Archive for September, 2015

The very first Women’s Institute was formed in 1897 in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada as a branch of the Farmer’s Institute it brought women from isolated communities together and offered training in home economics, child care and those aspects of farming that were traditionally done by women, such as poultry keeping and small farm animal husbandry.






This year the British WI (Women’s Institute) celebrates its Centenary, the first meeting in the UK was held in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey, Wales, on 16 September 1915.  Since then, the organisation has grown to become the largest women’s voluntary organisations in the UK with over 212,000 members in 6,600 WIs.

The WI was first established to educate rural women, and to encourage countrywomen to get involved in growing and preserving food to help to increase the supply of food to the war-torn nation.  Education and the sharing of skills have always been at the heart of the organisation, and this remains true today.

Whilst the meeting venues might have changed from the local village hall to local café, the ethos and reputation of the WI remains the same, and women join now to meet new friends, learn new skills and make a difference on matters that are important to them now as fellow members did in 1915.

The WI is hugely popular and is not just about Jam and Jerusalem, join the WI and you can get involved in: Making Crafts, Food and Cooking, Floral Art and Gardening, Arts, Sports, Science and Leisure Activities, Competitions and Campaigns.

The WI has a long history of campaigning on a wide range of issues, WI campaigns are about changing things for the better and tackling the issues that matter to members, some of their current campaigns are:

Now that the nights are really drawing in, instead of sitting in front of the TV why not become a member, learn new skills and find how to cook, preserve and store all the wonderful things that you have grown this year, have a look on their website to find a WI near you.


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On the whole this year it has been dry but the recent wet weather combined with mild temperatures has brought out all the slugs and snails (big and small, young and old) in the garden and on the allotment and which no doubt will take advantage of any remaining flowers and crops.

When we moved into our house twenty years ago the garden was a wilderness, you could not really call it a garden and the populations of slugs and snails that it contained was unbelievable, I couldn’t kill them as I believe that every creature has a place and a purpose on this earth, but as a keen gardener I knew that they just had to go somewhere else and that was in the surrounding fields, after dark when they emerged I collected them in a carrier bag and moved them to their new home the following day. I am sure that a lot of people must have thought I was mad but it did the trick and since we put a pond in the back garden and the frogs moved in they are now at a manageable level.

If slugs and snails are a problem in your garden and you want to stop them from eating your plants here are some environmentally friendly ideas and products that can help:

The Urban Bird Feeder

Birds   Attract birds into your garden with bird feederswater dishes and nest boxes, they will in return eat many garden pests including slugs, snails, caterpillars, aphids, ants etc.


Hedgehogs    Encourage Hedgehogs to visit and make their home in your garden with a Hedgehog House placed in a quiet corner along with some Hedgehog food, ensure that they can come in and out of your garden by making some small openings in your fence.

Frogs & spawn

Build a pond    A pond is a magnet for all types of wildlife especially frogs and toads which eat slugs and snails.

Slug Gone   Place a layer of Slug Gone Organic Wool Pellets around your plants, made from the dagging fleece of the sheep, the wool fibres as well as the sand, grit and potassium salts that it contains irritate the foot of the slug/snail forcing them to feed elsewhere.

Slug & Snail Trap - Pack of 2

Slug and Snail traps   Bury the pots near to vulnerable plants and fill with beer or sugar water, the slugs and snails will come for a drink and fall in the pot.

Nemaslug Slug Killer

Nemaslug Slug Killer   A natural control containing nematodes that are found naturally in the soil, simply mix with water and apply every 6 weeks around your plants or on areas that are affected.

Copper Slug & Snail Tape

Copper Slug and Snail Tape    Ideal if you garden in containers, placed around the tops of pots, planters and raised beds the copper tape gives off a tiny electrical charge which deters them from crossing the tape.

…. or as a last resort you could always move them in a carrier bag!!

I quite like snails they are quirky looking, do you remember Brian the Snail on Magic Roundabout?

Love your environment


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A big thank you to everyone who entered the July August Family Zone competition, it sounds like you all had a marvelous time on your bug hunts and you found lots of different and interesting creatures, it just goes to show what you can find even in the smallest gardens.

The winning entry was from Ridley Swain, aged four and a half, from Suffolk.

Ridley found a grasshopper in his Nanna and Grandad’s garden he said it was his favourite insect because “he jumps so high, and I love green!”

Ridley Swain

Ridley with his Grasshopper

Well done Ridley, your prizes of a Ladybird Tower and a Butterfly and Bee Nectar Feeding Station are on their way to you.

Why not have a go at our two new free competitions on the Gardening With Children website, there are some more great wildlife prizes for you to win:

In the School Zone

Read all about Bees then answer some easy Bee questions and you could win a

Bee and Bug Biome

and a Butterfly and Bee Nectar Feeding Station


for your school garden. Click here for full details and an entry form.

In the Family Zone

Fill in the missing words and learn about Hedgehogs for a chance to win

a Hogitat Hedgehog House


a pack of Hedgehog Food


and a Guide to Hedgehogs.


Click here for full details and an entry form.

The closing date for both competitions is Saturday 31st October 2015.

Good Luck



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In meteorological terms today (1st September) is the first day of Autumn and having just returned from 2 weeks of very hot sunny weather in Greece it certainly feels like it too, the garden now has an Autumn look, the plants have lost their vigour, leaves are changing colour, going crispy and even dropping off, what were once colourful flowers are now ripening seed heads.

I love Autumn it is a time for harvesting, storing, tidying up the garden/allotment, planting for Winter and Spring and taking stock of this year’s crops.

At this time of year there is often a glut of produce, if you have lots of salad crops why not consider making one of my favourite Greek dishes a traditional Greek Salad.

Greek Salad


1 small lettuce washed and torn into pieces

4 large ripe vine tomatoes, cut into wedges

1 small cucumber, sliced thickly and then cut into quarters

½ a red onion, thinly sliced

1 small green pepper deseeded and cut into rings

16 Kalamata olives

1 tsp dried or fresh oregano

85g feta cheese, cut into slices or chunks

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper

What you need to do

Place all of the ingredients in layers in a large bowl starting with the lettuce followed by the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, olives, feta cheese.

Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle on the oregano and season with the salt and pepper to taste.

Eat as the Greeks do with crusty bread to mop up all of those beautiful juices.

This will serve four as a side dish or 2 as a starter.

It is so simple and delicious, with all the flavours of the Mediterranean in one dish.



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