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Emma Townshend: How to bring back plants from the dead

I killed the olive tree. I moved its pot one frustrating day over the winter, when I knew that its roots had dug into the patio looking for water, and a big handful of suspiciously significant-looking growth came away in handfuls. And then it was dead. Yep, actual death.

Enhance their performance: New shoots of wisteria
Tourists look at a blooming Titan arum plant at the US Botanic Garden in Washington last year

Titan's Penis: Why are the French flocking in thousands to see (and smell) this plant?

Emma Townshend investigates our fascination with bizarre horticulture

Toddlers will explore the undergrowth – so it might be best to dig up anything poisonous

Emma Townshend: The best thing about having a summer-time child? Napping outside...

But, warns Emma Townshend, your garden will never look the same again…

Anna Pavord: Fig trees are robust, flexible and, of course, the fruit is delicious

Figs are great survivors, hanging on in old gardens long after the lawns and walls on which they were displayed have disappeared. There was one in our old place, where, after 18 months of hacking, we discovered we had a walled garden. It took about 15 years to get that plot back into full production, and the fig was one of the first things we tackled, once we had cleared a way through to it. The stone wall against which it must once have been trained was still standing (south-facing), but the tree had long since broken its moorings and arched out over about 20 feet of ground, its huge leathery leaves unmistakeable among the brambles and seedling sycamores.

Weekend work: Time to shear over rock plants

WHAT TO DO

Mark Diacono's A Year at Otter Farm features growing and eating ideas galore

Diacono has finally turned out the tome that explains what he's been up to down there in the West Country all this time

The wonderfully scented regal lily, which is easy to grow from seed

Anna Pavord's top tips on the flowers to plant for a sweeter-smelling patch

Colour may be all-important in a garden, but don’t forget scent, says our horticultural expert

The three-day show will be held on Hampstead Heath

Grow London: New gardening show for people without a garden launches this weekend

Forget vast herbaceous borders, ornate rock gardens and secluded shrubberies, a new “alternative” gardening show for “balcony and window box”-owning plant lovers is set to open this weekend.

A box tree moth. The caterpillar is a voracious eater of box hedges

Very hungry Asian caterpillar threatens Britain’s box hedges

Not since Alexander Pope ended the 18th-century craze for artfully-trimmed hedges by lampooning aristocrats for turning shrubs into “awkward figures of men” has British topiary faced such a grave threat.

How do you protect your privacy without blocking out the sun and the sky?

So the big question, this time of year, turns out to be this: how can my friend Kelly screen her garden, so that she doesn't have to look at her neighbours while they are standing at their (upstairs flat) kitchen sink? We need a solution that covers up those washing-up souls with some sort of transparent veil, allowing a deep calm of privacy to descend. Ah! But which also lets through sunlight. Like a barrier, but without being a barrier. See, it's tricky.

The best gardens all had proper hedges: including this native hawthorn hedge in Hugo Bugg's gold-medal winning plot

Anna Pavord: This year's Chelsea Flower Show surprised me with its emphasis on planting that you might find in a real garden

Very rarely does the Chelsea Flower Show set a trend in gardening, but it often reflects shifts that have been going on for some time in the real world. At this year's show, there was a welcome move away from dark, claret-saturated plantings: maroon astrantia, purple-leaved geranium, interspersed with blobs of knautia. This colour palette was arresting when it was first introduced at Chelsea in the garden made for Gardens Illustrated by Piet Oudolf and Arne Maynard. But that was in 2000. And we've learnt how drab those plantings look in a typical British summer of grey clouds and rain.

Weekend Work: Time to cut back broom

WHAT TO DO

Emma Townshend: 'The powerful allure of dahlias turns me into a Disney princess'

Dahlias, they're like those Disney songs from the studio's 2013 smash hit Frozen. Big, bright, not in very good taste, nonetheless totally irresistible. In fact the only dahlias I don't get are the mostly very popular "Bishop of Llandaff" and friends; far too respectable, frankly, with small flowers, simple undouble petals and laughably ungarish colours.

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