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Import or not to Import?


We all know how we now have unrestricted travel across Europe even including pets.
Europe has been criss-crossed so often by so many there is probably nothing (animal, mineral and vegetable) that has not had the opportunity to move around. The same as the states of the U.S I imagine.
What are your views on bringing plants back from another country (from you holidays perhaps). Could doing this still risk the introduction of a pest or sickness problem to our gardens despite all this movement by people and goods (including plants).
We all know how strict Australia is about importing vegetable/organic goods, even to any dirt you may have on the bottom of your shoes.

The reason I mention this is while in the Netherlands in June our youngest picked up a piece of a ‘Portulaca’ off the pavement outside a garden centre. As it was still in flower he proudly handed it to his Mum. We put it in water and it flowered and flowered during the week. When it came to leave he wanted to take it so I put it in a little plastic bottle with some damp tissue for the flight home expecting customs to bin it.
There was no problem and it is now as 5 cuttings, potted up and generally doing well.
Have we done wrong?

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Interesting blog, garden fool. I suppose most of the plants in our gardens were brought back by intrepid explorer botanists years and years ago. Didnt Walter Raleigh bring spuds for Elizabeth I? Shows how amazing plants really are to be able to adapt to different conditions so wonderfully.

12 Sep, 2009


I guess there really shouldn't be a problem with bringing back the plants - but as you say - it is the pests and diseases that might come with them. After all Kew Gardens is full of collections of specimens that have been brought back over centuries by plant hunters who were sent out to do so!
There are people who will argue that you could be releasing a "thug" into GB etc....and there are some notable plants that have been. Personally I LOVE the plant you brought back..have you identified it yet??

12 Sep, 2009


No problem bringing back plants from within the EU at all.

12 Sep, 2009


I have not actually thought about this, but I guess it is not illegal as we have GoY members who send each other plants...?

I was stopped at Miami airport many years ago because the sniffer dog detected that I had an apple in my bag!

12 Sep, 2009


What a lovely flower, well done for managing to get it home without losing it. As far as I know it is not a problem with plants within EU regulated countries, there is however, regultions in continental countries, we have been to Hawaii a few times and each time our cases and bags have been scanned for horticultural items. You can actually bring a lot of plants and seeds out of Hawaii but they have to be specially prepared and packaged, you cannot just pick any plant or flower and fetch it home it will be found.

12 Sep, 2009


Thanks everyone for the comments, interesting.
Alzheimer, Its a Portulaca 'Wildfire', an annual so unless it manages to self-seed I suppose it won't come up again in the spring.
Potty G. you obviously went through customs late in their shift and had the hungry dog. I had my van searched with a dog when I was working in the Channel Islands. The dog went bananas causing quite a lot of excitment around the building. I had a good idea of what it was but thought I'll watch for a bit. Eventually I was asked
"Do you own a dog"?
"Ah, you do..., does it ride in the front seat"?
"Thank you for your time sir!"

13 Sep, 2009


'Morning Gf..that is brilliant...dogs will be dogs...even super sleuth ones!! I can just picture the scene...and it reminds me of the story that dates me - yet again! (Pardon me while I park my zimmer!) Many moons ago when there were still restrictions about how much wine and spirits one could bring back into the UK when crossing the Channel. The limit was one bottle of spirits and one of wine if you remember and the Customs were very strict...yes well...the family were coming back from a holiday in Spain and crossing in the ferry with a LADEN Land Rover station-wagon and caravan ...piled high with the very young children and their friends. "Anything to declare, Sir? Any spirits or wine" to which my husband dutifully declared that he had one bottle of each. The guy took one look at the paked entourage and sent them on their way. They were still laughing when they got home...each bottle was a Jeroboam. The days of innocence....the kids thought Daddy had been very daring!!

13 Sep, 2009


Good blog, lovely flower, enjoyed it:-)

13 Sep, 2009


LOL Gf, love the dog on the seat story! He he, bet they initially thought they had a real scoop! your Jeroboam story...those were the days! I remember going on a ferry trip to France with a friend and bringing too much booze back. So we split it between just 2 carrier bags, I carried them one in each hand while she walked behind making sure I kept my shoulders level whispering 'left' or 'right' if adjustment was needed! That way we thought the bags would not look heavy!!

13 Sep, 2009


Hi there PG....I can just picture the scene..LOL
Nowadays estate cars etc come back over the ferries and through the Chunnel etc looking like praying mantis with the weight of booze in the back!!

13 Sep, 2009


Alz, where's that recipe for sherry so we can do homebrew?! I pinch a cutting to smuggle in now and again, as did my teacher at the vo-tech. Plantain is called "white man's foot steps" here as it's a ubiquitous import, but a good medicinal. There are more problems in humid subtropical regions like California or Florida where "alien exotics" have rampantly muscled out some of the natives (e.g. meleleuca paper bark in the swamps, and Brazilian peppers). But I have very little sympathy for the "plant nazis" who draw the line on "indigenous" at 1800 (or whenever their ancestors came). It's one planet, blessed by the same sun, & plants have a right to cross these imaginary borders as well! Even from Mars...heard that mushroom spoors survive a vacuum.

23 Sep, 2009

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