Pip, pip!: Don't just plump for the usual apple tree, there are so many delicious varieties to choose from

Next time you sink your teeth into a crunchy Cox apple, spare a thought for Richard Cox, a retired brewer and besotted gardener, who grew the first Cox apple tree from the pip of a Ribston Pippin in 1826. The new apple would never have been known outside Slough without the help of the Duke of Devonshire's gardener, Joseph Paxton, who in the middle of the 19th century became the first president of the British Pomological Society.

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: A celebration of the English apple

Why might one feel passionate about English apples, but not about English green beans? For if you examine the proposition, is it not the case that Cox's Orange Pippins excite enthusiasm in many people when even the juiciest and most flavoursome English runner bean is unlikely to do so, although they are both in essence the same thing, namely seed pods?

Cheese recipes - Shropshire Blue, Orange and Spinach Salad

Packed with goodness, this recipe is a great example of how cheese can be part of a balanced diet. There is calcium in the cheese and plenty of Vitamin C in the oranges and spinach too.

Louis Dreyfus and Olam in talks

Louis Dreyfus, one of the world's top commodity firms, is in merger talks with its Singapore-based smaller rival Olam International in what could extend Dreyfus's global reach and open up its closely held family ownership.

Colour crusader: How Tricia Guild become an interiors icon

Guild has gone from selling bright fabrics on the King's Road to Royal commissions and a worldwide design empire

Rain, By Don Paterson

A new collection of poetry by Don Paterson is cause for celebration, and I seized upon this book with a shiver of delight. I was not disappointed: Rain is one of the finest volumes to emerge in years. Paterson's language is unpretentious, yet this ostensible clarity lays bare deeper layers of illusion. His words are a provocation to the reader, an elegant challenge that speaks to the soul.

Victoria Summerley: Colour prejudice in the English garden

As George Bernard Shaw once remarked, it is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him. Today, you could substitute the word "garden" for "mouth" and the aphorism would still hold true.

RHS Wisley has gorgeous borders if only those 12ft begonia eyesores would give them a chance to shine

My mum and I are in the car park at Wisley, the RHS's flagship garden just off the A3 in Surrey, trying to work out how to find our way to the ticket counter. The car park comprises vast acres of tarmac in compensatory acres of Lord of the Rings woodland glade, criss-crossed by a slightly confusing network of paths. Since last I visited, the car park has been organised with highly tasteful dividing lines, gauzy ribbons of verbena bonariensis, wheaten grasses and pale yellow daylilies. We begin to feel optimistic that we are in for a good day just wandering its ranks.

Alex James: Wonderful ways to enjoy the summer

Notebook

Gooseberry nectar

Makes about 6 glasses

Around the World in 80 Dishes No.11: USA

Global kitchen

Orange with orange flower water

Serves 4

A quest for Sicilian zest: The citrus farm that allows visitors to sample a traditional way of life

A sprightly, miniature blue bird flits across the area around a cool, clear swimming pool. To one side, a lizard crawls into a small alcove beneath a stone wall that meanders across a verdant lawn. An orange grove wafts its citrus smell across the surrounding countryside, which basks in the shadow of Mount Etna, just visible through a distant haze.

Popular fruit and vegetables 'not the healthiest'

Obvious choices of fruit and vegetables are not necessarily the healthiest, new research suggests.

Cooked cream with roasted rhubarb

Serves 8
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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

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Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

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Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

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Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

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Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

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La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

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