Archive for 09/05/2014


Jardin

So what is an Insect Hotel?

An insect hotel is simply a man-made structure providing accommodation for hibernation, for insects like ladybirds, or a nesting site, for example, for solitary bees. It could also incorporate shelter for frogs and newts depending on the site and structure.

april 2014 057

It is created out of natural, often recycled, materials like old pallets, pots and clay tiles. Its size and design very much depends on materials available and the creativity of the builders.

Using recycled materials to make an insect hotel.

Serving a functional purpose doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be attractive and fun too. A bee can provide inspiration

Inspiration for a ... Inspiration for a …

… for a cut or stencilled motif :

.. bee motif. .. bee motif, cut or stencilled.

Why build one?

  • To supplement the increasing loss of habitats
  • To encourage beneficial creatures which aid pest control
  • Encouraging biodiversity is good for the ecological balance…

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Nomad of the Universe

At some point I have stopped following the news. It’s a sure way to boost one’s happiness – news usually focus on the negative, depress us about things we don’t have control over and create energy sapping noise in our environment. However it’s a fine balance between not following the news and not being in touch with what’s going on around you.

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One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

APR2014_cover Released today, the 2014 Africa Progress Report, Grain, fish, money. Financing Africa’s green and blue revolutions , discusses agriculture, fisheries and finance, outlining reasons for optimism but also some of the priorities and barriers to Africa’s development.

The Africa Progress Panel (APP), chaired by Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel laureate, consists of ten individuals across the public and private sectors who advocate for equitable and sustainable development for Africa. The annual Africa Progress Report, published every year in May, utilises the best research and analysis available on Africa to make viable, policy recommendations for African policy makers, international partners and civil society organisations.

Many African countries have seen significant economic development and transformation in the last few decades and incomes are set to double in the next 22 years. Senegal, for example, has gone from a debt crisis to selling sovereign debt on eurobond markets…

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IMG_8624The second and final stop on our trip home from Devon recently, was Montacute House, Somerset. Surrounded by beautiful, formally laid out gardens, the warm, honey-coloured stone of the house glowed in the spring sunshine. There was a splendid display of tulips and wallflowers and a magnificent ‘cloud’ yew hedge reminiscent of those at Blickling House, near our home in Norfolk. We were fortunate to meet  a gardener in the ”orangery’, which, she explained, was not really in the best spot for this and had in the past been more of a shady water feature, with its tufa – clad grotto. This and it’s surrounds are gradually being replanted with ferns and other suitable species. Pots of standard Bay trees line the terrace outside where once orange and lemon trees would have been placed in summer.

‘Montacute is a masterpiece of Elizabethan Renaissance architecture and design. With its towering walls of glass, glow of ham stone, and its surrounding gardens it is a place of beauty and wonder.

Sir Edward Phelips, was the visionary force and money behind the creation of this masterpiece, which was completed in 1601. Built by skilled craftsman using local ham stone under the instruction of William Arnold, master mason, the house was a statement of wealth, ambition and showmanship.

Come face to face with the past in the Long Gallery, which is the longest of its kind in England. The gallery houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.

Beautiful gardens surround Montacute, constantly changing, filling the house with scent in summer and providing an atmospheric backdrop for a winter walk…’

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Further information: National Trust website

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