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19th February 2021

A wintery cocktail sprang to mind as we discussed this species, so we thought why not rework a recipe we think would be worthy of the name… You could skip to that part below or give it a minute and learn a little more about the real thing.

Snowberry is in fact a pesky non-native shrub…

Like many invasive non-native species, a quick Google search of Snowberry will throw up various results centred around when and where to plant it, how to look after it in the common garden, and even where to buy it. Also like many other invasives, the Snowberry shrub was introduced to Europe in the early 19th century from North America, captured in botanist’s notebooks.

It’s a deciduous shrub that produces pink flowers in the summer, but it’s the somewhat elegant, white, almost pearl-like berries it produces in the autumn and persist through the winter that catch the eye.

So, its attractive – check.

Not native to the UK – check.

Can it outcompete native species? Does it rapidly and successfully spread? Check, and check.

Snowberry can form a dense thicket, suppressing the growth of other species and can grow prolifically, so much so that it is listed under category two of the London Invasive Species Initiative (LISI). This categorises it under species of high impact or concern present at specific sites that require attention (control, management, eradication etc). The Woodland Trust also notes that non-native species such as Snowberry, Himalayan balsam and Rhododendron are encroaching into our woodlands and competing with our native plants.

The Snowberry shrub can provide a food source for game birds in the winter, but despite wildlife enjoying a belly-full, its berries are in fact poisonous to humans. It can cause dizziness and vomiting, and even slight sedation in children. We know home-schooling is tough, but please don’t try this at home!

Ebsford are seeing more and more sites overrun with the shrub and we’re assisting with clearance and eradication as we do best. Treatments vary from mechanical and herbicidal eradication, so if you do happen to come across it as a nuisance on your site, we’d be happy to conduct a survey and outline your best options.

So now that you know a little more about Snowberry and that you can’t actually eat it, here is a cocktail recipe simply inspired by a pretty name, a bit of cold weather and longing for a fancy drink!

1 part coconut cream

1 part Blue Curacao

1 part white rum

Lashings of ice

Whizz everything in a blender!

Dip the rim of your glass into a small amount of honey, then dip into desiccated coconut for a truly snowy finish.

(Edible glitter would be fab in the festive season!)

12th February 2021

In the UK alone we spend £650 million on Valentines gifts, ranging from flowers and chocolates to jewellery and perfume and we don’t often realise the environmental impact this one day has. We love a good celebration but is there a way we could share the love and still take reducing our carbon footprint seriously?

       1. Valentine’s Day Cards

On Valentine’s day we send around 25 million cards, which means chopping down a ton of trees, around 8,000. Worldwide this one day has a massive contribution to deforestation and without trees we’d be in trouble, they support diverse ecosystems, turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and help slow the rate of global warming. Look out for recycled paper cards, or better yet, send an e-card. It’s a definitely green alternative for the future.

       2. Put more thought into that bouquet

The environmental impact of shipping cut flowers around the world is huge. While flowers would usually be shipped on passenger planes across most of the year, in the few weeks before Valentine’s day we see a huge increase in flights dedicated to transporting flowers alone, increasing our air travel emissions. Look out for locally grown flowers or go for a house plant that will stand the test of time.

       3. Shop for ethical chocolates!

Chocolate is a real Valentines favourite and our go-too gift, but how does our love of chocolate impact our planet? Well, it is often made with ingredients that aren’t grown organically such as milk powder which contributes to approximately 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and palm oil, which contributes to deforestation and threatens rainforest biodiversity and animal habitats. Give farmers a fair price and choose fair trade and organic chocolates grown without the use of harmful pesticides.

       4. Go organic with your bottle of fizz

In recent years, the demand for prosecco has gone through the roof, meaning vineyards are rapidly expanding to keep up. Also, mass production methods use industrial pesticides and herbicides, reducing biodiversity and polluting the air locals breathe. But we do have another option, raise a glass to pesticide-free farming and choose organic and biodynamic wines, a greener alternative for just a few extra pounds.

       5. Be a responsible shopper

Around Valentine’s day people feel under more pressure to make purchases they usually wouldn’t and in just a few clicks you can buy almost anything. This means more delivery vans on the road causing increased levels of air pollution and a ton of wasteful packaging, impacting the earths ecosystems. It’s hard not to order online in lockdown but cut your carbon footprint by shopping as local as possible.

Our spending habits and the amount of waste we produce all year round is an issue, but even more so during this holiday, Easter and Christmas.

Ebsford always have the environment in mind when delivering low-impact and sustainable solutions, but we’re keen to extend that consideration into our daily lives. We hope you will join Silty in his mission to reduce our impact.


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