Portland

The jungle look: Anna Pavord is captivated by a magnificently

Many roads in suburban London have a similar feel about them: terraced or semi-detached villas of the late Victorian, early Edwardian kind, the front gardens too often obliterated by concrete slabs and wheelie bins. Maynard Road in Walthamstow is different. The first thing you see, turning into the street from Beulah Road, are two brick flower beds, magnificently planted with Brussels sprouts and sunflowers, red cabbage and bright yellow African marigolds, nasturtiums, lilies, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, borage and pumpkins. The beds stood alongside half a dozen tatty garages set in a block on the right hand side, but this didn't look like council work – too eclectic. If not them, who?

Farah in shape for Daegu

Mo Farah feels in the best shape of his career as he targets World Championship glory this year.

Van Commenee hails Farah record

Mo Farah's European 10,000 metres record was yesterday described as "truly world class" by the UK's athletics chief Charles van Commenee.

Semenya joins the Diamond set

Caster Semenya will compete at the Diamond League meet in Oregon on 4 June as she begins her international build-up to defending her 800m world title. She is also hoping to run at the Bislett Games in Oslo five days later.

Balotelli follows Rooney route to beat knee injury

Manchester City have sent Mario Balotelli, whose persistent knee injury is a source of concern to Roberto Mancini, for two weeks in the United States under the care of the specialist who helped Jonny Wilkinson through his career-threatening injury.

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Thrill seekers - The transience of earthly pleasures

The latest group show organised by All Visual Arts sees artists such as the Chapman Brothers, Polly Morgan and Paul Fryer contributing works looking at the impermanence of pleasure when viewed from the perspective of death.

A prairie-sky landscape right on our doorstep

Britain has some remarkable places. If we discovered them on the other side of the world, we'd soon be writing home. Film-maker and novelist Tom Connolly explores parts of Kent that have fuelled his creativity

Horse Feathers, The Luminaire, London

Portland quartet Horse Feathers are defined by their folk-inspired string arrangements – a complex layering of acoustic guitar, violin, banjo and cello, blended together for a contemporary take on Americana. Songwriter and front man, Justin Ringle, artfully captures a mosaic of Prairie pioneers, Dust Bowl migrants, bare-feet cabin dwellers and the spirit of Frontierism. Each song is a lyrical artifact, a doleful southern Gothic retelling of the displacement of human emotions and feelings shot through a naturalistic landscape of past existences and faded American tradition.

Modest Mouse, Picture House, Edinburgh

Although they've maintained a small but devoted following in indie circles for more than a decade and a half, Portland-based alternative outfit Modest Mouse were first held up as a cause célèbre by the UK press in 2007, with the release of their fifth album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Never mind the fact that it reached No 1 in America – it was the induction of guest guitarist Johnny Marr into the band which saw Modest Mouse and their catalogue welcomed into the British rock canon.