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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.

Southern belle: Anna Pavord is bowled over by an ultra-modern, ingeniously landscaped plot

Helen Marsden is opening her garden in Dulwich Village tomorrow - and its quite the best thing of its kind our gardening correspondent has seen

Weekend work: Time to tend to apricots and figs

WHAT TO DO

Chelsea Fringe: Sarah Salway's work for the Wise Words Festival combined an endlessly creative spirit with a love of landscape

Choosing from a box of postcards, visitors could write to strangers, pinning their message to a line with a clothes peg, watching their words flutter in the wind, among flowers and leaves
Great crop: The outstanding cherry tomato 'Sungold'
Herbal essences: Rosemary, chives, sage and thyme

Anna Pavord: Grow rosemary and sage and you've got yourself aromatherapy for free - plus the perfect ingredients for a savoury tart

I'm puzzled by rosemary. Not because it's difficult to grow. All it needs is sun and half-decent drainage (grit helps). The puzzle arises from the colour of the flowers. The ones I like best are a deep, intense blue. Over the years, I've taken masses of cuttings from Italian plants that have those kind of flowers.

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