Saturday, 17 March 2012

Operation Araucana

Edna foraging in the garden last year
Chicken introductions rarely go without a peck or two but generally, after a few weeks of discord, a wave of harmony appears to fall on the newly adjusted and coherent flock of egg laying machines. This was not the case initially with Edna the Lavender Araucana.

Edna is a special bird, smaller than the rest of my hens, incredibly docile and with some sort of distorted depth perception, which would almost certainly afford her guaranteed membership to the ministry of silly walks, especially when trying to exit the hen house.

I bought Edna nearly a year ago along with Sophia la Hen and another hen who now resides with my uncle.  Whilst Sophia and the other hen seemed to get along well with the rest of the girls it was all too much for Edna who sustained a small injury in the first week or so.  Anyone who keeps chickens will know just how magnetised they are to the tiniest speck of blood and this unfortunately resulted in her being removed from the coop and taking up residence in my bathroom for a month or two whilst her small wound healed.

Since then she's lived in her own coop and run in my back garden and more recently, over the last six months or so, directly alongside the other girls.  Overtime I’ve tried to let the girls get used to one another whilst free ranging but the meek Edna has just hidden away.  I’ve considered giving her away many times but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it as she’s become part of the furniture and her little blue/green eggs are to die for.

Three weeks ago I made a decision.  I was going to try a second time to integrate her in to the flock and if that failed she would go off to live with a friend who has other Araucanas.  Under the cover of darkness one Thursday night, ‘Operation Araucana’ begun.  This day was chosen as I would be able to check on her several times a day for the following week to make sure she came to no harm.  Strangely, things appeared to go well.  Of course, there was a lot of chicken noise and a bit of argy bargy initially but all in all Edna appeared more aware of her surroundings, her safe places and she was able to stave off anything beyond a bit of pecking.

Nearly four weeks in and she’s almost a member of the flock.  She’s still slightly unsure of her place and this results in her getting a few pecks, but you can see that her confidence is growing by the day and she has started to feed and drink happily with the rest of the girls.  To say I’m pleased is an understatement.  All we need now is an egg and I'm hoping it’s not too far off!

In competition news, the winner of the flymo lawnmower is: Sue McDermott (@susiemcd1). Please have a look at the competitions and offers page to see what else could be won!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Ryan's Garden Competition: Win two granite garden torches

As March has been so grey and damp lately I thought I'd go ahead and spoil you all with not one but two competitions.  In partnership with Garden Items, I'm delighted to offer you all the chance to win a pair of Talli stone table torches.

To be in with a chance of winning just answer the question below:

What is the main body of the Talli torch made from?


When you think you know the answer to the above question, leave a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this post.  You can gain additional entries to the competition by retweeting@ryansgarden promoting the offer on twitter or by sharing a link from the Ryan’s Garden Facebook page (you must like the page to share the link).  The number of entries will not increase if you retweet or share links more than once.

Good luck and don’t forget to subscribe to the Ryan’s Garden blog to ensure you don’t miss out on future competitions and posts.


Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on 13.04.2012. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter.  By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced here on the blog.  

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Ryan's Garden Competition: Win garden bulbs 'in the green'

The kind people at Thompson & Morgan have kindly offered one lucky reader the chance to win over £40 worth of Spring bulbs 'in the green'.  The prize will comprise of 75 single Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), 50 double Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus 'Flore Pleno') and 75 English Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta).


To be in with a chance of winning this prize simply answer the following question:


What is the name of the new dark black Thompson & Morgan Hyacinth cultivar?


When you think you know the answer to the above question, leave a comment in the comments box at the bottom of this post.  You can gain additional entries to the competition by retweeting@ryansgarden promoting the offer on twitter or by sharing a link from the Ryan’s Garden Facebook page (you must like the page to share the link).  The number of entries will not increase if you retweet or share links more than once.

Good luck and don’t forget to subscribe to the Ryan’s Garden blog to ensure you don’t miss out on future competitions and posts.

Terms and conditions: This competition closes at 23.59 on 30.03.2012. Any entries received after this time will not be counted. Entrants must be UK residents aged 18 years or older to enter.  By entering this competition you agree and consent to your name being published and by taking part in the competition, entrants are deemed to have read, understood and accepted all of the Terms and Conditions and agreed to be bound by them. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced here on the blog.  

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Attenborough announces new 3D plants series

Sir David Attenborough in the orchid room in Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory. Photograph: Will Benson  ©Atlantic Productions
I’m extremely excited about the announcement that Sir David Attenborough has written and presented a brand new series: ‘Kingdom of Plants 3D’ that is soon to air.  Anything Attenborough puts his name to is synonymous with amazing photography, perfect narration and a wealth of fascination rarely threatened by any other source, and what’s more, this time it’s in 3D!

I’ve grown up watching Sir David and to say I’m a fan is a huge understatement.  ‘The Private Life of Plants’ was lost on me the first time around, as I was always much more interested in documentaries focused on the animal kingdom when young, but later on I came to love it just as much as I did the others and once again I find myself incredibly excited by what’s just around the corner.

‘Kingdom of Plants 3D’ is a mini-series divided in to three parts that is due to air on Sky 3D in May.  Filmed over the course of a year at one of my favourite places - the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the series sets out to reveal a fascinating new look at plant life through the use of 3D time-lapse filming techniques.  

Each of the three 50 minute episodes will cover a different area of plant life.  Life in the Wet Zone looks at the adaptation of plants to wet and humid environments, with episode two, Solving the Secrets, exploring the behind-the-scenes lives of plant movement, scent and communication.  Survival, the concluding episode, focuses on the continual adaptation of plants as well as a look at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, which houses almost two billion seeds of more than 30,000 species of wild plants to ensure their future for generations to come.

Sir David commented: 

“One of the most wonderful things about filming plants is that you can reveal hidden aspects of their lives.  You can capture the moment as one plant strangles another, and as they burst into flower.  But whilst time-lapse photography allows you to see things that no human being has ever seen before, the added element of 3D takes the audience even further still.  Stamens extend and burst to reveal their pollen grains in exquisite detail, and we can see close-up the incredible insects that partner up with these plants.  The whole experience in 3D is just entrancing, and hypnotically beautiful.”

All that I need now is a 3D TV!

Kingdom of Plants 3D airs in May 2012 on Sky 3D and will be simulcast in 2D on Sky Atlantic HD.

Web Analytics