Whose Coat is that Jacket?, Fabulous Flower & Plant Power

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 3rd March 2018 
 Whose Coat is that Jacket?

I don’t need to tell you that the weather has been brutal this week – especially for those of us working outdoors.  And that includes my ‘co-worker’ Yogi of course.

There is a bit of controversy about dog coats, which has been fuelled by the increased market for dog clothing in general.  Some vets and animals welfare workers are concerned that dogs can overheat in unnecessary clothing.

I don’t ever use Yogi’s coat if we are just going for a walk, as she is constantly moving and we keep up a good pace, but in work, she is quite often sitting down watching me (not unlike some of my two legged colleagues) and it’s then that she can get cold. So I do use her 3 Peak coat for those chilly work days, (see pic) and it keeps her nice and warm and comfortable.  The top part of the 3 in 1 jacket is a waterproof outer fabric to keep her dry, even when she rolls in the snow, and the cosy fleece inner layer keeps her nice and warm.

I think one of the best indicators of whether or not she is happy in her coat is the fact that she is eager for it to be put on in the morning, a lot more eager than I have been this week!

You can find the 3 Peaks coat at Pets at Home and helpfully, you are able to take your dog into the stores to try it on.

Fabulous Flower

One of my most favourite things to share from the plant world at this time of year is the most unassuming, little red female flower that you can find (if you look really hard) on the hazel trees now. The hazel has both male and female flowers on each shrub, with the male flowers contained within the long, confident catkins, or ‘lambs tails’, that we all know and love. Each catkin is actually made up of loads of individual small green/yellow male flowers, which produce the pollen. There are around 240 male flowers in each catkin, which are formed during the previous summer so that they are ready to open in the dead of winter and flower through the spring.

The hazel is wind pollinated, so the pollen from the catkins is blown to the delicate female flowers. It always makes me smile that the confident male catkins are well recognised as they show off and herald the spring and the little humble female flowers are the ones that go unnoticed and yet do all the work to produce the hazel nut in the autumn.

Hazel flowers are also an important source of pollen for bees; pollen is an essential source of fats and proteins, and very different from the nectar, which is a sugary food source to provide energy and allow production of honey.

Do take the time to have a look for this special little flower (see pic) if you can.

Plant Power

I have had a lot of emails from readers interested in finding out more about the plant-based diet I follow, and wrote about last week – and coincidentally, the nation’s first Plant Power Day is being held next Wednesday 7th March.  Alpro is calling on Brits to makeover their meals and bring plant-based foods to the top of the menu. The whole day is dedicated to inspiring people to put plants first – which means, just for one day, making plant-based foods the first thing they think about when it comes to their food and drink choices.

Interestingly, the international meal delivery service, Just Eat, named veganism as a predicted top consumer trend in 2018, as people become more aware of healthy and ethical lifestyle choices.

Marketing Director, Edel Kinane said, “The results from the survey are a good insight into the future consumer trends and while convenience will continue to be key for consumers, we know that they are increasingly looking for more plant based vegan options”.

The survey found that over 542,000 people are following a vegan diet – an increase of more than 3.5 times the number of vegans over the past decade, making veganism one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements. The movement is being driven by young people making more ethical and compassionate choices – 42 percent of all vegans are in the 15-34 age category compared to just 14 percent who are over 65.

If you want to join the trend and get involved with Plant Power Day, Alpro are encouraging you to host your own ‘planquet’ –  a meal that puts plants first. It can be big or small, from a plant-based feast with friends or family, or a plant-based breakfast at your desk, it just needs to bring plants from the side of the plate to a delicious main event. You can find out more at here.

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