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Garden Museum, London

I’d got a note from Jane Perrone some time ago now. Essentially, there was a gentleman by the name of Christopher Woodward she felt I should have a chat with. Christopher, Jane noted was the Director of the London Garden Museum.

That I remember, the museum was in the process of trying to meet its opening day deadline and understandably so post that, my meeting may be more appropriate. The day after Chelsea Flower Show Press Day I popped in for my first visit.

The images below will give you a gist of just what was on display there at the time; and from the video the view from the top of the tower – not for week of knees – so well worth the 131 steps. Visuals aside, my still of horticulture hobby for sometime now allows and again allowed access (one of) the brains behind the scenes and the gentleman behind London Garden Museum, Director Christopher Woodward.

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Greenpeace Close BP petrol Stations ?

I saw this article this morning in the guardian which is copied in full below. I have no issues with greenpeace, as such. In fact they do quite well in highlighting issues with PR stunts. I also understand why BP are an easy target and possibly more importantly to Greenpeace, easy PR. But if you are going to close down petrol stations – close every single one of them, including BP.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter.


A Greenpeace activist puts up a banner as they block off a BP fuel station.

A Greenpeace activist puts up a banner as they block off a BP fuel station. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

BP petrol stations across central London were temporarily shut down by activists today in a move they said was designed to make the troubled oilcompany adopt greener policies.

Greenpeace claimed supporters had at one time stopped the pumps at 46 outlets by stealing parts of safety switches in forecourts – action the company said was “childish and irresponsible”.

The protests, coinciding with the replacement of BP chief Tony Hayward by Bob Dudley, was meant to encouraged the public to help speed-up the end of the oil age.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “The moment has come for BP to move beyond oil. Under Tony Hayward the company went backwards, squeezing the last drops of oil from places like the Gulf of Mexico, the tar sands of Canada and even the fragile Arctic wilderness … They’re desperate for us to believe they’re going ‘beyond petroleum’. Well now’s the time to prove it.”

About 50 protesters were involved in the action today, including three teams of 12 who moved between BP sites attempting to remove pieces of safety equipment which they intended to return later.

Greenpeace said it had been unable to halt the flow at a handful of stations and some had got services back on line quickly because of back-up equipment. The action is not thought to have led to any arrests by police, whom a Greenpeace spokesman deescribed as “relatively friendly and reasonable”.

But BP said the protesters had interfered with safety systems that allowed emergency services to switch off power to the pumps. “To interfere with them is just childish and irresponsible,” a spokesman said.

The company believed up to 30 stations had been affected.

UPDATE:

I thought the telegraph made a fair point personally

The Street reports it slightly different – 76 activists and 46 shops.

Some reports are saying 50 shops and 50 people – and theres at least 3 people in one video….. erm ?

Here’s what Greenpeace had to say

Just Call Me Peter

...

I have been a member of the Institute of Horticulture since I was about 23 years old. Sounded really good at that age [and in that era] to have Peter Donegan AI Hort [now MI Hort] for a name and title.

But what does MI Hort mean, to you or to me? Is it really doing anything for me? Really? I know there is the point that one only gets out of anything what you put in etc and to an extent I do agree. That said, I did get an email a long time ago asking if I had any suggestions [?] for the association. I replied. But I have never received any acknowledgement of that email.

The Institute of Horticulture is the only organisation that can truly claim to bring together all professionals involved with every aspect and facet of the diverse industry that is horticulture

Maybe the argument, for me, comes down to if I want MI Hort after my name – in exchange for a yearly fee. Maybe it’s just not the organisation for me?

From now on just call me Peter.

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richard corrigan [for the] silly farm… ?

...all the way to the bank

...all the way to the bank

Richard Corrigan called a press conference today. All of the media who were invited to Richards restaurant  were asked to sign a waiver as it was to be recorded for his television programme….. Corrigans city silly farm. In a  flawed variation of  Jamie Olivers School Dinners taking on the Prime Minister, Corrigan has decided to call for the abolition of Bord Bia ….eh?

Recently, Richard Corrigan has turned to the big screen on RTE to do a ‘show’, Corrigans City Farm; a documentary propaganda routine more than inspiration and a lifestyle model moronically and rediculously achieved, for the cameras. Niall Harbisons post will speak to what Bord Bia have done for Ireland from a food point of view. [my qualifications are horticultural rather than culinery]

In this cartoon version of reality, hens were introduced, to be held for four weeks. Also a  chicken coup ‘home’ that cost thousands… It would have been cheaper to buy an already organic farmed one. FACT. In the first weeks of the show an amazing amount of machinery was used to clear the site…. costing [more] thousands. I know even building my own coup, raised beds etc… it will take time to ‘balance the books’ so to speak financially. But it is not about money. It is a lifestyle.  Not say Richard Corrigan. And how on Gods earth would he know…? As the old theory goes, ‘you can’t just tell people to plant their annuals when they don’t know what annuals are’, is unknown to Corrigan. One needs to explain how to grow one seed first….

I’ve had my grievances with semi states. We all have. Minor, they may have been over trees or a garden design… they were solved. Not in the public eye. Mono é mono. As gentlemen should do. But when money and fame are concerned, maybe the gentleman is entitled to sell his soul…

The Press Release:

Richard Corrigan Calls For The Abolition Of Bord Bia

Bentleys Townhouse Dublin, Ireland: 8th of May 2009: Leading Irish chef Richard Corrigan today called for the abolition of Bord Bia or at the very least a radical rethink of how the body promotes Irish food in Ireland. The current situation, he believes, is highly unsatisfactory in that Bord Bia is prevented under EU law from promoting exclusively Irish produce in the domestic market through the Quality Assurance Scheme. This means that the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme can apply to produce from any EU country and is therefore deeply flawed.

Therefore buying Bord Bia quality approved products does NOT ensure the following:

* That the products are Irish

* That the products are GMO-free

* That the interests of Irish farmers and consumers are a priority

“I believe that the promotion of Irish food abroad and the promotion of Irish food at home should be separated. I would like to call for at least a radical overhaul of Bord Bia’s role in order to preserve and create Irish jobs, to empower Irish consumers, to support Irish farmers and to see tax payers’ money spent constructively”, said Richard Corrigan. “Ireland has a unique capacity to produce the safest and highest quality food in Europe instead we are sailing in the opposite direction,” he said.

Valerie Keating, Director
GK Events and PR

If Bord Bia is abolished, what happens the landscape contractors, the nurseymen, the Quality Programmes for this sector. What happens when the sterling competes with the euro and mushroom growers are almost closed down…. when embargoes of irish beef are put in place…  when pork and other scares are internationally held… and when no garden designer had a chance in Ireland, ever, though it may well be criticised, Bloom did come along… but then the PR is working according the print media ?

This sees him trying to teach people how to deal with the credit crunch in an innovative manner by bringing back the idea of allotments in Cork and showing viewers how to become self-sufficient by growing their own fruit and vegetables.

UPDATE:

and of course Richard has got his friend in the Irish Times:

Taking a quick look at the blogosphere on this news story, I am astonished at the number of lazy, ill-informed hotheads who claim that Corrigan’s press conference today was a publicity stunt for his Dublin restaurant (which, as it happens, is conspicuously successful). If you want a taste of this nonsense, have a look here.

I wonder if Tom can confirm then if Richard Corrigans farm is GM free and/ or organic in its entirety and reality? Or is Tom just jumping on the Simon Palmer bandwagon. Maybe Peter Mulryan of RTE would like to comment on this matter?

UPDATE:

The following is a series of emails between genetics & biotechnology PhD Student Shane Morris of UCC and RTE. In a comical turn of events, the legal department of RTE are the only aid to Mr. Morris and more importantly Richard Corrigans Farm cannot guarantee that the Cork farms are organic.

From: Shane Morris
To: Mulryan Peter
Cc: Complaints Review ; Goan Cathal
Subject: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Sent: Sun 03/05/2009 01:23

Dear Peter,

I am just wondering if you could confirm if you are producing the Corrigan’s City Farm episodes relating to GM food?

I only ask as there are suggestions made that you are far from neutral on the issue of GM food as outlined on the Irish Seed Savers website http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/article.php?artid=686 as it states you have even purchased GM-free signs for your property. I hope the forthcoming episodes won’t be yet another case of RTE crucifying science and good journalistic values.

I look forward to viewing your episodes on GM foods.

Kindest regards,
Shane

—————————————————————————————–

From: “Mulryan Peter” <Peter.Mulryan@rte.ie>
To: Shane Morris
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Tue, 5 May 2009 10:06:42 +0100

Hi Shane,

Thanks for the email. I am the Series Producer of Corrigan’s City Farm and therefore am across all programmes. My personal feelings on GM are neither here nor there, my job is to produce a TV show. Richard Corrigan has very strong opinions on GM and they are already in the public domain, but I can assure you I would never make a  programme that crucified science for the sake of ratings.

Yes we have organised No GM signs for both our allotments as they are being run on an organic basis, a decision reached by both groups, not imposed by RTE. This is a campaigning show and you can expect plenty of robust debate on a whole range of issues between now and the end of the series.

Many thanks,
Peter Mulryan.
———————————————————————————-

From: Shane Morris
To: “Mulryan Peter” <Peter.Mulryan@rte.ie>
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Tue, 05 May 2009 11:35:54 +0100

Thanks for the reply Peter.

I have heard Richard’s factless opinions on GM in the past which are without doubt a crucifion of the science on the matter. I have never seen him interview or talk to a
scientist on the matter….maybe if you wanted to do something ‘new’ for an RTE program you should have Richard invite a biotech scientist to the allotment…..just an idea…..

just as a point of interest, will the allotments be certified organic?…..might be hard to prove no disallowed chemical use on the land in the past 3 years as required under organic rules (or even within the last year as is the case in special circumstances)

Kindest regards,
Shane

———————————————————————————–

From: Shane Morris
Sent: 06 May 2009 23:33
To: Complaints Review ; Shane Morris
Cc: Crowley Colm; Mulryan Peter
Subject: RE: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm

Dear Nina,

Thank you for your reply and for CCing Mr. Crowley. For your information, I enclose below an email (and my follow up reply) that I received from Mr. Mulryan, the series producer for Corrigans City Farm. It seems Mr. Mulryan is content to have Mr. Corrigan express his “opinions” on a scientific matter during a publicly funded RTE “campaigning” television production without any balance brought to bear.

I find this very strange especially as one of the UK’s most famous sustainable food/farming advocates, Jimmy Doherty of BBC2’s Jimmys Farm, last year did a production which examined the issue of GM food in a manner that attempted to move past simple “opinion” and examine the evidence in hand.(see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7745726.stm)

If even Jimmy Doherty who, as he himself has put it, has made a name for himself pandering to “the traditional, free range, farm… that wholesome thing,” (i.e. the purely aesthetic end of Britain’s food interest) can produce a balanced and thoughtful piece on GM why then can’t Mr.Corrigan et al?

Of course, there is great delight that this show is being filmed in Cork and it is wished the best of luck. However, it would be even more delightful if the suggestion made to Mr. Mulryan of having a scientist chat with Mr. Corrigan as part of the GM segment of the production be acted upon.

Thank you again for your reply and your time on this matter.

Kindest regards,
Shane

ps a review of Jimmy Doherty’s program can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2008/nov
/26/gm-foods-horizon-jimmy-doherty >

———————————————————————

From: “Mulryan Peter” <Peter.Mulryan@rte.ie>
To: Professor O’ Connor UCC
Cc: Shane Morris, “Crowley Colm”
<Colm.Crowley@rte.ie>
Subject: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 10:55:39 +0100

Dear Professor O’Connor,

I am growing more and more concerned about a series of emails I am receiving from, a Shane Morris. They come from a UCC student account and Mr Morris appears to be a Phd student of yours. Could you clarify if this is a personal campaign being run by Mr Morris, or is this from your department?

There is a system within RTE and within the Broadcasting Complaints Commission to facilitate members of the public who wish to complain about a programme that has been transmitted, however there isn’t and there can’t be a way for people to comment on programmes that haven’t even been made yet.

Writing a series of mails to the producer of a show, which have been sent to the Director General, is not how the process works and could be seen as intimidation.

Many thanks for the time and I look forward to your
response.

Peter Mulryan
Series Producer
——————————————————————————————————–

From: Shane Morris
Sent: 07 May 2009 13:04
To: Mulryan Peter; Professor O’Connor UCC
Cc: Shane Morris; Crowley Colm
Subject: Re: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm

Dear Peter,

I am sorry you seem to have taken offense at my interest in an RTE production. Please note there is no “campaign”, personal or otherwise, nor even a complaint.

As a member of the public who has had previous correspondence with Mr.Goan and others within RTE on the handling of scientific matters by RTE I felt it worthwhile
to keep them informed.

As outlined previously I wish you and RTE the best of luck with what I hope will be an informed and useful production for the Irish public.

Kindest regards,
Shane
———————————————————————————————————-

From: “Mulryan Peter” <Peter.Mulryan@rte.ie>
To: Shane Morris
Subject: RE: FW: GM food and Corrigan’s City Farm
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 13:19:35 +0100

From now on and as a matter of course your emails will be forwarded unread to the RTE legal department.

Peter Mulryan

UPDATE:
and it seems anyone who isn’t a friend of richard is a ‘newsos or a snapper’ or simply just knows nothing……….. says Ernie Whalley of ForknCork. It’s not begrudgery Erin… it’s logic. As Tom suggests… be careful your blog doesn’t become ‘a taste of nonsense’ .

UPDATE:

I just received this from Ernie Whalley via twitter.

........?

........?

UPDATE:

It’s seems ‘scrap is a very big word’ all of a sudden. It’s a big massive change of direction from the original press release……. 😯 But why do a youtube video anyway….? [by the way this had 1 view and a 5 star rating when I saw it this morning]

However, I’ll save you a lot of bother here… simply listen to the first 15 seconds and then scroll to 9.00 minutes.…  enjoy!

UPDATE: To listen to Richard speak to Aidan Cotter of Bord Bia the link below:

bord-bia_20090508_1630_rte1_drivetime

UPDATE: the aftermath

UPDATE: dear richard corrigan and rte

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too much rain – water is precious

water is precious

water is precious

Apart from this being a really cool picture, the message is also superbly important.

What you do [?] and *your* role with *your* environment is of major importance. The taptips website is good and did make me think if I was doing enough. I already have my waterbutts, but can I do more….? The climate change website suggests so…. ?

The uk assembly wrote an amazing document [click here] titled: crazy paving – the environmental importance of londons front gardens. From that here is the opening paragraph.

if an area of greenspace in London the size of 22 hyde parks were to be concreted over there would, quite rightly, be a huge public outcry. But when the lost greenspace in question is made up of front gardens rather than parkland, we have let this happen with barely a murmor. Our research suggest that around two thirds of Londons front gardens are now either partially or wholely covered in an assortment, paving, bricks, concrete and other hard surfacing. Much of this is to create off-street parking space, but the convenience and the desire to create minimalist gardens fuelled by endless TV makeover shows have also played a role.

too mch rain in ireland

too much rain in ireland

Fair point really. And here is where our role starts. Energy saving light bulbs to your hearts content… but until the landscaping industry in it’s entirety start – right at the very start – with *our* homes, then little will give.

This was one of the pictures on Ricks website and although rainfall was unusually higher.. we can do our [not so difficult] bit to help.

From planting a tree, to pebble as a driveway instead of concrete; pebble instead of paving and using recycled timber instead of imported ‘decking’. The list i’m sure is endless, although quite logic and simple. The question is I suppose ‘what one change will you make?’