Gardening: Cuttings

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Last chance to catch Louis Turpin's big, bold and vibrant paintings in the exhibition The Secret Gardens of Rye, which is on show at the Rye Art Gallery, Easton Rooms, 107 High Street, Rye, Sussex TN31 7JE until 2 June. The gallery is open daily (10.30-5pm). For further information call 01797 222433.

Like us, plants get bored with the same food all the time, which is why each year I try some new titbit to feed them as a treat. This year, the treat is Rooster pelleted manure, produced from hens that have never been anywhere near a battery. This is the only organic manure, say the manufacturers, that is licensed by the Soil Association. It comes in 7- kg tubs or 14-kg bags, and we've been using it as a boost before planting out vegetables. You can turn it into a liquid feed as well, and it is specially recommended for tomatoes; use half a measure of the pellets when you plant, followed by another half-measure when the fruit sets. It's best to stir the pellets gently into the surface of the soil or compost. The recommended retail price is pounds 6.95 for a 7-kg tub, but most garden centres sell Rooster for about pounds 5. For a list of suppliers, call Greeenvale Farm on 01677 422953.

The Holker Garden Festival opens next Friday and continues for the whole of next weekend, set in the fine formal and woodland gardens of Holker Hall, Cark-in-Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. Some of the country's best nurserymen will be exhibiting in the floral marquee and local craftsmen will be selling furniture, tools and other garden equipment. The festival is open on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday from 10am to 5.30pm) Admission pounds 7. For further information call 01539 558838.

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