February

22Feb2021

💜🎙💜 NEWS – Getting Paranaoid about the Paratoids!!

Toad

Well, we’ve had a busy week here at Prickly Hedge, our neighbours are having some work done on the party wall in March and in readiness for them to come and move one of the greenhouses that is in the way, we needed to do some prep work.  So we’ve been moving bricks and pot plants and garden furniture.  Fortunately, it’s not been too cold, a bit blustery and rainy some days, but then it’s only water.

I’ve been surprised that normally when we start working in the garden we come across the subject of this week’s newsletter; frogs!  We normally see them around but no, nothing, zippo, zilch.  But I’ve never been able to tell the difference between frogs and toads.  Have you? 

This week’s video teaches us all about the similarities and the differences between the two, most noticeably that toads have two bumps on their heads behind their eyes.  These are called the paratoid or poison glands.  That’s a surefire way of telling if it’s a toad, but give the video a watch and join in with the quiz at the end.

On our website, you’ll find a round up of environmental news on our How To’s page, https://www.pricklyhedge.com/right-sidebar/ one of the stories this week is about the demise of seagrass.

Increasing awareness of the importance of seagrass ecosystems is one of the greatest challenges for its conservation. Seagrasses suffer from not being as well-known or appreciated as their more charismatic marine cousins, such as coral reefs and mangroves, despite being just as threatened.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/seagrass-ocean-climate-change-pollution-florida_n_602ced75c5b6cc8bbf3819ff?ri18n=true

We don’t only learn this week about the differences between toads and frogs, but also about the life cycle of the frog.  Who didn’t love looking for frog spawn when they were a kid, well, I still get excited if I see any nowadays.  Let us know if you know the difference between frog and toad spawn. It’s in the video!

That’s one thing we’ve never had at Prickly Hedge is a pond, we have some aquatic plants to attract the dragonflies but never anything for frogs etc.  Hmm.  We’ll see.

Frog Spawn

And to round off the week, get those craft boxes out again, this week, it’s all about the Japanese art of paper folding, yes origami.  It alludes me too at times, my eldest is a whizz at it and can rustle you up a crane in next to no time, I have trouble with napkin folding lol.  But this week you only need paper and a marker pen to make the jumping origami frog

#fridaycraftmorning

The link will be on the How To’s page on Friday, so you can check it out here https://www.pricklyhedge.com/?p=14194

Throughout the week on our Facebook page @pricklyhedge, you can check out the videos we post.  Sadly, not getting many at the moment as the animals seem particularly spooked by the bright light on the colour camera.  I’m going back to the black and white version, but we’re just repairing the camera ‘hide’.  Perhaps I’ll video that next week.

Anyway, in the meantime, I hope you have a great week and I’ll speak to you next week.  Have fun, stay safe and well.  With love from all of here at #TEAMPricklyHedge.

Yvonne, Bubble and #TEAMPricklyHedge

15Feb2021

💜🎙💜 NEWS – BREAKING NEWS – Slugs have GREEN blood!

Hello there everyone from a sunny, but cold Prickly Hedge!  Remember last week, when I said there were signs of Spring?   Hmm, well I was wrong.  I’ve felt like I was living in a deep freeze this week and I’ve most definitely frequented by fleecy pj’s this week.  I’ve spent most of the week in my polar fleece ones.  I don’t sleep in them, just wear them during the day to keep warm!  So inside it’s been toasty and warm and I haven’t ventured out at all.

Nature still has a habit of making its presence known though and along with the lovely robins, we should start seeing more of the blackbirds and blue tits.  The blue tits are the cutest little birds, they feed on the cotoneaster berries under our lounge window – conversely – the blackbirds gorge themselves on the berries, but they have been noticeable by their absence this year, sadly.

One for the boys now, or maybe the tomboy girls; they were something I’ve never really taken to but, hey, each to their own.  Snails!  The bane of gardener’s lives.  Want to know more about them?  Slugs and snails are from two different families, even though they belong to the same Phylum (Mollusca) and Class (Gastropoda).

“Slugs and snails are very important. They provide food for all sorts of mammals, birds, slow worms, earthworms, insects and they are part of the natural balance. Upset that balance by removing them and we can do a lot of harm. Thrushes in particular thrive on them! 

Here are some of the weird and wonderful reasons we love slugs and snails.”

Check out the article here https://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/gardeners-guide-slugs-snails – I’ll let you into a little secret – slug blood is green!  It is!  Wow, I didn’t know that.  I think you might change your mind about slugs and snails after reading this, I know I did.  We NEED slugs and snails, they provide food for our endangered hedgehogs.  We start killing one thing in the chain and others suffer.  Like the beautiful mistle thrushes from last week, they thrive on them too.  This is why we have to be sooo careful with what we use for pest control in our gardens.

There’ll also be a video later in the week all about slugs and snails, here’s your advance link for that

https://youtu.be/c8ma6vDvXAM

And a little Snail song for a bit of light relief. Those eyes, they’re just TOOO cute!

And on Friday 19th, there’ll be a craft video on how to make your very own paper snail – all you’ll need is a piece of green paper and a piece of coloured paper, orange, blue, red, whatever colour you decide you want your snail to be.  So get those ready for Friday Craft Morning along with some scissors and glue and get crafting with your little ones. You’ll need:

  • 1 pc Green A4 Paper
  • 1 pc Coloured A4 Paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Pritt Stick

#fridaycraftmorning

What to look out for this week?

Keep an eye out for house sparrows – if you see them congregate, perhaps you have a bird table or you put some birdseed out for them, write down the number of sparrows you see this week.  Let us know in the comments.  They have been in decline in the UK recently, but we’ve seen a few more around this last year (and no, not because we’ve had more time in lockdown – lol).

Housesparrow – beautiful colours!

Anyway, have a great week.  Stay safe, stay well, stay home if you can and we’ll see you next week.

Yvonne, Bubble and #TEAMPricklyHedge

8Feb2021

🧡🎙🧡 NEWS – Posh Baked Beans on Toast, anyone?

Hello there everyone! How are you all doing this week?  There are a few signs of Spring here at Prickly Hedge, our snowdrops have come up.  Well, that sounds very grand, we have about 5 in a pot!  Every little helps lol. 

We also have a few hazel catkins that have appeared on the tree, amazingly, as I mentioned before, other half definitely gave it a shave the other week.  Was warranted though, because they can grow huge and even though Prickly Hedge is a rather large urban garden, it’s still an urban garden nonetheless.  We have two oak trees growing and two huge Yew trees as well, so we have to be careful of our neighbour’s light being blocked.

The weather seems to have improved a little too, well here it has and it’s been slightly warmer, a little bit more like Spring but interspersed with bitterly cold days too.  That little bit of heat though means we can start to think about planting or at least growing from seed.

Here’s an easy vegetable to grow, doesn’t grow too tall or take up too much space.  Broad beans!  I know a lot of people don’t like them but sometimes they can taste way sweeter when you’ve grown them yourself J  Why not give them a try https://youtu.be/o4Dt7hzlNHU

And here’s a novel way to use the.  Good old Jamie Oliver let’s us into the secret of making Posh Beans on Toast!

On a recycling theme, we have a little video coming up on how to make a bird feeder from a plastic bottle; https://youtu.be/7-0kjsXbmrs

And talking of birds, listen out for the song of the Mistle Thrush, you can check that out here https://youtu.be/68jDXIGUBMo

In news from abroad, the Biden administration have delayed the implementation of a Trump era ruling on migratory birds, reports the Huffington Post

“The Biden administration on Thursday delayed the implementation of a Trump-era rule that gutted protections for hundreds of species of migratory birds. 

Finalized in former President Donald Trump’s final days in office, the rule codified a 2017 legal interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) that effectively legalized the killing of migratory birds by corporations and individuals so long as the deaths were not intentional.” 

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/biden-delay-trump-rule-migratory-bird_n_601c4a7bc5b6179453d70464?ri18n=true

Did any of you manage to create a Valentine Card from last week’s video, it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday.  Even you didn’t create cards, it’s free to spread the love, so let’s do just that.

I hope you all have a great week and I’ll chat to you all soon.

Yvonne, Bubble and #TEAMPricklyHedge

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