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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Oscar Quine takes a stroll along High Street Kensington yesterday in ‘his’ electric blue stilettos
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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
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<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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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
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

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From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

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'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
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Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
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One man's day in high heels

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The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

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Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

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Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

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