Sunday, May 13, 2012

Innovation, Moss Graffiti and Miniature Baskets

Innovation in the garden is the topic for this week, inspired by Noel Joyce and his recent visit on the Dragons’ Den.  Noel came up with the idea to fix frames onto wooden fences and sheds for hanging plant pots in and has called the invention the ‘Breezy Garden Plant Holder’.  For me it was a case of “Why didn’t I think of that” Sean O’Sullivan, one of the Dragons thought it was such a good idea he invested in it, so they will be on the DIY shelves very soon. I have put my creativity to good use and come up with a few suggestions of my own for innovation in the garden.  I’m not sure if anyone will invest in me though!

Here’s a great idea for making good use of all of those neglected trampolines scattered about the back gardens on the peninsula.  The base makes a perfect framework for a chicken enclosure.  Get a roll of chicken wire and unroll it around the legs of the trampoline; if the top bouncy bit is ripped this can be covered with wire netting too. The chicken house could be attached to the enclosure somehow ( I haven’t thought this through too well, the Dragons would eat me alive) The only reservation I would have with this would be if the kids got onto the trampoline and stated bouncing. I think you would have a few more eggs laid that day.

Making Moss Graffiti
I went through a phase of making seed bombs a few years ago and hopefully the effects of these are still being felt in the hedgerows. I only used naturalised seeds and merely re distributed them.  Now the next stage of the eco warrior world is upon us and it’s called Moss Graffiti.  I’m not sure if I have the nerve to do this in public places so I will probably just play with it in my back garden and not even consider getting outside investments from the Dragons. I have a few walls that could do with brightening up and could benefit from a dab of buttermilk.  Here’s how you create the solution should you decide to make your mark on a wall, or any other stationary object for that matter, this idea will work well on Belfast sinks and other small alpine garden planters.

                                          Photo: Just one idea for moss painting graffiti.

How to do it
Bearing in mind this is not an exact science you could add more or less depending on what you were going to do with the solution. This mix will make a decent statement.

•    Collect 3-4 hands full of moss and put in a blender with 700ml of luke warm water.
•    Add 3-4 tablespoons of water retaining gel (you can get small packs from most garden outlets)
•    Add 120 ml of buttermilk
•    Pulse the blender until the gel forms, which doesn’t take long.
•    Pour the mix into a bucket.
•    Paint onto rough concrete or wooden surfaces.
•    Here’s the tricky bit.  You will need and keep an eye on the weather, if it’s dry, mist weekly to make sure the moss re-grows.  The water retaining gel will be of benefit here. 
•    After about three weeks you should see your artwork growing in front of you.

Please send in photos of your creativity, I would love to see it. One tip: If you are going to do this as a graffiti venture, don’t write your own name! I speak from experience.

Miniature Baskets
I came across some miniature woven baskets last week that caught my attention.  I particularly enjoy small art at the moment and spend my quieter moments making ACEO cards. ACEO cards are 2.2x3.5 inches in size and can be of anything you like but I have found the most popular ones are pictures of cats for some reason and sell for about 1 euro each so no investment here either unless I can sell a few million of them.  The tiny woven baskets are made from pine needles and woven together in much the same way you would weave with willow or hazel.  The finished baskets could only fit a cherry tomato or a couple of hair grips into it, but that’s not the point, they are lovely in their own right. These won’t sell for that much either so again I can’t see any big investment coming my way. I’ll keep pottering in the shed, one of the world’s most creative of places.

Photos: Miniature basket weaving from Wilderness Survival School

Green Workshops highlighting Biodiversity Day
Here’s something that’s definitely worth investing in, time wise anyway.  The environmental organisation Global Action Plan Ireland (GAP) focuses on informing and educating individuals about sustainable living and environmental issues.  To highlight biodiversity day 2012, GAP will host a day of green workshops, ranging from-rainwater harvesting, compost "how to", attracting wildlife, planting advice and tips and even a fairtrade cup of tea. The venue is in Ballymun Dublin 11 on Tuesday May 22nd. It’s a bit of a distance from us here in Inishowen but I am sure our readers around the Dublin area would find it a very informative and fun day. For more information check out the Global Action Plan Facebook page.

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