Animals, Bird Baths, How To, Wildlife, Zoe

The long awaited Big Garden Birdwatch has finally arrived this weekend – hooray! With this handy guide we will teach you how to make an irresistible bird feeder no sparrow could refuse!

Many of us may notice our little visitors in the garden, but do we really know what kind of bird it is? Luckily for you, our beautifully illustrated infographic may help you identify even the most exotic of species! Top marks if you manage to spot a Chabert Vanga…

The best way to entice any guests is of course with a free buffet, and in this blog we suggest a fantastic range of treats and scrummy dishes no bird could refuse.

Dangerous Food for Birds

However if you want to feed wild birds be careful that it is safe, the following cannot be used to feed wild birds:

  • Spoiled seed – make sure the seeds you put out have not started rot. It should be dry without any strong odour.
  • Large quantities of bread – although filling, bread does not contain any of the lovely goodness that wild birds need in their diet.
  • Milk – Avoid leaving out milk for your birds, many experts claim this will make them ill.
  • Cooking fat, margarine & vegetable oil – These are all unsuitable for birds.

Ingredients Needed for Your Bird Feeder

Now for the fun stuff!

It is SUPER easy to make your own bird feede, and it’s a fantastic activity to get the whole family involved and share in the joy when you spot a red breast in the garden.

Firstly, you will need to get your hands on some lard. This is a great glue that will bond all your ingredients. You want one part lard to two parts of your bird seed.

Next, you can pick and choose what treats you want to include for your birds. We suggest the following, with a brief description of what birds love this treat the most:

  • Millet – sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves
  • Flaked maize – blackbirds
  • Peanuts & Sunflower seeds – Tits and greenfinches
  • Pinhead oatmeal – All birds love this!
  • Nyjer seeds – goldfinches and siskins.
  • Cooked rice – All birds lap this up
  • Mealworms – excellent protein source for many birds

You can also add some grated cheese, dried fruit and much other variation of seed in your unique mix!

Now you have binded the lard and your bird seed you will be able to mould this into a variety of different shapes to catch the eye of birds or as a interesting activity for your children. This is a great alternative to shop bought fat balls that often come in nylon bags that are very harmful to birds that get their beaks or feet trapped in them!

Coconut Shell Bird Feeder

Mould Ideas for Your Bird Feeder

  • You can use a halved coconut shell to fill with your bird food; make sure there is no traces of coconut milk left in this shell however.
  • Orange peel! Remove the fruit from the skin of the orange and, like the coconut, fill to the top with the food for a vibrant feeder.
  • Pine cone – roll the pine cone in your lard and seeds for a more decorative feeding treat.
  • Toilet roll – yes really! Once you’re left with the toilet paper roll you can roll this in the seeds for an innovative feeder for the birds. (Be careful in wet weather as the cardboard will begin to disintegrate)
  • Cooker cutters – fill your cookie cutters with the mix and leave them to harden in the fridge.
  • Or be creative and create a shape of your own!

Once you’ve made your treats place them in different areas around your garden to attract a range of birds, and remember to consider the little birds that will need low hanging treats.

Have fun this weekend, and be sure to send us your photographs to photos@primrose.co.uk, we’d love to see them!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

Amie, Gardening, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk

Heat packs – the most underrated heating accessory that is guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.

These useful little heat packs are the ideal way to keep warm on the go and maximise warmth. Simply shake and pop in pockets or gloves for a quick and portable source of heat – it really is as simple as that. However, they’re hugely understated and their versatility means they can be utilised for a range of activities. We’ve chosen a few of our favourites below for you.

  1. Football game
    Standing in the crowd on a cold day, these are a life safer for popping in your pockets or gloves and keeping your fingers from falling off.
  2. Fishing
    Sitting on the windy shore, wrapped up warm, these help to get a firm hold of your rod – rumour has it wearing heat pads brings you in an extra large cod for supper.
  3. Fireworks
    It’s often really chilly when we chose to stand outside in awe of the lights, so give yourself some extra warmth.
  4. Walking the dog
    When Scooby wants a run in the snow, you need to keep warm (and it’s not like you have a thick layer of fur).
  5. Snowboarding
    Not much beats hitting the white stuff on the slopes, but it can be pretty cold so layer up.
  6. Romantic walks
    When the snow is falling, there’s nothing more romantic than a walk, but why not hold your lovers hand with an extra bit of warmth and spice?
  7. Camping
    Whether you’re sat around a campfire, or cosying in your sleeping bag for breakfast, heat packs help keep you extra warm.
  8. Gardening
    Now is the perfect time to start planning how you want your garden to look this summer. Don’t be afraid to get out there now and get mucky.
    de-weed your garden

Next time you’re doing one of the following activities, just think about picking up a little packet of warmth and you’ll have yourself thinking why you never encountered them before!

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Decoration, Garden Design, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Water Features, Zoe

It can be difficult to make the most of your space in a small garden without the effect feeling claustrophobic. There are a number of reasons your garden may feel small:
• High imposing walls or fences surrounding your garden
• Lack of natural light making the space feel dark and small
• No interesting colour incorporation to brighten the area
• Oversized garden furniture that overpowers the area
• Abundance of overgrown greenery
• Or simply a very small space to work with

This guide can help you with some space saving and trendy ideas that will help transform your small garden into a light and relaxing place to be, that still offers plenty of opportunity to test your gardening skills.

Mirrors

The use of mirrors in a small garden can really help to create a sense of space as the light reflects off the glass and into the outdoor area. There are many options to suit your individual style, whether it is a country garden or modern social space.
One way to incorporate mirrors is to have two identical mirrors facing each other; this will create the feel of an infinite garden and prov
ide a great opportunity to make the most of natural lighting.

 

Alternatively, you can use an ornate garden window mirror that adds character and charm. If you’re feeling crafty you could create this yourself with recycled window shutters!
The use of mini mirrors can incorporate light into the garden in a more subtle way, whilst creating a unique texture. The combination of outside fairy lights trailing along your mirrors can also create a lovely atmosphere in the evening.

If you want to learn more about the safety aspects of garden mirrors check out our previous blog post!

 

 

Stainless Steel Planters

If you’re not keen on using mirrors, stainless steel planters offer an excellent alternative. These will help to make the surrounding space seem bigger, and do not pose the same risks as mirrors do outside.
Try creating some depth in your small garden by adding plants of different heights in your planters, this will create a layered effect and also make the space appear larger.

Water

A water feature can be a great way to add some personality to your garden, and is a great tool to carry through a theme in your garden whether it is a classic country style, oriental theme or an ultra-modern layout.

However, the fantastic thing about water features in small gardens is the opportunity to incorporate light into a space, similarly to mirrors and stainless steel. The water from the feature will reflect the sky, and is a more natural way to reflect light into your garden. One bonus of this is that this may encourage wildlife too!

Trees

In a small garden the addition of trees can create the illusion of space. You can cleverly train certain trees to grow in a particular direction to help cover an ugly wall, and make the space seem less imposing. This may require a bit of patience in order to achieve the desired results however!

Vertical Planting

There are many other little ways you can make the most of your secluded spots through the use of vertical planting. This can be
achieved through Trellis’ and climbing plants, which will grow upwards and help hide walls.

However, for an easier option you could purchase a wall mounted planter that can attach easily to a wall and still optimise vertical space.

Screening

If you have dark walls or fencing surrounding your garden, this may be another reason the space feels so small. Sometimes the colours can have the effect of feeling gloomy or oppressive, but one easy way to brighten your garden is the addition of some screening.

This is easy to put up, and can also cover any broken brickwork or blemishes. There are a range of materials and colours to choose from, but a natural style bamboo screening could really help to boost the feeling of space by brightening the whole area and adding some personality.

Storage Solutions

If you’re short of space in your garden but still want to have a chill out area there are a range of storage solutions that can help you do that.
Seating with storage space built in is one particularly clever way to create more space in your garden as it is not visible. This gives you the option to have an area to relax but also be able to store away things such as blankets, cushions etc. when they are not needed!

You could also use coffee tables with storage built in as an alternative to bulky sheds and storage boxes, this would be a great addition to a social space so your guests can relax with a couple of drinks after you’ve stored away some of your garden necessities!

Hopefully this guide has inspired you to make the most of the space you have, and if you want to explore design tips for lighting your small garden be sure to read our advice on this too!

Zoe at PrimroseZoë works in the Marketing team at Primrose, and is passionate about all things social media.

After travelling across Europe and Asia, Zoë is intrigued by different cultures and learning more about the world around her. If she’s not jet setting, Zoë loves nothing more than curling up with a good book and a large glass of red wine!

She is an amateur gardener but keen to learn more and get stuck in!

See all of Zoë’s posts.

Amie, Heated Clothing, Primrose.co.uk

It’s the middle of October, the bitterness is starting to hit and I have decided to go camping for a couple of days. ‘You’re mad’ everyone is saying, but I enjoy the sense of adventure, and I’ve never been camping past summer before. Camping in the autumn makes for a delightful setting too, with the fallen, golden leaves and the crisp morning views (makes for wonderful walking scenery too).

One of the buying team recently went to Iceland, so I thought I would test a few new products on my trip. Alongside my normal camping gear, I decided to take some Warmawear heated clothing items with me, to keep me warm late into the night and provide extra warmth come the frosty morning.

My packing list:

all1small

The socks were great, and kept my toes warm throughout the night. Truth be told, I didn’t take them off again! In the morning, they kept my feet nice and warm when preparing breakfast. I took size M/L, which designed for size 7-13 fit my size 8 feet perfectly. They had a soft, fluffy lining, great for retaining heat and were quite stretchy too with their spandex/ acrylic material blend, so were great for wrapping around my trousers to keep the heat in. They also look pretty stylish too I am sure you will agree.

socks2small

The multipurpose muff was very useful for camping. Pop in 3 AA batteries and it warms up in no time. Acting as a warming tube, it was ideal for when sitting around the campsite, and at one point my friend was adamant she wasn’t going to give it back to me! The muff flattens into a warm, comfy pillow too, so I got a great night’s sleep. It was lightweight and compact so perfect for taking camping.

muff1small

The scarf was perfect for the morning cook, when I was waiting for the spaghetti hoops to boil, as well as the early morning walks in the bitter October cold. With handy pockets situated on the end of the scarf, it kept both my fingers and neck toasty when it felt rather breezy. Operated with 3 AA batteries, this 150cm long scarf wrapped around me perfectly, and being made from super soft polyester fleece material, it was more than snug.

socks1small

So whether it’s a camping trip in the middle of winter, or a cold bonfire night and you are looking to wrap up warm, I can not recommend Warmawear heated clothing enough.

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

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