Unboxing: David Austin

We're big fans of roses, we have them in the herb garden, when we went to Hopwood Hall we looked at planting a rose garden sponsored by Fryers. We have had roses in every garden and allotment we have had and we want to expand our rose garden plans this year. We also want to show that some plant providers are doing the right thing and ditching the plastic, and David Austin Roses is one of them. Time to unbox David Austin's catalogue.

David Austin

So far in our unboxing we have looked at D.T. Brown (a big hitter in the seed world), Seeds of Italy (wonderful seeds to delight) and Real Seeds (small, independent and great products) and for every step forward there has been a step back causing me to look like this at the very touch of plastic.

Life on Pig Row, constipated by plastic

The rules with unboxing are simple: we either paid for it or ordered it, and then opened it as it came. At no point in our unboxing are we endorsing or advertising any of these companies*. In the end you choose where you buy your seeds or order your catalogues from. That's the power you have. We're just showing you what we are receiving in 2019, and what you are also probably receiving, but here at Pig Row, we want to talk about the use of plastic because plastic is a major problem in our seas and soils. You only have to look in your garden shed and count the discarded plastic plants pots to know you have a problem there. Now times that by millions, billions and understand that much of this plastic is now in our oceans, in our landfills, in our soil being turned over by ploughs. So, we decided this time round rather than film my lovely mug (mainly because I am now descending into Big Foot territory and need a haircut and a strimmer on my beard) we would write not about seed packaging but about catalogues. It all starts there for a gardener. They're lovely things, aren't they? They come just at the right time of year, between winter and misery, they buoy you up, get your fingers twitching for a seed tray, make you a little frivolous as the pages whisper to you, 'Buy me, plant me, love me'. However, there is a dark side to these wonderful old friends and it comes in the form of plastic packaging. Produced in their hundreds and thousands by some companies, plastic has invaded gardening in every way, from plant labels to plant pots, to what plops through our letterboxes, and it has to stop. Either we return to paper that we can recycle or we take the step David Austin has taken to produce a packaging that can be composted. Say what?! Yes, that's right, composted.

David Austin

The packaging is made from potato starch and states it rots down in your compost heap. This is positive stuff, not only can you be frivolous with the sweet pea page of the catalogue, you can actually skip into your garden and deposit the packaging in your compost heap. 


David Austin

That is a real step forward from one of the UKs biggest rose producers and as someone who is about to start planning a rose garden that is beneficial to bees (there are roses out there that do that) I am more drawn to a company that is trying to embrace environmental considerations. A gardener improves a garden, provides for and works with the nature around them, and companies that supply these gardeners should be remembering their product does that, and should at every stage. Remember the next time you receive a catalogue that plastic could be involved, and you have every right under UK law to send that back to the seed or plant company for them to recycle. You can do this in supermarkets too, and if we all did this small thing we could see plastic gone from our food chain within a decade, within years, within months. 

Thank you for taking time to read this post, we'd be grateful if you support us by dropping in on our Facebook Page, it's a friendly page full of growers and bakers where you can ask questions that will help you in the garden or kitchen. If you're at work and want a quick chat between those growing piles of things to do then use your phone to contact us via twitter. If you're on the way home and you just want to watch a relaxing film then tune in on our YouTube Channel. If your world is a world of photos then trawl through thousands of them on our Instagram account. Finally, if you have any energy left after doing all that, share us with your family and friends. Remember, what you see is what you get with us, from successes to epic cock ups in our hillside garden and kitchen on top of the world. We are the Oldhams' and for us it's all about the good life in a hectic world.

* As stated, we have received no monies, gratuities or foot rubs to talk about these companies. Our opinion is personal but our dreams for a plastic free world can be achieved. 

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