Outfox the Fox, Patron of Honour & Hot Horti-Trends

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 9th December 2017 
Outfox the Fox

I am not the world’s greatest consumer by a very long way, and most of my purchases are replacements for something that has worn out. And then they tend to be exact replicas. I know what I like and like what I know. I had to replace my truck recently and diligently scoured the country for one exactly the same but which would pass an MOT!   Bearing that in mind, seldom do I buy something new and then wonder how on Earth I managed without it., but that is ‘eggs-actly’ what has happened with my automatic chicken coop door opener from ChickenGuard.  Every day without fail I thank the ChickenGuard Gods that I don’t have to try to beat the fox by opening or closing the chicken door at dawn or dusk …. And in the pouring rain or Baltic conditions. It is quite simply the best purchase I have made this year. And it strikes me that for the right person, it could also make an eggs-cellent Christmas present.  The easy-to-use timer ensures the door opens and closes at the required times each day and I haven’t had to replace the batteries for 6 months. You don’t even have to be an ‘hengineer’ to fit it – and the ChickenGuard team are fabulous to deal with if you have any ‘henquiries’. If you don’t fancy treating yourself, then treat your hens this Christmas.

More at www.chickenguard.com.

Patron of Honour

I have recently had the honour of being made a Patron of Tools For Self Reliance Cymru.  I have been a huge fan of their renovated and ‘real’ tools for over 30 years and most of the tools in my truck (and shed) are from TFSR in Crickhowell.

TFSR Cymru aims to improve the lives of African artisans & families by providing them with quality refurbished recycled hand tools & training and the organisation is funded by selling high quality refurbished garden tools at their workshop in Crickhowell.

They have an eclectic stock and do allow time to enjoy learning about what they do, when you visit.  They are a skilful and cheerful bunch with the most wonderful (flower)bedside manner!

More traditional reconditioned tools include garden spades, forks, rakes, hoes, sickles, scythes, shears and countless other tools such as carving chisels, but I guarantee they will also have something totally random for you to consider too. The last time I was there it was a banana pruning knife that won my heart.

You can also donate your old tools to be lovingly restored of course, giving them – and a lucky gardener – a new lease of life.

More details at www.tfsrcymru.org.uk.

Hot Horti-Trends

The so-called ‘gardening Oscars’ were held recently, although they are officially known as the ‘Garden Media Guild Awards’. It is one of the biggest events of the horticultural calendar, rivalling the Chelsea Flower Show in its significance for those who write, blog, photograph and broadcast about gardening, and attracts entries from the country’s leading gardening trend-watchers and setters.

As such, it is a good indicator of hot horti-trends predicted for next year.  Apparently, ‘mindful gardening’ looks set to grow and bear fruit as the British turn to tending their allotments, herbaceous borders and houseplants as a way of helping to boost mental health and wellbeing.

Also, in our increasingly stressed out and digitally-focused lives, the down-to-earth benefits of growing your own food, adopting eco or organic techniques, and even rediscovering a love for cacti, succulents and houseplants are being embraced by novice and experienced gardeners of all ages, and therefore set to ‘trend’ next year.

Clare Foggett, chair of the Garden Media Guild, said: “That so many of this year’s winning entries document the benefits gardening has for our health and wellbeing, or appeal to people discovering the joy of gardening for the first time, shows that our winners are adept at turning the mood of the moment into high-quality content that makes people want to get out and garden. Gardening is good for you, and it’s fantastic that this year’s Garden Media Guild Awards reflect that.”

As someone who had gardened as a way of life as well as a profession, and written about it for over 30 years, these predictions do make me smile as they always make out it is all a huge ‘discovery’.

Gardening has been known to be good for your health since Adam was cutting grass and as for ‘down-to-earth benefits of growing your own food’? Well, I’d love to hear what my Nan and Granddad would have said about that!

But my biggest ‘eye-roll’ at these latest findings was when I read that people are rediscovering the joys of having ‘hipster houseplants’ decorate their indoor spaces as, “… there is now a potentially new audience of houseplant owners”.

Give me strength! Maybe I’m just becoming more cynical and less patient as I go to seed!

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