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The Pet Safe Campaign: Could Your Garden Poison Your Pet?

With warmer temperatures coming our way, it’s likely you and your pets will be spending more time outdoors. But did you know that your garden might contain plants that could poison your pet?

According to MORE TH>N, 78% of British gardens contain plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. I admit it, even I didn’t know all of the plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. And I’m not alone; one in every three pet owners (31%) admitting they have no idea if the plants and flowers in their gardens are toxic.

That’s why MORE TH>N Pet Insurance has set up their Pet Safe Plant Campaign; a campaign which is raising awareness to the clear and present dangers that lurk in your garden and homes. They are directly campaigning for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labelling to help pet owners easily identify if items are safe or harmful to cats and dogs.

As a pet owner, I’m sure you’re with me on wanting to help protect your precious fur babies from being poisoned – and worse still,  from death. MORE TH>N has enlisted the help of a number of famous faces to help to promote the campaign, like Charlie Dimmock and this year’s RHS Gold Winner, Ian Drummond, who has made a rather unusual creation called the Poisonous Pawtanical Garden, to try to hammer home which plants could potentially kill your pets.

The creation of the world’s most dangerous garden to cats and dogs

To kick start the campaign, MORE TH>N has commission the RHS Gold medal winner, Ian Drummond to create the world’s most dangerous garden to cats and dogs.

Launched at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London at the beginning of June, the garden will be taken to different locations throughout the capital by the charity Core Landscapes – so look out for it coming to a town near you!

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I had no idea that some of the flowers planted in the poisonous garden could be toxic to my cat. I’m ashamed to admit that I have one of them in full bloom in my garden! And sadly, I’m not alone. According to research, Almost 10% of cats and dogs have ingested poisonous plants or flowers. Of those, 43% subsequently needed urgent veterinary care, while 15% sadly passed away. It’s a painful statistic but something that could be avoided if green fingered pet owners were more aware of.

So which plants are the most dangerous to cats and dogs?

A few of the plants in the poisonous garden include: Begonia, Buxus Pyramiden, Chrysanthemum, Clematis, Cordyline, Daisy, Dahlia, Elderberry, Foxglove, Grape plant, Hydrangea, Hedera Ivy, Lilies (variety), Cherry Laurel, Marigold, Nerium Oleander, Paeonia mix, Papaver Poppy, Tomato plant and Wisteria.

But if you’re particularly concerned here’s a summary list I pulled from MORE TH>N’s website which cites the common toxic plants to avoid in the garden:

PLANT NAME POISONOUS FOR CATS POISONOUS FOR DOGS
ALOE VERA
AMARYLLIS (BULBS)
ANGELS TRUMPET (BRUGMANSIA)
APPLE (SEEDS)
APRICOTS (KERNELS)
ASPARAGUS FERN
AVOCADO (FRUIT, PITH, LEAVES)
AZALEA (ALL PARTS) Rare
BABY’S BREATH
BEGONIA
BIRD OF PARADISE (PODS)
BISHOP’S WEED
BLEEDING HEART (DICENTRA FORMOSA)
BLUEBELL
BUXUS / BOX (ALL PARTS, MOSTLY LEAVES)
CARNATION
CLEMATIS (ALL PARTS)
CORDYLINE (GRASS PALM)
CROCUS (ALL)
CHRYSANTHEMUM (ALL PARTS)
CYCLAMEN (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS, STEMS)
DAFFODIL (ALL PARTS)
DAISY
DAHLIA
DAPHNE (BERRIES, BARK, LEAVES)
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE
DELPHINIUM (ALL PARTS ESPECIALLY THE SPROUTS)
ELEPHANTS EARS (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
ELDERBERRY (LEAVES, BARK, ROOTS AND BUDS)
EUCALYPTUS (ALL PARTS)
FOXGLOVE / DIGITALIS (LEAVES, STEMS, FLOWERS, SEEDS)
GARLIC
GARDENIA
GERANIUM (ALL PARTS)
GLADIOLA (BULBS)
GRAPE PLANT/VINE N/a
HELLEBORE
HIBISCUS
HOLLY (LEAVES, BERRIES & STEMS) Rare
HOSTA Rare
HYACINTH (BULBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS)
HYDRANGEA (ALL PARTS)
IRIS (BULBS)
IVY (ALL SPECIES – LEAVES, BERRIES) Rare
JAPANESE YEW (NEEDLES, SEEDS, BARK) Rare
LABURNUM (LEAVES AND SEEDS)
LARKSPUR (ALL PARTS)
LILLIES (ALL PARTS) N/a
LIME
LILY OF THE VALLEY (ALL PARTS)
LEOPARD LILY N/a
LOBELIA
LUPIN (ALL PARTS) Rare Rare
MALLOW
MARIGOLD (NEW LEAVES, STEMS)
MISTLETOE
MONKSHOOD/ ACONITE (ROOTS, FOLIAGE, SEEDS)
MORNING GLORY (ALL PARTS)

What could happen to pets if these plants are ingested?

According to vet and consultant on the garden, Robert White-Adams, “As a nation of animal lovers we’ll do anything to not put our pets at harm. What this campaign reveals is the hidden dangers many of us wouldn’t even be aware of. Each plant has been chosen to show just how many common varieties can make our pets ill, or worse still, die if not treated immediately by a vet.”

What can you do to stop pets from being poisoned?

Firstly, check the summary list above to see if you have any of these plants in your home or garden. I also recommend taking this list with you when you go to buy seeds.

And finally, if you want to raise further awareness to stop more unsuspecting owners from loosing their pets, why not share the video and this list on your own blog.

Thanks for reading.

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Glassblowing at Creative Vibe Studios Ampthill

Instead of going up the pub or binge watching stuff on Netflix I decided to do something completely different last weekend; I went glassblowing.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to  Creative Vibe Studio, tucked away in Ampthill and taught a new skill by artist and glassblowing master Ricky Keech.

Me and a few friends headed over on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon to learn his trade.

I’ll start off by saying I was not a natural.  I was scared of the crucible (aka a pit of burning fire and molten glass) as well as being terrified of tripping over something and burning someone else or myself! But Ricky is very safety conscious and ensured we were wearing all of the correct safety gear and went through health and safety practice before we even touched any of the equipment. This put my mind at ease and I quickly let go of my fears.

Ricky regularly runs glassblowing courses for no more than two people so that you can develop your skills at your own pace with Ricky’s full supervision. This is how my day went.

A beginner’s experience of glassblowing 101

Before we made anything that we could keep, Ricky wanted us to get to grips with picking up liquid glass using the rod, cooling it and then finally releasing it from the rod. So, to begin, you need to hold the glass blowing rod at an angle and carefully place it into the crucible.

Ricky crucible

You must be turning your stick slowly at all times to keep the glass from dripping and going out of shape. Once you pick up a blob of glass, you then take it through to a steal surface and gently roll it along the top to cool it down.

cooling glass on table top

Once there is enough glass on the end, we then had to sit on the bench, roll the rod back and forth whilst using pinchers to make a circular line around the glass to help to ease it off the end of the rod.

ricky glass pinchers

At this point, we hadn’t actually used any puff. This came next. Along with adding colour. It had already been a complex process but I’d managed to master picking up and shaping molten glass in less than an hour so you could too!

Adding colour to blown glass

Just as we collected glass from the crucible, we gathered a blob of glass; turning and rolling as we sat on the bench. But this time we blew down the rod. Quickly and sharp. This caused a bubble of air to be trapped in the glass and expand the molten.

Gina glass blowing

You need to keep collecting more liquid glass as you continue to blow down the rod and expand the glass. As the glass grows you can then begin to add colour in the form of powered material – I think it was powdered glass!

Adding colour to glass

Here’s what the glass looks like with colour whilst it’s cooling:

coloured glass

I can’t believe we managed to  get to this stage in under two hours but we did it!

And we even managed to make these paperweights by following the same process

paperweights

Image courtesy my mate Gina Hutchings

In less than three hours we had managed to make something useful and attractive. And that credits Ricky’s skill as a tutor. I definitely impressed myself that day and really enjoyed being back in the workshop – it felt like I was back at art school.

If you would rather do something different with your weekend and pick up a new skill, I highly recommend glassblowing. Ricky’s glassblowing classes comprise beginner level, paperweight making classes and full day glassblowing experiences – all of which are affordable for either a present or as a treat to yourself.

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