Gardening: Cuttings

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SPORTS SPRAIN ointment, ilex energy buzz, camellia compress, soothing bronchial brew (made from asparagus), flatulence and nausea tea - you can find recipes for them all in The Garden Healer by Helen Farmer-Knowles (Gaia Books, pounds 12.99). I suspect I'm not alone in liking the idea of medicine from the garden - it conjures up memories of childhood potions, pounded from primroses and the tips of hawthorn - or in failing ever to have translated intention to action. Ms Farmer-Knowles shows how to go about it

BRIAN ALLT, from Sudbury in Suffolk, writes in praise of willow fencing. "I have a road frontage of 64ft, although the garden is only 22ft deep. When I arrived here there was a low fence and an awful 5ft hedge mainly composed of privet suckers, which had swamped virtually all the original flowering shrubs.

"I had all the privet torn out - a major job. Then I got a nearby genius to weave a willow fence 6ft high. Not the growing kind. One of its great advantages is that it is not necessary to dig great holes. It is woven round long scaffold poles which are just driven straight into the ground with a huge cast-iron hammer.

"I don't know why this type of fencing is not used more. There are no posts to rot, and it does not disturb nearby plants. It provides a much better wind-break than a solid fence, and it is easy to thread ties through it to support climbing plants."

A NEW service to conservatory owners is offered by Marceline Siddons, owner of a nursery specialising in conservatory plants. Send her a sketch of your conservatory, with its size, its aspect, the amount of light it receives, and how hot it gets during the day (and how cold at night). Tell her of any plants you particularly like, and any colours you want to avoid, and within two weeks she will provide a planting plan to fit the space. The service costs pounds 10, but you can reclaim this if you go on to order plants from the nursery. For more details, contact Ms Siddons at The Conservatory, Station Road, Gomshall, Surrey GU5 9LB (01483 203019). The nursery is open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5.30pm.

THE ROYAL Parks Agency, which looks after many of London's great parks, is organising a flower show in Regent's Park between 25 and 28 June next year. Up to a hundred thousand people are expected at the event, which will recreate the great shows held in the park during Victoria's reign. The park forms part of an elaborate architectural complex designed by Nash for George IV, an ambitious project linking Regent's Park with St James's Park via Portland Place and Regent Street. It was opened to the public in 1838.