Edinburgh wins, I said, in the last note in Cuttings (Independent, 8 February) about northerly bay trees. And so it seems, despite a spirited bid to snatch the laurels for the west coast of Scotland by Margaret Barber who reports a 25ft-high bay tree in the grounds of the Savoy Park Hotel, Racecourse Road, Ayr. Perhaps the last word ought to go to Hanne Westergaard, whose Sheffield bay tree (the subject of a Gardening Workshop) started the series of sightings of other, more northerly trees.

"I got Derwent Treescapes from Matlock in Derbyshire to come and reduce the height of my bay tree," writes Ms Westergaard. "They are listed in the Arboricultural Association's directory of approved contractors and they did a very good job for pounds 118, plus VAT. The tree was cut and trimmed by hand. Now, when the new growth appears, it will be more manageable and I will be able to trim it by myself."

For anyone else wanting to track down a reputable tree surgeon, the Arboricultural Association is at Ampfield House, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 9PA (01794 368717).

Essential reference for any compulsive seed sower is The Seed Search 1997, compiled and edited by Karen Platt. It works in the same way as the invaluable Plant Finder. You look up the name of the plant, and opposite are codes which stand for a wide range of suppliers, in France, Spain and the States as well as in the UK. A surprising number of people enjoy growing trees from seed. If you fancy raising a grove of endangered black poplars, Sandeman Seeds of The Croft, Sutton, Pulborough, West Sussex RH20 1PL is the firm to contact (01798 869315). If you ache to grow the New Zealand shrub pomaderris (I'd never heard of it until now), then Ms Platt guides you towards the French firm B&T World Seeds, rue des Marchandes, Paguignan, 34210 Olonzac, France (00 33 468 912 963) which specialises in the exotic, the obscure and the hard to get. The Seed Search 1997 is available, price pounds 8.99, direct from the editor at 37 Melbourn Rd, Crookes, Sheffield S10 1NR (01142 681700).

A new season of rare plant fairs has just opened (look out for Cerinthe major on Derry Watkins's stand, "Special Plants") and the next one will be held on Saturday, 5 April (11am-4pm) at The Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath. The following Saturday, 12 April (11am-4pm), the fair moves nearer London, when it sets up at Court Garden, Pound Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Admission costs pounds 2.

Stars in the garden at the moment are the blue primroses (35 of them) that I bought as plugs from Thompson & Morgan's Young Plant Catalogue in Autumn 1995. The spring issue is now available, offering a fiery new nasturtium called `Forest Flame'. Like the beautiful double nasturtium `Hermine Grashoff', it does not set seed, so has to be grown from cuttings. You can also get young plants of the old-fashioned carnation `Fenbow's Nutmeg Clove' and a new geranium called `Evka'. To get a copy of the catalogue, call 01787 884141 or write to Thompson & Morgan (Young Plants Ltd), PO Box 99, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6SN.

Anna Pavord

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