Build Your Own Chicken Coop

Chicken coop plan - Cock and Pullet
Chicken coop plan – Cock and Pullet

I you are considering keeping chickens in your garden you’ll need a coop and run.  Obviously, if you are not the DIY type, you can buy chickens, coops and runs from a chicken specialist  like Cock and Pullet, however, if you prefer the challenge of building your own coop, then we can help you.

Cock and Pullet,  suppliers of Chicken coops in Bedford have put together a really helpful article on building your own chicken coop

Buzzing Bees

Caffeinated flowers - Cottonbuds Florists Northampton[t
Caffeinated flowers – Cottonbuds Florists Northampton[t
A recent research paper from the University of Newcastle has proven that bees are more likely to re-visit flowers which have a higher concentration of caffeine in the pollen. Regular re-visits by bees are particularly important to flowers  as the chance of pollination is of course increased

The increased caffeine content in the pollen behaves like a drug and encourages the bees to return to the flower. Certain plant species naturally produce caffeine, examples include Grapefruits Mandarins and, unsurprisingly, Coffee Plants.

The caffeine levels levels in these plants is naturally limited, the reason being that excessive caffeine would create nectar with  a bitter taste which would discourage the bees.

This article was provided by cut flower specialists, Cottonbuds Florists of Northampton

Lap Panel Fencing

lap panel fencing from Osborns
Lap panel fencing from Osborn Fencing Milton Keynes

Planning a new fence? One of the simplest types of fence for the DIY  types is the Lap Panel variety. Ready made and straightforward to fit, they come in a huge variety of styles. Osborn Fencing of Milton Keynes explain more about lap panel fencing and what to look out for. Follow this link to read about lap panel fencing.

Picket Fencing

picket-fencing by Osborn Fencing Milton Keyne
Picket-fencing by Osborn Fencing Milton Keynes

It’s very easy to spot a picket fence; they are generally constructed with finished vertical timber slats, each of which has either a round or pointed top. The slats are spaced evenly and are typically just under one metre high. Picket fencing is for normally used for decorative rather than security purposes,  however, it does provide a useful boundary for protecting children and pets. The fencing is commonly painted white, but cab be left in a natural finish.

Picket fencing represents a good choice as a decorative boundary solution where privacy and security are not the key requirements. Picket fencing is relatively inexpensive and simple to install with pre-prepared panels being available for fiing to the front of 75mm  weather treated fence posts.

This article from Milton Keynes fencing specialists, Osborn Fencing

Choosing an egg laying Chicken

Golden Comet from Cock and Pullet Norfolk
Golden Comet from Cock and Pullet Norfolk

If you are considering keeping chickens in your back garden, you need to make the correct choice i order to enjoy a continuous supply of fresh eggs throughout they ear.

Hybrid breeds are often the very best choice as they have been bred to be hardy and to be prolific egg layers. There are many choices available, and a really good one to consider is the Golden Comet.

The Golden Comet Chicken is a particularly good choices because it doesn’t need a huge amount of care an attention, although it will respond well and be happier if it gets it. This breed is a very strong layer of eggs, producing in excess of 250 medium brown eggs per year. They are a friendly bird, and if given attention, will become part of the family

Further advice, livestock and supplies can be obtained from Norfolk Chicken Specialists Cock and Puller.


A Poinsettia is not just for Christmas!

Year round Poinsettia - Cottonbuds Florists
Year round Poinsettia – Cottonbuds Florists

A poinsettia plant is a popular Christmas gift due to it being a winter blooming plant. But there’s no reason to get rid of it after Christmas. With the correct care, you can keep it all year round.

During the Christmas period, keep it close to a window, allowing it to get as much winter sun as possible, and make sure the temperature doesn’t drop below around 19-20 c. The plant should be watered thoroughly when it feels dry and should be sprayed with a water mist daily.

What about through the rest of the year?

Up until the end of March, mist it and treat just as you did over Christmas

By the time you get into April, reduce the amount of watering, allowing it to get a little drier and after a few weeks, move it to a cooler spot in the home

In May time, trim the plant back to less than 6inches above the soil level and re-pot it into a slightly larger container, adding some slow release fertiliser and place it back in a warmer sunnier spot, misting it daily.

Come June, you can move your poinsettia outside into a sunny location and after a month or so, trim back the stems by a couple of centimetres to encourage it to become bushy

For late summer ensure it is regularly watered and misted. Bring it back inside come October.

To encourage the development of buds, move the plant to a totally dark area from early evening until morning, move it back to a sunny spot during the day

By November, you can stop the overnight darkness treatment and leave it in a warm sunny spot in the house.

Continue watering and misting and your Poinsettia should bloom again for Christmas

Article by Northampton Florists Cottonbuds.

Zen Garden

zen garden by Osborn Fencing
zen garden by Osborn Fencing


Zen is a school of Chinese Buddhim which emphasises self control and meditation. Modern western civilisations have adopted these principles and applied them to our modern way of life.

Zen, when applied to a garden setting indicates an area of quiet contemplation, and there are many things we can do to bring those qualities into a modern setting

The Zen garden is built predominantly with gravel and rocks with a lesser emphasis on plantings. Raking and swirling gravel serves to imitate the natural ripples of calming streams, whilst a variety of sizes of rocks and boulders imitate the mountains and islands of the landscape. The key emphasis being upon an absence of formal structure, more a reflection of natural form.

Consider adding a still, shallow pool with surface lillies and a shallow gradient edge made of fine gravel. Ideally, the garden should undulate and form a flowing natural extension of its surroundings

The best materials to use to create the Zen garden would be entirely natural and include pebbles and grit, weathered stone and boulders with naturally formed shapes and wood in its natural form. Avoid anything man made or formally shaped. Lichens, mosses and heathers are a good addition, but they should compliment not dominate the garden

Whilst planting is not strictly necessary in a Zen garden, it can be added. Low lying plants with muted shades are ideal as are shrubs that are fully formed but dwarfe

Thought will need to go into the design of a Zen garden, but once complete, you should find that maintenance is minimal.

Article by Osborn Fencing, Landscaping Suppliers Milton Keynes

Fencing for your garden

Lap Panel fencing from Osborns

There are many types of fencing suitable for the garden, we take a quick look at one of the most popular types of fencing which is Lap Panel.

The panels are generally made up of a frame containing horizontal boards. Whilst they are not quite as sturdy as close board fencing, they tend to be cheaper and much simpler to install.

For a full description of lap Panel fencing and how to install it, visit this article by Osborn Fencing on Milton Keynes