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Gardening: Make a terrarium and plant for wildlife

Happening this month: Cambridge plant company Small & Green launches a summer workshop series and the RSPB wants us to garden on the wild side

Learning Experience

Cambridge house plant company Small and Green is diversifying this month - to host a whole summer of workshops, spanning every topic from plants, cut flowers, macrame and furoshiki to massage and chocolate tasting.

“I am really excited about the courses and am doing the majority of them in the lovely new Mabel Fox shop on Green Street, as part of a collaboration with them,” explains Small and Green’s Janet Fox. “We will be using the floor above the shop for the workshops and participants will be offered a discounted shopping experience after each event.”

A professional gardener with more than 20 years’ experience, Janet launched Small and Green two years ago to bring the beauty of nature into people’s homes with her artful selection of houseplants, planters and accessories. Since then, she’s won legions of regular customers through her market stall and Click It Local online shop.

The new Small and Green summer workshop series begins with a terrarium session at Sook, Cambridge on June 25, 6-7.30pm. Then, on July 1, 2-3.30pm, it’s macrame; July 2, 6-7.30pm, felting; July 3, 11am-noon, furoshiki (the Japanese art of present cloth-wrapping); July 16, 6-7.30pm, flower care and arranging with Clare Kenward; July 17, 2-3pm, clothed seated massage; and July 19, 10.30am-noon, chocolate tasting, all at Mabel Fox. The month comes to a close with a second terrarium workshop at Sook (July 30, 6-7.30pm) and a garden journal book-making class at Mabel Fox (July 31, 2-3pm).

For more information, including ticket prices and how to book, visit smallandgreen.com and follow @smallandgreencambridge

Green Fingers

She’s famous for her homeware collections but, having discovered her own green fingers during lockdown, Stamford designer was inspired to create a garden range. Spanning everything from trowel, fork and secateurs to a kneeler, apron and wellies, it features her best-selling bees print. Also part of the range is a selection of rustic cement pots, candle holders, a display dish and a ball plinth.

“Over the past year I’ve spent so much more time out in the garden, and truly enjoyed every moment,” says Sophie. “I really hope this new collection will help spark someone else’s love for gardening, the way it has for me.”

Prices start at £12 for a plant pot. See and shop the full gardening range at sophieallport.com

Going Wild

Whether you’ve got rolling acres or a window box, you can do your bit to support wildlife this summer. Experts at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) - the UK’s largest nature conservation charity - say June is a crucial month for birds, bees and butterflies, all making the most of gardens reaching their flower-filled peak.

“Summer sees a hive of activity in the natural world, and your garden, balcony or window box can act as a precious mini-nature reserve for the wildlife that needs it most,” says RSPB gardener Shirley Sampson. “Plus looking after our greenspaces and having nature on our doorsteps can bring us valuable places to unwind and find solace.”

Want to show wildlife some love? Here are the RSPB’s top five tips:

Plant wildflowers

According to the RSPB, 99% of the nation’s natural wildflower meadows have been lost. Create your own bee and butterfly-friendly habitat by sowing their favourite wildflowers, such as cornflowers, birds-foot trefoil and field poppies.

Don’t be a neat freak

Let your lawn grow a bit longer before mowing and you’ll see wildflowers such as ox-eye daisies, white clover and selfheal popping up. The nectar produced by flowers like these is estimated to support around 400 bees a day. And don’t be too quick to trim shrubs and hedges, either: birds like house sparrows nest from April all the way to September and it’s illegal to disturb them.

Watch the birdies

Many garden birds, including blue tits, will be grateful for a nest box. Keep your eyes on your boxes, hedges and shrubs as fledglings start to emerge for the first time (and make sure your cats and dogs steer well clear).

Get muddy

House martins have returned to our shores from Africa and are now looking to build or repair their nests. In dry summers, leaving out a dish of mud (simply soil and water) can really give these special birds a helping hand, as they make their intricate mud-built nests.

Keep it cool

This year’s amphibians will be leaving garden ponds for the first time in June, seeking cool, damp shelter. Creating a suitable spot is simple: half bury a pile of logs and fill any gaps with fallen leaves and moss.

Visit rspb.org.uk for more information.

Good Sprout

Michelle Obama used them to promote her bestselling autobiography Becoming and Richard Branson gifts them to his Necker Island guests as a souvenir. The world’s only patented plantable pencils, which grow into veggies, herbs or flowers after use, Sprout Pencils are fast becoming a poster product for recyclable, sustainable living.

Instead of throwing them out when they become too small to use, just plant the Sprout Pencils into soil and water – and the non-toxic, plant-based capsule in the top dissolves, sprouting into anything from cherry tomato plants, sage and basil to carnations and sunflowers.

Coming in a range of styles - graphite and coloured, plain or engraved with mindful or romantic quotes - prices start at £9.95 for a pack of five.

See and shop the range at sproutworld.com

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