News Erena Wilson was struck by a cedar branch in wet and windy weather

It was “a fluke” that only one person was killed by a falling tree branch in Kew Gardens last year, an inquest heard today.

Over the line: Steve Ovett (right) beats Sebastian Coe to the 800m gold medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980

The one face you won't see marking 100 days to Games

Their rivalry is the stuff of Olympic folklore but while Coe has been running London 2012, Ovett is keeping his distance

Study examines health benefits of older varieties of fruit

Old varieties of apples, bananas and onions are part of a UK study to potentially give consumers products with "significantly" higher levels of nutrients, it has been announced.

Temperatures of up to 17C set to last all week

The unseasonably warm weather is set to continue this week with forecasters predicting temperatures of up to 17C.

Tom Hodgkinson: 'Maybe I'll postpone the weeding for a bit'

March is with us and a countryman's thoughts turn to his vegetable patch. There is a lovely old medieval poem which assigns a certain outdoor task to each month, and the line for March is: "Here I sette my thynge to sprynge," which means, "Now I sow my seeds." For the full jaunty early-English effect, by the way, make sure you pronounce the final "e" in "sette", "thynge" and "sprynge".

Goldfinches are now found in 58% of gardens, up from just 12% in the mid 1990s

Goldfinches thrive in UK gardens as song thrushes dwindle

Goldfinches are now found in almost five times as many gardens as they were 16 years ago, latest figures from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) show.

Weekend Work: Time to catch up with pruning

What to do

Fabulous Christmas gift ideas: Green fingers

Feast your eyes on part one of our ultimate Christmas gift guide: this week, terrific toys for boys and girls, foodie treats, addictive gadgets, literary treasures and much more…

A cracking piece of design: Keeping Temperate House at Kew Gardens open is a fragile business

Horace Walpole, self-appointed arbiter of mid-18th-century architectural taste, didn't think much of efforts to add a voguish dash of the Picturesque to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. As the construction of Sir William Chambers' 10-storey Chinese Pagoda soared so high it could be seen from the antiquarian's lawns at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, he scornfully observed that "in a fortnight you will be able to see it from Yorkshire". Sir William's mock Roman ruins were similarly derided for being made from "Act-of-Parliament brick".

The late late show: Sarah Raven reveals that August isn't just for hacking back mature growth

It's a hot old day when we stop in at the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens, where the gardener is pushing a barrow load of prunings and deadheaded blooms. "How many days' worth is that?" I wonder aloud. "Two or three," she smiles in reply. "Everything grows so fast at this time of year."

River of Smoke, By Amitav Ghosh

In autumn 1838, Bahram Modi, one of Bombay's most profitable traders, puts together "possibly the single most valuable cargo ever carried out of the Indian subcontinent". Discreetly stowing thousands of chests of opium in his hold, Bahram sails for Canton where, in defiance of the Chinese authorities, opium has been smuggled into the country for decades. Fifteen prior sorties have steadily built up Bahram's wealth, while a long affair with the hostess of a kitchen boat has led to a son.

South East basks in balmy weather - but it won't last

Scorching heat and sunshine will give way to average temperatures and bursts of rain before the end of the week, forecasters warned today.

Inside Lines: Haye is left reeling again as Klitschko moves into movies

For the second time in a week David Haye has been beaten to the punch by Wladimir Klitschko. First in the ring and now on screen.

Add a splash of colour to your garden with pink-flowering plants

I was never one of those little girls who wore pink. Certainly not from head to foot, and possibly not ever. Yuck, etc. But when I was 10 I was seized with a violent liking for the sort of deep-fuchsia-pink that you nowadays see mostly on Barbie-trademarked products. It seemed at once both vaguely rebellious and punky, and a little bit footless-tights disco. Well, you know, it was 1979.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own