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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