Six on Saturday: 22.8.20

Well, what a week! Rain for the first part of the week followed by glorious sun followed by wind and sun. I’ve been busy clearing the patio ready for the builders. I’m trying to find spaces for lots of the potted plants in the borders. So there are several areas of the border that are a bit rammed currently but I will gradually sort them out as annuals come out. Yesterday was my two year wedding anniversary. We didn’t get out but had a nice evening in after getting Alice to bed. The wind was blowing strong. I cut a few of the gladioli for vases inside as I didn’t fancy their chances.

1. Lily

This lily was in a pot last year on the patio. It was completely devastated by lily beetle and didn’t flower. I had heard on gardener’s question time that they often survive better in partial shade so I moved it near the black cherry. It has come back with a vengeance and has been spectacular. Even with the wet weather I’ve had a few weeks out of it. The wind yesterday has accounted for most of the petals but it had a pretty good run.

2. Hydrangea paniculata ‘limelight’

Just behind the lily is limelight. It’s a spectacular hydrangea with lime green flowers fading to white with a tinge of pink. The flower heads are a good size. There are varieties with bigger heads but I think the proportions of this are quite pleasing. I planted two in the back garden last year and one as the centrepiece in the front garden. As you can see, they are settling in well and should carry on putting on a bit more height in future years.

3. Small tortoiseshell butterfly

I had mentioned that small tortoiseshell butterflies have been lower in numbers in a previous six. I’ve just started to see some in the garden this week. I think this would be a second brood of the year. Here it has come for the Achillea millefolium ‘Pink grapefruit’ (yarrow). I had planted this a few weeks back to attract in more butterflies so it is good to see it is doing its job.

The chives are also proving very popular. I cut them back a month or so again after flowering and we’re getting a second burst.

4. Silver Y moths

Each year we seem to get a few years where these day-flying moths are around in large numbers. Last year was a record year but we’ve had a few days this week where every plant I touch sends up a cloud of them. They migrate into the UK but don’t stay for the whole year as it’s too cold for their liking.

5. Dahlia variabilis ‘cactus mixed

These were grown from seed this year. Not reaching anywhere near the heights on the label but they are still looking pretty. So far I’ve had orange and yellow. None of the purple on the label that I quite fancied but these are a nice bright burst.

6. Gladioli

I’ve grumbled about my gladioli since I first put them in. They were blousy pastel colours. I added several dark purple and white ones into the border. I prefer block colours for these and this Wilco’s special is looking particularly good. A few have been blown over even with staking and have been taken for cut flowers inside.

Another productive week in the garden. I still have a few more plants to clear from the patio. A few winter bedding plants to pot on. It’s a week of rain ahead on the forecast so I don’t know how much I’ll get done. But, on the positive side, the garden is looking lush. If you fancy taking part in six on Saturday check the guide. It’s an ever-growing community of gardeners with many blogs and hundreds taking part on Twitter. Enjoy your weekends whatever you are up to.

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Six on Saturday: 15.8.20-Bay wildlife

We have returned from a trip the in-laws before we potentially end up in another partial lockdown. They have a fantastic garden with several tiers as it goes down to a cliff edge. The garden is in good order with drifts of verbena, the hydrangeas at their peak and the sedums ready to bloom. The agapanthus are doing very well. But, I thought I’d make a focus of the wildlife in the garden this week as we had a few exciting sightings. Their garden is a good example of how, with a variety of habitats, you can have a wide range of wildlife while still having a garden that looks prim and tidy.

1. Dragonfly-Southern Hawker

The wildlife pond at the bottom of the garden is doing well. The grasses and flowers are attracting in many bees and a few other pollinators. Plenty of food for dragonflies. The weather was a bit grey so I didn’t see that many dragonflies but I did spot what I think is a southern hawker. This is different from the ones visiting my garden so nice to see something different.

2. Newts

The pond is also home to newts. The in-laws I think would prefer the frogs for the slug defences but it’s glorious to watch these amphibians that were common in my childhood but rare now. If you have newts they eat the tadpoles so you generally don’t get many living together. I think it’s a smooth newt. These are the commonest in the UK but still protected by law. It is illegal to sell or trade them. Whereas Northern Ireland has better protection: no killing, injuring, capturing, disturbance, possession or trade. Newts will still manage to thwart Boris in Northern Ireland

3. Hoverflies on buddleja

As I said, the weather was a bit gray so not many butterflies on the bushes famous for enticing them in. But, there was still lots of hoverflies enjoying them.

4. Robin

I saw lots of birds on the feeders: tits, bullfinches, goldfinches, sparrows and wrens. But, I didn’t manage any decent photos of them with the exception of the robin which was a bit more sociable.

5. Martha

A bit less wild, this is Martha. This was Amy’s cat before she went to live in Indonesia. She hasn’t taken it back as it is settled well here and I’m allergic. So my birds are safe. She was sat down by the pond and bird feeders for a lot of our visit. She likes people but not sure about small children. So, Alice was given a wide berth.

6. Badger

The compost heap has been getting dugout. The in-laws have been concerned that it might be rats so we left the trail camera set up to check. A little bigger than a rat. They have had the badgers before but they thought they’d fenced up the entry points.

We tried to narrow down where they are coming in but only really know which end of the garden they are entering.

It’s been great visiting them and wonderful to see so much wildlife within their garden. Don’t forget to check out the other six on Saturday posts. I now need to get on with getting my own garden jobs done. The seagulls have been throwing the compost out of pots and lots of plants are still very dry. Enjoy your weekends whatever you are up to.

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Saving pollinators

This week a new label for plant sales has been launched by the National Botanic Garden of Wales to help protect pollinators from plants containing insecticides. The story has been picked up on nationally though I think the significance of the story may be lost on some.

Currently, many plants are sold as being beneficial for pollinators. If you go shopping at a garden centre or nursery you may see labels with the RHS Plants for pollinators badge on. This is a very useful resource listing plants the RHS have deemed to be useful for pollinators. The lists are very useful. They list plants by season that are beneficial. This allows you to plan your garden to have plants in flower through the year to help the pollinators in your garden. Which is all great!

However, many of the plants sold with the RHS ‘plants for pollinators’ label may have been grown using pesticides. This will mean that the plants you are buying to help may actually be harming the wildlife. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that. In tests where plants bought with the perfect for pollinator label, 76% contained at least one insecticide and 38% contained two or more insecticides. The RHS has been discussing changing the label since 2017 but has shown little leadership in making the change. I imagine it would ruffle too many feathers withing the Horticulture Trade Association and the RHS sponsors. But it is a change that needs to come so consumers can buy without engaging in a Russian Roulette of whether they potentially harm the insects they are trying to help.

The plants containing pesticides causes harm to the pollinators and has been linked to colony collapse disorder. But it can also affect food up the food chain. Birds and mammals such as hedgehogs can be affected by eating these poisoned pollinators. It has been hypothesised that eating the infected insects may lead to the birds becoming denourished. It has also been shown that birds eating the neonicotinoids directly may lead to bird deaths. You would have thought we would learn from our past mistakes where the pesticide Organochlorine led to a decline in birds of prey as the eggshells ended up thinner but we obviously haven’t. On top of the decline of birds, many of these pesticides have been strongly linked to cancer in humans. While glyphosate was banned here in the UK companies like Bayer have just developed alternatives that are likely to be as harmful.

So having painted a rather gloomy picture there I hope you can see why the Botanic Gardens new ‘saving pollinators’ logo on plant sales is so significant. The label will indicate that these plants have been grown without any pesticides whatsoever. This will give consumers peace of mind that the plants they are buying are beneficial for pollinators and they don’t have any hidden surprises. Currently, the new label is being taken on by a series of Welsh nurseries but it would be great to see this go national.

In the meantime what can you do to ensure the health of your plants for pollinators? You can buy direct from several nurseries. More and more nurseries are advertising the fact that they are pesticide-free and peat-free. Alternatively, you can grow from seed. While some seeds sold are coated in pesticides this is used more in agriculture than horticulture. But again, companies advertising their eco-credentials. A number of the nurseries on Dog Wood Days Peat-free list state that they don’t use pesticides. The RHS plants for pollinators lists are still a valuable resource for planning for wildlife gardening but the label isn’t a guarantee of safety. Hopefully, in time, we can see the Welsh saving pollinators badge adopted nationwide.

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Further reading

https://botanicgarden.wales/press/science-fact-fuels-campaign-to-stamp-out-pollinator-friendly-fiction/

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lifesci/goulsonlab/blog/bee-friendly-flowers

Wassand Hall

Today we headed out to Wassand Hall. I haven’t been to the gardens for two years and never in high summer. The whole set up is pretty much outside so Corona precautions are pretty straightforward and social distancing is easy enough. There were a few other people checking out the gardens but it was easy enough staying apart. Alice’s leg is still hurting so we didn’t want to take her for a day out which was going to strain her too much. The gardens here are not massive so we thought this would be about right.

The walled gardens are largely in three sections. One part is a run of formal box hedges with perennials growing inside. This was mainly heuchera, salvias and hostas currently.

A small fountain fills one wall.

With some stunning water lilies.

A climbing hydrangea Seemannii is spilling over one wall. This a different version to the one I grow as this one is supposedly evergreen. Either way, it has been allowed to romp away and is spectacular for it.

A formal pond fills the middle of this section.

There is a nice run of rose arches and clematis. Many of the roses had finished flowering but there were a few late-flowering clematises hanging on. This one is Doctor Ruppel.

We have continued Alice’s training. Hydrangeas are for having photos taken in front of.

Hydrangea Annabelle has been used a lot but then it is a beauty and easy to propagate.

To the side is the veg patch. Some of it looking a bit sorry for itself in the heat but some good obelisks.

And a good cutting patch of sweet peas.

Then a few flowers for cutting are arranged around the edge. The cactus dahlias proving popular with the bees.

The main walled courtyard is centred around a fountain complete with fish.

Then the borders seem to have been roughly split in four with a tropical border, a white area, a pollinator-friendly area and the shade border. I’m not sure if this is how they’d classify their planting but this is how it came across to me.

The tropical corner is thriving. Massive cannas, verbena and dahlias. Lots of Christopher Lloyd inspired schemes.

The cannas are truly enviable. A picture of health as opposed to my runt.

The shaded border is full of many of my favourites with foliage being key. Lots of hostas and ferns. It was also the nicest place to sit. When we set out it was grey and clouded but the sun came out as we wandered and the shade was appreciated.

The white border. As in Vita’s it is really a green border. It’s nicely done but it doesn’t excite me personally as much as other areas.

Though the agapanthus was spectacular.

It was good to see lots of bees and butterflies enjoying the garden. I saw both small and large white, peacocks, and gatekeepers while we were in.

We left the gardens for the cool of the woodland walk.

We told the story of the Gruffalo while we walked.

This took us round to the wilder ponds. A few moorhens looked to be hidden around the edge. A few dragonflies were flitting along the edge. I managed a few shots though none that great. Not as good as the shots I’ve been getting in my garden but nice to see a different dragonfly. I think this a common darter but if anyone knows better please feel free to comment.

They had a plant bench laid out. Mostly well priced for the size of the plants. They had a few of the hydrangea Annabelles for sale, a few interesting hardy geraniums, fuchsias and a few other bits. I picked up some cheap hakonechloa macra aureola for two-thirds of the price it is costing online. I’m not sure if I’ll use this bulking out my existing patch or possibly in a pot with one of the Acers that requires potting on. Then a small eucomis. Though I’m not sure whether it is labelled right. I like the spotty underside of the leaves. These grow a kind of pineapple-shaped flower. Quite exotic looking though supposedly quite easy to grow.

A nice afternoon out. The gardens aren’t massive. But, it was about the limit of what Alice could manage on a poorly leg and Amy’s back is aching too. Though she doesn’t know what she’s done. Always nice to see other gardens and see a few different plants in different combinations.

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30 Days Wild: Day 27-Butterflies and wild art

Yesterday was an exciting day for deliveries. First, we had the delivery of a new sunhat from my aunty for Alice. A reversible hat with bees on one side and ladybirds on the other.

The second delivery was from insect lore. I’d ordered in one of the butterfly kits. However, due to Corona, they didn’t have the one we ordered so we got an upgrade and got a few extras in our set.

We’ve got two insect feeding stations to try. These are just dishes essentially with sponges to put the butterfly food on. Sugar water will attract butterflies and other insects if you fancy trying it, just like our bee dish.

In previous years I’ve seen people criticize these kits as cruel and reducing a live animal to the level of a toy. I think this is an unfair claim. It is only reduced to the level of a toy that the children look at and then move on if you treat it as such. This was very much an exciting event the caterpillars arriving. She watched them carefully and they’ve been handled carefully. I think it’s worth keeping in mind that most of my nations favourite naturalists, people like David Attenborough and Chris Packham, will have been egg collectors or used the killing jar to collect butterflies. While these aren’t practises we would do anymore it was this hands-on experience that gave these people their knowledge of the natural world. And from there they have helped countless species. The caterpillars included are painted ladies. These migrate north and south. When I’ve bought these sets I’ve tried to time it so they will be released as the butterflies would be migrating through our country so they aren’t just released into the cold to die. Last year was a bumper year for them so we’ll see how many come through this year.

It also came with a mechanical toy butterfly. You wind it up with the elastic band and then release it to flap. Alice was fascinated by it. That was probably an hours worth of entertainment her working out the mechanism and seeing how to make it fly best.

And that was enough time inside. Thunderstorms had been predicted on the weather forecast so I wanted to get her out for a bit in case we were stuck in. The National Children’s Gardening Week Facebook account had set a competition to create wild art. I gave Alice the brief and left a few bits out and then left her to it.

Lots of grass for hair.

She made a face complete with a bow made from the red leaves, a hair clip from the petals and lipstick made with rose petals.

Then we tried the first of our long-awaited strawberries. Alice has been checking on these daily to see how they’ve been coming on. They’ve been getting redder over the week and I thought it was time to try before the birds take a fancy to them. We haven’t got many but they were very nice. All the better for having been grown by her.

A bit of a lazy day staying at home but we’ve had quite a few good walks out this week. We’re almost at the end of this years 30 days so I’ll be trying to make them exciting ones before we slow the pace down to our normal nature involvement.

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30 Days Wild: Day 25-Princess Poppy saves the bees

Today I left a surprise for Alice to find by the front door.

I’ve been meaning to get Alice this book for a while as she has a number of the Princess Poppy picture books. I’d seen Janey Louise Jones had written several Poppy stories with an environmental theme to them and 30 Days Wild seems like a perfect time to get hold of one of them for her.

The book tells the story of how Princess Poppy learns about the disappearance of the bees. It explains a few differences between honey bees and bumblebees. Then it goes into detail of a few things the girls in the story can do to help. The girls arrange to dress as bees for the Summer fair to let people know how they could help bees. It’s an ideal story for using in schools to teach a few basic facts about bees or introduce a science topic. or as a story to enjoy with a child at home. Alice sat and listened well and had lots of interesting questions and observations as we went through it.

One of the suggestions of how to help is to make a bee bath. A shallow tray of water can give thirsty insects a spot to drink without drowning. Then a few stones ensure they have places they can crawl in if they get stuck.

We set it up on the bench near the borage where lots of the bees are visiting.

Then Alice went looking for bees and trying to snap them.

Amy has borrowed one of the more high powered cameras from school to see how much of a difference it makes to the photos having something higher spec. It really did improve the quality of what we could achieve but we can’t afford a swisher camera yet, so just enjoy for a few days.

My camera is a Nikon D3100 which is a decade old. I can manage reasonable photos but nothing too impressive.

And a photo to make Princess Poppy smile.

And a few taken on the fancier camera.

A hoverfly on the lychnis.

Alice went on to tell Amy different bits she’s learnt from the book and she was telling me the bees in the park were bumblebees. And she asked for her new book at bedtime. There is another environmental-themed Poppy story on ‘no plastic‘. We normally do a beach clean as part of our 30 Days Wild. However, with lockdown, we haven’t been going to the beach as much. At the start of lockdown, there wasn’t any rubbish with few visitors whereas now there is a mass of rubbish. But we don’t Alice touching things handled by other people so we’ll have to leave this activity until it’s a bit safer. For now, we’ll concentrate on making our garden a paradise for wildlife.

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30 Days Wild: Day 16-Drawing outside

Today we took our phonics outside and practised the letters we have covered so far using chalk to practise writing.

And some wild drawing.

Followed by a butterfly.

Our bumpy concrete isn’t the easiest for drawing on. I maybe need to get some jumbo chalks to make it a bit easier.

After dinner, we headed out for our walk.

Plenty of wildlife to be found.

And a walk through the secret passage.

We found a few woodlice in the den and Alice was fascinated and watched for a good few minutes.

Whereas I was more interested in this little beetle.

And a couple of bees back in the gardens. The hardy geraniums still bringing them all in. You can see the proboscis in action here.

And another getting stuck in.

Alice was a good little helper we planted some fresh lettuce and sprouts and netted so it doesn’t all get chomped by the birds this time.

And Alice helped with wheeling round brown waste to the compost. I’m taking out lots of forget-me-nots and aquilegia now they are spent to give the plants more space and airflow around them.

A good bit of work achieved in the garden together. Lots shooting up now we’ve had some rain and sun. A few areas too congested and in need of thining more. I’ll need to look at getting out with Alice to get it ready for our dahlias from seed which are shooting up now.

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30 Days of Wild: Day 15-Spells

Having made the stick wands I thought we’d carry on with the magic theme and have a go at spell books and some time in the mud kitchen on potion-making. Alice had started playing this at the den and when we returned home so I was looking to extend her play with a few more ideas.

We started with the wonderful book spells by Emily Gravett. This book tells the tale of a little frog who finds a spellbook and dreams of being a handsome prince. Each page is split in half and can be turned to make different spells. The illustrations of lovely. The book design with the half pages is playful and the story is funny. It’s a good starting point for any magic lover.

I did a bit of prep work on this project preparing some special paper to make a spellbook. I used two special spray paints to give the paper an aged effect but you could easily use tea bags or buy the paper that already looks aged.

I then folded to construct a book.

I’ve said before that I like to introduce tasks through letters. I thought this one would suit a scroll. Children often really buy into messages delivered this way. They are no longer doing a job for you. They are doing it for the person you’ve suggested whether that be a fairy or messages from the teddies. So long as you buy into it they go along with the silliness. So the plotline I created was that the witch had accidentally cast a spell on her book and she had made all the spells vanish. She needed our help to write some new spells.

Then I engaged in a bit of roleplay pretending to hear a noise upstairs. She went upstairs to investigate and found the scroll delivered by the owl. She can pick out her name and the pictures are so she knew who it was from. She really bought into this one talking about the witch and how she was a good witch and adding lots of extra detail to the character of the letters sender.

Back downstairs we worked on one spellbook together with me modelling a few examples to spark her own imagination.

Alice came up with lots of wonderful ideas of her own for spells.

She had a good go at copying a few words as well as writing lots of numbers for quantities for ingredients. So we got lovely mark-making, imagination and maths from this part of our play. I particularly like her frog.

It kept her attention for a good while and she filled two books with spells before taking her book off to find her wand and cauldron.

All kitted up we headed out. Alice was keen to find a stick as she felt Amy missed out on a wand yesterday. She found one quickly and got a basic wand constructed.

She had a good play around the den making her spells.

And then a bit of a rest and a snack together.

Amy took some spectacular bee photos with the macro lens.

Mine less so, but I was using the mid range lens rather than the macro.

All in all a magical adventure out. The fact that Alice referred to it as an adventure when we returned home makes me feel I did something right.

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30 Days Wild: Day 14-Stick wands

I was asked yesterday if I’d like to feature as a guest blog on Little Acorns website. They are an online shop selling nice open-ended wood toys. Lots of nice toys for young minds to explore. They are looking to feature several dad’s blogs about 30 days wild and they asked if they could feature my Ladybird Maths blog. So, it’s up on their site. It’s nice to know the blogs are being read and even nicer that people feel there worth sharing.

For tea earlier in the week we made our own pizzas with bases we got from the eco pantry at Alice’s nursery. They’ve carried on opening it during lockdown with social distancing in place. The eco pantry gets given food from the supermarkets that for various reasons isn’t going to be sold. It’s either about to go out of date or the labels were done wrong or they’ve just got too much of something. It would contribute to the problem of food waste. So for a pound a visit we get to choose 7 items. These schemes are massively useful for helping the environment as it means perfectly good food doesn’t go to waste, so more food doesn’t need to be sold in its place.

Alice enjoyed the process of making it though she was fussier about eating it.

Then we started yesterday with a quick craft job. We had a pile of circles left from our fish plates and I’d mentioned we could make a very hungry caterpillar.

Then Alice decided she wanted to make a chrysalis and draw a butterfly.

A nice little picture.

Then as the rain was looking like it would hold off and the wind had died down we made it out for a walk. We found a delightful little hoverfly straight out the door on the ferns.

On the walk to the park, we spotted plenty of wildflowers in the wall that borders the park.

Ivy leaved toadflax scrambling along the wall.

I think this is yellow cordalis, a member of the poppy family.

And a tiny Asplenium scolopendrium in the wall.

One of the activities I’d had at the back of mind for 30 days wild was to play stick wands and we found a perfect stick as we entered the park.

The meadow area is still in full buttercup glory mode.

There are still lots of ladybird larvae to be found.

And a few moved onto pupa.

The den area had been moved around a bit again and Alice decided she was going to make potions with the grass seed heads.

Then using a bit of florist wire we added a few found items to her wand.

And she cast lots of spells.

Across the bigger of the fields a sea fret was blowing in. Possibly as a result of Alice’s spells and potions.

Back at home we looked at adding to the wand from the craft box. A bit of ribbon, a flower hair slide and some string around the handle for ease of grip.

A pretty snazzy wand.

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30 Days Wild: Day 5-Grow your own for wellbeing week

A little bit of exciting news for the blog first. The Wildlife Trust got in touch to ask if they could use one of my blogs to feature on their 30 days of wild bloggers. So one of the blogs from earlier in the week was featured on their site. Nice to be asked as I’ve taken part for 4 years now and I’m happy to carry on supporting the campaign for lives more engaged with nature.

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/blog/30-days-wild-guest-author/30-days-wild-our-teddy-bear-picnic-30-days-wild-parenting

Yesterday I decided we’d have a go at a handful of the activities from National Grow Your Own for Welfare Week. Not the snappiest of titles for a national week but a good cause. This initiative has come from Life at number 27, a social enterprise that pushes the mental health benefits of gardening and particularly of grow your own. With many mental health services pushed to the limits through government cuts the last few years the need for organisations like this has gone up. They have put together a nice little booklet of activities to do perfectly suited to kids and fun for the adults as well. Growing your own fits in perfectly with anyone taking part in 30 days wild. It gives you a chance to help create a more sustainable lifestyle, cut your food miles and it’s good fun. Allotment holders are always experts at the sustainable lifestyle side with lots of ideas for creating their plots on a shoestring budget, reusing materials, composting, water collection and all the rest. Whether you grow your own on an allotment, in your garden, a community space or on your windowsill eating your own produce gives a burst of happiness making it well worth the effort.

We started Wednesday evening with some rock labels for the veg pots. Amy and Alice employing their superior artistic talents.

A few made by drawing and some with decoupage using paper tissues Amy bought with bees and butterflies on. I wonder if you can guess some of the things Alice is excited to grow?

Then we carried on with learning a bit more about butterflies reading “what’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth?” This unimaginatively named book gives children lots of key facts to help identify between the two. Sadly out of print currently so a bit expensive for a book I used a lot for teaching.

Then on Thursday, I decided Alice would buy into these activities more as a list. She then got the satisfaction of ticking each activity off as we did them. No pressure was put on to finish them all but it lays out what the options are.

We started with the cress caterpillars and had a bit previously grown to eat along the way.

Then the two have been placed ready to grow.

We had made a few seed bombs during National Children’s Gardening Week so rather than repeating the activity we just went to do a bit of bombing on some of the unkept grass behind the garden.

We headed back in to have a go with the paper pot maker. The sooner Alice masters this skill the less I’ll need to make. These give use a biodegradable pot and a use for newspaper and excess paper packaging with deliveries.

Back outside we got them potted up with some red marigolds (Alice’s current favourite colour).

Then we got some cut and come again lettuce sown in a pot. I prefer growing the salad leaves in batches in small pots as it means we have salad at various stages so we don’t get a glut all at once.

Another task ticked off, we moved onto lip scrub. Olive oil, sugar and fresh-picked mint and a little lemon were mixed together in a bowl and spooned into some tins I had spare.

I think this may have been Alice’s favourite activity of the day but that may have something to do with the size of her scoops of sugar. While she did count out the 6 spoons of sugar she put more effort into getting six large scoops of sugar than 2 of olive oil. She was very excited to show her mum her tin.

After a decent sugar dose, we went out to let off some of that excess energy with the scavenger hunt included in the booklet.

She had good fun dashing about. Here she is finding water.

Another activity in the booklet was to make your own bug hotel. We built a fairly substantial one a few years ago with old bricks and decking panels and tile offcuts.

So we added some of our stones to the top to add some extra decoration.

I think Alice enjoyed herself. She asked to make some more lip scrub, so we tried the lemon recipe as well. And she’s now waiting for our lettuce to grow. She’ll eat it from the veg patch but she isn’t convinced by the shop stuff. She’s also taken a liking to the mint, so I’m not sure I’m going to have any left for my intended mojito but nevermind. But nice that she’s trying new food. The activities today all came from the growing for welfare pack, so if you fancy any of them check it out and there a few competitions to try.

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