Michael Loftus: Neal's Yard owner who became a dedicated nurseryman

The nursery that Michael Loftus set up, Woottens of Wenhaston, was a place of pilgrimage for anyone who loved plants, especially iris, auriculas and day lilies. The nursery had an aura about it; and Loftus himself certainly did.

Michelle Williams and Luke Kirby reflect the intense chemistry between Margot and Daniel

Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley, 116 mins (15)

This Canadian romantic drama trundles along sweetly — but do lovers really speak like this?

Growing pains: Buddleia could do with some serious trimming - but be careful only to cut the most inconveinent stems now

Cutbacks, cutbacks: It's time to cut loose with the pruning shears

And how am I going to reach that?" my neighbour guffaws. We are looking up at a stray tendril, hovering temptingly between the ground and first floor, just out of reach. The rain has made everything grow so ridiculously, fairy-tale-beanstalk-tall this year. Stems have grown long and wandering, leaves are plate-sized. Sometimes that's a good thing, but lately it can feel as though the main result has been an eye-watering quantity of pruning and weeding.

Let dark petals bloom

Flower power is back but don't try to channel the 1960s. Instead a moody, more gothic look is trotting off the catwalk and heading for our homes

Next sees new gardening centres as path to greater growth

Fashion retailer Next is branching out into garden centres after a trial format came up smelling of roses.

True grit: Horticulturalist Beth Chatto's remarkably hardy gravel garden

To get to Beth Chatto's house you turn down an unremarkable lane just near a petrol station in the heart of Essex. Here is the celebrated gardener's residence itself: a white suburban bungalow that sits plump on well-mown green turf. And though it's signposted well, it remains a surprising prologue to one of Britain's most interesting and exotically original gardens.

Each plant of the weed Shepherd's purse can produce 5,000 seeds

Weeds have run rampant during the wet summer - it's time to go on the attack…

It's been an amazing season for weeds. In the hideous conditions of the past few months, docks have grown to tropical proportions and you can wring enough water to wash in from the crunchy stems of sow thistles. Round here, there have been endless reminders of how thinly order lies on chaos. In the steep lane that leads out of our valley, more than 50m of bank let go of its moorings and slid so smoothly down, that the trees in the landslip stayed upright. The day after the fall, it was like looking at the beginning of the world: torn earth, gloopy mud, impenetrable tangles of briar among the tree trunks. Impassable.

Weekend work: Time to feed tomatoes

What to do

New Zealand Games hospitality house Kiwi House

London 2012: Up to 700 evacuated from blaze at New Zealand Games hospitality house

Around 700 people have been evacuated from Kiwi House, New Zealand's Games hospitality site after a fire broke out.

<p>1. Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire</p>
<p>Adult £20.50, child £15.50, org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo </p>
<p>This is the UK's biggest zoo, with lions, elephants, et al. There's also a special family festival aimed at under-10s.</p>

The 10 Best country days out

From fossil hunting to forbidden corners and the golden age of steam

Matthew Norman: Even a doormat can only take so much abuse

Like Diana, Clegg's role was to look innocent and pretty - and to humanise Cameron

Purple patch: For a burst of colour next year, get thinking about bulb-planting now

Bad news. It is at this time of year, when we've finally seen some sunshine, that we must forget about tans and start turning our thoughts to wrapping up warm (ugh), going outside in the cold (yikes) and digging several hundred holes in stony frozen soil (blerg). Yep, it's bulb-order time again.

Dog owner acquitted over one police attack as it 'happened on privat land'

A man on trial over a pitbull attack that left five policemen injured was acquitted of one of the charges against him today.

Arable plant species disappearing

Some of the most well-loved flowers of the British countryside are disappearing from arable fields, conservationists warned today.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee