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Archive for the ‘Gift Ideas’ Category

holly

We associate Holly with Christmas, its bright red berries and glossy evergreen leaves feature on Christmas Cards, Wrapping Paper, Christmas jumpers and are used in table decorations and garlands on our front doors.

There are hundreds of species of Holly; some ‘shrubs’ only grow up to two metres high, whilst ‘trees’ can grow up to forty metres tall, red berried varieties are perhaps the most common but there are yellow and black berried varieties and even some that don’t have prickly leaves. Each species has ‘male’ and ‘female’ plants which both bear white flowers in May/June, yet only the female plants can produce berries this is dependant on there being a ‘male’ plant nearby for pollination by insects and bees.

Holly berries are toxic to humans causing sickness and severe stomach aches if eaten, yet they are a vital source of winter food for birds such as thrushes and blackbirds, each berry contains four seeds which pass through the birds, germinate and grow into new plants. The prickly leaves are important too, they give birds protection from predators and provide a safe roost amongst the branches.

Holly was considered to be a sacred plant by the Druids who hung it on windows and doorways to fend off evil spirits and witches; they thought that cutting down a Holly tree would bring bad luck, although hanging branches in their homes would bring good luck.

The Romans hung up Holly during the festival of Saturnalia to celebrate Saturn the god of agriculture and harvest.

Christians today associate red Holly berries with the blood that Christ shed when he died on the cross and the pointed leaves the crown of thorns that was placed on his head.

However you think of Holly, it is a beautiful and unique plant that is easy to grow, why not give someone a Holly plant or two as a gift so that they can pick their own Holly in years to come.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year from Gardening With Children and everyone at Gardening Works.

Have a wonderful time

Gill

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This Sunday (19th June) is Father’s Day, it is a special day when we show how much we love and appreciate our Dads and Grandads. My Dad is as passionate about gardening as I am which makes choosing a gift for him fairly easy, especially as I work at Gardening Works which has lots of great gardening products, here are my top ideas for Father’s Day gifts from Gardening Works.

 

UNDER £60

Standard Wooden Manger Planter (SM 60) £55.95

Stewart Premium Electric Thermostatic Electric Propagator £43.99

Stewart 52cm Premium Thermostatic Electric Propagator

EM Garden and Home Yoghurt Activator EM Fermenter £41.99

EM Garden & Home Yoghurt Activator Effective Microogamisms Fermentor

Garden Patio/BBQ Table £34.99

Garden Patio / BBQ Table

 

UNDER £30

Barnel Heavy Duty Precision Pruner £27.25

Barnel Heavy Duty Precision Pruner

Wildlife World Coniston Bird Bath £25.99

Wildlife World Coniston Bird Bath

Outside In Westminster Tower Wall Clock £24.95

Outside In Westminster Tower Wall Clock - 15" Black

Wildlife World Urban Bird Feeder £18.95

Wildlife World Urban Bird Feeder

 

UNDER £15

Rostaing Expert Premium Leather Gardening Gloves £14.99

Rostaing Expert Premium Leather Gardening Gloves

Burgon & Ball Potato Harvesting Scoop £12.95

Burgon & Ball Potato Harvesting Scoop

Large Nether Wallop Berry Picker £9.99

Nether Wallop Berry Picker

Stewarts Traditional 10 litre Watering Can £9.99

Stewarts Traditional Watering Can - 2L, 5L and 10L

Order early to avoid disappointment.

Have a lovely Father’s Day everyone.

Gill

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This Sunday is Mother’s Day, it’s a day when we show our mums and grandmothers just how special they are and how much we love and appreciate them often by giving them a gift, bunch of flowers and a card.

I always think that home-made is much more special, here is a quick and easy idea for a bright and colourful card that you can make at home or at school with children of all ages.

Mothers Day Card 2016

What you will need

  • White or coloured card
  • Brown wrapping paper
  • Different coloured paints
  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Felt Tip

What you need to do

  1. Place each colour of paint onto a separate paper plate.
  2. Fold your card in half.
  3. Dip your hand into the green paint so that your palm and fingers are evenly covered.
  4. Press your hand onto your folded card to leave a hand print this will be the stems of your flower, then wash your hands.
  5. Dip your thumb into your chosen colour of paint and make a round thumb print at the top of your green finger prints this is the centre of your flower.
  6. Dip the tips of your fingers in a different colour of paint and make finger prints around your thumb print to form petals then wash your hands and allow the paint to dry.
  7. Using coloured card or brown paper cut out a plant pot shape and fold over the top to form the rim of the pot, write on your message and stick your pot onto your card.

If your mum or grandma love gardening and wildlife, here are my favourite ideas for the perfect Mother’s Day gift:

 

Wooden Swing Seat Bird Feeder

A Wooden Swing Seat Bird Feeder

 

Marylebone Station Clock and Thermometer

 

Hard & Soft Cheese Making Kit - Extra

Cheese Making Kit

Stewart 52cm Premium Thermostatic Electric Propagator

Stewart Electric Propagator

 

Free Standing Wooden Plant or Vegetable Manger

Free Standing Wooden Plant or Vegetable Manger

 

I would like to wish all the Mums and Grandmas who are reading this a very happy Mother’s Day

Gill

 

 

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A 'Christmas' Robin

As I sit writing this blog I can see a Robin in the garden perched by the bird feeders, we do not get many Robins in the garden, they tend to appear when the weather turns colder and there is less natural food available, on the allotment though they are about throughout the year often watching and waiting for insects and grubs that have been disturbed whilst digging and sitting on the handle of my spade when my back is turned.

The Robin has long been associated with the festive season, this could be because we see them more in Winter but it may also be because the Robin, also known as the ‘Robin Redbreast’, gave its name to the first postmen who wore red jackets and became known as ‘Robins’, some suggest this is the reason why Robins appear on Christmas cards.

Robins sing all year round, they are one of the few birds that can be heard singing during winter, both the males and females maintain territories for feeding during this period, these may be later become their breeding territories.  Robins can be quite tame during the colder months and with a lot of patience they may eat out of your hand, but despite their cute appearance they are quite aggressive with intruders who enter their territory. Around Christmas-time they begin looking for a mate, by mid-January they will have paired up and the females then stop singing. Male and female birds look identical, young Robins are spotted with golden brown they do not have a red breast until they are 2/3 months old, Robins eat insects, worms, seeds and fruits and are very partial to mealworms.

Open Fronted Teapot Bird Nester and Nest Box

Robins are well known for nesting in unusually places including sheds, greenhouses, plant pots, hanging baskets, under car bonnets and in farm machinery, to encourage Robins to breed in your garden put up an Open Fronted Robin Nest Box or a Teapot Bird Nester, they can be sensitive to disturbance whilst nest building and laying so it is best to stay away at this time, they will lay a clutch of 4-6 eggs, which once incubated by the female will hatch in 13 days, both parents feed and care for the chicks that then fledge at 14 days old even though they are still unable to fly for another couple of days, the parents will look after the chicks for another 3 weeks, Robins normally have two broods a year.

This year for the first time the people of Britain were asked to vote for Britain’s National Bird, it may come as no surprise that the winning bird was the Robin; in total more than 224,000 people cast their votes, the Robin came out top with 75,623 votes, followed in second place by the Barn Owl with 26,191 votes and the Blackbird in third place with 25,369 votes.

This Christmas why not give someone a gift of a Nest Box for the Robins in their garden?

Gill

P.S. Don’t miss out on our two free competitions on the Gardening With Children website in the School Zone and the Family Zone, for a chance to win some bird feeders for your garden, the closing date for both competitions is Thursday 31st December 2015.

 

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This Sunday is Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday, in Britain it is celebrated in March on the fourth Sunday in Lent, it is also celebrated in 46 other countries around the world (on different dates) and is the day that millions of people honour and thank their Mums, Grans, Great Grans and those who care for them for raising, looking after, caring and supporting them and for just always being there.

The origin of Mother’s Day dates back to the ancient Greeks who celebrated an annual spring festival dedicated to maternal goddesses and to honour Rhea who was the mother of many of the Greek gods and goddesses, ancient Romans too celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. Early Christians honoured the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, this was later to include all mothers and was then called Mothering Sunday or Rose Sunday because roses were handed out to all women in church on that day. Flowers represent purity, beauty and life they are traditionally given on Mother’s Day and are always well received and much appreciated.

Fresh flowers can sometimes be expensive why not have a go at making your own, I always think that home-made gifts are nicer as they are unique and personal and made with a lot of thought, time and effort, why not have a go at our:

Paper Waterlily 8

Water Lily Mother’s Day Card

What you will need

  • Thin Paper (Coloured, White, Wrapping paper, pages from magazines)
  • Scissors
  • White card
  • Green felt tips/crayons/paint
  • Favourite Sweets/Chocolates (optional)

What you need to do

1. Cut your paper into squares.

Waterlily 1

2. Fold the square paper in half diagonally, corner to corner, crease the centre, unfold and repeat with the two remaining corners.

Water Lily 2

3. Fold all four of the corners into the centre, and then repeat again.

4. Turn your square over and again fold the corners into the centre.

Water Lily 3

5. Then carefully fold each corner over to about half way into the centre.

Water Lily 4

6. Place your thumb on the tip of each corner and carefully pull over the corner flap which is underneath whilst pressing down on the straight edge of the folded corner with your other thumb, this is the tricky part, don’t worry if the corners of the ‘petals’ tear slightly, a bit of practice may be required.

Water Lily 5

7. If you use different sizes of squares you will get varying sizes of flowers, you can then stick one flower inside another.

Paper Waterlily 7

8. Draw a Lily Pad on a piece of card and colour/paint green or cut one out of green paper and stick onto the card, stick your flowers on top of your Lily Pad and add your message, if you wanted to you could make a flat card and put some of your Mums favourite sweets inside the flower.

Have fun this weekend and Mums have a lovely Mother’s Day

Gill

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When I was a little girl my dad gave me a small vegetable patch in the garden, I remember growing lettuce, beans, radish and carrots, it was my very own garden where I sowed, planted, weeded, watered and picked my precious vegetables and flowers, I can still picture it now although the garden has changed quite a lot.

This was the start of my love of gardening; my dad was my inspiration and my mentor, as I got older I outgrew my vegetable patch and was then able to help in the ‘big’ garden to grow the vegetables that we regularly picked, cooked and ate and to tend the flower beds.

 MyReal Potting Tabe/Raised Bed Combo

If you are looking for a Christmas gift that is just that little bit different that will last for many, years instead of just a few months like so many of this years ‘must have’ Christmas presents why not treat that special person to a Raised Bed, whether it’s for a child or an adult gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, when they unwrap their present they may not get excited at the sight of wooden posts and boards but once assembled and filled with rich compost when those first few shoots start to appear I can guarantee they will be hooked, as their interest in gardening flourishes and grows, one raised bed can become two, three, four or more by simply adding extra modules, don’t forget those all-important garden accessories, quality raised bed tools, a good pair of gloves, a watering can, seeds, labels, a gardeners note book to record the gardening year and cloche hoops to support fleece, film or netting to protect plants from bad weather and unwanted pests. Wooden Raised beds are available in different designs, sizes and depths if you want to grow a variety of different crops I would recommend a depth of 45cm.

The Economy Plot Wooden Raised Bed

Children love being outdoors and getting hands on, gardening helps them connect with nature and teaches them where food comes from and how it grows, nothing beats the taste of freshly picked produce, as well as the health benefits of fresh food gardening can help keep you fit both physically and mentally.

Carrots

When I visit my dad he is often in the garden, we always talk ‘gardening’ discussing plant pests/problems/diseases, which crops have done well, are tasty and worth growing, gardening ideas and new gardening products that we have seen, there is always something new to learn, discover and grow – gardening is a wonderful hobby.

Why not inspire someone you know this Christmas, click here to have a look at the full range of Raised Beds.

Gill

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The Red Poppy is a well-known and powerful symbol of Remembrance Day, 11th November, it is worn to commemorate the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces and to show support to those still serving today and their loved ones. This year one of the most remarkable sights must be the ceramic poppies that surround the Tower of London, the art installation is called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ and is to mark the 100th Anniversary of the start of the first World War, its creator is ceramic artist Paul Cummins. The display consists of 888,246 poppies, each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war, all the poppies have been hand-made using techniques which potters would have used during the First World War. The poppies were put on sale by Paul Cummins Ceramics Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red CIC with the support of Historic Royal Palaces to raise money for six service charities and have now all completely sold out, every poppy being a piece of history.

If you have been inspired by the Tower of London Poppies why not have a go at your own Poppy Art and make a ‘hand’ printed Poppy painting, children love getting ‘hands on’ with paint, this will especially appeal to younger artists.

Poppy finger paint art picture

What you will need

  • Paper/card
  • Red/Black/Green washable paint
  • 3 Saucers
  • A thumb, finger and hand!

What you need to do

  1. Place each colour of paint into a separate saucer
  2. Dip your thumb into the red paint
  3. On your paper make four thumb prints in the shape of a circle, repeat to make as many poppies as you like.
  4. Dip the tip of your finger into the black paint and make a black finger print in the centre of your red thumb prints to create the black centre of the poppy flower
  5. Put the side of your hand into the green paint and place on the paper under the poppy for the stem, repeat for the leaves but move your hand slightly so that it is a bit thicker or you can of course use your finger or thumb.
  6. As well as making a picture to put on your wall, you could also make a birthday card (fold your card in half and paint on the right side of the sheet) or some bookmarks (cut your card into strips and decorate with a single poppy flower)

Get creative and have lots of fun

Gill

P.S. If you would like to grow your own Red Poppies click here for more information, Poppy Appeal packets of seeds are available to buy in shops, with a donation from each packet sold going to this worthy charity.

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