Last week I managed to get on my allotment, it was Mother’s Day to be precise, the weather was glorious and the birds were singing – it was perfect! My first job was to tidy up and weed the beds now that they have dried out sufficiently I was delighted to find lots and lots of Ladybirds which have successfully survived our mild winter this is great news but unfortunately our native Ladybirds are under threat from another Ladybird, it is called the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) and is the most invasive Ladybird on earth, arriving in Britain in the Summer of 2004, it is originally from Asia and was introduced to North America in 1988 and then Europe as a biological pest control where it has now widespread.
Photograph from the UK Ladybird Survey website showing Harlequin Ladybirds
In Britain we have 46 species of Ladybirds although 19 of these are not recognisable as Ladybirds as they are not bright coloured or Spotty. The Harlequin Ladybird has over 100 different colour pattern variations making it very hard to identify, one of the easiest ways to recognize it is by its size it can measure 5-8mm in length which is larger than most of our native Ladybirds the best way to accurately identify it is to have a good Ladybird guide. The problem with the Harlequin Ladybirds is that instead of producing a single generation of young per year like our native species they can produce two or more, a single female can lay over a thousand eggs. Harlequin Ladybirds have a more varied diet and larger appetite and will eat the eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths, small insects and alarmingly other Ladybirds as well as their staple diet of aphids.
How can we help?
The spread of the Harlequin Ladybird in Britain is being closely monitored through the Harlequin Ladybird Survey www.harlequin-survey.org who would like Schools, Groups and members of the public to send in their sightings of Harlequin Ladybirds, this can be done through their website or by post, there is even an app available to download with a guide to help you to identify Ladybirds and then to report your sightings. If you find any type of Ladybird you can send in your sighting as above to the UK Ladybird Survey www.ladybird-survey.org who will use your information to help the conservation of all our British Ladybirds.
This Easter (and as often as you can) why not go on a Ladybird hunt in your garden, local park, on a walk or on holiday and send in your sightings to www.harlequin-survey.org or www.ladybird-survey.org, you could take a photograph of them or even draw a picture when you get home, everyone loves Ladybirds especially children.
Posted in Gardening at Home, Gardening at School, School Projects, Seasonal Celebrations, Wildlife | Tagged british ladybirds, environmental education, gardening in school, gardening with children, Harlequin Ladybirds, helping ladybirds, invading ladybirds, ladybird conservation, ladybird guide, ladybird hunt, Ladybirds in the garden, looking for ladybirds, school wildlife, wildlife education, wildlife gardening | Leave a Comment »
Flowers are the most popular gifts given to mums and grandmas for Mother’s Day (on 30th March) often they can be quite expensive so why not make your own flowers complete with a vase, for just a few pence using items that can be found in your kitchen cupboard.
What you will need
- Plastic/Carrier Bags (different colours)
- Drinking Straws
- Sticky Tape
- Clean Empty Jam Jar
- Kitchen Foil
- Small Bowl/Cup for a template
How to make your flowers
Flatten your plastic bags and using your template draw circles on them, they can be on the edge or in the middle of the bag.
Cut out the circles, they do not have to be perfect.
Put 2 or 3 circles together they can be the same colour or different colours.
Holding the circles in one hand push your finger into the centre and pinch the back of the circles together and fasten with Sticky tape.
Tape your flower heads to the top of the straws, either one per straw or 2 or 3 to create a ‘double’ flower.
How to make your vase
Put your jam jar in the centre of a large piece of kitchen foil.
Bring the edges over and into the jar, press the foil firmly against the sides of the jar.
Cut off the carrier bag handles and tie them around your jam jar, trim the ends and scrunch to form a bow.
Arrange your flowers in your vase; you can cut the bottoms off the straws to give different heights.
Why not have a go, they don’t take long to make, Thomas will be giving these to his Grandma, I am sure she will love them.
Posted in Gift Ideas, Seasonal Celebrations | Tagged carrier bag crafts, childrens mothers day crafts, childrens mothers day flowers, crafts using carrier bags, crafts using plastic bags, flowers crafts for children, hand crafted flowers, homemade mothers day gift, how to make your own flowers, make flowers from carier bags, make flowers from plastic bags, make your own flowers, mothers day gift, Mothers Day Gift Ideas, Mothers Day Ideas, Mothers Day presents, The Recycle Works | Leave a Comment »
Sowing Seeds is fun. The key to a successful crop is good germination, this can be achieved by sowing seeds indoors especially in a Propagator which will provide the perfect environment for your seeds to grow.
Why not have a go at our two free competitions on the Gardening With Children website for a chance to win your own Heated Electric Propagator.
1. In the Family Zone and Kids Zone
To enter our competition simply:
Tell us what you like to grow in your propagator and why?
The winning entry will receive an
Essentials Heated Propagator 38cm
and a selection of small seed trays, flower pots and labels.
For full details and your entry form take a look here.
2. In the School Zone
Have a look at our Propagator Wordsearch and find the following ten hidden words.
The first correct entry drawn out of the hat will receive an
Essentials Heated Propagator 52cm
and a selection of seed trays, small flower pots and labels.
The closing date for both competitions is 30th April, 2014.
Posted in Competitions, Gardening at Home, Gardening at School | Tagged childrens gardening competition, electric propagator, free childrens competition, free competition, free gardening competition, free kids competition, free schools competition, gardening, gardening competitions, gardening in school, grow your own, kids gardening, School competition, school gardening competition, school gardening prizes, The Recycle Works, win a heated propagator, win an electric propagator, win childrens gardening equipment, win gardening equipment, win gardening equipment for school, win gardening prizes, win school competition prizes | Leave a Comment »
If you have had a look at The Recycleworks website you may have seen the range of Raised Bed Tools, they are made by Sneeboer who are a Dutch company that is honoured to carry the label “By Appointment to the King of the Netherlands”, each tool is made from hand forged stainless steel and produced to a very high quality.
As a keen gardener I have got a good selection of tools but I don’t have a Mattock and was quite intrigued with them when we received our first delivery of tools last year.
The Mattock is a double sided tool which means that it is two tools in one making it very economical and also very practical when you are gardening; the stainless steel head consists of a flat bladed hoe at one side with a three pronged fork opposite.
The Hoe can be used to break up and loosen soil with a pulling action as well as removing weeds, once weeded the soil needs to be raked (using the fork) to remove large lumps of soil and stones and then leveled, now you are ready for planting/sowing.
Use the Hoe to dig out planting Holes or make Seed drills using the corner of the blade, for larger seeds such as Peas make a shallow trench using the Hoe or make a furrow if you are planting potatoes, once your potatoes have come through use the Hoe again to earth them up (cover the leaves with soil). The compact size of the head makes weeding between your crops very easy.
I am very impressed with the Mattock it is a well-balanced lightweight tool that is easy to use, the ash handle is warm and comfortable to hold, it will stand up to lots of wear and tear and last a lifetime, I would definitely recommend one, they are ideal for using in Raised Beds and smaller gardens. On Friday evening whilst watching a popular gardening programme on television I noticed that one of the presenters was using a spade made by Sneeboer this confirms how good these tools are, have a look at our full range here.
Posted in Gardening at Home, Gardening at School | Tagged childrens gardening tools, Chosing the right gardening tools, gardening in school, gardening with a mattock, gardening with children, kids gardening, kids gardening tools, mattock, quality childrens gardening tools, quality stainess steel raised bed tools, quality stainless steel mattock, raised bed tools, recycle works, recycleworks, school gardening, sneeboer raised bed tools, Sneeboer tools, stainless steel garden tools, stainless steel mattock, The Recycle Works, tools for raised beds | Leave a Comment »
Doesn’t time fly, it’s Shrove Tuesday tomorrow and Pancake Day, I have been organised this year and made my batter and a sample Pancake just to make sure that it tastes alright!
Pancakes are great fun to make and delicious to eat but did you know that:
The average Briton will eat 2 Pancakes each, making a total of 117 million eaten in Britain on Pancake Day.
In Britain we will use an estimated 52 million eggs on Pancake Day that’s 22 million more than on any other day.
The world record for the most people collectively tossing Pancakes is 890 and took place in Sheffield, UK in February 2012.
The highest Pancake flipped reached a height of 9.47 metres, it was flipped by Dominic Cuzzacrea in New York USA.
The largest Pancake to be flipped was 15 metres in diameter.
The biggest Pancake ever made weighed 3 tonnes, was 2.5cm thick and measured 15 metres in diameter it was created in Rochdale, UK in 1994 by the Co-operative Union Ltd. and was estimated to contain 2 million calories.
The World record for the highest stack of Pancakes measured an incredible 76cm tall, it contained 60 large Pancakes.
Click here for my Pancake recipe or why not make a Pancake Cake click here for all the details.
Whatever you do with your pancakes, have fun!
Posted in Recipes, Seasonal Celebrations | Tagged fun pancake facts, Fun with pancakes, how to make pancakes, Make a Pancake Cake, Pancake Batter Recipe, Pancake Cake recipe, pancake day, pancake day fun facts, pancake recipes, Pancake Trivia, pancakes, record breaking pancakes, record pancakes | Leave a Comment »