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Brexit, Trump and possibly Le Pen. Does that mean our borders are about to close throughout the world, no one allowed to move freely? More checkpoints, border controls and increases in racism? It’s sad to see if that’s the case, and the hyped up media do nothing but escalate this propaganda with their useless headlines that only offer the ‘What if …’ scenario. Unfortunately, even in our plant world there are classifications of ‘undesirable species’ that are smuggled through checkpoints, flown over borders by ‘drug mule’ birds, or even helped by Mother Natures blustering winds. Once the humble seed or sapling has arrived it can quite quickly integrate, settle into a neighbourhood, proliferate, and before you know it, it has become classed as invasive. Then it’s often a job for the bailiffs to come in armed with chainsaws, brushcutters, and glyphosate, to evict the family and ensure they don’t return. Even though multiculturalism is hard for many of us to accept, it’s also the same for multi-‘plantarism’. Instead, why don’t we look at what some species are actually doing for the area where they have become acclimatised? One good example is the acacia or mimosa family. Often seen in abundance in the hills and valleys of Monchique on the Algarve, they come into their own in the latter part of January and offer swathes of beautiful yellow blossoms that light up winter-depressed roads, valleys and countrysides. However, they do like to encroach and spread out, but as I have a few on my land, I recently decided to cut back and dry some out for firewood, of which they are excellent. But more noticeable was seeing how the soil and land improved as the low lying roots slowly rotted away. My soil, which was compact and rather infertile, is now full of rich compostable material and I have an excellent base to grow new plants. From now on I think I will just allow some to grow for firewood, others to enjoy the flowering period, and the rest to grow and then cut back to improve my soil. A great example of sustainability, and understanding more about foreign plant species. Moving on to Xmas and the New Year, we are bringing in a new change. You will have noticed this edition is packed with even more interesting information, wonderful photographs and good coffee-time reading extended to a bumper 64 pages. This is our double edition covering both December and January, which gives our writers and small team some well deserved time off. Depending on how well this goes, we might consider giving you double editions through the coming year, so watch this space and our Facebook page to keep updated of new information and the usual day-to-day gardening tips. We would like to thank everyone involved in the magazine for their fantastic input during 2016, not just our writers but also those unsung heroes of the back office who have helped us in our quest to get more people outdoors, learn about plants and the environment and generally become more aware of our awesome planet. A very special thank you goes to our team of experts such as Kevin, Lorraine, Peter, Zahrah, Clare, Lara, Alan and Steven. Not forgetting of course, a big thank you to you, our readers. As without you, we wouldn’t be here. Merry Green Xmas and Happy New Year from all the gang.