Beyond string theory: keeping flowers growing straight and true

It's complex, but there are more ways than one to give your flowers the support they need

The Bachelor

Grace Dent on TV: The Bachelor, Channel 5

These women are ready to love Spencer from Chelsea forever. They just haven't met him yet

Emperor's new crop: the case for leeks

For first-time vegetable growers, leeks are an easy and tasty option. And if they're good enough for Nero...

One Minute With...Gerald Seymour, thriller writer

Boyd Tonkin

Book of a Lifetime: The Cement Garden, by Ian McEwan

In 1975 Ian McEwan was famous at our school because his short story collection, First Love, Last Rites, was sensationally banned by our doddering headmistress, Miss Gems. After examining a stray copy, Miss Gems set about a full-scale censorship to protect us from what she declared was a shocking, dirty book. Copies were confiscated, detentions issued to those of us who admitted to having read it. We found it hilarious. As a result of the ban everyone saved up to buy a copy.

A model catwalks for Chanel's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2012-2013 collections show yesterday at Grand Palais in Paris

Chanel blossoms on the Paris catwalk with a spellbinding exhibition from Lagerfeld

Why hire an 18th-century salon complete with flower-festooned garden when you can build one yourself? That is what Karl Lagerfeld chose to do at the Grand Palais for the Chanel haute couture show in Paris yesterday. Guests walked on a grey carpet – so much smarter than a red one – flanked by potted camellias, famously Coco Chanel's favourite flower, and took their seats around little white tables on wicker chairs.

The New York Botanical Garden conservatory has been transformed into Monet's Giverny garden

Monet-making venture: The artist's famous home has been recreated at New York's Botanical Garden

On my first visit to New York, I never got as far as the Botanical Garden, out in the Bronx. Don't make the same mistake. It's a perfectly easy journey, only 20 minutes from Grand Central Station, on the Metro-North railroad to the stop called Botanical Garden. Before you get off, you'll probably see the centrepiece of the garden, an astonishing conservatory, completed in 1902, which makes a great curving C of glass, bending round a courtyard.

Prince Charles has travelled to Portugal; Sweden; Canada and Spain in the last 12 months

Prince of Wales, and Spain, and Qatar... Charles' budget is up 11%

Royal family's accounts raise concerns amid austerity

'This is the Trust's most important plant conservation initiative for more than 60 years' - Mike Calnan, National Trust head of gardens

Secret site to protect plants from disease

A high security conservation centre to safeguard Britain's flora from the spread of new plant diseases is to be established at a secret location in the Devon countryside.

'This is the Trust's most important plant conservation initiative for more than 60 years' - Mike Calnan, National Trust head of gardens

The only National Trust property they don't want you to see

Secret site will protect at-risk plant species from disease

Unique shed category: Geoff Hill's 'Smuggler's Cove'

Shed of the Year 2012 finalists announced

The annual celebration of sheds is nearing its conclusion as the winners of each category are revealed

The Last of the Haussmans, Lyttelton, National Theatre, London

It seems to be open season on the baby-boomer generation in the English theatre at the moment.  First we had Love, Love, Love from Mike Bartlett at the Royal Court.  Now, in his debut play in the Lyttelton, Stephen Beresford takes a similar, comically sceptical look at the dubious legacy that these folk have bequeathed to their children.

The harebell, which appears at the end of summer, is one of our frailest wild flowers – its stalk is as thin as a wire – so it is easily outcompeted and shut out by grasses

Pollution causing steep decline in UK's favourite wild flowers

Many of Britain's best-loved wild flower species are disappearing because of nitrogen pollution from car exhausts and farm fertilisers, experts are warning.

The harebell, which appears at the end of summer, is one of our frailest wild flowers – its stalk is as thin as a wire – so it is easily outcompeted and shut out by grasses

Wild flowers are overpowered by exhaust fumes

Pollution blamed as nettles and grasses flourish – and force out much-loved species

Charities call on Londoners to help save the 'Cockney Sparra'

The chirruping of the cockney sparra was once commonplace, but now, ten years since a study found that the bird was on the verge of extinction in the capital, charities are calling on Londoners to help save it.

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor