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The Independent Online
John Douch writes from Wellingborough with advice about pigeons (Independent 27 July). "I have evolved a method that protects against them and against cats also," he says. "Surround the area to be protected with 5ft canes driven firmly into the ground at 6ft intervals. Stretch plastic, wide-mesh pea netting between them, as taut as possible at 6ins above ground level. This will deter both cats and birds. As the plants grow, raise the level of the plastic netting. Admittedly, cats can now get in and dig, but in my experience seldom bother once plants are growing well. I use this method for potatoes, legumes and brassicas. When hoeing is needed, the netting level may be raised without removing it, but quite often this operation can be carried out without disturbing the protection."

Every year for the last 18 years, a number of private gardens in the picturesque village of Walsham-le-Willows, Suffolk, have opened over the August Bank Holiday to raise funds for repairs to the village's 16th-century church, St Mary's. They vary from small neat cottage gardens to Italian gardens, potagers, sunken gardens, rose gardens and burgeoning vegetable plots. Homemade teas, an organ recital in the church and an art exhibition are also on offer. The 25 gardens are open tomorrow and Monday from 11.30am- 6pm. Admission pounds 3.50. Children free.