Archive for November, 2013

After 140 years of being in decline there is now evidence that our much loved and endangered Red Squirrels are on the increase, this is fantastic news.

In September it was revealed that a 3 month survey carried out by volunteers of Red Squirrels Northern England (RSNE) in 300 woodlands in the north including Cumbria and Northumberland found that Red Squirrel numbers had increased by 7% compared to Spring 2012, in contrast to this the numbers of grey squirrels in these areas had declined.

Only this week it was announced that scientists have discovered that some of our Red Squirrels have developed an immunity to the Squirrel Pox Virus, this disease is transmitted by the Grey Squirrel to our native Reds although it does no harm to the Grey Squirrel it can kill our Red Squirrel within weeks.

These findings were published in EcoHealth by Tony Salisbury, from the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and suggest that a vaccine can be used to help our Red Squirrels fight the Squirrel Pox Virus.

photos of red and grey squirrels

Population estimated at 211,000 (30k England, 121k Scotland, 10k Wales, 50k N Ireland and Republic of Ireland). Population estimated at 2.77m (2m England, 0.2m Scotland, 0.32m Wales, 250k N Ireland and Republic of Ireland).
Native to GB, probably introduced to Ireland. Native to North America, introduced to Britain in 1870s.
Habitat: deciduous and coniferous forests, but coniferous forests may be advantageous. Wide range of habitats, including broadleaved and conifer forests.
Life expectancy – up to seven years in the wild. Can live up to nine years in the wild.
Squirrel poxvirus is nearly always fatal to red squirrels. Can carry squirrel poxvirus with no effects.
      Source: British Mammal Society/Colin Lawton                           

A long, hard winter can also affect our Squirrels if you want to give them a hand why not put up a Squirrel Feeder in your garden/school garden so that they will always have a permanent and easy source of food.

Wooden Squirrel Feeder

Click here to find out more about helping our other garden wildlife through the winter months including Hedgehogs, Frogs, Toads, Newts, Bats and Dormice.

Love your wildlife


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Time is running out to enter our current three free children’s competitions with just over a week left before the closing date of 30th November 2013, don’t miss out send in your entries asap.

At The Recycleworks we are passionate about encouraging children of all ages and abilities to learn where their food comes from and how to grow their own.

If you think you know your fruit and vegetables why not have a go at first two competitions for a chance to win some of our famous Wooden Raised Beds.

Competition 1  In the Family Zone and Kids Zone

We are constantly developing new products, our latest range for young gardeners is called

Toddlers Own, Real Gardening Range

as the title suggests these are real working gardening products just like mum and dad would use and not toys, as a preview to this new range we are giving you the chance to win a

Raised Bed on Legs

photo 5
These Raised Beds are lovingly made for you to our usual high standard in fcs wood and measure 57cm x 57cm externally with a height of 45cm approx. The growing tray has a generous depth of 24cm making it suitable for a wide variety of plants, a liner is also included to retain the soil and optimize drainage.
Children will love growing their favourite fruit, flowers and vegetables in their own ‘Raised Bed’ and at their own height making gardening easier and great fun.
All you need to do is to identify which fruit or vegetable is shown in the five photographs, then send in your answers on the entry form before the closing date of 30th November 2013. Click here for full details and your entry form.
Fruit and Vegetable Picture Quiz












Competition 2  In the School Zone

Gardening is now becoming an important part of the School curriculumn, to get your school garden off to a great start we are giving you the chance to win a Wooden Raised Bed and module complete with accessories.
All you need to do is to have a look at our Quiz and see if you can work out which vegetable or fruit we are describing, then send in your answers on the entry form before the closing date of 30th November 2013. Click here for full details and your entry form.
Vegetable and Fruit Quiz

1.  We are usually green or black and hang around in bunches.

2.  I grow in the ground and it is often said that I can help you see in the dark.

3.  I am yellow and although I have ears I cannot hear, I am delicious cooked on the BBQ.

4.  You often find me growing in the greenhouse I can either be very hot or sweet to eat.

5.  I am round and orange and you usually see me at Halloween.

6.  Jack planted me, and climbed me to seek the giant and steal his treasure.

7.  I am sweet and red and have my seeds on the outside; I am often eaten with cream.

8.  We are small, round and green and grow together in pods.

9.  I am usually grown in hot countries, I am yellow with a dimply skin but I am sour to eat.

10. I have a white head, surrounded by green leaves I am often eaten with a cheese sauce.

Competition 3  The Recycleworks Competition – November 2013

This month’s competition is all about Mangers and Cribs. Mangers are everywhere you look at the moment, they come in all sizes for Christmas.

As a guide:

Large Family Cribs for School, for Church and for the Village Hall

Deep Cribs for smaller spaces with an intimate audience

Standard Cribs go into a mock stable and

Trough Cribs are for baby doll figures

What you can win

For our November Competition we are offering Three Prizes, with three lucky winners each receiving a Manger.

We are offering one each of the Deep Manger, The Standard Manger and the Trough. The first winner will have a choice of size, the second winner can chose from the remaining two sizes. The third winner will receive the remaining Trough/Manger. In addition we will add a surprise of our choice.

What you need to do?

Each Manger will store flat until the next Christmas but we hope that you will use yours in spring to grow something edible.

Tell us what you would grow to eat next year in the Manger of your choice if you are a winner.

Manger sizes: Trough x 60cm long, Deep Manger and Standard Manger x 90cm long.

Send in your entries to us by email (sylvia@recycleworks.co.uk) before the closing date of 30th November 2013.

Good Luck

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This year has been a good year for conkers, as well as most other fruits and nuts, when we visited our local Horse Chestnut trees in October there was an abundance of spikey green shells hanging on tightly in the chilly north easterly wind, we collected about thirty beautiful, shiny brown nuggets that had fallen on the ground, enough for Thomas to play conkers with and some to plant as well.

The first record of the game of conkers is from the Isle of Wight in 1848, they originally played with snail shells! Click here to learn how to play the game of conkers.

Horse Chestnut trees were introduced from the Balkans in the late 16th Century, in the UK we have over two million trees, even though this year has been a good year for conkers the Horse Chestnut tree is under threat.

Nearly a million of our trees are infected by the tiny invasive moth larvae, known as the horse chestnut leaf miner, they burrow in the leaves which then turn brown, reducing the amount of food that the tree can absorb through photosynthesis, as well as the threat from the leaf minor another serious disease called bleeding canker is spreading too and can cause the death of the tree.

The Horse Chestnut Tree is spectacular throughout the year and one of our national treasures, if you want to help maintain the poulation why not plant some of your spare conkers.

How to grow your Horse Chestnut trees

  1. Place your conkers in a container of water, discard the ones that float these have dried out.
  2. Using only the conkers that sink, plant them about 2cm deep individually in pots of soil/compost, between now and the end of November.
  3. Water well and place in a sheltered spot outside.
  4. Protect the pots from predators i.e. squirrels, mice etc. and from hard frosts, a cold frame is ideal, keep checking them to see if they need watering, but don’t overwater.
  5. The conkers will need to go through a period of cold temperatures to encourage them to germinate in the spring.
  6. Keep your young trees watered and re-pot as they grow bigger.
  7. Ask the landowners permission before you plant your new trees into the big wide world, they can grow very large.

T and Conker Trees

We already have two healthy young trees waiting for a new home.

Happy planting


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Many children have been learning about the first and second World Wars at school, this Monday is Remembrance Day it is also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day, it is a memorial day celebrated by all the commonwealth countries to honour and remember the brave civilians and members of the armed forces. November 11th was selected to commemorate the end of World War 1 in 1918, the war officially ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month it was at this time that the Germans signed the Armistice which ended it officially.

The Poppy is a significant part of this day because of the world famous poem ‘In Flanders Field’ written by Lt Colonel John McRae, it is a poem about his experience on the battlefields which were filled with bright red poppies and so it is now a symbol of Remembrance Day.

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War 1 next year, The Royal British Legion in partnership with B & Q has launched The Centenary Poppy Campaign to get people to sow millions of ‘Flanders’ Poppy Seeds in gardens throughout Britain, the seeds are available now and for each packet purchased a donation will be made to The Royal British Legion who is the UK’s leading Service charity providing care and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

How to grow your Poppies

When – Sow your Poppy Seeds from March to June or from September to October. They will flower in the summer months – June, July, August.

Where – Poppies like to grow outside, sow them in the garden in a sunny position where they are to flower or if you are short of space they can be grown in pots of compost.

How – Rake the soil until it is fine and crumbly, removing any lumps, stones or weeds. The seeds can either be scattered thinly or thinly sown in rows, lightly rake the soil to lightly cover the seeds, and water in.

Aftercare – As they begin to grow thin out the seedling so that the plants are 15-25cm apart, remove any weeds and water during dry weather.

Poppies are not only beautiful they are beneficial to Bees and Insects too.

Dave Moretta does one a day

Dave is the local guy with a big heart and a resolute character, he is running a marathon in memory of 18 of his colleagues he has served with and who lost their lives serving the country, he is running not just one marathon but eighteen in a row, daily. Have a look at his Facebook page by clicking here. He finishes on Remembrance Sunday. You will see why he is so motivated. He would be overjoyed if you were to donate a small contribution to his cause. Thank you.


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