Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Archive for the 'Amazon' Category

Cheapest bee smoker

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

I’ve spotted this at amazon – it’s the cheapest smoker I’ve seen.

  • Stainless Steel construction. Means it won’t rust and can be soaked in washing soda solution (not the bellows!) to clear ir.
  • Fire Guard. Protective safety guard to help prevent burns. Useful! But still get a bucket to keep it in – a metal one! 
  • Perforated base plate which can be removed for easier cleaning. And you should do this every so often!
  • 11 inches (28cm) tall and 4 inches (10 cm) diameter smoke chamber.
  • Leather bellows with clip. 

I lost the clip off my first smoker within a couple of weeks of starting beekeeping. My smoker is still going strong though.
I have a bundle of newspaper sheets neatly folded up in my bee box. This allows me to take one sheet off, shred it and then light this. I can then apply whatever I am currently burning. I have a bucket of last year’s pine cones and a big plastic sweet jar of sawdust available to me. You gently place some fuel in and puff the bellows until it roars. Once that’s happened add some more fuel – and it’ll smoke nicely when you put the lid on. If you do it right then it’ll stay lit for ages. Sawdust can be gently packed in, but pine cones need to have extras added if you’re staying in the apiary a while. Always have spare fuel with you and check your smoker between hives – not half way through!

The Living Jigsaw by Val Bourne

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

thelivingjigsawThe Living Jigsaw by Val Bourne was sent to me to review.
It’s a brilliant book by the publisher Royal Botanic Gardens.

A look at the contents page made me smile.
It starts with An early start which tells of the author’s introduction to gardening by her grandmother. As so many of us gardeners we start early, and Val Bourne was no exception. Her golden rule is to engage your children and grandchildren: they are the next generations of gardeners. She’s absolutely right, and I believe this book will help many people interest their children in gardening.

The book moves on detailing her move to her current garden, and then delves into chapters ‘Winter into Spring’, ‘The Summer garden’ and ‘Autumn into winter’. This themes things differently to many gardening books which often start with Spring as this is the time when most seems to need to be done.

The end chapters of the book are really wonderful and may raise an eyebrow. ‘The dreaded gastropod’ will make you look at snails and slugs differently, and she explains with great patience how slug pellets work and what the different chemicals do. This chapter might make you think twice about using these chemicals in your garden and she encourages you to look at organic strategies for encouraging slug predators.  She also lists slug and snail proof plants which might ease the pain for some gardeners troubled by these slime pests! You will be more accepting of your shelled nuisances by the end of the chapter – the wonderful photos of empty snail shells will make you think about just how different the snails in your garden can be!

The Flying Squad chapter lifts my heart as a beekeeper – she explores more than honey bees though with a look at wasps, solitary and social, and the absolutely fascinating parasitic wasps. She looks at bumblebees and explores the different types you are likely to see in your own garden. She looks at the solitary bees too who have some very interesting behaviours. This chapter covers many other flying insects and has an excellent chapter on butterflies. There’s a small section on nettle related butterflies which might convince you that allowing nettles to grow in your garden isn’t the worst idea in the world!  She looks at garden birds too with an amazing photo of woodpeckers on a lawn!

Her chapter called ‘The ground force’ starts with the very acceptable hedgehogs and moves onto other creatures like beetles and other creepy crawlies. Again she’ll entrance you with snippets of information about these creatures, pointing out their uses and habitats they like.

My favourite part of the book is probably the last chapter. It’s a selection of the top 100 plants for an eco-friendly garden. she splits these up into sections of 10, so that there’s 10 woody plants for permanent structure in your garden, 10 early bee plants (Please go and buy some of these for our precious pollinators!), 10 plants for borders and edges, 10 annuals and biennials (explaining that they need to be nectar rich to encourage pollination so they can set seed!), 10 gap plants for May,  10 umbels (suited for butterflies with small mouths), 10 nectar plants for butterflies and moths, 10 high summer nectar plants, 10 late performers, 10 daisies.

Val also gives a great list of books you might want to go on and read to find out more.

This book will make you look at the importance of insects and wildlife in your garden and encourage you to support and help it thrive.

It would make a wonderful gift for a gardener for their birthday too! It is beautifully laid out, packed with interesting information and is a delight to read.  I have very much enjoyed reading this book and know that it will be something I will come back to again to re-read and admire the photographs of the author’s own garden.

This book is available at Amazon and all good bookshops.

Chicken coops for the soul

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

This book jumped out at me on a recent visit to my local library – Chicken Coops for the soul – is an absolutely lovely book. Full of interesting snippets about hens, tied to the story of how she got two hens and a rabbit and what happened next.  I’m now after a packing case .. but you’ll have to read the book to know why!

When Julia Hollander agreed to buy her small daughter a rabbit, she had no idea that she would end up with two hens as well. Finding herself at the wrong end of a very steep learning curve, she then had to master the many skills of hen husbandry in short order, from what to feed them to how best to fox-proof a small urban garden.


Chicken Coops for the Soul is a record of the five years of trial and error that ensued, in which Julia charts the joys, challenges and inevitable moments of disappointment thyat face any aspiring poultry keeper. It’s also a compendium of wisdom about the humble chicken that explains, among many other things, which breeds are most productive, why some hens lay double-yolkers, and how we have the Second World War to thank for our ability to tell newly hatched male and female chicks apart. Not to mention a considered discussion of where the first chicken (or egg) came from.


Fascinating and entertaining by turns, this is a book that will prove invaluable to the aspiring keeper and remind chicken aficionados why they became hooked in the first place.

Growing Winter Vegetables ebook

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Growing Winter Vegetables: What you can grow to eat during the winter months and what you can do on your allotment in Autumn and Winter.

Growing winter vegetables

Lasagne Beds, No dig gardening and mulches.: A complete guide to low effort gardening that will produce great crops

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Lasagne Beds, No dig gardening and mulches.: A complete guide to low effort gardening that will produce great crops

Lasagne beds ebook

Free stuff for your allotment – ebook

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Buy this fab ebook – Free stuff for your allotment

Free stuff for your allotment

Would you like to review my book – free copy available

Friday, December 4th, 2015

I am looking for people to review my book on Amazon – It’s called How to compost and is a guide for beginners on how to compost.
I can provide you with a free copy for you to review. If you’re interested then please get in touch via my twitter account – Thanks

How to cpmpost by Di Drinkwater

Carrots at Dawn – a novel about vegetable growing competitions

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Carrots at Dawn: (or Fifty Shades – with parsnips!)

I’ve read the first four chapters of this so far and am looking forward to reading it. It’s a bit sweary to start you off but that’ll give you an idea whether you’ll enjoy it or not.

Shed padlock alarm

Monday, May 19th, 2014

High Quality Padlock with Built in anti tamper (110dB) alarm, Great for your shed, garage, back/side gates motorbike etc etc…. the list goes on and on……

Interesting idea. Someone trys to break into your shed and the alarm sounds!

Slug traps

Monday, March 31st, 2014

10 x Gardening beer slug and snail traps child & pet safe non toxic

This is an easy to use slug beer trap device. The lid prevents rain diluting the beer and causing it to overflow. This means your beer will work for longer.
Neat little traps and a pack of 10 for not very much – so well worth getting for your garden. The colour will help them blend in to the background on your garden.
Highly recommended.
You can also place a stone on top to stop them being unbalanced in more exposed areas or to stop pets investigating. But the use of beer as a slug trap (or even wine!) will not harm your pets.