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.

Animals, Gardening, Guest Posts, How To, Wildlife, Zoe

How To Look After Hedgehogs
As the leaves are changing from green to golden and autumn seems to be surrounding us everywhere we know,
Wildlife from every nook and cranny is searching for somewhere to go.
As frost becomes bitter, and food becomes scarce, animals need a new home.
This guide will help you transform your garden into a safe haven, meaning no animal will be alone.

1 – Food, Glorious Food

Help our furry friends in the winter months by providing some scrummy food,
bacon rind, cheese, peanuts, seeds or fruit,
fatty foods make their tummies nice and full
but give them a mix of food and they will be grateful.

Once you’ve started please don’t forget to provide each day,
or our poor little birdies will waste away!
Keep in mind not all our birds can reach so high,
Leave treats on the ground for Robin’s so they don’t have to fly.

Our spiky friends often need a helping hand,
so leave out some cat food on a saucer if you can,
a bowl of water can will be good for a drink
for all animals looking to have a sip

How To Welcome Wildlife

2 – Hide and seek

These sweet little visitors might act a little shy,
and take cover in piles of leaves nearby,
so try to resist sweeping these up in a hurry,
or you’ll find that your visitors leave in a scurry.

The same can be said for your compost heap,
where frogs and toads like to sleep.
Remember to check your pond where frogs may be snoozing,
don’t let it ice over or you will be losing,
vital oxygen in the water! Melt this slowly and make a hole,
with a pan of hot water left to glow.

Other hiding places that can be used as a bed:
butterflies will use the corner of a shed!
Leave dry plant stems to stand tall,
and insects will begin to crawl,
into this place and not want to leave
until the sun appears on a summer’s eve.

Frogs In Your Garden

3 – Autumn Clean

The last thing you need to do, is get cleaning!
Make sure that your bird feeders are gleaming.
Your pond could do with a clear away at this time of year,
when activity has dropped and it is mostly clear.

Get ahead of the game and make your bird box clean,
so when spring comes birds can nest with ease.
One last tip we would like to share,
don’t cut back your hedges, so birds can live there!

Winter Garden Shed

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, Animals, Competitions, Events, Gardening, News

Hasn’t the week flown by? It’s Friday, which means the working week for most of you is over, and the weekend is just around the corner. It’s also time for us to showcase your pictures from Primrose Gardens, with this week’s theme being ‘Animals in Your Garden’. We’ve seen some wonderful photos, and it’s been really tough narrowing the list down, but we’ve chosen our top six for you to enjoy!


The gorgeous pooch, Poppy – Oak Tree


Having a little play in the waterfeature – The Bailey’s Garden


Garden detour? – The Kelly’s Wildlife Garden


Admiring the June update – Church Road


Stunning close up – Teddie’s Garden


His favourite spot apparently – Teddie’s Garden

A great selection I’m sure you will agree, but which is your favourite? Just comment your favourite on our Facebook post!

We will announce our winner on Monday!

Next week’s theme will be ‘Light in the Garden’, so show off your patio lights, your LED water features or even your BBQs – we love to see your inspirational photos. Remember, everyone gets a £5 primrose.co.uk voucher when they sign up and upload five photos to Primrose Gardens (yes it’s that easy).

See you again same time next week!

 –

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, George, How To

Are Garden Mirrors Safe

We’ve already talked about the decorative potential of putting mirrors outdoors, as well as brightening up dark corners of the garden. But some readers expressed concern, asking ‘Are garden mirrors safe?’. Mirrors make a great decoration outside, and as long as they’re used sensibly they are completely safe. But of course, everyone would rather relax and enjoy their garden, free from worries about hazards around their family, children and wildlife. So we’re going to address any potential issues to ensure you use outdoor mirrors safely.

Which material is best?

Like regular indoor mirrors, external ones can be made from glass or plastic acrylic. The surface of glass is much harder than acrylic, which makes it less likely to scratch from passing animals or foliage. It is also a lot heavier, so better suited to fixing to an outside wall than a less secure surface where it could fall from. Always make sure it is fixed tightly as outdoors it will be exposed to much more intense wind and rain than in your average living room!

As acrylic is around 80% lighter than glass, it is much easier to fix to fence panels and other surfaces, as well as walls. It can be screwed or even glued to keep it firmly in place. The acrylic sheets our mirrors are cut from are 10 times stronger than glass, which prevents them shattering if knocked in the garden. This is well worth bearing in mind if you have small children running round.

Looking out for the birds

The top concern people have about putting mirrors outside is for birds flying into them. Clearly, this wouldn’t be a nice surprise for either party involved – but it happens a lot less than you might think. Some suggestions include sticking a bird image on the mirror, frosting the surface or allowing the material to weather without polishing over time. But ultimately, the best defense is in the placement of the mirror.

You know your garden best, so choose a spot where birds aren’t likely to be flying towards. Patio corners and within climbing plants and hedging are good places to start. Often these are points that will benefit most from the additional light mirrors will bring too.

Avoid direct sunlight

Another important point to bear in mind when hanging your outdoor mirror is to be careful about reflecting direct sunlight. Just as indoors you have to be wary vases and windows don’t set your sofa on fire, outdoors you need to make sure the mirror won’t focus the sun directly onto anything that would burn easily. Simply put the mirror in an area that’s more shady or at an angle to the most intense spots of sunlight.

Sit back and relax

From our experience, problems with garden mirrors are extremely rare but hopefully this post has alleviated any remaining worries. Just remember to position them sensibly, avoiding flight paths and direct sunlight, fix them firmly in place, and they should be perfectly safe. Now you can simply relax and enjoy the magical extra dimension and glow outdoor mirrors bring to your garden.

Plus, we’d love to see some pictures of them on Primrose Gardens!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.