I have just delivered this letter to 25 of my neighbours…
12 June 2020
I have been incredibly upset that the vast majority of my valerian plants appear to have been sprayed with weedkiller, probably some time last week, and are in various stages of death.
The wild sweet peas below the valerian are dying, and so are the branches of the bushes behind the flowering plants.
I have consulted four plant specialists and all confirm that poisoning is the most likely outcome.
This is criminal damage and I have reported the matter to the police.
Valerian is very special to me because it attracts an abundance of pollinators. As you are probably aware, the levels of insects in this country and across the world are at a dangerous all time low. The State of Nature report describes the UK as one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, with many species of insects and birds on the at risk register, because of climate change, industrialisation and the overuse of pesticides.
I have spent much of my time as a Devon County Councillor giving talks to schoolchildren and working to create wildflower highways verges. Last year the council made my work its policy and parish councils are now encouraged to grow their own, to try and redress the worrying decline in pollinators.
It has been one of life’s little pleasures to pad out in my slippers with a cup of tea to gaze at the huge number of bees buzzing around the valerian plants collecting nectar. Now they are mostly dead and smell of chemicals.
I don’t use pesticides in my garden and feed the birds every day and put out water for them. Above all other things my tiny garden is dedicated to nature and has been since I moved in four years ago.
The idea that someone has brought poison into my little wildlife garden is abhorrent.
There is also a risk that the weedkiller used could have poisoned insects landing on it afterwards, or even that those pollinators could have taken it back to their hives or nests.
I don’t know who poisoned my flowers but if you have seen anything suspicious I would be grateful if you would let me know.