Urban gardener, Cleve West: Pampas yourself

Friends who have just finished building a garden in Berrylands, Surrey, are now looking forward to planting. The garden, an exercise in paring down and simplicity, has box and yew stalwarts accentuating the structured minimalism; they are looking for a semi-ordered jumble of grasses, perennials and bulbs to provide some seasonal interest. When my list of suggestions included pampas grass, there were sniggers all round. I started defending this much-maligned South American grass, but the more I tried to justify its inclusion, the louder the laughter until, virtually unable to speak with mirth, they told me that pampas grass carried certain overtones … Call me naïve, but it's the first time I've heard that pampas is generally accepted as a signal for extra marital activities, namely wife-swapping.

Wallabies strike rock bottom after French lesson

France 26 Australia 16

Solomon King

Singer best known for 'She Wears My Ring'

My Life In Travel: Jennifer Cox

'I get to airports unnecessarily early because I enjoy the atmosphere'

Ljungberg urges Arsenal to find balance

Arsenal did little to quell the perennial debate as to whether or not they will succeed in Europe following their disappointing draw with Rosenborg on Wednesday night.

Pinsent: 'It's not as if I'm rowing with schoolboys'

They've descended from the mountains now, from altitude training at Silvretta, high in the Alps, to speed work at their base camp on Lake Aiguebelette in France. Their heads are no longer in the clouds. Metaphorically, they never were. Matthew Pinsent and his crew have always been realistic about what lay ahead. They knew gold exploration would never be more daunting.

Country & garden: The grass is not always greener

Milder winters do not flatter ornamental grasses, but in the right conditions they can make a border come alive.

Racing: Pitmans prove to be Ever Blessed

IN TERMS of hard acts to follow, Mark Pitman's is a doozie. But here yesterday he took a decisive step away from being son of Jenny when his charge Ever Blessed won the Hennessy Gold Cup. The seven-year-old gelding is blessed with an excess of talent, but is difficult to keep sound and Pitman deserves every credit for producing him in perfect nick on the big day.

Country and Gardens: Cuttings

NEWS FROM THE GARDENERS' WORLD

Letter: Gender myths

THE PERENNIAL story of the working man and the full-time mother swapping jobs ("How my other half lives", Real Life, 12 September) is monotonously familiar to readers of women's magazines. The comic picture of the man in a pinny with his monumental inability to perform the most basic of domestic tasks is always complemented by the woman's innate ability to do the same, and to breeze through a middle-class man's job that would normally require substantial training.

Gardening: Supergrass

Stately in the shade, dramatic when backlit, and enchanting when covered in glassy beads of rain, grasses not only provide sculptural focal points in the garden, but also make useful windbreaks and ground cover. Sarah Raven reports

The Sitter's Tale: From the Scottish National Portrait Gallery: the film-maker has become a character in one of Steven Campbell's stories

Steven and I have been friends for a long time. We met in the mid-1980s in New York; we were both expat Glaswegians with young families - my son was born in Manhattan - and both at interesting points in our careers at that time, and we bonded quite strongly. I feel closer to him than I do to most film-makers - I don't want to sound pretentious, but we relate as artists. If I'm talking to other film-makers, I'll end up talking about practical things, fees, budgets; but with Steven we can cut straight through to the fundamentals, the perennials, the universals.

Gardening; An arranged marriage

In the final part of her series on creating your own cutting garden, Sarah Raven suggests some half-hardy annuals, biennials and hardy perennials that will provide scent, colour and the perfect foliage base for next year's flower arrangements
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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
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