BBC Gardeners' World Magazine features Crop Centre PhD student Andy Gladman
As part of a monthly series featuring the eight finalists in the 2020 BBC Gardeners World Magazine Gardens of the Year competition, Andy Gladman, a Crop Centre PhD student and his Leamington Spa ornamental allotment are the subject of March's edition.
The six page article plots his journey,' driven from a lifelong passion for plants', especially kniphofia, echinops, verbena and buddleas and the set back of living in a top floor north facing flat, in transforming an overgrown allotment plot in 2018 from 'a field of couch grass and bindweed' to an 'astonishingly vibrant and drought tolerant garden'. With his interest in plant diversity there are 'around 100 cultivars of kniphofia (red hot poker') that he has been trying to accumulate and is planning on applying for a National Collection status for these and his echinops (globe thistle).
Working on a tight budget and with using materials that otherwise would go to waste as a very important aspect to him,' seed sowing and recycling have been key'. 'The entire path is made up of pavers from a fellow allotmenteer's old driveway' and both greenhouses, furniture in the summer house and one of the greenhouses and water trough are either secondhand or from charity shops.
Many of the plants are a haven for insects and the bees are everywhere. He noted a lot of butterfly diversity when taking part in the Big Butterfly Count 2020 and believes the allotment holders are pleased with the amount of pollinators his garden attracts to the allotments.
More information - Gardeners' World Magazine, March 2021, pages 72-77.
Andy Gladman is a PhD student with Dr Dave Chandler.
Slime Santa beard likes hot peppers
· The slime is a not a plant, animal or fungi it is a myxomycete, and feeds off oats, likes hot peppers, but doesn’t like chocolate
· Slime molds are useful to scientists and are being used to research cancer treatments as it is one cell with multiple nuclei, they also solve mazes and maps in a more efficient way than humans, so computer scientists are looking at using them for faster lower energy computers and sat-navs.
The Vegetables of Christmas Future
If you think about a traditional Christmas dinner, there’s turkey with pigs in blankets, or maybe you prefer a nut roast. But the rest is vegetables. A large proportion of our plate should be covered in vegetables, and the standard winter varieties, like carrots and sprouts, are grown very successfully in the UK.
But will this always be the case? Climate change is bringing with it new challenges as well as making known pests and diseases more difficult to tackle. Scientists at Warwick's Crop Centre, are working to understand the pests and diseases of the some of the UK’s major crops and developing, using traditional plant breeding and genetic expertise, new resistant varieties.
Going viral: What are bacteriophages and how can they help us?
Antibiotics are going to stop working. Bacteria are developing resistance to the drugs we have to treat them and there is no doubt that without action getting an infection or having surgery is going to get a lot more risky. With a global health crisis on our hands, scientists across the world are now trying to find alternatives to the drugs which have kept us alive for the past decade.
One possible solution is the use of bacteriophages.
Dr Antonia Sagona is working on understanding how phages fight infections.
Beer and fodder crop has been deteriorating for 6000 years
The diversity of the crop Sorghum, a cereal used to make alcoholic drinks, has been decreasing over time due to agricultural practice. To maintain the diversity of the crop and keep it growing farmers will need to revise how they manage it. According to Professor Allaby and colleagues, different groups of sorghums have ‘rescued’ each other from damage, giving insight into how such crops could be rescued in the future.
Five things you need to know about soil
As children we learn that plants grow in it and worms live in it and that's generally as far as we go. But the mix of minerals, water, air, decaying plant and animal matter and countless microorganisms that make up the top layer of the earth's surface is hugely important, not only for plant life, but for all life on earth. In an article for Warwick Knowledge Centre, Professor Gary Bending and doctoral research student Amy Newman tell us five things we should know about soil.
What to teach an aspiring scientist
Most people perceive scientists as logical and determined people, their mission to find the answer through painstaking research. So what are two of the most important things you can teach an aspiring scientist to help them on the road to success? Critical thinking? Statistics? Not necessarily. It’s the ability to think creatively, and a capacity to deal with failure says Professor Kevin Moffat.
Exploring the final frontiers of knowledge...
Rachel Warmington, a second year PhD student at Warwick Crop Centre was featured in The Independent on Wednesday 20th February. The article by Jessica Moore entitled ‘Explore the final frontiers of knowledge’ shows how postgraduates undertaking niche research projects can affect real change:
‘My research could have a significant impact’, acknowledges Rachel Warmington, 34. Her PhD at the University of Warwick explores soil treatments to control a major crop disease that attacks around 400 different plant species – including potatoes, carrots, beans and rape. ‘Crop diseases are becoming increasingly resistant to chemicals, so we need new methods and techniques, otherwise we’re not going to have any food left to eat.’
Rachel, who is funded by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC), was recently awarded the Marsh Horticultural Science Award for 2013. The Award, run in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, recognizes the work of and encourages new postgraduate scientists to develop careers in horticultural science.
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