Gardening Articles for week ending 18th June 2016
Written by Wally Richards.


There are two types of plants in our gardens and lawns, the ones we want and the ones we do not want.

Usually the ones we do not want we call weeds and as the saying goes; 'one man's rubbish is another man's treasure' which can also apply to weeds.

I say this because I have a friend who specializes in many plants most would call weeds. See

Not only does Julia cultivate numerous weeds she teaches people to do the same and how to turn these plants into smoothies for great health benefits.

I have an old book called A Modern Herbal By Mrs M. Grieve first published in 1931 my edition was from a reprint paperback in 1977 costing me $10.99 (very expensive back then) but well worth it having 912 pages. It is now out of print but copies are available through Amazon from 32 USD to 300 USD.

Of the over 800 plants in the book a large percentage we would likely call weeds.

In days before I was born the term Herb was used for most plants other than trees and shrubs.

This book gives the history of the plants and the medical properties along with most other information known at that time. In respect to health the book gives what the part of the plant is used and how it can be utilized.

Valuable information that has been lost over the years and only found in old writings and with a few elders.

One bit that I found while writing this article was Rose-Petal Sandwiches: Put a layer of rose petals in the bottom of a covered dish, then put in 4oz of fresh butter wrapped in wax paper, cover with a layer of rose petals, seal and put in a cool place overnight (fridge)

The more fragrant the roses the finer the flavour imparted. Then next day cut thin slices of bread, spread the now perfumed butter over then place several petals from fresh red roses between the slices, allowing the edges to show.

Violets or clover blossoms maybe used instead of roses.

Health benefits for red roses; (considered more astringent than others) it strengthen the heart, the stomach, the liver and the retentive facility; is good against all kinds of fluxes, prevents vomiting, stops tickling coughs and is of service in constipation. Interesting stuff.

My preferred classification of a weed is a plant growing where you do not want it to grow.

If it is a beneficial plant such as comfrey or mint; rather than have it as a nuisance in a garden, plant in a good size container so they cannot spread all over the place.

Before weed killers called herbicides were invented we used a number of methods to control 'weeds'

and it maybe on the cards that we will have to revert back to some of these old ways in the not too distant future.

The reason for this is that the number one weed killer glyphosate which you can find in the majority of weed killers for the home gardener from the original Roundup and also the active ingredient in so many other brand names.

Monsanto is quickly loosing the battle to keep its number one product in the world market.

The following is a piece of news I received this week:

The fate of Monsanto's flagship herbicide in the European Union (EU) remains unclear. Earlier this week, the standing Committee on Plants, Animals Food and Feed declined to extend authorization for glyphosate sales in the region. The sales license is set to expire at the end of this month.

Concerns about potential impacts of the widely used herbicide on human health are the main driver of the controversy. I

n April 2015, the World Health Organization's cancer experts found that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans." The European Food Safety Agency later found that glyphosate was not "likely" to increase cancer risk, although questions have been raised  about the methodology used by the agency to reach this conclusion.

Other impacts of the herbicide on both human and environmental health continue to emerge, and many public interest groups are pressing  for Monsanto's Roundup and related glyphosate products to be pulled off the shelf. 

After failing to gain approval earlier in the spring for a 15-year renewal for glyphosate use, the European Commission proposed a temporary 12-18 month extension of authorization, keeping the products on the market while health authorities re-examine evidence of health and environmental harms.

The proposal also included new restrictions on glyphosate use in public parks, playgrounds and gardens.

Their proposal failed to gain the support needed to pass. Representatives from several countries ­ including Germany, France and Italy ­ abstained from the vote, which means the required representation from 65 percent of EU's population was not met.

The issue is expected to go to an appeals committee the week of June 20. If no agreement is reached in these discussions, the sales license will expire on June 30 ­ and Monsanto's product will be withdrawn from the European market over the next six months.

In my personal opinion it is not before time as the damage glyphosate does to the soil and the environment besides our food chain and health has become immense since its discovery in the 80's.

Glyphosate is used on Roundup Ready GE crops such as soya and maize and these glyphosate saturated oils and sweeteners come into NZ in food stuffs imported to our Supermarkets.

Another momentous event comes into effect at the end of this month when On July 1, Vermont becomes the first state in USA to require all food that contains genetically modified ingredients be labeled as such.

(The state attorney general’s office intends to go after “willful violations” by manufacturers, not necessarily products that were produced before July 1 that may not be labeled.)

Monsanto has spent millions on trying to prevent Vermont and other states from having GMO labels which means at long last people will have the right to know what is in their food.

Thus readers we are now seeing the possible removal of glyphosate weed killers from our garden shops just as they have already been removed in France.

How will you cope? Well there are lots of safer ways to kill weeds many of which you have in your kitchen such as vinegar and cooking oil sprayed over weeds on a sunny day when the soil is dry.

Salt for areas such as cobbles and driveways or waste areas where you do not want weeds to grow.

Weed eaters with a pro-privot attachment, Dutch hoe and a sharp carving knife are all handy weed controllers.

Then there is the good old down on hands and knees weeding which allows you to contemplate Nature and relive stress. Reputed to be very good for your heart and health.

Tip for the Week: If you have a wood burner or fire place then when you do your pruning, tie the cuttings into bundles and store till dry, they make good free kindling.

Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at
Mail Order products at

NEWS is something which somebody wants suppressed: all the rest is advertising.

"There is an evil in this world and its name is CORPORATION.... and government is its servant." - Fr. Jim Stewart


nfortunately, medical science, on many fronts, has been hijacked and taken over. The profit motive is one objective, but beyond that, there is a more embracing goal: Totalitarian control.  It aims to replace your freedom, consciousness, and intelligence with its own synthetic versions.

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Replies to This Discussion

Beautiful info! I have a book titled Virtuos Weeds and have learnt many things about them. I have lemonbalm seedlings everywhere and I just love them so much that I can't pull them. I let the catmint grow in the paving last summer.. how adorable it was. The violents have been amaing this winter! I ate a few flowers and guess what... they taste like violets! It made me laugh

I'm now onto my third attempt to grow a choko. The back fence is no long an option as it's too shaded so I stuck the choko (a home-grown choko this time) in a pot with a lone dandelion. The dandelion came into flower, the aphids are all over the flower stems and leaving the choko alone! I've used dandelion leaf stalks on a few small weeping cancers and they have cleared up pretty well.

now that's smart Nym - I'm going to put in nasturtiums to take the aphid off other plants.  Garlic is another that  does the job (especially with Roses) however I'm only going through the motions - because the aphids actually disappear about two weeks after turning up on the roses... pesticide from the sky I suspect.

Thanks for the feedback


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