Posted: 08/10/2014 at 16:26
I think it a bit of a sweeping statement that the average gardener is only concerned with lawns and flowerbeds. Granted, we are more removed away from nature these days particularly in the western world......food production being a good example.
However, it is difficult to be a gardener (amateur or otherwise) without gradually becoming aware of the natural world around us. Even the new gardeners who pose questions on this forum quite often know more than they realise. Formal education is vitally important but so many gardeners learn by simply soaking up information from parents, grandparents, other gardeners, reading thru the varied experiences posted on this forum and others like it, general Nature articles, etc., etc. Trial and error is a good teacher too
Those of us "of a certain age.....I think it's 27 ", are well aware of how the climate has altered and how different diseases are now affecting not only our native plant and animal life but those from further afield too. We are collectively to blame for much of the problem......globalisation and the desire for something ever more exotic or different be it edibles or ornamentals.......as Mike says, speed and ease of importation and in many cases, lack of import controls. Difficult tho in today's world to expect human nature to change overnight.
Just as a PS.......I noticed earlier on this year that a (reputed ) 500 year old Black Poplar in a neighbouring village had very sparse foliage and certainly looked pretty rough in comparison to the previous 3 years that I have known it. It stands on the banks of a stream (part of the area which was very badly flooded last Autumn/Winter ) and today I saw quite an abundance of bracket fungus on the lower trunk. Only driving past, I have no idea what the fungus is but the tree has certainly had a poor year so far.