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.

Bloom time: What could be more thrilling than tulips running wild in your garden?

For the last month, I have been in heaven, with new tulips opening up around me almost every day. The happiest discovery has been that the small, wild species tulips (botanical tulips, they are sometimes called) have settled in the sloping gravelled area behind a retaining wall and are actually increasing. Having tulips is one thing, but persuading them that they are comfortable enough to multiply is another. Here in Britain, tulips are growing at the very western edge of their preferred habitats. Our job is to jiggle conditions, to help them feel at home.

Britain in full bloom: the country's finest horticultural events

It is a sign of Britain's passion for horticulture that flower shows – once small affairs and the preserve of the landed gentry – have proliferated in the 21st century to become social events packing a crowded gardening diary each summer.

Nation's garden centres prepare for strawberry boom

'Edible gardening' is on the rise, survey shows, as people try to beat recession by growing their own

New year, new you: Upgrade your life with a short course

What will it be – an ancient form of combat or knitting for beginners? Caitlin Davies provides inspiration for learning new talents in 2009

When it comes to budgeting, the old ways are the best

Using up leftovers? Sewing our own clothes? The money-saving tips of the past are just as relevant today

He's not bananas, just first to grow them in a UK home

Plant enthusiast in revolutionary 'eco-house' stuns admiring experts of the Royal Horticultural Society

Weekend Work: Time to plant heather

Top autumn tip: Get a head start with the latest, hardy asparagus varieties

I find it hard to restrain myself from ordering optimistically in autumn. One of my most premature orders (so some may think) is 20 crowns of asparagus. Some gardeners might splutter, "Planting asparagus in autumn?", but these days, several companies offer asparagus crowns specifically for autumn planting. Newer varieties such as Pacific 2000 and Guelph Millennium are well suited to being tucked into summer-warmed soil in early October, gaining them six months' growth over plants started off next spring – and thus making any planted now ready to harvest come summer 2010, a whole season early.

Letters: Child protection measures will make checks easier and safer

The article about child protection measures (12 August) failed to identify the true purpose and effect of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. It is correct that the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will collate information from many government sources, so preventing wrongdoers from avoiding detection merely by changing job or location, as in the case of Ian Huntley.

Secret Britain: Readers share their best-kept secrets

For our 'Secret Britain' series, David Randall asked experts at Britain's major countryside and heritage bodies to share their best-kept secrets, and we published the top 100. It concluded last week with an appeal to readers for places we missed in our categories of Coast, Woodland, Gardens, Wildlife, Heritage, and Scenery. Readers – and five organisations – responded with a raft of rural gems. Here they are

Urban Gardener: Organics anonymous

An allotment committee member made the politest suggestion recently that my plot was getting out of hand. "You can't expect those with full-time employment to keep on top of their allotment," he said. "Well, can you?" It was in between the words "allotment" and "Well, can you?" that the faintest of hand gestures (involuntary I think) was aimed towards my couch- and bindweed-infested herb border. I'd been meaning to tackle it for the past three years but somehow there's never been the time and it shows. I did think of saying that I was doing a study for the Royal Horticultural Society on the shade tolerance of rosemary, lavender and other herbs, and that if I cleaned up the bed now it would spoil three years' work, but decided it would be best to nod and throw in the old "doing Chelsea messed us up" excuse. His knowing smile suggested that such get-outs are wearing a bit thin. I used the same excuse two years ago and last year, four weeks touring India and Nepal in June (and another four trying to evict a squatter in my liver) put the kibosh on everything but the spuds.

A lawn unto themselves: The Inner Temple is to host its first flower show in 90 years

If all the big flower events this summer have left you with a sense of ennui, I've got good news: there's a one-off special coming up that looks to be a veritable jewel box of a show: the RHS Inner Temple Floral Celebration in central London from 11-13 September.

Eat your greens... after you've grown them

What could be better than eating fruit and vegetables grown in your own back garden? It's easy to recreate The Good Life at home, and you'll be joining a growing trend
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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 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project