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January 2017

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Helping our wildlife

Sam Bertram

28 January 2017

The environmental challenge facing us is big but there’s much we can do close to home to help. We spoke to Paul from Meadow in my Garden, a Devizes business that not only creates wild flower seed mixes to attract pollinators to gardens but is driving change by educating people about the small steps they can take towards improving our environment. What would you say to people who feel the challenge is too great? ‘We’ve lost more than half of our wildlife in our lifetime so there is no option, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Our seed mixtures are like a food store for pollinators. Not having a big garden is no excuse. Even if you have the smallest bit of patio you can do an awful lot for pollinating insects. We have a very simple mixture called floral planter that is suitable for window boxes, doesn’t grow too tall and is extremely tolerant. The pollinators will love it and the display is beautiful.  We all need to do our bit so that the environment can be preserved for our children and future generations’. How should people change their thinking? ‘We need to think about how we can be kinder to our environment and that everything has a benefit. Do we really have to use pesticides or should we be looking at thinning weeds rather than eliminating them? Every bug and weed has a role too and we need to think about how we can be more sympathetic to our world. Every spoonful of soil has more living organisms than there are humans on the planet’  What about our public spaces? ‘There is so much we can do in our towns and cities. Roundabouts and verges, in fact any unloved space is perfect for planting wild flowers. Not only does it fill the spaces with an abundance of colourful, beneficial flowers but it can be a really low cost, low maintenance option. The Clean up group in Devizes started because of the build-up of rubbish in the town. Together with them we started with planting one roundabout last year and hope to extend it.  CURDS (Clean up Roundway and Devizes squad) is run by Zena Robson. If interested in joining the group visit Devizes in Bloom on Facebook to see their next meeting dates. We work nationally with lots of groups such as Team4Nature and would love to chat to anyone willing to help make our public spaces better for wildlife. If you see a space that could be better utilised get in touch with us. We also love to do talks for garden clubs, WI meetings and the like. We’re happy to give seeds to any worthy cause’. Tell us a bit more about your seeds ‘We have a comprehensive range of seed mixes that all have a different focus. While some are good for providing butterfly habitats, others are good for sowing under trees. Some can be used for pest control in an allotment, whereas others are a food source for bees, which is great for gardens but also good if you’re a beekeeper. They are an incredibly low maintenance way of filling space with flowers that give a profusion of colour right through the season and help wildlife.’ http://www.meadowinmygarden.co.uk/  

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2017 bucket list

Sam Bertram

4 January 2017

Here’s our suggestions on some resolutions & what you should be aiming to see & do in 2017 to make the most of this beautiful county. Plan for one a quarter and you’ll find it incredibly achievable and rewarding! 1. Our environment is in a fragile state but it’s not that hard to all do our bit to help. Local Devizes company Meadow in my Garden make wild flower seed mixes that encourage pollinators to gardens and sell animal homes for some of our precious wildlife. You don’t need to have a big garden for wild flowers & they not only look stunning but also help our busy bees, butterflies and ladybirds. They’re also looking for volunteers to help fill public spaces with wild flowers. Get in touch if you think you can help. 2. Look at your grocery list and think what you can source locally – there’s so much fabulous food & drink available right here in Wiltshire. Visit your local butcher or deli or become a regular at a Wiltshire Farmers Market so that local always makes its way onto your table. If you feel like a tipple look no further than The Wiltshire liqueur Company – also fabulous ingredients for any recipe. It not only supports your local economy but when it hasn’t travelled it’s better for the environment and tastes better too! 3. Experience some of the amazing pubs & restaurants in the county - It’s important to support your local pub & restaurant, but once in a while it’s worth going further afield.  In Wiltshire we have The Good Food Guide’s best dining pub in the country - The Michelin Starred Red Lion, East Chisenbury.  Recently shortlisted in the top 3 for Wiltshire life’s best pub in the county is The Swan in Enford. Don't miss The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn described by Tom Parker Bowles as ‘Three steps to foodie heaven’, The George & Dragon in Rowde with their fabulous seafood & rustic luxurious rooms with a touch of Soho House, AP McCoy’s pub The Outside Chance, The Michelin starred Harrow at Little Bedwyn which has been AA and Decanter’s Restaurant of the Year amongst other accolades, and The Pear Tree in Purton, The Good Hotel Guide’s Best Country Hotel in 2015. For a casual lunch try the lovely Sticks & Stones in their lifestyle shop in Woodborough. 4. Regular bracing walks are a great way to stay fit. Visit a new part of the Wiltshire countryside & walk somewhere new – there are stunning walks from the North Wessex Downs to the Nadder Valley. Our members have lots of top tips on things to do – whether it’s walking the ancient Ridgeway, a dog walk on Old Drover's Road, an invigorating walk across Salisbury Plain or a walk on the Roman Road in Grovely Woods or around Fonthill Lake near Tisbury you’ll be pleased you ventured there.  5. Look after yourself. We’re launching a wellbeing section in a couple of weeks time so keep an eye out but in the meantime if you’re keen to eat better (not less but just more of the right kind of food) Love Food has fabulous nutritional cookery courses which teach you how to eat well and feel good and are bound to set you on the right track. 6. Make it to at least one of Wiltshire’s events or festivals. Racehorses have been trained in Wiltshire for over a Century so have fun watching Barbury Races – a great day out for all the family. Kick off your shoes at a music festival or there are plenty of Arts Festivals around the county - Salisbury, Trowbridge & Devizes and fabulous theatre at Illford Arts Festival near Bradford on Avon. Marlborough have a literature festival & there are plenty of Food & Drink Festivals throughout the summer. See our events calendar. 7. Take in one of our national treasures – Stourhead near Mere is the second most visited National Trust Property. However, there are plenty more to choose from – Avebury (the ‘better’ stone circle), Lacock Abbey, Wardour Castle near Tisbury, Great Chalfield Manor and Garden (featured in ‘Wolf Hall’), The Courts Garden in Holt or Old Sarum near Salisbury.  And don’t forget the marvellous Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey or Castle Combe, said by many to be the prettiest village in England or The Merchant's House in Marlborough to see how a wealthy 17th Century Merchant would have lived. 8. Learn something new - how often do you wish you could do something better? There are plenty of places offering courses – Marlborough College Summer School has every course you can imagine and it’s a fun way to spend a week. Wagon Yard Artists have fantastic ceramic courses and Delushious Home Comforts in Devizes offers cookery courses for adults & children. 9. Don’t always default to Amazon – if you’re looking for a gift or new items for the home stop and think if you could buy from a small local company.  You’ll be amazed at the unique things available as well as how affordable they are too.  We have lots of gift ideas for both him and her so check those out before going global!  And lots of ideas for the home too. 10. Finally Christmas isn’t the only time to look after your loved ones. Contact and visit them regularly. Everyone loves to receive a card and Simply Bluebell does wonderful greeting cards by local rural artists. Receiving flowers puts a smile on everyone’s face and Pod & Pip do wonderful natural flowers with handwritten note that can be sent anywhere in the UK. Here's to a fabulous 2017!

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