Garden centres struggle to source organic mulch and due to Covid lockdown supply chain issues

Garden centres struggle to source organic mulch and bark chippings due to Covid lockdown supply chain issues

  • Lockdown supply chain problems and increased demand caused shortage 
  • Mulch is applied in spaces between plants and around base of shrubs and trees
  • Autumn is favoured as the ground is warm, meaning more heat and moisture

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive.

But lockdown supply chain problems and increased demand have resulted in a shortage of organic mulch products and bark chippings, garden centres have said.

Mulch should be applied in the spaces between plants and around the base of shrubs and trees to strengthen the soil and protect the roots.

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive

It can be used at any time of year but autumn is favoured as the ground is warm, meaning more heat and moisture can be trapped in the soil. 

Mulch also helps to reduce weeds and provide nutrients for plants.

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil. 

But the Garden Centre Association said there was a shortage of mulch and bark chippings, caused by a ‘knock-on effect’ of lockdown which affected the supply of raw materials across the compost sector.

Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA, said: ‘Where garden centres are able to source supplies, they are often finding that it is selling out very quickly after delivery.’

However, Vicky Nuttall, of the Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association, said garden centres may have blips in their supply chains ‘but in general… mulch is out there’.

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil

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Interior minister scrambles to dispel ‘slander’ he broke travel lockdown

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Tuesday that someone was spreading an unfounded rumor among journalists that he had broken a virus lockdown by traveling from his Jerusalem home to be in the northern city of Tiberias for the recent Yom Kippur holiday.

Deri’s denial came as a fellow cabinet member, Environment Protection Minister Gila Gamliel, faced a possible police investigation for allegedly having tried to conceal from Health Ministry officials that she was in Tiberias on Yom Kippur, even though her home is in Tel Aviv. Gamliel was diagnosed with COVID-19 after the holiday, and reportedly gave misleading information during an epidemiological probe to trace the source of her infection.

Though Deri did not name anyone in his rebuttal, the former mayor of Tiberias, Ron Kobi, posted earlier in the day on Facebook that “another senior minister” had been in the city on Yom Kippur.

Kobi and Deri have a personal beef, as the minister was instrumental in seeing the mayor dismissed from his position at the beginning of the year after he failed to pass a city budget.

Ron Kobi in Tiberias. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

“A message to members of the media: There is a detestable liar going to reporters since yesterday and slandering that I prayed on Yom Kippur in a Tiberias synagogue,” Deri tweeted. “The liar already said that to four reporters in an attempt to frame me. On Yom Kippur I prayed in an open space next to my home in Jerusalem.

“Don’t fall into the liar’s trap,” he said.

In a video message posted on the Knesset Channel’s Twitter feed, Deri said that his public relations adviser had called him in a panic after a reporter had asked about the minister’s whereabouts on Yom Kippur. In the video Deri likewise denied that he had been away from home.

Earlier, Kobi wrote on Facebook: “Another senior minister stayed in Tiberias on Yom Kippur!!! Believe me, they have no boundaries (literally: They have no God)!”

Kobi, who was dubbed the “Donald Trump of the north” by Israeli media over his combative style, swept into local office in the fall of 2018 on a campaign that focused on combating the growing ultra-Orthodox community and its influence in the city, highlighted in a series of frequently foulmouthed and menacing Facebook live videos.

However, he failed to form a coalition and with his party making up just six of the city council’s 15 spots, other members refused to get behind his budget proposals, even after he was given an extension until September 30, 2019.

After his ouster Deri appointed Interior Ministry deputy director Moni Ma’atok to chair a special committee that will run the city for the next three years until the next municipal elections. The council is made up of other civil servants from the ministry.

Police on Tuesday conveyed to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit the results of an initial probe of

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How to get creative with lockdown household waste

Watch: How to upcycle your Amazon cardboard boxes into handy household items

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With the amount of online shopping we’re all doing to avoid cramped and crowded spaces during the pandemic, many of us are stuck with heaps of cardboard boxes from online retailers, not to mention all the tins and jars knocking around from back when non-perishable food was like gold dust. 

Many of us have more household waste from simply being at home more, be it working from home, cooking more or doing home based activities. 

Chelsey Bowen is a DIY and craft YouTuber and has some handy tips and tricks on how to upcycle items such as cardboard boxes and tin cans rather than chucking them in the bin or the recycling. 

She says: “Let’s face it, recently we’ve all been doing a little bit more online shopping and with online shopping it means we get more cardboard boxes.” 

“I take old, used things and upcycle them or I take things that are destined for the rubbish bin and turn them into home decor pieces that you would be proud to have in your home.”

Watch: Crafty hacks to upcycle your old tin cans and turn them into cute home decor masterpieces

Chelsey shows us how to turn ugly cardboard boxes taking up much needed space into chic house decorations and storage solutions. 

From an elegant toilet roll holder that looks like it cost you a pretty penny, to a homemade cactus decoration to spice up your bookshelf, all made from unwanted cardboard boxes. 

She also gives us inspiration into ways we can make used tin cans into super handy plant pots and cosy candle holders that look like they belong in a hipster coffee shop serving matcha tea and courgette cake. 

As the climate change crisis becomes more and more urgent, and as winter approaches promising long nights and chilly days, what better time to get creative at home and find a way to do your bit for the planet while saving yourself a few bob too. 

Chelsey’s gorgeous ideas are so simple and easy to recreate, she makes the less crafty of us feel reassured that even we can get stuck in and upgrade our homes for close to nothing. 

The star of the show is definitely the hot glue gun, so if you don’t have one you might want to think about nabbing one on Amazon here. 

Buy it: Hot Glue Gun | £10.99 from Amazon

Chelsey’s glue gun is an adorable baby pink one but they come in all different colours and sizes, and they are quite the essential when it comes to DIY’ing your home into a spectacular show of creativity and colour. 

The acrylic paint she swears by also features heavily in her quirky designs as well as

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The rise of White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, a lockdown skeptic who increasingly has Trump’s ear and is worrying experts like Fauci



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty


© MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty
Dr. Scott Atlas (right) speaks at White House press conference on September 23, 2020, as President Donald Trump (left) looks on. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

  • President Donald Trump brought Dr. Scott Atlas, a vocal anti-lockdown critic, onto his coronavirus task force in August.
  • Atlas is a healthcare-policy expert who works at the Hoover Institute, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. He is not an infectious-disease expert.
  • Yet the White House has increasingly brought him out to speak at recent coronavirus briefings instead of experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci or Dr. Deborah Birx.
  • He appears to be worrying top US health experts: CDC Director Robert Redfield was overheard saying “everything” Atlas says “is false,” and Fauci called him an “outlier” in his coronavirus views.
  • In response to Redfield and Fauci’s comments, Atlas told Business Insider: “Career government public health officials do not have a monopoly on knowledge.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Scott Atlas has only been on the White House’s coronavirus task force for a month, but appears to already have President Donald Trump’s ear and is worrying top experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Atlas was brought onto Trump’s coronavirus task force in August, after appearing on Fox News for several months, where he often echoed the president’s views — including an opposition to lockdowns.

He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University.

Unlike the other experts on the task force, Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, Atlas does not have a specialty in either infectious diseases or public health. Instead, he focuses on healthcare policy and has a background in neuroradiology, which is the reading of X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

Nonetheless, Atlas has become a favorite of the president, appearing often at the White House’s coronavirus briefings. Birx and Fauci have not spoken in those briefings as much in recent weeks.

Fauci, Redfield wave red flags

On Friday, an NBC News reporter overheard CDC Director Robert Redfield referring to Atlas in a phone conversation, saying “everything he says is false.” Redfield confirmed to the reporter after the flight that he was indeed talking about Atlas.



Robert R. Redfield wearing a suit and tie: CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that "everything" Atlas says "is false." ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty


© ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty
CDC Director Robert Redfield seen testifying before the Senate on September 23, 2020. Redfield was overheard on a flight recently saying that “everything” Atlas says “is false.” ALEX EDELMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty

And in a Monday interview with CNN, Fauci described Atlas as an “outlier” when it came to his opinions on the virus.

“You know my differences with Dr. Atlas, I’m always willing to sit down and talk with him and see if we could resolve those differences,” Fauci said.

In response to Redfield and Fauci’s remarks, Atlas told Business Insider: “All of my policy recommendations to the President are directly backed by the current science, and they are in line with what many of the world’s top medical scientists advise, including Martin Kulldorff and Katherine Yih of Harvard Medical School;

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Sir David Attenborough spent lockdown ‘listening to birds’ in his garden



David Attenborough standing in front of a store


© Provided by The Independent


Sir David Attenborough has said that he has spent the coronavirus lockdown “listening to birds” while sat in his garden.

The beloved nature documentarian recently joined Instagram, where he broke the record for the shortest time taken to amass one million followers.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Attenborough said: “The message that I am concerned about is so important I would use any medium to get it out.”

Attenborough recently authored both a book and Netflix documentary entitled A Life On Our Planet.

The 94-year-old presenter also described lockdown as “a vision of what life can be like when you’ve got more time to sit and stare”.

“I’ve certainly spent more time in my garden listening to birds, than I have for a very long time,” he said. 

“A lot of people have been surprised by that – a lot of people have suddenly realised what deep, profound joy can come from witnessing the rest of the world – the natural world.”

Attenborough also recently spoke about the protest tactics used by environmental activist organisation Extinction Rebellion.

“In getting it [the law] changed you have to be careful that you don’t break the law, I think,” he said.

“Of course I agree with their message. It’s simply a question of what is politic and sensible.”

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Sway House Members Allegedly Party Again After Pledging To Stop Lockdown Bash, Fans React

KEY POINTS

  • In the video, the influencers can be seen standing on table amid cheers from the crowd
  • After the video went viral, many people took to social media to criticize the boys
  • Sway House member Bryce Hall  is already facing criminal charges for  throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus  pandemic

Members of the Sway House are facing backlash once again for allegedly attending another party amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a video circulating on the internet, the Sway House members can be seen having fun at a party while being surrounded by a large group of people who do not appear to be wearing masks. The influencers can be seen standing on a table amid cheers from the crowd. It is not clear when the video was taken. 

After the video went viral, many people took to social media to criticize the boys. Some also said they weren’t surprised by their act.

“Never wish for an influencer to get COVID-19 because knowing them they’ll spread it to innocent people by constantly going outside and not staying home,” one person wrote in Instagram comments.

“Seriously? Do they really have to like come on – learn from your mistakes,” another person wrote.

“They got their electricity taken away and they are partying again,” another person commented.

Among the members seen enjoying the party was TikToker Bryce Hall who is already facing charges for throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus  pandemic.

While announcing criminal charges against Hall and another TikToker, Blake Gray, last month, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer had said, “We allege these hosts have been incredibly irresponsible, with a highly infectious disease spreading and parties banned because of it, and we allege they violated the law.”

“If you have a combined 19 million followers on TikTok in the middle of a public health crisis, you should be modeling great behavior, best practices, for all of us, rather than brazenly violating the law and posting videos about it,” he added.

In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this month, Hall revealed he had quit partying.

“We are quitting partying for a little bit. We actually are quitting partying,” he said in the video. 

“I think people are gonna think we’re sarcastic — this is fully serious. We are quitting partying for a little bit, which means our content’s not gonna consist of a lot of party montages,” he added.

The Sway House members are yet to comment on the video.

bryce hall TikTok star Bryce Hall Photo: Instagram/Bryce Hall

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Covid: Kitchen fires in south Wales ‘up during lockdown’

A kitchen fireImage copyright
Michael Blann/Getty

The proportion of kitchen blazes in south Wales hit a five-year high during lockdown, a fire service has said.

They led to 42% of house fires in April and May, the highest rate over those months since 2014-15, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said.

During the period, firefighters tackled five such fires a week in south Wales, some “completely avoidable”.

Along with “increased demand” on crews they can have potentially “tragic consequences”, the fire service said.

And, while the fire service has not released the actual number of home and cooking fires involved, it said there was a 67% increase in blazes caused by chip pans and deep-fat fryers in April and May compared with the same period last year.

Overall, the service said 2019-20 saw a 17% increase on the previous year, which itself had hit a three-year high.

Image copyright
North Wales Fire and Rescue

Image caption

The aftermath of a kitchen fire

Head of community safety Dean Loader, said: “We attend up to five incidents in any week, some of which are completely avoidable.

“Across Wales, up to 40% of fires start in the kitchen, this places an increased demand on our firefighters and could potentially lead to tragic consequences on our communities.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service issued the following tips on fire safety in the home:

  • Never leave your cooking unattended
  • Don’t leave children alone in the kitchen when cooking. Make sure you keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach
  • Make sure saucepan handles do not stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove
  • Keep tea towels, cloths and clothing away from the cooker and hob, away from heat and flames
  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water
  • Hot oil can ignite easily, use a thermostat-controlled deep-fat fryer – they stop the fat getting too hot
  • Don’t fill a chip pan or other deep-fat fryer more than one-third full of oil
  • Never tackle a pan fire yourself. If a pan of oil catches fire, never use water on it
  • Avoid cooking if you have been drinking alcohol or are taking medication that may make you drowsy or tired

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UK house prices jump as buyers seek gardens after lockdown: RICS

LONDON (Reuters) – The post-lockdown surge in Britain’s housing market intensified in August, and prices hit a four-year high, as buyers sought properties with gardens, according to a survey that also sent a warning signal that the recovery could run out of steam.

FILE PHOTO: The Knightsbridge house which has been purchased by Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk for 57.5 million British pounds, stands in London, Britain February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The monthly gauge of house prices from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shot up to +44 in August from +13 in July, hitting its level since February 2016. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of +25.

Prices rose across the country except for London where they have remained more or less flat over the past two months.

The survey chimed with other signs that a mini-boom is underway in the housing market – one of the few parts of the economy to have bounced back from the pandemic – helped in part by an emergency tax cut for buyers.

Demand accelerated sharply, helped by a shift towards properties with gardens after the COVID-19 lockdown, RICS said.

Some 83% said they expected to see higher demand for properties with gardens and most predicted reduced demand for homes in highly urban areas or tower blocks.

“The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months,” RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said.

Still, there were some ominous signs.

The survey’s gauge of sales for the next 12 months deteriorated further in August, dented by worries about the economy.

Last week Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said it was too soon to say if the rebound in the housing market was anything more than a release of pent-up demand following lockdown, helped by the temporary cut to property taxes.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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COVID-19 Lockdown: Students at this college can only leave for food and bathroom breaks


Amid the rising cases of the novel coronavirus on campus, one American university decided to take the urgent measure of requiring all of its students to quarantine for the rest of the summer.

Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania issued an “immediate” all-student quarantine this week, according to the college’s website.

“We have begun to receive test results from this week and have more positive cases to report, ” Dean of Students Julie Ramsey stated on the college’s official message. “As of 6 p.m. tonight, of the 348 test results we have received, 25 of those have been positive.”


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Ramsey stated that due to the escalating cases, the college has increased the alert level to “high.”

In order to implement the all-student quarantine, students are instructed to only leave their rooms for four things–to use the restroom, pick up food, go to a scheduled COVID-19 testing appointment or speak with a counselor, according to college’s website.



In the school’s official message, Ramsey stressed the importance of mental health during this time of isolation.

“We understand that a residential restriction will not be easy and that the current situation on campus is not what any of us had in mind when we decided to return residentially,” Ramsey said. “This is a moment when we must join together, support one another, and fully comply with our community health and safety protocols.”


On HoustonChronicle.com: Texas colleges use testing as one method to ensure safe return to campus this fall


All classes and labs will be taught remotely. The other significant consideration is that “in-person” student employment is now off the table. Only virtual work is permitted.

Ramsey said that after this week’s quarantine, the school will be better prepared to assess “how we should proceed best as a community” and the protocols in place for the rest of the semester.

“I will say it’s a little hard to be stuck in a room 24/7. Especially mentally. It’s good

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