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7 Easy Made low-maintenance garden planters

Summer time, the time to create simple, low-maintenance garden planters to brighten up your outdoor living space.

Low-Maintenance garden planters made from old furniture

This container was knocked together using the slats from an outgrown child’s bed. The untreated softwood will rot, but it’ll darken beautifully and encourage to moss to spread all over (hopefully). Not all containers need to be full of flowers, a simple pebble and a piece of bog wood set this ornamental grass off in a pleasingly Zen kinda way. Shops selling aquariums will almost always stock bog wood, I bought the grass for 50p from a car boot sale – so I don’t yet know what variety it is. Keep a spray bottle near the container and spray the surface to encourage the moss to grow – moss only grows when it has light, moisture and nutrients, if any of these is missing it simply waits (that is why it is so hard to eradicate moss when it’s not wanted).

A friend gave me her veg box when she went on holiday, it reminded me of my youth working in a fruit and veg shop so I decided to use the box. Again, untreated softwoods will rot quickly and with slats as thin as a vegetable box I’ll see how it’s doing in spring.  Plants were bought from a car boot sale for very little money, except the ivy which was £1 from the supermarket. It’s a great conversation starter!

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce  – Upcycled Planters!

The only stipulation on what cannot be an ornamental planter is size: the container must hold enough moisture to let the plants survive really hot weather until you can next water them. This large kettle holds four liters comfortably – knock holes into the bottom and stand it on something to allow proper drainage. Here you can see the white flowers of the Topia complemented by a skirt of Babies Tears, in most places considered a weed but sometimes seen in a bottle garden, can be used as an indoor plant.

It’s easier watering large containers

This old watering can was rusted through in several spots, so I had no qualms about re-purposing it! The Cordiline provides an architectural quality, the Ivy will hang down nicely. In the bottom of the watering can I have placed an open ice cream tub containing a brick, this will act as a sump for water and make this container a low maintenance garden feature – both these plants need very little care. Watering is done by unscrewing the shower rose and filling the sprout with water.

Put similar pots together

I love broken terracotta pots, this one is making a Fig very happy. Figs get a bit too big if grown in the ground, they are more suited to cliff edges. The pot is large but contains several bits of old rock and paving slabs, meaning the fig has to work a bit harder – something it loves to do.

Get vintage materials from car boot sales and recycling facilities to save money

This bucket was in perfect condition before I started and I must admit I wasn’t too keen to puncture drainage holes in the bottom! After a couple of weeks staring at it I took the plunge. Two dramatically different leaves, both evergreen, set this off nicely and as an added bonus the whole ting can be picked up and moved with the handle – perfect if you think you might be in a different home anytime soon. Avoid vintage shops, think more; second hand shops, garage sales and the local tip.

Succulents have super low water requirements

Also loving the succulents, these disguarded telegraph poles make ideal planters – we left them in the corner of the garden until the middles were rotted enough for us to drill right through the short lengths. The succulents should be happy here as it will drain freely, but never quite dry out. Succulents sometime throw ‘pups’, literally complete tiny babies of themselves – pull one off gently and put it in a pot ready for your next planter idea.

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We now take Bitcoin, Litecoin and other Alt Coins!

Alt Coins!

You already know that sheepskins complement a modern home, you can probably picture the vivid fashionable colours you get achieve with our range of natural dyes – so despite our adherence to the traditional tanning method, and our old-fashioned love of nature, we are leading the way in accepting the most modern of currency, Bitcoin!

In fact, you can enjoy our shop with Bitcoin, Litecoin and Doge with immediate effect. You can also take advantage of currency fluctuations from wherever in the world you are ordering from.

All these extra payment options offer secure private payments. They are an easy way to buy anything from our Mimosa Dye to your own Bespoke Sheepskin.

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Sheepskins: the Ultimate Yurt Upgrade

Dragon Hill Yurt.

Just spent a wonderful afternoon at at a yurt on Dragon Hill, just outside Glastonbury. We were making a delivery of sheepskins to be used for weekend workshops. However, we ended up getting in touch with our more primal side and practising bush skills!

I tended the fire, clearing the scrub from the site. Shannon took on building a rack so the shoes could be left outside without getting wet. It was a fantastic challenge to create things using only what nature had to offer.

We stayed late into the evening enjoying the wonderful location (and beautiful yurt) chatting by a fire. Marc was delighted with our sheepskins which add a real touch of luxury and comfort.

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Sparrows attack House Martin nest.

House Martins Under Attack.

We loved having some House Martins build a nest above our bedroom window, but when it was attacked we didn’t know what to do. The first sign was the change in tone from the babies. First they were sweet and chirrupy, then one morning they were raucous and unpleasant.

Little did we know there was a war on. The nest was being attacked. I saw a little brown bird land on top of the open window, I thought it might come in the room but it flew away and life went on.

Then a couple of days later the Martins were gone, all was quiet. This was odd because House Martins raise offspring who in turn help to feed the latest hatchlings. It’s a growing family (and an absolute delight to watched them fly like Swifts and land, belly facing, right above your bedroom window) The precision with which these birds navigate the world is awesome.

House Martins are also specially protected by law, dislodging one could land you in jail in the UK. So when they moved out so suddenly, Shannon was compelled to help. She discovered that House Sparrows will take a Martin’s nest, and the behavior we saw was typical. She also found the solution.

The Solution

 

Weighted strings solved the Sparrow problem

 

What she did was tie little washers to some string and hang it on the eaves.

“The strings should be about 230 mm long, 65 mm apart and no nearer than 150 mm to the nest hole” – RSPB

The trick works because House Martins can swoop in underneath the string but the House Sparrows, despite being nimble on the wing, can’t risk fluttering through those hanging strings. Science!

 

(If you feel sorry for the House Sparrows, and apart from complete psychopaths no one does) You can find instructions for ideal homes for them here.

 

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Rocombe Retreat – Pizza in a cob oven

Rocombe Retreat Cob Oven

Rocombe Retreat

Having spent the weekend at Rocombe Retreat, nestled in the rolling hills surrounding the teign valley in South Devon we have a new love for the Cob Oven!

We even managed to cook up some mussels fresh from the river teign mussel beds, and seared some tuna as well. (Not from the sea locally I’m afraid to admit)

We produced the classic spelt flour pizzas. With various toppings such as red onion and goats cheese, olive and anchovey and a classic Margaretta for some very fussy children.

We had also planned to do a little dying in the covered barn but time ran away with us. We ended up mainly eating and drinking by the oven.

All in all it was an awesome Holiday not far from home (although we could have been anywhere in Europe to be honest – what a classically tranquil spot)

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Madder dye and its magnificent colour change!

Madder Colour Change.

Madder dye is a spectacular colour changer, with our new kit you can watch it go through a colour change when you expose the freshly-dyed fabric to washing powder.

You can dye your own cotton bag with natural Madder dye and enjoy watching it change colour!

Our new kits contain everything you need to produce a gorgeously dyed cotton bag, including washing powder (although you can use your own).

Natural Madder Dye Kit contains:

  1. 20g Pack of natural madder dye
  2. Ethically sourced cotton drawstring bag
  3. 10g Natural alum mordant
  4. Elastic bands (for tie dyeing)
  5. 100g Salt
  6. 2 Pairs of latex-free gloves
  7. Simple instructions, including How To Do The Colour Change!

Watch the unveiling of this madder tie dye project, always an exciting moment!

Click here to order your own natural Madder Dye Kit now!

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Be childish, whilst there is still time

coin sparks cap. simpler things.

Enjoy the simpler things in life.

Happy bank holiday! Remember to enjoy the simpler things in life, a friend of mine was recently hospitalised. He recovered, but the gentleman in the bed opposite didn’t. Witnessing a guy dying has changed my friend somewhat, and as he returns to health his focus has changed too. Now he urges that we all enjoy family and friends while there is still time.
This Sunday we took a slow family day walking around a car boot sale and we spotted some old fashioned strips of caps. The ones we used to play with when we were kids. At home in the garden we took them out and struck them with a two pence coin on a slab.
More fun was had from that 50p spent on simple caps played with in the back garden than days that have cost far more.

Lots of love from your friends at Dartmoor Sheepskins – have fun, take it easy, hug your kids, spark some caps with a 2p coin.

 

Barney give instructions on how to spark caps with a coin

 

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Out of respect for mice I will not use pesticide.

in focus bindweed root out of focus dug bed

So, I find myself with a conflict but have decided I will not use pesticide. 

Plants you want will die if you so much as look at them wrong. Bindweed, on the other hand, can regenerate a whole new colony if you leave behind a single millimetre of it’s brittle root. Surely, this is when you get the pesticide out.
 I have a rubber bucket full, heavy, with its brittle root. I’m even tempted to try weedkiller for the first time in my life, but this little fellow stops me.
I was working in my garden, trying to remove the insidious bind wind, my son called me over. We have a tiny little wood mouse living in our garden.  The wildlife on and around Dartmoor is part of what makes living in such a beautiful place all the more magical. This little fellow has been hibernating under a forgotten wooden board in the garden all winter. He has come out looking for food after the long winter months.
He was so bold that he even took a sunflower seed from my hand. Going about things the natural way is often slower and can take more steps to reach where you want to go, but it is at times like this that I am reminded the the journey can often hold as much joy as the destination.
Our garden may take a little longer to clear from weeds and our dyes make take a little longer than a quick spin in the washing machine but over all, today, I have the joy of enjoying the slower path.

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Natural Dye Kits Now Available!

different dyes for dyeing cotton bags

Dye your own ethically sourced cotton bag with our super simple kits.

Natural dye kits! These kits contain simple instructions and all the ingredients you need to dye your own cotton drawstring bag. Each set of ingredients is ample for adding colour not only to the bag supplied, but also for dyeing/tie dyeing t shirts, pillow cases etc that you already have!

At just £19 they represent excellent value and a fun way to start your fabric dyeing career!

squares of cotton dyed in different natural colours
Which colour will you choose?

Each Natural Dye Kit contains:

  1. 20g Pack of natural dye (10g if choosing marigold and tesu)
  2. Plain cotton bag ready for dyeing
  3. 2 Pairs of latex-free gloves
  4. 20g Alum Powder
  5. Elastic bands (for tie dyeing)
  6. 100g Salt
  7. Simple Instructions

Super Dye Kit contains:

  1. 20g Pack of natural madder dye
  2. 20g Pack of natural woad dye
  3. 10g Pack natural marigold and tesu dye
  4. 2 Ethically sourced cotton drawstring bags
  5. 30g Natural alum mordant
  6. Elastic bands (for tie dyeing)
  7. 200g Salt
  8. 4 Pairs of latex-free gloves
  9. Simple instructions

stages of natural dyeing

Click HERE for our Natural WOAD Dye Kit

Click HERE for our Natural Marigold and Tesu dye Kit

Click HERE for our Natural Mimosa Dye Kit

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Introducing: The Lambkini!

Lambkini on male ready for the beach beachwear for men, made from sheepskin.

The Lambkini – Real Men Wear Wool.

As summer approaches we’ll be asked if our wardrobe will embarrass us on the beach, or indeed if our own bodies are up to the task of laying in the sun and attracting a mate. Don’t hide indoors this summer, instead tan your hide with a luxurious longhaired Lambkini™.

How often have you laid face down on the beach and cursed the way those tiny insidious grains catch in your soft, downy chest hair? No more will the irritation of microscopic crustaceans marr your sunny coastal man bathing. Finished your swim? No problem, just a quick shake and you’ll emerge from the water like Poseidon. Real men don’t let these things get in the way of being real – real men wear Lambkini™.

Pre order now to ensure that your summer is filled with comfort, style and dignity.

Coming soon: the new Micro-Lambkini™