Virginia Barton

7 September 2018: “Oh No It Isn’t! — Oh Yes It Is!”

7 September 2018


“Oh No It Isn’t!”
“Oh Yes It Is!”

That’s what the audience shouts in pantomimes to contradict some absurdity spoken by the Baddie.

In a roundabout way I speak of hemp; not the type you smoke and get high on (this is where my pantomimic title comes in: “Oh no it isn’t!”).

This is another variety, a useful one. SO useful George Washington grew it on his Mount Vernon estate. He grew this commodity, and now the sowing and harvesting of the crop has been revived: click here.

(Did I ever mention GW is my distant cousin by marriage?)


Cannabaceae is cultivated for its fibre, seeds (beloved of birds) and oil. The fibre can be used to make rope, sacks, twine, fabrics and paper. The word “canvas” comes from it.

Even shoes can be made from this versatile plant. Remember the bast shoes in Russian literature? The shoes have had an update and are now beloved by vegan fashionistas, ecologists and all serious planet savers. I don’t have a pair yet but am angling…

As if all that were not enough it seems that hemp can be used in the plastics industry and is now being trial’d to make, among other things, plant pots! These would replace those that cannot be recycled; the black plastic ones we heedlessly use for our pansies, lobelia, nemesia and geraniums when buying from garden centres.

There must be millions of these that go to landfill – I hate to think how many I myself have been responsible for over 60 years of gardening.


Is there a difference between hemp and jute?

“Oh no there isn’t!”
“Oh yes there is!”

Some kind person will tell me.






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