below is the corner of my neighbour’s garden by our shed. I can’t wait till our hellebores spread like that!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.32.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.35.04 While I love the single form of Helleborus orientalis (above), I’m rather partial to the double forms: Purple, White and Red;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.46.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.25.46BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-27 13.01.51BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 17.26.11 as well as the rarer species hellebores: Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 14.58.49The japonicas, daphne and camellias also really picked up their game in early August, having been a bit shy to shine this year!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 11.53.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 11.51.00 I felt they bloomed much earlier last year with its milder Winter. The first photo below is the view from our bedroom window!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 17.21.20BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-28 12.22.48BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-26 10.23.23BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.54.20BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 16.19.28I was delighted to have more flowers for the house.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.24.41BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.25.14While June and July can sometimes feel a bit long, I love the quickening pace of August with its increasing day length, resulting in miniscule changes in the garden, which gives such a sense of hope, anticipation and excitement: The tiny leaf buds swelling on the  trees (photo is the quince tree), shrubs and roses;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.53.12 The shooting of tulips and iris in the cutting garden, naturalised bluebells, crocus and Poets’ daffodils in the lawn and hyacinth and grape hyacinth in the treasure bed;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.43.48 and the celebratory blooming of miniature Tête à Tête daffodils and golden Winter Sun;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 19.21.12BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.48.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 16.39.37BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 11.56.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-22 14.46.57 Magnificent golden Wattle;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.31.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.31.15 Early Spring blossoms: Crab Apple; Plum and Birch;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.55.37BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.55.07BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 09.31.42 And the blooms of forget-me-knots, golden-centred white paper daisies and begonias.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 11.42.00BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 19.21.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-20 12.02.09The birds are also revelling in the return of Spring!BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0243BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 16.03.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 11.27.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-14 11.29.22 While the Winter trees were full of Currawongs, Crimson Rosella and Grey Butcher Birds (photos above in order), the tiny Striated Pardalotes have returned to the Pepperina tree, where their beautiful song marks the return of Spring.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 14.42.08BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 15.18.05BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 13.11.38Eastern Spinebills and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters are also enjoying the August sun.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 13.54.15BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 14.57.55The Bowerbirds have been feasting in great numbers on the new loquat crop, stealing a march on the Summer flying foxes!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.06.59BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.09.28They also enjoy a swim in the bird bath, when not picking off my erlicheer blooms!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.59.05BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.59.23

BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.47.19The magpies have been busy building their nest high in the Pepperina tree since late July. Can you see it up there?BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-07-30 15.06.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-28 12.07.26BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-11 11.37.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 10.57.23 Despite their vicious swooping assaults on any large bird foolish enough to come anywhere near their territory, they are incredible quiet with us, often waiting patiently within a metre of us while weeding for an easy meal.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-24 13.15.57BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-24 13.13.06I was very excited with the return of last year’s baby White-faced Herons, to check out the old family home in the cottonwood poplar. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-09 10.25.02We are crossing our fingers that they will nest there again, despite the magpies’ plans to the contrary! They seem to think that they own all the trees in the garden – in fact, quite possibly our house as well, though Oliver (2nd and 3rd photo below) might have something to say about that!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 18.11.14BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 09.50.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-23 09.53.30 The nurturing aspects and bird-viewing potential of our neighbour’s giant tree makes up for its vigorous, and dishearteningly constant, propensity to shoot out roots deep into the soil under our vegetable beds! Raised vegetable beds are definitely part of our future garden plans!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 09.25.08BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-07 09.25.12Winter is a great time to clean up the old garden and prepare for the new season! Weeding has been a major job: the aforementioned battle between the cottonwood poplar and our vegetable garden; the Cutting Garden ( 1st photo); the Soho Bed (2nd photo) and Moon Bed; and the new Shed Garden.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.35BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-24 12.25.49We pruned all the old messy and dead growth: the feverfew and dames’ rocket in the Cutting Garden and the salvias and Paris daisy in the Moon Bed; the hydrangeas in late June and all the roses in late July; BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-27 14.54.15and lastly, all the old dead wood of the feral and incredibly prickly Duranta, creating a new semi-shady area to grow a white shrub bed, as well as lots of work, cleaning away all the lethal spiky offcuts! We transplanted the Viburnum mariesii plicatum, which was struggling in its old position in full shade; the white lilac, which really was out of place and would have eventually been too large for its location, and four Annabel hydrangea rooted cuttings from my sister’s garden at Glenrock.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.24.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.54.01 The neighbour’s cats were fascinated by this brand new garden, but I’m not sure how their feet fared! The tubs were protecting my Galanthus from being demolished by trampling feet as well!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-07 12.47.03We also transplanted the pomegranate and red azalea from the bottom of the garden to the entrance of the main pergola and the red border of the native garden respectively to make room for a future garden shed, which will hopefully be built in the next few months.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 17.24.06Winter is a great time for garden planning and reorganization, as well as for building structures!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 18.02.49BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 14.46.06 Ross has built a fantastic rose frame, using steel posts and weld mesh from old gates, against the old shed wall to support and effectively control our Albertine ramblers, which would otherwise take over the camping flat completely!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-11 18.00.22 I can’t wait to see the future wall of salmon pink roses!blogspeciesrosesreszd20%2016-11-16-09-47-07We dug up the area underneath for a mixed dahlia bed, the plants hiding the bare legs of the climbing roses and blooms taking up the baton after the Albertine has finished. BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-20 14.59.06 This decision has also freed up the old dahlia bed for a future Brassica crop, though we have reserved the front third for Iceland poppies!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.34.29We also finally put up the weld mesh on the top of the Main Pergola to support this year’s Summer growth of the climbing roses!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-27 15.25.57Ross is getting very organized in the vegie garden! He has defined the edges of the vegetable and cutting garden beds with old weatherboards;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.12.02BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 16.33.09 Confined all the raspberry plants to their own bed near the compost heap; planted two more blueberries, all in different stages (leaf bud; flowers; and Autumn foliage!);BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.40.12 Transplanted the rhubarb, asparagus and Russian tarragon to the new perennial vegetable garden (the northeast bed, which grew tomatoes and raspberries last year) and the snow peas to the corner of the compost heap, allowing some to stay and climb up the raspberries; pruned the old raspberry canes, transplanting the new Heritage runners to their own run and extending the old run with the Chilcotin and Chilliwack varieties;  and sown Calendula seed at the front of the bed.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.58.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-21 13.50.07 In the remaining space of the perennial bed, he will plant pumpkins and zucchinis, letting them rambler down the bottom corner. He will then rotate between the two old main beds, which will grow potatoes (with later cucumbers) and beans, carrots, beetroot, with the current parsley and rocket in one bed; and kale, silverbeet, shallots, snow peas and lettuce and the two new ex-cutting garden beds, which will house early Spring brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts), and solanums (tomatoes, capsicum and aubergines) this year, though he has promised to allow any self-sown sunflowers or zinnias from the old beds to co-exist. Here are photos of our Winter vegie bed, with kale; ornamental chard; snow peas; broccoli; Spring onions and carrot seedlings just up!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.51.02BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.50.51Meanwhile, I have been busy with the flower beds! I have transplanted overcrowded self-seeded rose campion and catmint to their new positions in the Moon and Soho Beds; planted gold and soft purple Bearded Iris to the back of the shed beds;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.53.39 and created a complete silver ring of Lambs’ Ear to define the border of the Soho Bed. Stachys lanata is so tough, it didn’t even miss a beat on division and transplantation and, once established, will certainly make it difficult for any external invasion of weeds and grass! I love the downy soft feel of its foliage!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-06 14.12.20 We planted our new roses from Thomas Roses in the Shed Bed (Mme Hardy; York and Lancaster; Rosa Mundi and Chapeau de Napoleon); on the flat (Maigold) and on the Main Pergola (Souvenir de St Anne).BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 16.27.24BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 17.07.37 Ross also dug up an area on the terrace under the Pepperina tree and divided the old clivia clumps, so we can enjoy a swathe of orange in Summer.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-08 14.28.27This month, we have started sowing seed  in punnets under a plastic poly-tunnel on the warm path for plants to be later transplanted after the frosts: Heartsease (already up) and Scabiosa; Aquilegia and Honesty; Green Nicotiana and Gaillardia, which has already emerged at two weeks; Yarrow and Echinaceae; and Sea Holly and Green Wizard Coneflower, though we should have read the fine print on the latter, as we later discovered that  they need a constant 20 degrees Celsius to allow them to germinate! In lieu of an incubator tray, we have been carting them in and out of the house each day!!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-03 12.54.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-18 18.56.01We have also sown seed directly in the garden: Nigella, Miss Jekyll Blue, and pink oriental poppies, Princess Victoria Louise,  in the Soho and Moon Beds (photo below); Cerinthe major and burgundy-blue-and white mixed cornflowers (‘Fireworks’) in the shed garden; and Iceland poppies in the cutting garden (and third of the potato bed, as they are one if Ross’s favourite flowers!!!) You can see why I can’t wait for Spring!!!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-04 15.19.03The Winter kitchen has also been a hive of activity with a first batch of lime cordial, made from our very own limes;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0183 28 jars of cumquat marmalade from 6.6 kg fruit, with still more setting and ripening on the trees!;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0298BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0302 and making lemon cupcakes for a birthday, as well as lots of warming Winter soups!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-01 11.24.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-01 11.25.22On the colder, greyer days, I have enjoyed embroidering diatoms on a felt;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0091 discovered the joys of making cords using a Kumihimo disc;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0092BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0094 learnt to crochet a flower chain;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-16 12.24.22 and made another embroidery roll for a friend.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 16.00.45BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-08-14 15.46.43The majority of the days have had blue-and-gold days, as in sunny blue skies, perfect for exploring our beautiful local area:

Haycocks Point;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 14.21.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08Canoeing on the Murrah River to the Murrah Lagoon and the sea, where architect, Philip Cox,  built his holiday home;BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0335BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0398BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0551BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0549BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0578Exploring Bombala and Delegate, platypus country and part of the ancient aboriginal pathway, the Bundian Way;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 13.13.41BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 12.56.29BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 15.11.21BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-04 15.40.14Visiting On the Perch, Tathra, with its amazing range of birds, organized into their different environments, including this Emerald Dove and Maud, the Tawny Frogmouth; Zoe loved feeding all the birds!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 13.54.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 14.56.17BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-13 14.18.27Hiking from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, part of the Light to Light Walk from Boyds Tower to Green Cape Lighthouse in the Ben Boyd National Park;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 16.17.16BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 14.07.28BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 13.56.53BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 13.57.50BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 12.57.17BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-17 17.23.34Discovering Penders, the property owned by businessman Ken Myers and architect Sir Roy Grounds, which was donated to National Parks in 1976 and is now part of Mimosa Rocks National Park, with its amazing views from the Bum Seat, photographed below, of Bithry Inley and the sea;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 16.13.13 BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.18.48and fascinating history and built environment, including Roy Ground’s tepeelike outdoor eating area, The Barn, and his geodesic dome structure;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.34.56BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.22.50BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 17.12.51BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.17.45 the magnificent Spotted Gum and Macrozamia forests and old orchard, with huge old camellia trees in full bloom;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 15.30.23BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 15.47.10 as well as the beautiful coastal walk to Middle Beach, with golden banksias against the blue blue sea and our first ‘echidna train’.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.44.25BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.55.32BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 13.43.08 Apparently, during the mating season in July and August, one female will be followed by two to ten males, until she tires and the first in line gets lucky! According to the ranger on the track, echidnas are also very active just before rain and sure enough, three days later, it did rain! This quiet Swamp Wallaby kept us company over our picnic lunch.BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 14.20.04BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-07-25 16.30.37Other Winter highlights included my birthday (What a cake!!! Thank you, Chris!);BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 19.28.44BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-05-30 19.29.08 and a visit to Canberra for an interesting woodcut exhibition at the National Library of Australia, ‘Melodrama in Meiji Japan’ (see: https://www.nla.gov.au/meiji). We also popped into our favourite nursery, where we bought some tuberoses to plant in September after the frost. I just adore their scent, but will have to plant them away from the frost!BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-12 13.52.04We finished the Winter with a local orchid show at Merimbula with some stunning plants and an incredible range of form and colour.BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.45.09BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.38.53BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.40.40BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.42.42BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.41.33BlogWinterGardenReszd2517-08-19 12.40.26Next week, I am returning to one of my favourite rose types, the Noisettes. I will leave you with a Winter miracle, the humble spider’s web!BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-06 13.49.57

Our Beautiful Earth : Part Six : Natural History Books : Lifestyle Bibles : Sustainability , Simple Living and Securing the Future

While it is easy to feel pessimistic about the future, there are still some wonderful organizations constantly working to improve the environment and state of the world. There are also many things you can do at an individual level, as pointed out by the following books in order of publication.

The 1970s was a period of growing awareness of the environment and a desire for self-reliance and individual creativity, qualities in danger of being lost in an increasingly technological and impersonal world. Here are two excellent books from that era.

Household Ecology by Julia Percivall and Pixie Burger  1973

An oldie, but a goodie, this well-thumbed paperback has almost fallen apart but, in keeping with its philosophy, is constantly re-mended and recycled!! It addresses the individual – what you can do yourself to effect change and help restore ecological balance, a huge task with our ever-increasing population, but every little bit counts!! It looks at :

Ecology in the marketplace: ecological shopping; laundry and household cleaners with appropriate more ecologically-friendly alternatives; and recycling discards;

Food for healthy living , including lots of recipes; sleep and exercise; food for particular situations and nature’s tranquilizers and destressors;

Seasonal adjustments and the climate indoors; natural air fresheners and deodorizers; preserving cut flowers; and house plants;

The medicine chest and natural beauty aids, again with lots of recipes;

Natural garden sprays and traps; encouraging birds and butterflies; companion planting, natural fertilisers, compost and mulches; and herb gardens;

Baby care; and child rearing to revere nature; and

A word on future prospects, although I fear that, despite some major gains (like not throwing rubbish out of car windows!), we have such a long way to go yet! This book however offers many valuable practical and possible solutions for those who do care about the future of our planet!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd40%Image (500) - Copy

In Celebration of Small Things by Sharon Cadwaller 1974

This useful book has many wonderful suggestions from making a container garden,  preserving fruit and vegetables and making wine and beer to simple sewing for the home, making furniture, doing electrical and plumbing repairs and wise supermarket shopping.

There is also a large section on honouring our natural environment, creating a more cooperative community and restoring ritual, all marvellous tenets for contemporary living. I also love the simple ink sketches by Anita Walker Scott, which compliment the delightful title of this book perfectly!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (549)

The following books were particularly useful for farmers like ourselves at the time.

Water For Every Farm by PA Yeomens 1978

http://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/01aglibrary/010125yeomans/010125toc.html

In this landmark book, PA Yeomens (1904-1984) challenged conventional Australian farming practices with respect to water and soil fertility  in the 1940s and 1950s and designed a new agricultural system for water irrigation and storage, tree planting and maintaining (and even accelerating) soil fertility, which he called the Keyline System. It is a beautifully integrated system using the contours of the land to catch every drop of water falling on the farm, then redistribute it for pasture irrigation and growing vegetation strips, feeding the excess water by gravity into further storage dams at lower contour levels, as can be seen in this aerial photograph at Richmond (page 52-53 in the book), an area now sadly covered in urbanization. For a good grasp of his concept, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz6vhoOg4Hc.

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 Keyline Design concepts are now part of the curriculum of many sustainable agriculture courses throughout the world and were a key factor in the development of permaculture. In fact, Yeomens’ principles have been further refined by permaculture practitioners. See: http://www.permaculturenews.org/resources_files/KeylineArticle.pdf.

My husband and his brother, Peter, attended one of his Keyline workshops and visited dams in the Kiewa Valley (see YouTube link above) in Victoria, before following his principles back on their farm. In fact, Peter is actually in a photograph of participants in another book by Yeomens, The City Forest, discussed next, in which he extends his ideas beyond farms to the whole environment!

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The City Forest : The Keyline Plan for the Human Environment Revolution by PA Yeomens 1971

http://soilandhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/01aglibrary/010127yeomansIII/010127toc.html

This tiny book is another early call to arms, warning about the state of the environment back in the early 1970s, almost 50 years ago! After discussing the basic principles of his Keyline concept and advocating a return to small scale organic farming, Yeomens focuses on urban landscape design, advocating the use of his concepts and the planting of forests near and within cities to help with pollution, sewerage treatment and water management. Both very influential books!

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Wildlife in the Home Paddock by Roland Breckwoldt 1983

In his book, Roland Breckwoldt looks specifically at the Australian situation and encourages an awareness of wildlife on farms and management practices to accommodate them. He argues that apart from strong ethical and aesthetical reasons for preserving native flora and fauna, there are also economic benefits from learning to live with the land. For example : the maintenance of biodiversity and natural ecosystems.

There is still so much we don’t know about all the interactions and interconnectedness and interdependence of life forms, not to mention their special properties, which hold potential for future use like rainforest medicinal plants. Upsetting the natural balance by removing certain elements can have catastrophic effects on the local environment, not to mention farm productivity.

Management practices include tree planting and regeneration to enhance the appeal and value of the property and provide windbreaks and wildlife corridors; the adaptation of farm dams for waterfowl and freshwater fish; the controlled use of fire; and the management of problem animals like cockatoos in grain crops and wallabies in forest plantations, using ecological methods of pest control based on the species’ behaviour and habitat requirements rather than by shooting, poisoning or trapping, which can adversely affect other wildlife (see Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in last week’s post). A very worthwhile addition to the natural history library!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (512)

While the 1980s were hailed as a period of affluence, many of us, especially small farmers (!) were still pottering along on low incomes and this next book was particularly useful.

Hard Times Handbook by Keith and Irene Smith 1984

Another classic by the founders of Earth Garden, one of the two pioneering Australian magazines devoted to self-sufficiency, organic gardening  and sustainability (the other was Grass Roots), both of which were started in the early 1970s and both of which are still published today. A self-sufficient lifestyle is a wealthy lifestyle in terms of creativity and well-being, but not materially, so this Hard Times Handbook provides invaluable suggestions for living cheaply in the city, conserving scarce resources, growing your own food and making healthy family meals, making and recycling clothes, saving energy and cost-cutting and surviving without a job.

It lists 21 steps for living simply, staying healthy and being happy, expounds its frugality theory and the joy of simple pleasures, and discusses survival strategies used during the Great Depression of the 1930s, all in the first two chapters.

The next section looks at emergency strategies for electricity failures and food shortages, followed by in-depth chapters on water, power, heating and cooling, recycling, backyard food growing, hard times tucker and lots of recipes and household hints for making cleaning and  beauty  and first aid products.

It’s a terrific little book with great suggestions, which are still very useful and pertinent today.

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Jackie French was also a regular contributor to Earth Garden and wrote many books, perfect for this post, but already reviewed in: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/23/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-two-vegetable-gardens-sustainable-and-organic-gardens-and-dry-climate-gardens/ .

The Voluntary Simplicity movement of the 1990s, while already practiced by many, began to reach a wider audience with the following publications.

The Simple Living Guide : A Guide Book for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet  Luhrs  1997/2000

Simple living is about living deliberately.  Simple living is not about austerity, or frugality, or income level.  It’s about being fully aware of why you are living your particular life, and knowing that life is one you have chosen thoughtfully.  Simple living is about designing our lives to coincide with our ideals.” Janet Luhrs

Our first book on voluntary simplicity, a flood-damaged and recycled copy, bought from a secondhand bookshop and unfortunately, a subsequent victim of an over-enthusiastic purge in the interests of downsizing and simple living!!! Fortunately, it spawned its own website (https://simpleliving.com/book/), so we can still make the most of its concepts and wisdom without our own hardcopy!

The book examines the practical aspects of time, work, money, and housing: home and clutter, health and happiness, stress, family life, peace and love, and mindfulness and inspiration, backed up by a great blog on the website. See: https://simpleliving.com/blog/.

It provides strategies, inspiration, resources and real-life profiles of people, who have slowed down, overcome obstacles, and created richer lives. The only thing the website doesn’t replicate are the lovely graphics in the book! Here is another good book review of this excellent book: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/review-the-simple-living-guide/.

Timeless Simplicity : Creative Living in a Consumer Society by John Lane 2001

A more theoretical book about voluntary simplicity and Ross’s bible, to which he refers on an almost daily basis for inspiration and validation. I loved the little story about the fisherman and the industrialist at the beginning of the book (page 8), which illustrates this notion perfectly:BlogEnvtlBooks50%Image (647)This book has two themes: the quest for personal contentment and a better simpler quality of life; and the need for a more frugal lifestyle (due to the consequences of overpopulation, homogenization of our cultures, waste and dwindling resources) and a more equitable distribution of wealth.

John Lane was a chairman of the Dartington Hall Trust and involved in the founding of the Schumacher College in 1991 (https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/).

Schumacher College is an international centre for transformative learning for sustainable living and offers holistic courses about social and environmental issues, inspired by E F Schumacher. Lecturers have included James Lovelock (founder of the Gaia concept), Deepak Chopra, Hazel Henderson, Rupert Sheldrake and Vandana Shiva. See last week’s post about Small is Beautiful: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/08/15/our-beautiful-earth-part-five-natural-history-books-environmental-challenges/.

In this book, John Lane examines a short history of simplicity from the ancient world and Christian ascetics to the Arts and Crafts Movement, promoted by John Ruskin and William Morris; and the writings of other advocates of the simple life like Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Leo Tolstoy. The Eastern religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism also advocated material moderation, mindfulness and spirituality. The current movement arose in the 1980s with Duane Elgin’s pioneering book about voluntary simplicity and sustainability. See: http://duaneelgin.com/books/.

He then examines the obstacles to simplicity : the fallacy that money makes you happy; mass conformity and beliefs; mass work, leisure and consumption; and life in the city.

The next chapter focuses on creative frugality and its rewards: rethinking your belief system; following your bliss; working for fulfilment; culling the unnecessary; reducing expenditure; setting limits; careful consumption; adopting a positive attitude; and living a slower pace of life.

The rewards of frugality include fidelity to oneself; living in the present; savouring the ordinary; a sense of place; companionship; the pleasure of listening and seeing; and the gifts of nature, play and creativity, love and laughter, and caring for the soul.

I love his notion of the sacred arts of life: imagination, creativity, individuality and beauty in the home;  the aesthetics and rituals associated with food preparation and mindful, thankful consumption; and the creation of a home and beautiful garden.

This is a very special book with a very important message. Despite our material wealth in the Western world, most people lead stressful lives, deprived of freedom, creativity and time, and while it may be difficult to get off the treadmill, it is possible if one changes one’s mindset and expectations to lead a simpler, more productive life. It is also essential for the survival of the planet and human life on Earth!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (499)

Another way of securing the future is to ensure the next generation are environmentally aware and love nature, but firstly two seminal texts, which steered the way we approached our own children’s upbringing!

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff  1975

One of the first books, along with The Magical Child, which I read on child rearing while breast feeding! Jean Liedloff  lived with a South American Indian Stone Age tribe in their jungle home for two and a half years, observing their way of life and child-rearing practices and radically altering her perceptions about human development.

She developed a theory called the continuum concept, in which human beings have an innate set of expectations, known as a continuum, which ensure the survival of the species by achieving optimal physical, mental, and emotional development and adaptability. To achieve this, young humans – especially babies – require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long evolution by natural selection, including :

Immediate placement, after birth, in their mothers’ arms;

Constant carrying or physical contact with other people (usually their mothers or fathers) in the several months after birth, as these adults go about their day-to-day business, allowing the child to observe and learn;

Co-sleeping in the parents’ bed for at least two years;

Breast feeding on cue;

Caregivers’ immediate and unconditional response to the infants’ urgent body signals; and

Trust and a sense of place and worth within the tribe, without making them the constant centre of attention.

She argues that in Western civilized cultures, which have removed themselves from the natural evolutionary process, certain evolutionary expectations are not met as infants and toddlers, resulting in compensatory behaviours and many forms of mental and social disorders.

For more on this interesting concept, see: http://www.continuum-concept.org/ and https://loveparenting.org/2013/02/25/continuum-parenting-and-attachment-parenting-whats-the-difference-and-what-is-love-parenting-really-all-about/. It certainly made a lot of sense to me and was much easier to read than my next book!!!

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The Magical Child  by Joseph Chilton Pearce 1979

A fascinating read about the different stages of mind-brain maturation and matrices the child experiences from the womb to adulthood and how modern life speeds up the process, often skipping essential stages for the development of the human brain, at detrimental costs to both the individual and society as a whole.

It is not an easy book to read, as one has to learn an entire new set of vocabulary in order to understand the concepts he wishes to discuss. Basically, the author believes that the human brain has not changed that much over the past 2000 years, even though our society and Western lifestyle has, and to fully develop the child’s potential and intelligence, it is essential that the time-honoured biological guidelines for brain maturation, based on a series of matrix formations and shifts, are followed.

Each matrix shift presents a range of unknown possibilities, challenges and experiences, resulting in the growth of intelligence, and progresses from the concrete to the more abstract, with each matrix shift being based on mastery of the old matrix. From the safe matrix of the womb, children progress to the world of the mother, then the earth (or natural world in its immediate vicinity, completed at around 7 years old), becoming increasingly independent over the next 4 years (7 to 11 years old) to complete autonomy by adolescence, when the mind-brain becomes its own matrix and source of power, possibility and safety.

He argues that much of our Western practices of child-rearing and education are preventing this logical development of the mind-brain, resulting in major problems like obsessive-compulsive attachment to material objects; a breakdown in interpersonal relationships; anxiety and stress; and far worse : autism; hyper-kinetic behaviour; childhood schizophrenia; and adolescent suicide.

These practices include:

Modern technological birthing practices; separating the mother and infant at birth; and using cribs and strollers rather than slings on the mother’s body;

Group childcare and formal education at a maturation stage, when they should still be playing and at home with their mother, gaining confidence in physical and mental abilities within a safe environment; and

Subjecting the child to information and experiences through education, TV, social media and inappropriate games, suited to a later stage, and inflicting them with our anxiety before their brains have developed sufficiently to absorb it all.

Throughout the book, he cites many examples of alternative child-rearing practices in less developed nations, where the child is far more advanced in maturation to Western children the same age.

A very thought-provoking read, especially for new parents and educators!

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Joseph Chilton Pearce develops his ideas about mind-brain development and the evolution of creativity further in the sequel to this book :

Evolution’s End by Joseph Chilton Pearce  1993.

In it, he argues that :

Hospital childbirth interferes with the natural child-mother bonding process, thus, in turn, impeding the potential for all other human bonds with parents, friends, spouse and society;

Daycare further dissociates the child from the mother, increasing the inability to bond and implanting a lifelong sense of alienation and isolation;

Television and premature formal education stifle spontaneous play and cripple the development of the imagination; and

Synthetic growth hormones used in meat, dairy and poultry products accumulate in children and accelerate physical and sexual development, while psychological and intellectual maturation is radically impaired.

He develops a  three-stage model of human development: heart-mind synchrony, which occurs in infancy; post-adolescent synchrony of the physical self and the creative process, which few of us attain; and a final mystical stage, nearly unknown, that “moves us beyond biology.”

Even more difficult to read than the former book, it needs a few readings to totally grasp his concepts, a feat which I must admit is a little beyond my limited intelligence!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (496)

One of the best ways of encouraging children to appreciate their environment is to steep them in nature and natural history studies.

The Naturalist’s Handbook by Geoffrey C Watson 1962

Every child is naturally curious about the world around them. As Joseph Chilton Pearce pointed out, often today’s children are rushed through their natural stages of brain development and because of modern day factors, they too often skip the wonderful world of nature.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s naturalists and environmental advocates, so it is vitally important to introduce kids to the natural environment, if we still want a halfway decent world, in which to live. And it’s not only incredibly interesting, but it’s fun too!

This little British paperback, while small and old, still has some great ideas.

In Part One, it discusses comfort outdoors; maps and books; museums and natural history societies; and collecting and basic equipment, followed by chapters on animal detection (trails, tracks and signs); recording (field note book and logbooks) and identification.

Part Two becomes more specific with chapters on collecting rocks and fossils, plants and insects; watching birds and mammals; collecting reptiles, amphibians and shells and learning more about the seashore; and finally forming a nature club with a seasonal program of talks and activities. Observation, collecting, recording, identification, mounting and displaying, preservation and storage are all discussed in depth, as well as more specialist techniques, like making a plaster cast of a footprint or making a cabinet skin.

In the appendices are notes about the British Young Naturalists Association Merit Award Scheme, sadly now defunct, though I did notice awards for older British naturalists on : http://www.bna-naturalists.org/awards.html, including the Peter Scott Memorial Award, and the British Naturalists’ Association does do a lot of work with schools. See: http://www.bna-naturalists.org/education.html. However, there is no reason the guidelines to the different levels of the awards in this book could not be used for personal development!

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There are also useful lists of natural history books and magazines; sources for natural history equipment and supplies sources; natural history organizations, field study centres and bird observatories; and finally, British museums focusing on natural history, including the wonderful Natural History Museum in London, which we visited with our children in 1994 and where we bought our copy of the next book!

The Amateur Naturalist by Gerald and Lee Durrell 1982

We were reared on books written by Gerald Durrell (1925-1995), who was our generation’s equivalent to today’s David Attenborough. We were also lucky enough to visit his Rare and Endangered Species Zoo on Jersey on that same trip. See: https://www.jersey.com/durrell-wildlife-park and https://www.durrell.org/wildlife/visit/.

This wonderful practical guide to the natural world has a slightly different approach to the last book. Rather than dividing the topic up into the different components of natural history (rocks, insects, birds, shell etc), it explores all the different habitats from the home ground (always a good place to start!), to meadows and hedgerows; shrub and grasslands; desert and tundra; deciduous and coniferous woodlands; tropical forest; mountains; ponds and streams and marshland; coastal wetlands, cliffs and dunes; and smooth and rocky shores.

Throughout each entry are descriptions, illustrations and colour photographs of each habitat and its inhabitants, and suggestions for further exploration and experiments. For example, the section on Home Ground includes attics and cellars, spiders and mice and the garden and orchard and all its inhabitants, as well as signs of unseen guests; spiders and their webs; creating a wildlife garden; bird feeders and nesting boxes; and how to make a pitfall trap, while Meadows and Hedgerows includes information on butterfly flight patterns; collecting butterflies; attracting and trapping moths; making a plant profile and trapping and studying small mammals.

There is also an introductory chapter on becoming a naturalist with a brief history of evolution and ecology and information on essential equipment in the field, which is later expounded upon in depth in the back section of the book. Also covered in this section are the following topics:

Setting up a workroom;

Microscopes and dissection;

Home photography;

Preserving methods;

Plant anatomy; drying and pressing flowers; studying fungi, lichens, mosses and liverworts; bark, leaves and fruit; and tree anatomy;

Green houses and propagation;

Terrariums and aquariums;

Mounting and displaying specimens;

Feathers and nests;

Pellet identification;

Taxidermy;

Wildlife ponds;

Breeding butterflies and moths;

Wormeries and formicariums (ant farms);

Tadpoles;

Keeping animals; and the

Care of injured creatures.

The book finishes with a classification table of the different Kingdoms, with brief descriptions and illustrations; a chapter on the future; a glossary of natural history terms, suggestions for further reading and a list of useful addresses, including organizations, specialist bookshops and sources for equipment and supplies.

It’s a fascinating book and serves its subject well. One couldn’t fail to be absorbed and enthused by this wonderful book!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (503)

It is also well worth reading his delightful and inspiring trilogy about his childhood and development as a naturalist in The Corfu Trilogy: My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods; and the excellent authorized biography: Gerald Durrell by Douglas Botting 1999, from which I borrowed the quote at the bottom of this post from Page xv of the preface.

And finally, two inspirational books, celebrating our wonderful planet and its amazing natural history!

Observations of Wildlife by Peter Scott 2011

Peter Scott (1909-1989) is another conservation hero of ours, from a similar time period to Gerald Durrell. Son of Scott of the Antarctic and god-son of J.M Barrie (Peter Pan fame), Peter used his privilege and connections to further the cause of wildlife and environment, founding the Severn Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge (now known as the Slimbridge Wetland Centre. See: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/), which we also visited in 1994 with our children, as well as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

In 1973, he was the first person to be knighted for services to conservation and the environment. Not only was he an environmental champion, but also lived life to the full, being an accomplished artist and the British National Gliding Champion in 1963 and a top yachtsman, winning a bronze medal for sailing in the 1936 Olympic Games. And he was modest and appreciative as well!!!

His watercolour paintings and sketches of wild geese, swans, ducks and coastal birds on land and in flight, as well as tropical fish, marine life and other animals are absolutely beautiful and accompany chapters about his life and love of birds; his development as an artist and naturalist; the founding of the Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge and the WWF; his travels and encounters and his philosophy and concerns for the planet. A very beautiful book indeed!

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The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins 2009

Highlighting the awe-inspiring wonders and beauty of nature and evolution, it was written as a counter-attack to creationists, followers of the erroneously-named ‘intelligent design’ and all those who still question evolution as a scientific fact.

Richard Dawkins supports the argument for evolution with living examples of natural selection in birds and insects, the time clocks of trees and radioactive dating, which calibrates a time scale for evolution to clues in the fossil record and molecular biology and molecular genetics.

Chapters cover scientific theory and fallibility; artificial selection and domestication; macroevolution; the age of the earth and the geological time scale; the fossil record; human evolution; developmental biology; biogeography and plate tectonics; the tree of life, homology and analogy; vestigiality and unintelligent design; and co-evolution and the evolutionary arms race.

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Richard Dawkins is so articulate and explains everything so clearly and rationally, both in his writing and verbal speeches. It is worth listening to the following YouTube clip, as a taster to the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrgmHWg5wq0.

My next set of book posts in late September will be examining our origins and brief history on Planet Earth, but in the meantime, I am returning to our Winter Garden next week, followed by posts on one of my favourite types of Old Roses, the Noisettes and my most favourite Australian Old Rose garden of all : Walter Duncan’s Heritage Garden, at Clare, South Australia.

I will finish this post with an excerpt from this eloquent and beautiful letter (31 July 1978) from Gerald Durrell to his future wife Lee, which describes his awe and wonder of nature and our very special planet:

‘I have seen a thousand moons: harvest moons like golden coins, winter moons as white as ice chips, new moons like baby swans’ feathers…I have felt winds as tender and warm as a lover’s breath, winds straight from the South Pole, bleak and wailing like a lost child…I have known silence: the implacable stony silence of a deep cave; the silence when great music ends… I have heard tree frogs in an orchestration as complicated as Bach singing in a forest lit by a million emerald fireflies. I have heard the cobweb squeak of the bat, wolves baying at a Winter’s moon… I have seen hummingbirds flashing like opals round a tree of scarlet blooms. I have seen whales, black as tar, cushioned on a cornflower sea. I have lain in water warm as milk, soft as silk, while around me played a host of dolphins…All this I did without you. This was my loss…’

Our Beautiful Earth: Part Five: Natural History Books: Environmental Challenges

Having spent the last month, enjoying all the wonderful diversity and beauty our planet has to offer, I found this particular post quite disturbing and depressing to write, but the issues are so important and so urgent that they have to be aired and addressed! I have grouped the books according to their main subject matter: Warning Bells; Growth Economics; Disconnect From Nature; Climate Change; Australia; Overpopulation; and The Big Picture.

1.Warning Bells

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 1962

One of the first very famous books to sound a warning bell about the state of our environment, especially in relation to the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture.

In her book, Rachel documents the detrimental environmental and physiological effects from the indiscriminate use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Once these chemicals enter the biosphere, not only are the bugs killed, but the poison works its way up through the food chain, threatening bird and fish populations and ultimately, human health as well.

Examples include the death of large numbers of birds from aerial spraying of DDT to control mosquitoes and fire ants; the bio-accumulation of herbicide, Aminotriazole, in cranberries; the banning of milk from dairy farms in upstate New York after aerial spraying to eradicate gypsy moth; and the link between pesticides and cancer in humans.

The book raised a new awareness of humanity’s potential to wreak havoc on nature; the interconnectedness of all living forms; and ecology in general. It also raised the ire of major chemical companies, who launched a vitriolic campaign of personal attacks against her, but fortunately, she had some strong support from John F Kennedy and in the end, the national pesticide policy was reversed and DDT was banned in agricultural use nationwide. The book also inspired the environmental movement, leading to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A very important book, it has sold over 2 Million copies worldwide over the past 55 years and is regarded as a landmark book of the twentieth century and the environmental text which changed the world, although in my opinion, the world still has a long way to go!!!

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Collapse: How Societies Choose to fail or Survive by Jared Diamond 2005

A fascinating book, this is also a timely reminder that past societies foundered, when they failed to limit their resource use to the sustainable productivity of natural systems.

Part One looks at the current environmental problems of South-Western Montana, while Part Two examines the collapsed civilizations of : Easter Island, Pitcairn Island and Henderson Island; the Native American society of the Anasazi in South-Western USA; the Mayans of MesoAmerica; and Norse Greenland, all underpinned by a five-point framework: environmental damage; climate change; the loss of friendly trade partners; the rise of hostile neighbours; and most importantly, the society’s response to its environmental problems.

Part Two finishes with a brief examination of three successful past societies by way of contrast: Iceland; Tikopia and the New Guinea Highlands; as well as the Tokugawa Era of Japan.

Part Three returns to the modern world with an in-depth look at the Rwandan disaster; a comparison of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which both share the island of Hispaniola; the enormous environmental problems of China; and finally, the fragility and uniqueness of Australia, a country which holds a special place in Jared’s heart.

The last section of the book extracts practical lessons from all these case studies and examines the role of modern businesses and the types of environmental dangers facing the modern world.

The book is supported by further readings listed in the back, as well as suggestions for positive action, which an individual can take to address our major environmental problems.

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2. Growth Economics

Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered  by EF Schumacher 1974

If you cannot get hold of the book, you can read a pdf version at:  http://www.colinalexander.info/files/pdfs/Schumacher.pdf, as well as some of his famous quotes at: http://www.centerforneweconomics.org/content/small-beautiful-quotes.

An environmental classic and bible, this little book is one of the 100 most influential books published since the Second World War, according to The Times Literary Supplement, and it certainly made a big impact on my husband! The three major points he gleaned from the book are that the current growth-based economic system of the Western world is actually detrimental to people; takes no account of the environmental costs; and that smaller enterprises are far more efficient and people-friendly than larger corporations.

Schumacher, a British economist, published his critique of Western economics during the 1973 energy crisis and the emergence of globalization. While his figures are now out-of-date, his message is still as vitally important today, as when it was first published.

He argues that:

The modern economy is unsustainable;

Fossil fuels and other finite, non-renewable natural resources should be treated as capital rather than expendable income ;

Nature’s capacity to absorb pollution is also limited;

Gross National Product should not be used as a measure of human well-being; and that

Materialism should be secondary to ideals like justice, harmony, beauty and health.

He challenged mass production and statements like: ‘Growth is good’ and ‘Big is better’ and believed that governments should focus on sustainable development; the appropriate use of technology; the decentralization of large enterprises; and more people-centred economics of a human scale, addressing human needs, as if people mattered!

In his book, Schumacher predicted many of the issues we are now facing today:  a reliance on imports and exports; the energy crisis; and issues with oil consumption and dual economies in developing countries.

His book also inspired a number of offshoot organizations :

The Schumacher Institute (http://www.schumacherinstitute.org.uk), a think tank addressing many of these social, environmental and economic crises. Members use ‘systems thinking’ to determine sustainable solutions and promote convergent globalisation for a more equal distribution of wealth.

The Schumacher Centre for a New Economics (http://www.centerforneweconomics.org), which offers lectures, conferences and seminars on new economics; the annual EF Schumacher Lectures; an online collection of lectures and publications, including the Manas Journal and Lindisfarne Tapes; an e-newsletter; and the use of the Schumacher Library (also available online). It also offers programs like the Commons (Community Land Trust), Local Currencies and Berkshares, Community Supported Industry and a Curriculum for New Economics.

The Schumacher Circle (http://www.schumacherinstitute.org.uk/about-us/schumacher-circle/), a collection of organizations inspired by his philosophy and writings, including: the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, which we visited in 1994;  Jeevika Trust; New Economics Foundation (another think tank and a different organisation to the Centre for New Economics discussed above); the Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine; the Soil Association, of which my brother-in-law was a member for many years; Practical Action; and Schumacher College.

Schumacher College (https://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/), a wonderful educational institution for nature-based courses,  personal transformation and collective action.

Courses include:

Short courses like Sacred Activism; Nature Renewal; Agroecology; Leadership and Facilitation; Transitioning to an Ecological Civilisation; Ecological Restoration and Design; Nourishing the Soul; The Power of Local; and the Gross National Happiness Master Class;

Post graduate courses like Ecological Design Thinking; Ecology and Spirituality; and Holistic Science; and

Vocational courses like Sustainable Horticulture and a wide variety of crafts from cheese-making to kiln building, spoon-making, brewing beer and dressmaking.

See later entries on Vandiva Shiva (this post) and John Lane (next week’s post), both of them highly involved with this college.

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 Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson 2009

Written by a British professor, who was a sustainability adviser to the UK government at the time, the book supports the view that the only way to sustainability is an economy, which is NOT based on growth. Exponential economic growth, based on ever-increasing production and consumption, continues to deplete our dwindling finite resources, threatening the very ecosystems that sustain our economies.

He identifies key problem areas like the scarcity of oil, minerals and productive land, as well as sink problems, the capacity of the planet to assimilate the environmental impacts of economic activity, the major one being climate change, caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and accelerated by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.

Backed up by lots of evidence and figures, this book is not all gloom and doom and suggests a myriad of potential options for a green recovery and societies, which can still flourish, but within limits. A very important and readable book!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (547)

The Mystic Economist by Clive Hamilton 1994

Another book, written by an economist, which examines current economic theory and its detrimental impact on our lives, despite its claims to the contrary, and which argues for a more holistic approach to our economic system!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (551) - Copy

Quite a heavy book philosophically, it is well worth taking the time to read it, as there are lots of pertinent observations like the futility of materialism to buy happiness or give our lives meaning; the time-money debate (the trade off between work and leisure); and the huge gap in world views between Western capitalist societies and traditional indigenous peoples, the latter further explored in the following books:

3. Disconnect from Nature

Harmony by HRH The Prince of Wales, Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly 2010

As you will no doubt have surmised from a previous post (https://candeloblooms.com/2017/05/16/inspirational-and-dreamy-garden-books-part-two-books-about-specific-gardens/), I’m a bit of a fan of Prince Charles, who has been very prominent in his support of organic farming (as practised firsthand at his wonderful garden at Highgrove) and the ecological movement, as well as beauty in architecture, spirituality and the traditional arts.

In 2004, he even founded his own school, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (https://www.psta.org.uk/), which offers a variety of courses in the traditional arts of all the great civilizations of the world.

Courses include:

Traditional Methods and Materials of the Master Painters of the 14th to 17th Century;

Sacred Geometry;

Painting techniques from Byzantine Icon Painting to Indian and Persian Miniatures and Chinese Brush Painting; and

Mandalas;

Stained Glass;

Jewellery Making;

Ceramic Plate and Tile Making;

Carving Wood, Stone and Plaster;

Carpet Weaving;

Calligraphy; and

The Alchemy of Colour.

Theoretical study is integrated with practical application, with an emphasis on an awareness of:  ‘the holistic nature of the traditional artist, whose inspiration derives from the highest sources and whose skill and dedication creates masterpieces, which we can all recognize as part of our world heritage’.

There is a Postgraduate Academic Program (Masters and Doctoral level), including an Outreach Program in 20 countries over 5 continents, as well as an Open Program for the wider community and, for a younger audience, a Harmony Schools Program, in which mathematics, geography, history, science and art are integrated.

I would love to be a student at this wonderfully inspiring college, but in lieu of this possibility, I thoroughly enjoyed his book, in which he outlines his philosophy, his concerns for the planet and human civilization and ways to redress the balance!

He examines the essential principles of harmony, defined as the active state of balance between human society and the natural world, and which we ignore at our peril, as neglect will eventually result in a collapse of our very life-support systems.

These principles include :

Cycles, rhythms and patterns;

Diversity;

Beauty;

A holistic view; and

The interdependence of all living things.

He sources examples from scientific evidence to views and ideas drawn from many different religions, cultures and traditional peoples throughout history, who lived in harmony with their natural surroundings, all backed up by wonderful photos.

It is such an interesting and important book! Dick Smith (see below) obviously shares our appreciation and has made a practice of buying a large number of copies of this book and sharing it with his many acquaintances.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (502)

A documentary based on the book was made in 2012. See:  http://www.theharmonymovie.com/home.php.

This YouTube clip is a taster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeS2T4GnRe8.

The Sacred Balance: rediscovering Our Place in Nature by David Suzuki 1997

Another book by well-known environmentalist, David Suzuki, in which he compares our modern environmental challenges and current consumerist, nature-disconnected lifestyles with the traditional lifestyles and belief systems of indigenous peoples, which supported healthy environments and a sustainable form of living for millions of years.

He discusses basic human needs:

Physical: Clean air; Water; Fertile Soil; Energy; and Diversity;

Social: Love; and Connection; and

Spiritual;

and how these needs are met or not met and the consequences.

I particularly loved Ashley Montagu’s list of the psychic needs of the growing child for full development of its potential (seen on page 164, as well as the photo below), as well as all the pertinent quotes and poetry throughout the book.

Image (561) In his final chapter, Suzuki offers hope, with suggestions for meeting these basic needs and creating an ecologically sustainable, fulfilling life, as well as stories of people, who have put their beliefs into action to create such a life.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (551)

Since its first publication, 100 000 copies of the book have been sold.

David Suzuki also produced a three-part series called The Sacred Balance, which can all be seen at  the following links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVqnmX4Lh9U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8T0hsYLUAo  and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Sf_0ajeifA.

The book has also inspired a beautiful four-part documentary (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/sabas.html), each part accessible on this link and accompanied by teacher study guide (http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/sabasguide.pdf).

If you want a taster of some of Suzuki’s quotes, here is another link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/145364.David_Suzuki.

4. Climate Change

Climate change would have to be THE largest challenge facing life on earth and yet politicians, corporations and the general public are often not facing up to the enormity or the urgency of this issue or are, in some cases, denying its very existence and bullying the messengers. I have always found it incredibly difficult to understand these attitudes, when all these people have their own children and grand-children and no one will be exempt from the effects of climate change! The next book looks at climate change denial and its implications for life on earth.

Requiem For a Species by Clive Hamilton 2010

Supported by video-clips of his book launch and speeches at these three sites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zQDBP4YClA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mccKiZ9AfE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CXtx9xnQSw.

In this important book, Clive reiterates the facts about global warming and examines the many  psychological barriers and reasons people stick their heads in the sand, as very cleverly depicted by this sculpture ‘No Climate for Change’ by Phillip Doggett-Williams from the Lorne Sculpture Show in 2011.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd50%october 2011 695 Here is the artist’s succinct statement:

We cannot hide from change. Dramatic social change, as is the global warming challenge, demands that individuals step beyond their political prejudices and self interest to build a collective wisdom that meets the challenges of the future with determination, persistence and optimism. The fundamental right of future generations is a right to a sustainable future.

Here are Clive’s thoughts about the reasons people hide from the momentous changes ahead:

Firstly, there is wishful thinking! Yes, it is a very hard and frightening notion to comprehend, but it is only going to get worse if we don’t face up to it and do something about decreasing global greenhouse emissions!

Then, there is the disconnect from nature, already mentioned by the previous books. Farmers and gardeners are all too aware of the changing climate!

The consumer culture and growth economics play a major part in climate change denial, because acceptance would require major changes to our lifestyles, and then there is the very damaging role of political conservatism and active lobbying by the wealthy and powerful fossil fuel industry. What is even worse is that we do have alternatives to the latter, which are feasible and effective, and have known about this problem for the last 50 years and yet we have done so very little to address it until it is too late!

Current predictions are for a rise of up to 5 degrees Celsius by 2070 (unless there is a concerted attempt to reduce emissions) and that figure is probably conservative, as it is very difficult to determine the effects once tipping points are reached. And climate change doesn’t just mean rising temperatures, but more extreme and frequent weather events like severe cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves and fires, resulting in major human suffering and enormous repair costs, not to mention rises in sea level with the melting of the ice sheets; displacement of peoples living in low lying areas; uncertain food production and mass extinctions of plants and animals on earth.

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Living in the Hothouse: How Global Warming Affects Australia by Ian Lowe 2005

We have always admired Ian Lowe, an Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University, Queensland (where my husband studied Environmental Science back in 1976), as well as being the President of the Australian Conservation Foundation from 2004 to 2014.

This is a very important and topical book, especially now we are over 10 years down the track and the situation is getting far worse and has still not been adequately addressed! What amazes me about all the prevaricating and not facing up to the problem is that we knew about this problem back in the late 1970s – the figures on greenhouse warming in Ross’s old environmental textbooks are spot on with their predictions – and while there appeared to be some potential for change in the 1980s, it was quickly squashed by climate change deniers and the major coal companies.

In Chapters One and Two, Ian Lowe explains the scientific basis to the greenhouse effect, especially in relation to climate change in Australia – its effects on temperature, rainfall, sea levels, tropical cyclones, snow lines, and especially extreme weather events and their severity and frequency.

In Chapter Three, he discusses the impact of climate change on agriculture; forestry; water resources; coastal development (and let’s not forget that most of the world’s major cities and urban populations were historically developed on the banks of estuaries and harbours!); the natural environment (bush fires, changed patterns of land use, loss of biodiversity and extinctions); and human health.

Chapter Four examines the implications for energy use, while Chapter Five suggests broad strategies for responding to climate change :

Adaptation;

Prevention;

Other options including:

Renewable energy;

Alternative approaches to transport: car efficiency; public transport; car pooling; cycling; and walking;

Land use planning; and

Reversing deforestation and restoring forest cover.

Chapter Six looks at the politics of greenhouse at all governmental levels: Local, State, Federal and International, as well as economic issues and impediments.

His final chapter is based on his conference presentation in 2001, where he looks at the driving forces increasing our emissions: population growth; lifestyle choices; and the consumption of material resources.

He suggests policies to cut greenhouse emissions, including:

‘A target of 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2012’. Well, that certainly didn’t happen!;

The elevation of minimum energy performance standards for all new appliances to be world best practice within 3 years;

Encouragement of public transport and cycling and the design and development of low-transport cities ( Eg. Banning cars from the CBD- maybe this will start to happen as a result of recent terrorist attacks!);  and

The installation of solar hot water systems in all new buildings;

as well as a number of approaches individuals can take to reduce their emissions.

The inaction (and positive subservience to the coal industry and multinationals!) of our current major political parties means that change has to come from the grass roots level- the individual and local government, who seem to be the most effective propagators of positive change!

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While it is very easy to become despondent about climate change and the future, there are some wonderful people out there, working for change, and it is important to maintain hope, as Al Gore explains in his latest film: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, currently screening. See the following links about this amazing man and his film:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/climate/al-gore-climate-change-timestalks.html;

http://www.outwardon.com/article/hope-about-climate-change/;   and

https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/al-gore-inconvenient-sequel-truth-to-power-message-of-urgency-and-hope/84562/.

5. Australia

The following books also highlight other environmental challenges, especially in relation to Australia.

Shouldn’t Our Grandchildren Know: An Environmental Life Story by Graham Chittleborough 1992

A very interesting and readable book, tracing his development as an ecologist from studying seals, penguins and albatrosses on Heard Island in the Antarctic in 1949 to researching humpback whales and crayfish (Western Rock Lobster) on the Western Australian coast in the 1950s and 1960s and pollution in Cockburn Sound in the mid 1970s.

Along the way, Graham developed an increasing awareness of environmental issues facing Australia at that time from the accelerated loss of biodiversity, mainly due to habitat destruction, but now greatly exacerbated by climate change; the depletion of forests and land degradation; aridity, salinization and the low nutrient levels of our soil; air pollution and acid rain; and the enlarging hole in the ozone layer and increased greenhouse gases. He also came to grief with a number of governmental authorities, because of his criticisms about their failure or inability to address these problems.

His message is clear:

As a species, we are living beyond our means, both economically and environmentally. Current government policy, based on growth economics and an ever-increasing population and consumption, is suicidal, given the fact that Australia has a strictly limited carrying capacity, and will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life and standard of living for future generations.

He advocates:

An attitudinal change from a consumer to a conserver society;

The adoption of a steady state population and economy;

Treatment of the primary cause rather than constant band-aiding;

The decreased use of resources, especially fossil fuels; and

The adoption of renewable energies like wind and sun.

All suggestions being eminently common sense in my mind!

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 A Big Fix: Radical Solutions for Australia’s Environmental Crisis by Ian Lowe 2005

Written over 10 years ago now, this book identifies the major environmental issues facing Australia at the time and suggests recommendations for change, based on a non-growth steady state economy.

In Chapter Two, page 21, he defines a sustainable society as one which will:

prevent damage to the ecosystem services on which all human life depends’, which will ‘protect biodiversity, manage precious resources, prevent pollution and land degradation, and curtail disturbances to the great bio-geochemical cycles of the Earth’ and ‘pay careful attention to population pressures and consumption levels’.

He examines the key resource problems Australia faces:

Oil, upon which our entire transport system is dependent;

Fresh water: for drinking, washing, growing food, cooling over-heated equipment, producing minerals); and

Productive soils for agriculture, due to erosion, salinity and urban expansion;

as well as the notions of social equity and stability, our unique Australian culture, spiritual aspects and planning for our economic future, rather than blindly relying on ‘the magic of the market’.

In Chapter Three, he discusses:

The Great Barrier Reef, ‘Australia’s most outstanding natural asset’ (Page 43), at threat from mainland run-off, trawling and over-fishing and particularly, coral bleaching from rising sea temperatures from climate change, not to mention the risk posed by ships using the waters between the mainland and reef, especially oil tankers and now, quite possibly, Adani coal carriers!;

The Murray-Darling System, ‘Australia’s greatest river system’, upon which the environmental and economic health of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia depend;

Salinity and Land Degradation; and

The Biodiversity Crisis, also to escalate dramatically with

Climate Change, which is also put under the spotlight.

Chapter Four examines the causes of the problems: population; consumption; lifestyle choices and our economic system, while Chapter Five looks at a different more sustainable society with a healthier, more stable population; stable consumption; zero waste; no loss of natural areas, restoration; a low-carbon society; greater equity; better decision-making processes and more mature politics.

He finishes with a look at:

The four major steps to change:

Discontent with the status quo;

Vision for a better future;

Developing feasible pathways to where we want to be; and

Commitment; as well as

Obstacles to change:

Short-Term Thinking;

Incomplete Knowledge;

Technical Hubris: the notion of technical fixes to any problem eg Carbon capture and desalinization plants;

Econo-Mysticism: the faith that pricing will solve problems; and

Cheer-Mongering: the belief that humans can solve any problem; and the

Role of the Mass Media, which is increasingly under the control of a diminishing number of players.

This is a very well-thought out book with a very sensible approach to solving some of our pressing problems and should be essential reading for politicians from both sides of the political spectrum!

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6. Overpopulation

Bigger or Better by Ian Lowe 2012

In my  final book by Ian Lowe, the patron of Sustainable Population Australia, he turns his attention to Australia’s population numbers and the effects of a larger population on our resources and environment, our society and our economy.

He argues that we need to stabilise our population as soon as possible and that Australia cannot support a large population due to its preponderance of dry areas; its unpredictable rainfall; and soils with low nutrients; and the fact that most of the population is concentrated on the narrow coastal eastern seaboard.

He also examines the key stakeholders in the population debate and their agendas, as well as the politics of population growth.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (548)

The argument for the need to stabilise population growth is also supported by :

Dick Smith’s Population Crisis 2011

An excellent publication, written by Dick Smith, a prominent businessman, who knows the business world backwards and warns that we are on a totally unsustainable path with an ever-increasing population and an economy based on ever-expanding consumption.

Unless we stabilise our population as soon as possible, we run the risk of a major crash, whether it is due to climate change, depletion of resources or fossil fuels or pollution.  We really do ignore these warning signals at our peril!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (546)

And finally, two wonderful and comprehensive books, written by two very knowledgeable and committed women!

7. The Big Picture

Making Peace With The Earth by Vandana Shiva 2012

Vandana Shiva, who initially trained as a physicist, is a philosopher, environmental activist, author of over 20 books, educator (see Schumacher College), eco-feminist and one very courageous and strong woman!

She established a research foundation for Science, Technology and Education in 1997 and  is a leader and board member of the International Forum on Globalization (http://ifg.org/), which analyses the cultural, social, political, and environmental impacts of economic globalization, and promotes equitable, democratic, and ecologically sustainable economies.

She also founded a wonderful organization called Nandavya (http://www.navdanya.org/), meaning ‘Nine Seeds’, promoting seed saving, food sovereignty and organic sustainable agriculture and the protection of biological and cultural diversity.

In this book, Vandiva Shiva is highly critical of large transnational corporations (including the Adani Group!), and governments, which support them to the detriment of their own country.

She cites many examples of destructive developments by multinationals in India, which result in the destruction of local economies and dismantling of local communities, with the ever-increasing drift to cities to find work. While she focuses on India in her book, the issues raised are relevant to the whole world.

She also believes that women need to be involved in the democratic process. BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (501)

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein 2014

Another very comprehensive summary of the current environmental challenges the world faces by another very strong woman. She focuses on climate change and the enormous detrimental effects of our economic system on our environment and what we can do about it.

Like Vandiva Shiva, Naomi is very scathing of world trade agreements, which are totally out of synch with talks on climate change, and multinationals, who have no allegiance to anyone or any government and no regard for local environments or peoples.

She also is a very strong feminist, who believes that it is vital that women have more power in the world. There is so much detailed information in this wonderful book that you really have to read it!

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While it is easy to get depressed about the enormous challenges we face, all the books mentioned suggest constructive ways to address these problems and offer hope for the future.

In my final post on environmental books next week, I am focusing on the ways we, as individuals, can make positive changes and live more sustainable lives with lower carbon footprints and less impact on our beautiful fragile planet.

Rose Pruning

It’s rose pruning time in the Southern Hemisphere!

Pruning can be an art form or very brutal and basic, depending on its location; your needs and your time:

If a shrub is getting too big for its location, it will need pruning to restrict growth and keep enough air flow around the plant.

If you want a large single flower: remove more wood; or a mass of small flowers: leave more growth.

I have even seen time-poor gardeners take to the shrub with a chainsaw and the plant still survives and sends out lots of flowers in the new season, but I would probably avoid this technique, as I think you have more control and can make more considered decisions using secateurs, as well as still have continual flowering if you are doing minor pruning while there is still plant growth.

However, this post is about the major prune at the end of the growing season and before the next one!

Pruning Time

In areas with mild Winters: Winter to early Spring.

There are two schools of thought! Later pruning avoids damage to new growth by late frosts, but earlier pruning of repeat-flowering roses allows them to get a head start and have a longer flowering period.

Old once-flowering roses can be pruned immediately after flowering, unless you want the decorative hips.

In areas with cold Winters: Delay pruning till the Spring growth is starting.

We tend to prune in late July to early August, because of our frosts. Here is a photo of our wild and woolly Soho rose garden, last week in the depths of Winter, followed by a photo of the garden post-pruning!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 12.44.03BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 15.02.08 Pruning Technique

Make sure your secateurs are sharp and clean. Have a pruning saw or large pruning shears handy for tougher wood.

Disinfect secateurs if plants are a bit diseased, so you don’t spread  any disease. I soaked two pairs of secateurs (so one pair could be soaking, while I used the other,  swapping them for each new rose) in solution of diluted methylated spirits: 3 parts metho to 1 part water and soak 15 minutes.

And wear strong gloves to protect your skin from vicious thorns!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.12.07Prune to an outer bud, so the new growth shoots away from the plant, rather than towards the centre; and

Cut the stem on a diagonal, just above the node, so that any pooled water runs off and downwards away from the shoot, rather than into the corner, where the new shoot branches off the main stem. Refer to the websites at the end of the post for clear explanatory diagrams!

BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.17.44Remove any spindly, ill, dying or dead shoots. Cut right back beyond the disease source, so that the surface of the cut is clean and there is no sign of disease in the stem.BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 14.05.31Remove the following :

Any stems growing inwards and overcrowding the centre of the bush, to allow for more air flow.

Any branch crossing another and rubbing against it, resulting in damage and the creation of a possible site for infection; and

Any suckers, which come from the root stock below the bud union and will rob your rose of its nourishment.

Note: Suckers are best pulled out, rather than cut, which still allows for their regrowth. Here is a sucker on my Fair Bianca:BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.40.18And above all, don’t overstress!!! Roses are tough and even Hybrid Teas will recover well after a good prune!

Pruning Amount

The amount you prune a rose is dependent on the type of rose:

Species Roses and their hybrids, Ground Cover Roses and Miniature Roses require little or no pruning, except the removal of old spent or dead  wood.

Ramblers can also be left to their own devices, unless you are growing them over an arch or pergola, in which case, remove any shoots growing in the wrong direction and cut back side shoots to 8 or 10 cm.

Modern Shrub Roses can be treated like Species Roses, unless they repeat-flower well, when they should be pruned like English Roses, cutting the main shoot back by a third and the side shoots to 8 or 10 cm. Here is Fair Bianca, a David Austin rose, before and after its haircut!BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.40.23BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.44.08Old Roses also require minimal pruning, removing only dead and dying wood, and should not be touched for the first two years. After that, they can be pruned if needs be, their main shoots cut back by a third and side shoots to 8 cm. Very tall roses can be pruned to half their height if they are getting away! Cut back any dead branches hard.

Hybrid Teas and Floribundas should be pruned to 12 cm from the ground in their first year, and after that, prune the stronger shoots to half their length and the thinner side shoots to 5 or 8 cm. Here are before and after photos of Mr. Lincoln, a Hybrid Tea:BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 13.14.45BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 15.02.18Standards should be left with a broad head, while growth should be encouraged in Weeping Standards to ground level.

Repeat-Flowering Climbers require special pruning, depending on which wood they flower on: Noisettes (especially the larger flowering varieties), Climbing Teas, Hybrid Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals flower on wood produced in the same year, while ramblers and scramblers (R. arvensis; R. wichuraiana; R. sempervirens; R. multiflora and R. setigera) flower on wood produced in the previous year.

In the first type, the main stem should be tied or secured with wire or cleats in as many directions as possible, including a horizontal direction to encourage vertical laterals in the coming season. The side shoots, which bore last season’s flowers, should be shortened to 8 or 10 cm or to one third their length. These spurs will then produce several flowering shoots, which will then be pruned in turn the following year to produce an increasing number of flowers.

With the ramblers and scramblers, leave them be for several years, till they densely cover their supports, and only prune when necessary after flowering in early Summer. Remove dead and old non-productive wood.

Having said that, I am not allowing my Wichuraiana Rambler, Albertine, to indulge in its typically thuggish behaviour, due to lack of room, and am keeping it under tight control, treating it as a climber rather than a rambler! In the photo below, I am training its prickly stems horizontally along the wire and trellis to encourage plenty of vertical growth along the stems, so eventually I will have a wall of pink roses against the shed.BlogPruningReszd2017-07-27 17.37.39After Pruning

It can be beneficial to prick over the soil with a fork to a depth of 2 to 5 cm to aerate the soil and remove weeds. Dig in a long-term fertilizer and mulch with well-rotted compost or animal manure.

If you would like more information about pruning your roses, here are three excellent sites, as well as a rose calendar:

https://www.treloarroses.com.au/index.php?route=information/information&information_id=146

http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/rose-pruning

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2288062.htm

http://www.nsw.rose.org.au/rose-care-calendar

Propagation by Cuttings

A terrific way to enlarge your rose collection without breaking the bank, as well as conserve old roses found in old abandoned homestead gardens, cemeteries and roadsides. It is also a great way to share your roses and swap cuttings. And finally, roses grown on their own roots avoids the problem of root competition by root stocks and they are tough! In windy situations or light soils, they anchor themselves more effectively.

Roses can also be propagated by seed, division, layering, budding and grafting and finally, tissue culture (micro-propagation), but cuttings are by far the easiest for the home gardener starting to propagate roses!

The best time to take hardwood cuttings is when the leaves begin to fall and the wood has ripened over the entire Summer. Choose mature, one-year old wood, the thickness of a pencil and 15 cm long, and cut to a growth bud at the top and bottom. For heel cuttings, keep a small slice of two-year old wood still attached at the base.

Remove leaves, dip the end of the cutting in root hormone powder or honey, push into a labelled pot of equal amounts of sand and moist peat, and place in a protected sheltered spot away from frost. A cold frame or warm glasshouse will encourage root development. By early Spring, the cuttings should start to root and the following Autumn can be planted out into their permanent position.

I took cuttings from my old Armidale garden and that of a fellow rose-a-holic during our first Winter here, and while some did not strike, many did, including my three cuttings of Albertine, which are now gracing the shed wall; three cuttings of Multiflora Rambler, Russelliana; two cuttings of New Dawn, another Wichuraiana Rambler, and Climbing Hybrid Tea Rose, Mrs Herbert Stevens; and one cutting each of a Climbing Tea Rose, Sombreuil; a Centifolia, Fantin Latour; a Noisette, Reve d’Or; Bourbons: Mme Isaac Pereire and La Reine Victoria; and Shrub Roses, Leander and Fritz Nobis. Most of them are now planted out in my garden and growing madly, with a few given away as gifts.

Good Luck with all your rose pruning! May your house be filled with masses of blooms and scent this coming season!

Next week, we return to reviewing our natural history library with a post on books about the environmental challenges facing our unique and special planet and all its inhabitants.

Our Beautiful Earth: Part Four: Natural History Books: Reference Guides

In this post, I will be discussing some fabulous general reference guides to life on earth, including the elements which underpin its very existence: the geology and soils, the weather and climate and lastly, the amazing night sky!

Natural History by Smithsonian Institute 2010

A fabulous door-stopper of a book for anyone interested in natural history and our amazing and unique planet with its huge diversity and extraordinary wealth of plant and animal life – in fact over 1.9 million living species described to date, with more than 20 000 new species discovered and described each year.

It starts with a note on how to use the book, including pointers on size measurements; and plant icons and abbreviations, followed by a general introduction to life on Earth: its geological foundations; evolution of life forms and the classification of organisms. Active geological processes, changing climates, different habitats, human impacts, origins of life, evolution and diversity, natural and artificial selection, animal genealogy and a Tree of Life are all included in this chapter.

The majority of the book is devoted to an amazing in-depth catalogue of 5000 full colour entries, including Minerals, Rocks and Fossils; Microscopic Life Forms; and the Plant, Fungi and Animal Kingdoms.

Each entry has

: a Section Introduction, highlighting the characteristics and behaviours that define the group and discussing their evolution over time, with classification boxes displaying current taxonomic hierarchy and highlighting the level of the group under discussion and a box showing the different groups of species;

: a Group Introduction with key features : distribution, habitat, physical characteristics, life cycle, behaviour and reproductive habits;

: a Species Catalogue with common and scientific names; family; height; essential notes and annotated colour photos, showing relative sizes;    and

: a Feature Profile, which examines single specimens with close-up photographs and side profiles and data sets of size, habitat, distribution and diet.

Almost an essential reference for every library, it is a wonderful guide to the huge diversity of life on earth with all its variety of form, colour, texture, size and function.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (517)Another useful site, particularly for Australian flora and fauna is the Atlas of Living Australia: http://www.ala.org.au/.

Biology: An Australian Focus by Pauline Ladiges, Barbara Evans, Robert Saint and Bruce Knox 2008

Every natural history library should have an academic book devoted to biology, especially if it is a major interest,  and this is a good one, because it has an Australian focus, as well as a student interactive CD-ROM in the back.

It starts from the basics of life with cell biology and energetics and genetics and molecular biology, progressing through to plant form and function; animal form and function; evolution and biodiversity; and ecology, including Australian biota, population ecology, ecosystems and communities, and human impacts.

Plant Form and Function includes reproduction, growth and development of flowering plants; plant structure and nutrition; and plant hormones and growth responses, while Animal Form and Function covers animal reproduction and development; animal and human nutrition;, gas exchange in animals; circulation; water, solutes and excretion; innate defences and the immune system; hormonal control; nervous systems; animal behaviour; and their responses to environmental stress.

Evolution and Biodiversity is a huge chapter, which examines phylogeny and classification systems; the evolving earth (fossils; plate tectonics and continental drift; geological eras and biogeographic regions); and mechanisms of evolution, followed by a detailed look at all the different life forms: bacteria; viruses; protists; plants; fungi; and animals (sponges; jellyfish, sea anemones and corals; flukes and worms; molluscs; insects;  starfish; fish; amphibians; reptiles; birds; mammals; primates and humans).

I really enjoyed the chapter on Australian biota and its evolution from the time when Australia was part of Gondwanaland through the various geological eras and the influence of changing climate and aridity; changing landforms and weathering of soils; increasing frequency of fire; the glacial periods; and the arrival of humans on the continent and their impact. Terrestial and marine environments; the El Nino-Southern Oscillation influence; marine diversity; Australian flora and some of its main families and adaptive characteristics; and our unique fauna, including ancient megafauna, are also discussed in some detail.

The final chapter on human impacts is also very pertinent to Australia and looks at a host of environmental problems and concepts from decreasing biodiversity; biodiversity hotspots; land clearing and fragmentation;  the introduction of new species and the impact of feral animals and weeds; integrated pest management; land and water degradation; soil acidification;  increasing salinity; pollution; the greenhouse effect; climate change; coral bleaching; the illegal trade in endangered species; sustainability; and conservation and restoration ecology.

Being an academic textbook, each chapter concludes with a summary; key terms; self-assessment, review and extension questions and suggestions for further reading. An excellent book for basic biological concepts!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (553)Smithsonian Earth  edited by James F Luhr 2005

Another terrific Smithsonian publication, this time focusing on the Earth !

Its history : geological time; fossils; its building blocks; birth of the solar system; the development of life forms through the various geological eras; the ice ages; and the development of humans, all supported by a tabulated time line at the top of the page.

Its place in space : the universe; the solar system; the relationship between the earth and the sun and moon.

Its anatomy: the earth’s structure, shape, form and layers; the Earth’s magnetic field;  the core, mantle and crust; mineral formation, crystal structure and shape, mineral classification and identification tests; rock types and examples; fossil fuels; and soils: their formation and types.

The changing Earth : plate tectonics, boundaries and movement; weathering and erosion; deposition; mass movement; the impact of meteorites (with examples from all over the world); water (water properties and different forms; the global and local water cycles; and water resources); and life (diversity; evolution; extinctions; biomes and ecosystems; biogeography; nutrient cycles; and threats to biodiversity).

Land features: mountains and volcanoes, fault-lines and hot springs and geysers; rivers and lakes; glaciers and deserts; grasslands and  tundra;  forests and wetlands; and agricultural and urban areas.

Oceans : currents; reefs; polar oceans; oceans of the world; tides and waves; coasts and sea level; and erosional and depositional coastlines.

: Atmosphere : atmospheric structure; energy; circulation; climate regions; climate change; air masses and weather systems; precipitation and clouds; and wind.

: Tectonic Earth : focusing on all the specific earth plates, with details like area, highest and lowest points, major features, major city, and population and boundaries with lots of illustrative examples.

A wealth of information , presented in a very simple and clear format with lots of interesting examples and great photos. This is another essential book for your library!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (531)Australian Volcanoes by Russell Ferrett 2005

Large areas of Eastern Australia have experienced intense volcanic activity over the past 40 Million years, resulting in the creation of many landforms, which have since been eroded to varying degrees. I was fascinated to learn that 16 of Australia’s volcanoes have been formed by the crustal Australian plate moving northward over hotspots in the Bass Strait, with the oldest volcano at 35 Million years old at Hillsborough, Qld and the youngest at less than 10 million years old at Mt Macedon. Also, more disconcertingly, that the Victorian volcanic region is not actually extinct, but has been resting the last 4000 years and could actually become active again!

This book examines the earth’s structure; the different types of volcanic activity in Australia; the types of eruptions; volcanic material (tephra, lava and volcanic rocks and their formation); and types of volcanic landforms (volcanic cones; domes; plains; lava tubes; tumuli; plugs; dykes and sills), before concentrating on specific volcanic features in Australia, many of which we have visited. These include the Atherton Tableland with its crater lakes and Undara Lave Tubes in North Queensland; the Glasshouse Mountains, just north of Brisbane, Queensland, and Mt Warning in Northern New South Wales; the Warrumbungles and Ebor Volcano, New South Wales; Mt Canoblas near Orange, New South Wales; Lord Howe Island and Heard Island; the Organ Pipes National Park; Mt Macedon; the Camperdown district; Tower Hill and Mt Eccles in Victoria; Mt Gambier, South Australia;  Circular Head and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania; and the diamond deposits in Western Australia’s Kimberleys.

It is a fascinating book and explains the formation of all these landforms clearly and simply.

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Rocks and Minerals by Chris Pellant 1992

This is a Collins Eye Witness Visual Guide to over 500 rocks and minerals from around the world. It is a perfect book for rock and gemstone collectors, with introductory chapters on rock collecting; geological maps and field equipment; the home kit and organizing your collection. It then has a section on mineral definition, formation, composition, characteristics (crystal systems, habit, cleavage, fracture, hardness, specific gravity, colour, streak, transparency and lustre) and identification.

The section on rocks covers their formation; types of metamorphism; the characteristics of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and a rock identification key.

The world of geology is an enormous and complex subject, but this little book explains the basics so well, that it is interesting to even the lay person like myself and it is so important for the natural history lover to have a basic knowledge of rocks and minerals, as they underpin the rest of life itself: the soils, the plants and the animals, which live in each habitat.

Each entry is categorized into its group and there is a short note about each group at the beginning, followed by specifics about each rock and mineral. Coloured tabs at the top and bottom of each mineral entry denote the group to which it belongs, its chemical composition, its hardness, specific gravity and its cleavage and fracture properties.

The main text includes notes on its characteristics, formation, and chemical tests for identification. There are clear photographs, annotated with identification features, and drawings of the visual outline of its crystal system. The igneous rock entries have coloured tabs of its classification group, its origin, grain size, crystal shape, chemical classification, occurrence and colour; the metamorphic rock tabs also include pressure, temperature and structure, while those of the  sedimentary group includes fossils. The main text in the rock entries discusses their chemical composition and content, as well as texture and origin.

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I would really like to have a copy of this book, now that we are living on the South Coast:

A Geological Guide to Canberra Region and Namadgi National Park by Geological Society of Australia (ACT Division) 2009.* See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/a-geological-guide-to-canberra-region-and-namadgi-national-park/gs9780646487342.aspx.

Colour in Nature by Penelope A Farrant 1999

A  fascinating book about the world of colour and its manifestation in nature. It combines information from across the board of scientific study: astronomy, geology, zoology, botany and physics.

It starts with a chapter on the nature of colour: its production; perception; visible light; spectroscopy; refraction, reflection, diffraction, interference and absorption; and iridescence and polarisation.

Further chapters explore :

Colour in the universe;

Atmospheric colour : including noctilucent clouds; coloured coronas, double rainbows and auroras;

Colours of the earth’s surface : oceans; rivers; glacial lakes; reflections; precious gems and opals; and different types of rocks and soils;

Colourful habitats :  tropical and subtropical rainforests; deciduous and coniferous forests; polar and mountainous areas; grasslands and deserts; oceans and lakes; and the darkness of caves and the deepest depths;

Leaves : photosynthesis and chlorophyll; other pigments; variegated leaves; Autumn colour of deciduous trees; new Spring growth; and low light habitats;

Flowers and Fruits : evolution of flower colour; inflorescences; variable and changing colour; pigments; environment and colour; pollinator preferences; fruit colours to attract birds; ripening fruits and seed colour;

Seeing in colour: light receptors; simple and compound eyes; adapting to light and dark; seeing underwater; animal eyes; human colour vision and colour blindness;

Animal pigments : skin colour and melanins; colour abnormalities and albinism; and all the different animal pigments with examples in the animal world;

Structural colour in animals : interference; iridescence; background colour; transparency; coloured lights; light regulation; luminescent lures; bioluminescence; nacreous pearls; and blue eyes.

Changing and variable colours : chromatophores; colour change with mood, day and night and camouflage; cuttlefish and chameleons; environmental factors and  visual stimuli; seasonal colour change; sexual colours; changes with age; colour and natural selection;

Survival strategies : camouflage and communication: false colours; warning colours; toxic insects; mimesis and mimicry; and  colour mimics in plants; and finally,

Colour, nature and humans: colour wheels; primary, secondary and tertiary colours; colour harmony and clash; colour in the garden; foliage colour; photography; and natural pigments and dyes.

The world of colour, particularly in nature, is such an enormous and endlessly fascinating field. This book offers a wonderful insight into everything to do with colour and, even though it can be quite complex with so much to know, the text and beautiful photographs help expand that knowledge and understanding of some of the basic concepts, like the colour changes with age and the seasons.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (539)

The Australian Weather Book by Keith Colls and Richard Whitaker 2001

A very important book, given the enormous contemporary challenges of the changing climate! Climate change is upon us, whether we like it or not, and we are only just seeing the tip of the ramifications to come, and yet so many people still stick their heads in the sand and try to deny it, despite the wealth of scientific evidence:  the melting ice caps and sea level rises; the extinction of plant and animal species, changes in migration patterns and the dying of the coral reefs; the higher temperatures; and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like floods, droughts and fire. I find the denial really hard to understand, given that these people have children and grandchildren, who will not be able to be insulated from the effects of the climate and will have to deal with the problems our generation has created. If one excludes sheer greed or fatalism, the only other excuse is ignorance about the weather and the fact that so many people have been separated from nature and live in controlled urban environments for most of their day. Hence, the importance of this book!!!

It starts with the history of meteorology, followed by notes, accompanied by weather maps, on our diverse Australian climate: its rainfall; temperature; snow and frost; thunderstorms and hail; hours of sunshine and cloud cover; evaporation; drought and flood; tropical cyclones and wind (cyclones and floods being particularly topical and pertinent, given recent weather events!); humidity; and climatic discomfort.

The third chapter discusses the general circulation of the atmosphere: its chemical composition; vertical structure; and global wind circulation, while the following chapters focus on macro-scale circulations (air masses and the forces acting upon them in the atmosphere; weather fronts and low pressure systems; and what those isobars on the nightly TV weather maps mean!); meso-scale circulations (sea breezes, the southerly buster, topographic and downslope winds, eddies and cloudlines) and clouds (their formation and type).

Meteorological instruments (barometers, thermometers, rain gauges, anemometers and weather stations) are discussed, as well as the effects of weather on society and finally, climate change, including its history and theories, greenhouse gases and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere.

Further reading and websites and a glossary are provided in the back. A very factual and informative book from the Australian  Bureau of Meteorology.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (530)

The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney 2006

For those of you, who wanted more than just one chapter on clouds, here is a whole book, written by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2004! I love his manifesto, especially his description of clouds as nature’s poetry and an expression of the atmosphere’s mood, as well as his inclusion of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s beautiful poem ‘The Cloud’, which starts :

‘ I am the daughter of Earth and Water and the nursling of the Sky…’!

After photos of the different cloud genera and a cloud classification table, he proceeds to discuss the low clouds: cumulus and cumulonimbus, stratus and stratocumulus; then the middle clouds: altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus; and the high clouds: cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus.

Each chapter has a guide to spotting that particular cloud type, including a description, its altitude, place of formation, precipitation, species and varieties and confusing look-alikes, as well as lots of interesting information about cloud-associated history, literature, mythology and artwork and their formation and effects. There are also accessory clouds, sidekicks to the 10 main cloud types: pileus, pannus and vellum, as well as supplementary features like tuba, the first sign of a waterspout (which we were lucky enough to see one day at Blue Pool, just south of Bermagui (see photo below), incus, mamma, arcus, virga and precipitatio; and the stratospheric and mesospheric  nacreous and noctilucent clouds.BlogEnvtlBooks2015-01-28 12.32.54There is even a chapter on contrails, formed by high altitude aircraft and their contribution to global warming;  the glider pilot’s cloud surfing nirvana, the Morning Glory of the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland; and a cloudspotter’s quiz, in which you should be able to get full marks after reading this entertaining and informative book!

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It really makes you appreciate the beauty of our daytime skies with their ever-changing array of clouds!  For our wondrous star-studded nighttime skies, I have three books:

The Night Sky by Steve Massey 2003/ 2007

A very practical guide to observing the sun, moon and planets.

It starts with a concise history of astronomy, followed by a guide to understanding how and where stars and planets are placed and can be found in the sky.

Part Two examines observing the solar system and everything concerning the sun and the moon, including solar and lunar eclipses, solar flares, sunspots, earthshine, the moon phases and the craters and geography of the moon.

Planets are discussed in order of their respective orbits or distance from the sun, starting with mercury and ending with the furthermost planet, Pluto. Each planetary chapter starts with a table, detailing salient details like its visual diameter, axial tilt, magnitude, number of known moons, distance from the earth and the sun, orbital period and primary atmospheric composition. It’s a mind-boggling field, even more confusing than geology and geological time periods! Information is included on observing each planet, their structure, surface markings and rings or moons and their transits.

There are also chapters on asteroids, comets, meteors and meteor showers, as well as an in-depth section on using the tools of the trade: telescopes, refractors, reflectors, catadioptric designs, focusers, finderscopes, collimation, telescope mounts and axis drives, drive motors, eye pieces, lenses and filters and even binoculars; as well as recording your findings with sketches, conventional film photography, CCD imaging, digital cameras and video recorders.

Throughout the book are beautiful photos, as well as clear explanatory diagrams. A very useful book for the home astronomer.

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The Book of Constellations by Robin Kerrod 2002

The night sky has been a constant wonder to peoples from all cultures and time periods and has inspired a large number of myths and legends, which are explored in this book, as well as a wealth of factual information about each heavenly body and information about locating it in the night sky.

I love all the names of the constellations and all the history and mythology behind them. Apparently, there are 88 constellations (finalised worldwide in 1930), 48 of which were recognized by Ptolemy and the Ancient Greeks in 200 AD. While the Greeks were responsible for the names of the constellations, the Arabs named many of the bright stars like Betelgeuse in Orion and Aldebaran in Taurus.

The book explores the concept of the celestial sphere with maps of the northern and southern constellations; the constellations of the zodiac (12); and the major constellations (33) and planets.

Each double page spread includes the mythology behind each constellation; its astronomical features; its location in the night sky; and a constellation map showing the main stars, linked together by a fanciful image of the name of the constellation group.

It is a fascinating book and introduced me to many new constellations, of which I had never heard, as well as informing me about the more familiar ones!  I was amazed to learn that the Ancient Babylonians and Greeks were far enough south to see the Southern Cross, our most famous Australian constellation, and that the little cluster of coloured stars, which can be seen with the naked eye and through binoculars, at the base of left-hand cross, close to Beta, is called the Jewel Box. BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (550)

Incidentally, the Australian aborigines had their own mythological stories about the night sky and often saw patterns in the negative space between the stars like The Emu in the Sky and the Seven Sisters that make up the star cluster known as the Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/whatis.htm and https://japingkaaboriginalart.com/articles/star-dreaming-seven-sisters/.

There are also two books about aboriginal astronomy:

Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy  by Ray and Cilla Norris 2008. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/book.htm  and

Night Skies of Aboriginal Australia- A Noctuary by Dianne Norris 1998 / 2014. See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/night-skies-of-aboriginal-australia—a-noctuary/sy9781743323878.aspx.

The Box of Stars by Catherine Tennant 1993

A similar publication in content to Robin Kerrod’s book, but with a slight different approach, using a lovely little boxed set of 32 cards called  Urania’s Mirror, originally hand-painted by ‘a lady’ and published in London in 1825.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (528) Each card is pierced with holes, which mark the stars of the constellation and which glitter when held up to the light, acting as a learning guide to each constellation.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - CopyThere is also a small booklet with night sky maps of the northern and southern hemispheres and seasonal descriptions of the stars, including lists of cards to use during that time.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - Copy - Copy Each card is further discussed with information about each constellation, its location and the mythology behind it. It complements the previous book well.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (534) - CopyBlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (535) - CopyThe Australian Sky by WJ Newell 1965

I am including this tiny little Jacaranda Pocket Guide, despite its age and the fact that some of its information is no doubt out-of-date (!), because its explanations are so good and easy to understand. Each constellation is covered in great depth and while it also covers the mythology behind the stars, it seems to have more information about the actual stars, especially in relation to the Australian night sky!BlogEnvtlBooks50%Image (646)

I feel astronomy is such a vast and complicated subject, one can never have enough books or guides and each one has a slightly different slant. Finally, here are some excellent websites on this subject:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/starhunt/

http://www.scitech.org.au/the-sky-tonight

https://maas.museum/observations/category/monthly-sky-guides/

http://asv.org.au/

https://astronomy.org.au/general/sky-guides/.

And lastly, a good atlas is essential in any well-stocked home library! In fact, you probably need at least three or four atlases in a lifetime, as borders are constantly changing, as well as environmental challenges, and cities and populations are always growing!

We were given The Times Atlas of the World as a wedding present back in 1983 and it served us well, particularly for the two overseas trips we made over the following ten years, but since then the European landscape has totally changed. Yugoslavia no longer exists, having been replaced by Slovenia, Croatia, Boznia-Herzgovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia; Czechoslovakia is now two countries: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic; while East Germany and West Germany are now the one Germany; and White Russia is now called Belarus.

So, in 2014, we decided we needed to update our library and update bought a new atlas:

Philip’s Atlas of the World: In Association with The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

While not as large as our original atlas, a distinct advantage, given the Times Atlas was an absolute whopper (!), this new atlas is incredibly comprehensive with a wealth of interesting information about our wonderful world!

The frontispiece features a Key to World Map Pages (including Keys to City Map Symbols and World Map Symbols; and World Maps Elevation and Depth Tints), while inside the back cover is a Key to European Map Pages and a World Country Index.

The atlas starts with a User Guide and Statistics for Countries (Area, in square kilometres or miles; Population; Capital City and Annual Income) and Cities (population figures), followed by large sections on :

The Future of the Oceans and Seas: Temperature; Salinity; Oceans and Carbon Dioxide; Oceanic Conveyor Belts; Ocean Currents; the Coriolis Effect; Oceans and Resources; Overfishing; Aquaculture; Oil; Dead Zones; Red Tides; Waste Material; Plastic; Ocean Acidification; and Rising Sea Levels.

Satellite Images of the Earth

Gazetteer of Nations (alphabetically organized):  Geography; Politics and Economy; and Key Statistics: area, population, capital city, ethnic groups as a percentage, languages, religions, currency; and a small map and flag.

World Geography:

The Universe: Life of a Star; Black Holes; Galactic Structures; the Home Galaxy; the End of the Universe; the Nearest Stars, with distances in light-years; Star Charts for both hemispheres; and a List of Constellations.

The Solar System: Planetary orbits; Planetary Data (Mean distance from the sun; mass; period of orbit; period of rotation; equatorial diameter; average density; surface gravity ;and number of known satellites); and descriptions of each planet.

Seasons, Time and Motion: The Seasons; Day and Night; Earth Data: distance from the sun; angle of tilt; length of year; superficial area; land and water surfaces; equatorial and polar circumference,s diameters and radii; and volume and mass; Sunrise and Sunset; the Moon and Moon data : Distance from the Earth; Size and mass; Visibility; and Temperature; Phases of the Moon; Eclipses; Tides; and a map of Time Zones and the International Date Line.

Geology of the Earth:

Model of the Earth; Continental Drift; Plate Tectonics; Distribution of Volcanoes; Geological Time Periods; a Map of Earthquake Zones; and a List of Major Earthquakes since 1900.

The Atmosphere:

Structure of the Atmosphere; Circulation of the Air; Frontal Systems; Chemical Composition; Air Masses; Classification of Clouds; Maps of Pressure and Surface Winds and Weather Records for barometric pressure (minimum and maximum); fastest wind speed; windiest place; and worst storm and tornado.

Climate: Climate and Weather Terms;  Maps of Climatic Regions, Temperatures and Precipitation; Temperature and Rainfall Figures; Beaufort Wind Scale;  Monsoons; and Climate Records (minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation; longest heatwave; driest and wettest places; and heaviest hailstones and snowfall).

Climate Change and Global Warming: Maps of World Carbon Dioxide Emissions per capita; and Annual Average Surface Air Temperatures and Annual Average Precipitation; Models of Regional Climate Change and Projected Changes in Global Warming; and Diagrams of Recent and Future Sea-Level Changes and Arctic Sea Ice.

Water and Vegetation: The Hydrological Cycle; Water Distribution; Annual Sediment Yield; Longest Rivers; and Maps, showing Water Scarcity and Natural Vegetation throughout the world.

Biodiversity and the Natural World: World Maps of Threatened Animal Species and Environmental Hotspots; a Map of Australia’s Introduced Species (rabbits, foxes and cane toads) and the Value of Nature (provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural services).

Population: World Maps of Population Density and Population Change; Diagrams and Graphs of World and Nation Income; Population by Continent; Japan’s Ageing Population; and World Population Change over Time; and Data Sets of the Largest Nations; Most Crowded Nations; Least Crowded Nations; and Fastest Growing and Declining Populations.

Food Supply: Water; Fertilizers; Demand for Meat; Pests, Diseases and Weeds; Genetic Modification; World Crop Production and Global Land Usage; Land Management; and Future Potential.

Cities: World Maps of Urban Population and Urbanization of the Earth over time; Graphs of World Urbanization, Urban Advantages (mortality/ literacy) and City Growth; the Largest Cities; Slum Cities; Sustainable Cities; and a List of Cities with over 10 Million inhabitants. Apparently, in 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities.

The Human Family: World Maps of World Migration; Refugees; and Predominant Languages and Religions.

Conflict and Cooperation: World Maps of the Global Peace Index and International Organizations; and Bar Graphs showing Refugee Numbers and Military Spending.

Energy:  World Maps of Energy Balance (the difference between energy production and consumption), Energy Production, and Oil Movements; Bar Graphs of World Energy Consumption and Energy Reserves (oil, gas and coal); Data Sets of Nuclear Power, Hydroelectricity and Wind Power; Peak Oil; Fracking; and Alternative Energy Sources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and biomass).

Minerals: World Map of Mineral Distribution; and Figures and Bar Charts for Specific Minerals (diamonds, blood diamonds; uranium; iron ore; rare earth elements and scrap metals).

Employment and Industry: World Maps of Employment, Industry and Trade, Unemployment, and Tourism and Travel; an Employment Pie Chart; the Percentage of Men and Women in Employment in Selected Countries; and a List of the World’s Busiest Airports.

Trade: World Maps of World Trade, Dependence on Trade (exports as a percentage of GDP), Globalization, Trade in Primary Exports and the Balance of Trade; a Bar Chart showing Traded Products, Pie Charts for Major Exports; and the Globalization Index.

Health: Millienium Development Goals; World Maps of Food Consumption and Infant Mortality; Bar Charts focusing on AIDS; Causes of Death, Medical Provision, Access to Safe Water, Sanitation, and Malaria; and Data Lists on Maternal Mortality Rates and Expenditure on Health in Selected Countries.

Wealth: World Maps of Income Levels, Inflation, and Growth in GNI; Bar Charts showing Indicators for Different Income Levels (high, middle and low), and Extreme Poverty; a Pie Chart for Continental Shares of Population and Wealth; State Finance; and Tackling Poverty.

Standards of Living: World Maps of Indexes for  Human Development and Gender Inequality; and Bar Charts showing Education Levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) in Selected Countries; the Distribution of Spending; Fertility and Education; and Gender Equality.

The next major section contains street maps of all the major world cities in alphabetical order, and then finally, we reach the main World Map Section: world maps of the physical and political world, including thicknesses and depths of the continental plates and oceans; followed by maps of each continent and individual countries.

It finishes with a geographical glossary and an index to all the World Maps with latitudes and longitudes, abbreviations and notes on pronunciation. An excellent publication!BlogEnvtlBooks20%Image (645)

Next week, I am discussing rose pruning, a timely topic since we have just finished pruning all our roses, ready for their new growth in Spring! We will then resume our book posts with the final parts of Our Beautiful Earth: Natural History Books, with two posts on the environmental challenges our special planet faces and measures we can take as individuals to help the situation, before finishing the cold season with a post on our Winter Garden.