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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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University Edible Garden, Leeds – a sustainable garden in the centre of the university, passers-by can help themselves to the home-grown produce
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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
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz