Category Archives: Green shopping

Red light for night walking

Left to their own devices, your eyes can adapt to the darkness by producing a photosensitive chemical called rhodopsin.  But once you turn on the torch the rhodopsin breaks down and your built-up night vision is lost.  That’s why a headlamp with a red light setting is strongly recommended for night time activities.  Red light is enough to read a map, but won’t leave you blinded. The Ramblers Association has a list of head torches of all shapes and sizes, like the recommended Petzl e+LITE pictured above.

Urban beehives

The Beehaus

Urban beekeeping is becoming all the rage in Britain. Omlet offers rather attractive hives as pictured above, perfect for installation in a garden or rooftop. They claim the hive, the beehaus, is inspired by the way bees live in the wild and built on the classic principles of beekeeping. They also provide service and support to keep bees in your garden. They also say the beehaus is specially designed for keeping bees in your garden or rooftop. See also New plastic hive promises affordable beekeeping (Guardian)

Organic garden in Essex

Audley End is a Jacobean stately home owned by English Heritage. Its kitchen garden looks much as it would have done in late Victorian times, full of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. It is cultivated organically (Soil Association certified), the produce ending up in the English Heritage shop on site. Audley End

There are three garden areas  – the Historic Garden, the 21st Century Garden, the Orchard.

The 21st Century garden is situated behind the back sheds. It has been developed to display the modern methods used in organic gardening. The side borders have been designed to provide a habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, especially butterflies. The central compartment has a grass and clover lawn with a lavender hedge.

Be a farmer for the day in Cheshire

This sounds like a great way of spending a day. Find out what it’s like to work as a farmer on a dairy farm. Spend the day milking cows, feeding baby calves, trimming cows feet or mucking out the bull. Lunch at the local pub, and some homemade Cheshire butter to take home. £175 full day, £70 half day.

An ideal gift for a Christmas or birthday present for someone who enjoys something different. Or not.

Manuka honey from Cornwall

Manuka Honey

Tregothnan Manuka honey is the only Manuka honey in the world produced outside of New Zealand. A pot will set you back from £55.00-£75.oo. Very small quantities of Manuka Honey are being produced from the original Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)  plantations at the Tregothnan Home Estate. Visit

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New Forest Wild Mushrooms

Mrs Tee’s Wild Mushrooms, based in the New Forest, supplies individuals and restaurants and runs wild mushroom courses for the public.

All the wild mushrooms they sell are harvested by hand from the New Forest by an experienced team of local pickers. They also have a wide range of exotic cultivated mushrooms

They sell these wild mushrooms:

  • Ceps
  • Ceps Rufus (Red)
  • Girolle
  • Pied du Mouton
  • Chanterelle Brown
  • Hen of the Wood
  • Beefsteak
  • Chicken of the Wood
  • Mousseron de Pres
  • Mousseron St George
  • Honey Fungus
  • Sparissis Crispa
  • Mixed Boletes
  • Bay Boletes
  • Trompette de Mort
This one-day course enables guests to learn invaluable information about the identification, seasonality, preparation and use of both wild and cultivated mushrooms that they can take back and use in their own kitchens at home. The day includes a guided excursion into the New Forest with the expert herself, to forage for and pick their own mushrooms. Importantly, guests will also be taught which mushrooms are not safe to cook and eat.
The Guardian reviewed these fungi courses last year

I’m on a seminar at Gorse Meadow Guest House near Lymington with 10 other fungi fans, delving into the fascinating world of mushrooms. There are, I learn, around 3,000 types in the New Forest alone, but we’re only interested in identifying about 10 edible varieties. Read

If youy fancy going it alone the New Forest Park website offers the following guidelines on picking wild mushrooms:
  • Go out with someone who knows what they are looking at
  • Follow the fungi pickers code
  • Don’t mix edible & non edible species in a basket
  • Identify the exact species
  • If you are trying a new one, eat a small amount

And the Fungi Collectors Code for the New Forest is:

  • No commercial collecting
  • Obey any warning signs
  • Never remove all the fungi in one area
  • 1.5kg personal limit (and if you’ve found this much you’ve done well!)
  • If you don’t know what it is, it may be rare – leave it alone

Sheep poo paper

Creative Paper, the only craft paper mill in Wales, are makers of beautiful handcrafted papers and paper products including their remarkable Sheep Poo Paper. They claim to take great care to collect super-fresh sheep poo from the beautiful (ugly won’t do) hills of rural Wales and take it back to their mill in southern Snowdonia.

The paper is then sterilised and washed repeatedly until it has lost approximately half its original weight (Sheep Fact: a sheep only digests 50% of the cellulose fibers it eats). The fibres are then used to make paper. For how its made see here.

Wildlife equipment for children

I liked this page on Wildlife Equipment for Kids by the Wildlife Gardener. It recommends:

  • Gardening Tools “with wildlife gardening, the chances are that your child is going to be far more interested in the wildlife than the actual gardening”
  • Magnifying Glass “envaluable for enabling them to distinguish and differentiate between the species”
  • Microscope
  • Binoculars
  • Tape Recorder “A small tape recorder such as a dictaphone can be very useful for recording the sound of birdsong”

Wildflowers in your garden

If you’re looking for wildflower seeds, an experienced supplier is Landlife, a registered charity who promote biodiversity.  But they don’t simply plant wildflowers.  Firm believers in nature’s power to heal and uplift, Landlife strive to improve the environment for people’s wellbeing, focusing particularly on deprived areas.  You can support their work by ordering fabulous mixtures of wildflower seeds, or making up your own combinations.  They are experts in large-scale conservation projects, as well as transforming small gardens, even balconies.  The photograph shows their classic best-selling Cornfield mix.

Read about their products and projects.

Wasp eradication

The Waspinator is a fake wasps nest. Wasps are very territorial, they will aggressively defend their nest against wasps from another colony. Any wasp which sees this “enemy nest” will rapidly fly off for fear of being killed.  The result is a large wasp free zone without killing wasps and without disturbing the insect world in your garden. Enjoy wasp free barbeques without the use of chemicals and with zero maintenance.

More from the Guardian