Suttons Seeds started 190 years ago in Reading, where John Sutton sold agricultural seed, corn and grasses. Now they fill 35 million packets of seeds each year for the amateur gardener. This weekend they are opening their trial grounds at Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot in Devon. There is no better way to compare the merits of plants than to see them growing side by side. Make notes ready for next year's seed order. The grounds (behind Fermoys Garden Centre on the A381 Newton Abbot-Totnes road) are open today and tomorrow from 10am to 4pm. Entrance is free, but Suttons would welcome donations for their charity of the year, the NSPCC.
Compost is a moral imperative for a certain kind of gardener. If you are one of them, head for the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth, Powys (see opposite), where a pioneering compost display shows high-fibre compost heaps made with plenty of paper and card. Other successful compost recipes at CAT include a DIY tyre wormery and a long-term woody waste pile.
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