Yavor Hadzhiev

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Replacement of all decorative plants with evergreen fruitful plants

I think it is a great waste when our planet is facing such massive pollution, that people and organizations use merely decorative plants in their gardens, plots or parks. Such plants may not have leaves during the whole year which means they aren't cleaning the air during the whole year. These plants are, generaly, not producing anything edible or useful. How good it would be if people cultivated evergreen fruit bearing plants only, or mostly, even if it is for an aesthetical purpose? Around the Mediteranean sea, for example, carob trees and olive trees are evergreen and produce very useful fruits with economical value. Imagine a school replace all its acacias with carob trees. Students could pick up carob and the school would sell it. Then students would be let to propose and choose different projects for the school or community financed by the money from the carob harvest.

  • Jun 1 2013: In the USA, and probably in other wealthy countries, the whole point of decorative plants is that they require very little maintenance. People choose decorative plants because they do not want the bother of harvesting fruits.

    This does seem silly, especially at public schools, where the whole experience of caring for plants and harvesting food would be a good educational experience. Of course, we could not implement that in the USA because the food lobbyists would fight it.
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    Jun 3 2013: Hi Yavor, what's the role of happiness in your life?

    Happiness , which these decorative plants provide
    are as necessary as air and food for survival.
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      Jun 3 2013: Hi Adesh. Of course hapiness is the most important thing in life but the hapiness of all is even more important. Of course it is more important to have clear air than having more flowers or beautiful decorative plants. On the other hand food is necessary for hapiness and even if you don't need fruits if you plant them in your garden instead of simply decorative plants, you can give these fruits to somebody who needs them. Even if you consume them yourself you are reducing your carbon foot print.

      I understand Adesh. Decorative plants are a kind of a fruit for the eyes for those who are sensitive enough. But in my opinion decoration should come after specific needs such as cleaner air and more fruits to eat or herbs to make tea or medicines of. Of course we won't destroy decorative plants but evergreen fruitful plants can be beautiful too.
    • Jun 4 2013: The thing is, even those plants that create food for you are quite beautiful. Maybe not as much as flowers, but in their own way. Harvesting and eating something you planted and nursed is very rewarding. It's like doing and enjoying the same thing you already do and adding a new layer of happiness on top of it.

      It teaches us how much work and care is inside the food we consume every day and helps us to appreciate and value the efforts of a farmers work. Even when some of my plants don't yield any fruits, I still cherish the experiences I made in the process. And I think everyone who takes care of decorative plants, should at least try to harvest his own food once in his life, it's worth the effort.
  • MR T

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    Jun 3 2013: Love the Idea!

    My local council has just spend thousands planting useless gingko trees (a once near extinct species from one valley in Australia) all down our high street. Whats the deal with that when my city is famous for its apple and pears?
    • Jun 4 2013: It's never a mistake to grow rare plants , especially when you do it at a place that was once their natural habitat.

      But people tend to over exaggerate certain stuff. Sometimes to much of something good can do more harm than good.
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      Jun 5 2013: MR T, I think best for nearly extinct species is to multiply them in nature and protect them there. In my view cities are a great place to plant fruit bearing and evergreen (if possible) trees. I think in some parts of Australia citruses can grow. So why not a council there spending thousands on planting a mixture of mandarines and oranges for example. Why not even ask every citizen to plant a citrus tree in front of his property and spend the thousands saved on helping families in need? Thats my opinion :)
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    Jun 2 2013: Hi Yavor,

    We have a new law coming in the EU which will probably make your idea illegal... If you haven't heard about the new seed laws check this article, this is really relevant and will destroy your day... sorry about that but the bitterest truth is better then the sweetest lie.

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      Jun 3 2013: Hi Jimmy. Thanks for commenting. I find this law disgusting and anti-democratic. But I guess you can plant trees that don't loose their leaves on autumn and that give fruits without breaking the law as long as their seeds are approved. I hope so, at least.
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    Jun 2 2013: Yavor,
    Your idea is basically good, and perhaps it would be beneficial to replace some decorative plants with fruit trees. Are you aware that many of the so called "decorative" plants have benefits other than simply decoration? Many of the plants thought of as decorative, are herbs, which can be used.

    I have friuts, vegetables, herbs and perrenials in the gardens, and the pollinators usually go to the brightly colored "decorative" plants for nurishment. In fact, friends who live about a 1/4 of a mile away have bees, which are usually hanging out in my gardens. I know it is their bees because they are a different species than what is native to this area. So, apparently, the ornamentals, or decorative plants are also contributing to the production of honey.

    What do you think about balance, as the most beneficial plan?
    • Jun 2 2013: You touch a fundamental problem with the suggestion. How do we classify plants whether to be useful or not? I would not dare to label any plant to be useless.

      When looking into the real world it almost looks like what is happening is the opposite. They are banning stinning nettles in france because people find them too useful. They arent even allowed to talk about its benefits. Or just look at what happened to one of our most valuable plants: hemp.

      Still, I really like the suggestion and we should not judge an idea on whether we think it can be done.
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        Jun 2 2013: Hi Fabian!
        How do we classify plants whether to be useful or not?

        There is a lot of information "out there" regarding all kinds of plants. I simply read, experimented, talked with people and learned about plants for the last 60+ years......education:>)

        There are SO many plants growing wild, for example, that are edible. There are plants that have medicinal qualities, and it's been proven that many herbs have antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antioxident elements. These are many of the so-called decorative plants. People just need to learn about plants.....don't you think?
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        Jun 3 2013: You are right Colleen. Many plants benefits go beyond edible fruits but unfortunetely very few know about that.

        I am really glad for all of the contributions made here. It seems like an interesting issue is being discussed here. But I have to clarify my point. I am not defending that all plants, if they are not fruitful, should be replaced with fruitful and evergreen ones. I defend that plants in peoples gardens and in cities, schools and etc., and public parks should be as much as possible evergreen and fruitful so that economical advantage for all can be combined with more efficient carbon off setting. I wasn't aware of the usefulness of other plants to the ecosystems and animals, and even to humans, that go beyond esthethics, but we can leave the wild as it is. As regarding plants that cannot grow everywhere as carob trees and olive trees, I suggest a local equivalent may be available. Even pine trees can bring economical advantage like their nuts. :) But in any case I am more aware of some limitations this idea may have. Thanks
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      Jun 2 2013: Hi ZX!
      There are lots of dwarf fruit trees....apple, pear, (I even have an olive tree in the greenhouse, which I brought back from Greece years ago),etc., that grow well in pots. Unless you have pollinators flying around inside your house, or are willing to hand pollinate the plants, I advise putting them outside:>)
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          Jun 2 2013: Yeah ZX....olives don't like frosty weather! Mine stays in the greenhouse, which is attached to the house. They are very lovely. I think strawberries need pollination...don't they? I've never tried to grow them inside. You can grow tomato plants inside, and hand pollinate them.....I've done that before.
  • Jun 1 2013: I like the general idea. However, I do not agree with the implicit assumption that decorative plants do not produce anything useful.
    Personally, I follow a similar approach in my personal life my window being full of green herbs, hardly any decorative plants.

    Finally, I think that focusing on your idea might be not very efficient in increasing the global food and population problems. Keep in mind, there is enough food on this planet to feed all of us. It is just not evenly distributed.

    Those, who really do hunger will probably also eat some of the plants you consider only-decorative. Places in which a lot of decorative plants are wasting space might be not the ones where food is needed.
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      Jun 3 2013: Fabian. You raise important issues. I think of this idea more as a way to fight an opportunity cost that is paid when people decide to plant decorative plants instead of fruitful and evergreen ones. So it is not a solution to world famine, you are right, but it is a way to make better use of public and city gardens and parks as well as private ones, at least in my perspective. I guess that even in poor countries states and public institutions plant decorative trees instead of ones that could be useful to the citizens in need. In the economicaly better situated countries people love a beautiful flower but it the end one must understand it is important to grow plants that are more useful to the whole planet.
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    Jun 3 2013: In each ecosystem every species usually have it's own usefulness. Biodiversity is also needed for an balanced ecosystem that's what I know. Crowding ecosystem with one or the other type of species on the basis of economic value may not be an good idea at the end. However its a mere hypothesis which need to be proven or dis proven.
  • Jun 3 2013: I think it's a good idea to replace decorative plants with plants that you or your family can use. For example, I planted tomatoes, ball-peppers and herbs on my balcony and think I'll plant salad too. You can plant food for your animals or other vegetables. I think strawberries consume very little space and potatoes should be easy to grow if you have some space for them. I don't know which of those plants can be grown indoor in the shade. Would be really good if there were some suggestions which fruits or vegetables can be grown indoor and or on little space.
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      Jun 3 2013: Yeah... Anton you can easily grow aromatic herbs on your balcony, even some onions or strawberries. You can even make levels of big plastic bottles cut half connected with ropes as to save space by planting verticaly.
      • Jun 4 2013: I tried onions, but failed with them. I've seen the plastic bottle idea before. You can cut a whole in the middle of a bottle, fill it up with earth and insert a plant. You can connect a couple of those bottles with a rope, drill a hole in the bottom and lose the top. If you water the top bottle, it will drip down the hole and water the lower bottles too. That way you can create a curtain of bottles with plants in them. Useful if you have limited space but can hang them up on the outer side of the balcony. You can plant on a shelf on the walls too, turning the pots towards the sun. It increases the amount of space for planting and your gain. Or you could fill up plastic bags with earth, cut small holes in the sides, place your plants and hang them up. There are quite a few nice ideas out there, maybe it's time to collect them and try to plant as much food on our available space as we can.

        I love my plants and being able to harvest something I've grown in my flat or on my balcony is an extremely rewarding experience.

        EDIT:Almost forgot, radish works too.
        Maybe you should start with your plants indoor and after they reached a certain size to move them outdoor. That way you can grow them to a certain size inside and give them the space and sunlight they need for fruits. Creating some kind of rotation where you are able to harvest more frequently by not planting at the same time and by moving plants from the inside to the outside at a specific time.
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      Jun 3 2013: You are right LaMar. Yet carob and olives tress are merely an example. Can you think of some trees and plants that are evergreen and fruitful in your country? I am not completely sure but I recon that evergreen plants off set more carbon than those that loose their leaves in the autumn.