News

The telecoms sector was the talk of the town as deals flew in for Vodafone and Nokia this week, but traders still had time to pile into Scottish tiddler Pinnacle Technology.

Me and my garden: How Jennifer Owen became an unlikely champion of British wildlife

Jennifer Owen started cataloguing the species outside her back door in 1980. Now she is publishing the startling results in a beautiful book.

Pip, pip!: Don't just plump for the usual apple tree, there are so many delicious varieties to choose from

Next time you sink your teeth into a crunchy Cox apple, spare a thought for Richard Cox, a retired brewer and besotted gardener, who grew the first Cox apple tree from the pip of a Ribston Pippin in 1826. The new apple would never have been known outside Slough without the help of the Duke of Devonshire's gardener, Joseph Paxton, who in the middle of the 19th century became the first president of the British Pomological Society.

Are garden gnomes making a comeback?

Think of garden gnomes and a few words might spring to mind. Tacky? Vulgar? Cheap? You’re not the only one who thinks so. In a recent survey by woodcare manufacturer, Ronseal, gnomes surpassed other unfashionable garden items by more than five times, with 53 per cent of those interviewed ranking them as naffer than crazy paving, stone animals water features and even wind chimes. But the poor old gnome wasn’t always such a slur on good taste.

Spread of alien moth puts Britain's conker trees at risk

Latest research finds horse chestnuts from Cornwall to Yorkshire are now under attack

Trail of the unexpected: The M25

Leave rush hour behind for a day out on London’s mighty ring road. Simon Calder fires up the Focus

Poison arrow plant found in British garden

Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox might be expected in an English country garden – and hollyhocks and forget-me-nots – but a hallucinogenic and highly toxic South American plant used for poison arrowheads might seem a little out of place.

Victoria Summerley: A moment of unholy glee amid the gloxinias

The annual Open Garden day approaches in the Summerley household. During the next couple of weeks, grass will be mown, weeds will be annihilated, flowers will be inspected for less-than-perfect petals. Cakes will be baked. And teeth will be gritted.

RHS Wisley has gorgeous borders if only those 12ft begonia eyesores would give them a chance to shine

My mum and I are in the car park at Wisley, the RHS's flagship garden just off the A3 in Surrey, trying to work out how to find our way to the ticket counter. The car park comprises vast acres of tarmac in compensatory acres of Lord of the Rings woodland glade, criss-crossed by a slightly confusing network of paths. Since last I visited, the car park has been organised with highly tasteful dividing lines, gauzy ribbons of verbena bonariensis, wheaten grasses and pale yellow daylilies. We begin to feel optimistic that we are in for a good day just wandering its ranks.

'Tome Raider' jailed for stealing rare books

A book thief nicknamed the "Tome Raider" who stole 13 antique books worth £40,000 from a London library was jailed for three-and-a-half years yesterday.

Dutch courage: It's time to order your spring (yes, spring) bulbs now

It may seem counter-intuitive to be picking out bulbs in early summer, but be brave, for now is the perfect time to plan for next spring, says Emma Townshend

School gardeners perform better in the classroom

Youngsters who get dug in are eating more fruit and vegetables, making them healthier and happier

'Tome Raider' guilty of theft

A cambridge graduate was found guilty of stealing antique books worth £40,000.

Man 'used shopping list in book thefts'

A Cambridge graduate drew up a "thief's shopping list" before stealing antique books worth £40,000 from a world famous library, a court heard today.

Jury sworn in for books theft trial

A jury was sworn in today ahead of the trial of a man accused of stealing valuable antique books from a world-famous library.

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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
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links