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.

Chelsea Flower Show: The pick of the bunch

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, a riot of horticultural delight, colour, gardening ingenuity and competitiveness, opens to the public today.

Chelsea Flower Show: Brilliant blooms, glittering prizes

Amid the multi-coloured hues on display at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday, only one colour really mattered: gold. A record number of gold medals – the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award – were handed out, with eight show gardens winning the coveted accolade.

Tom Sutcliffe: All together in the same train carriage

Social Studies: First-class travel isn't a perk – they insist – it's an aid to operating efficiency

Seeds sown for new <i>IoS</i> gardening campaign

<i>The Independent on Sunday</i> is relaunching its drive to get more children growing food at school

Peter Stanford: How to change your life in five minutes a day. Go outside

Our writer takes a walk, smells the flowers, and feels better. Green exercise works &ndash; and anything blue, it seems, is a bonus

Trial for man accused of stealing antique books

A 40-year-old man will go on trial today accused of stealing valuable antique books from a world-famous library.

Calm before the storm: Before risking life and limb at Chelsea, discover the relative peace of the Malvern Spring Gardening Show

Grandmas wield their handbags as weapons, genteel ladies elbow their way through the crowds using rolled-up programmes, whacking ankles with their 4x4 green-plastic plant trolleys, and husbands on their last legs trail back to the car with unfeasibly large armfuls of choice purchases. Yes, it's flower-show season again.

Last Night's TV: Autistic Driving School, BBC3<br />The Landscape Man, Channel 4<br />Welcome to Lagos, BBC2

I wrote an article once," chuckled Julia, a driving instructor from Leicester. "It was called 'Watch Out, Autistic Drivers About!'." Did you know that autistic drivers are allowed on the road? I'm not sure I did, but then I'm not sure I'd ever thought about it. If I had, I suppose I would have assumed that they drove just like anyone else – why ever not? Though whether or not that is to underestimate the challenge faced by Julia's pupils is another question entirely.

How recession turned Britain's fingers green

Grow-your-own boom producing most food 'for a generation'

Looking peachy: Growing peaches and nectarines can be a battle against the elements but it's worth the effort

For the past two weeks, I have been on a publicity tour in the US, zooming through time zones faster than a character in Doctor Who. Sleep doesn't come easy in these conditions and in a dozen different beds I have passed the dark hours, not counting sheep, but working my way round the blooms on our new nectarine tree. Sheep have never seemed to me good companions for an insomniac. The wretches keep getting tangled up in briars, or sticking their heads irretrievably through wire fences – in other words, doing all the things that sheep do in real life. The advantage of the nectarine flowers is that they stay still.

Weekend Work: Time to sow cobaea

Pests set to survive cold but their predators suffer

Garden pests are expected to be among the big winners of winter as their predators are killed off by the freezing conditions.

Dear Diary: Your gardening notes and observations will become your best friend

Real gardeners keep diaries. Some keep incredibly anal planting diagrams, redrawn every time the plot plan is updated; others have scruffy journals filled with seed packets, invoices and sometimes soil cascading out the sides. But the most important thing, which unites the scrupulously tidy with the hopelessly messy, is that they write it all down.

Scrape away the muck and start planting bright-white snowdrops to give your garden new life

The bad weather over the past month hasn't yet finished making a mess. Even after the snow has retreated, you are left with a garden that looks as if a rotting plague has just passed through it. Something about the combined action of frost and wind has the effect of reducing all last year's planting to a blackened muddy mess that might well have been leaves once, but frankly, who knows.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor