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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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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