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.

The best gardening websites

From wild flowers to wormeries, tips to trowels – there's a website out there for every gardening query. So log on, dig in, and learn more about our green spaces

Urban Gardener: Murder most florid

A small exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show this year, tucked quietly up in its north-west corner, was a landmark as far as show gardens are concerned. Entitled "More Questions Than Answers", the outline of a fallen figure in white roses with red petals for blood, questioned our obsession with Health and Safety laws, and the disparity between sending soldiers into conflict unprotected while not letting our children play conkers at school. Emotive, political, conceptual stuff, something the Royal Horticultural Society has been a bit nervous of in the past. The fact that Tony Smith managed to ensconce himself at an event that clearly didn't have a conceptual category suggests that they were beguiled by his triumph at Hampton Court last year where his garden "In Digestion" won Best in Show in the conceptual category. Needless to say it was a breath of fresh air – so Smith's exhibit this year at the Hampton Court Flower Show is eagerly awaited.

Specialist plant fairs can help you create a truly original border display

Want to buy some interesting blooms for your border? Emma Townshend shows you how to shop like an expert

B. L. Burtt: Plant taxonomist

Prolific plant taxonomist at Kew and Edinburgh who described 637 species new to science

Preview: More Questions Than Answers, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London

The artist who says it with flowers

Urban Gardener: Calm before the storm

If adrenaline had a smell, you'd get a mighty whiff of it in the grounds of the Royal Hospital this weekend. Exhibitors at this year's Chelsea Flower Show depend on it for the next 48 hours as almost a year's planning reaches its zenith. At the Bupa Garden, we have until 8am on Monday morning to nip, tuck and titivate before the Royal Horticultural Society judges don their serious faces, examine their notes and pick any holes they can find before awarding the appropriate medals. Most exhibitors aim to finish their garden by close of play today. This will allow plants to settle and look all the more natural, rather than a scruffy, stuffed appearance that betrays nothing but panic. If the weather is kind in the final three weeks then a few might achieve this, but the reality is that most will work until the last possible moment – lest the rim of a pot, a faded bloom or leaking pond lose them vital points and the chance of a decent medal.

Yours for £5m: English garden (plus wallabies)

With more than 200 acres of some of England's finest gardens, seven lakes, a historic rhododendron and a mob of 40 "semi-wild" wallabies, Leonardslee Gardens in Sussex are perhaps as eccentric as the family which has owned them for more than 150 years.

The willow wizard: Trevor Wood has spent 30 years collecting varieties of just one tree

"There was always a joke around the nursery," says Caroline Wood of the business she started with her husband: "If it has bright, beautiful flowers on it, Trevor won't like it."

Urban Gardener: Outside the box

When the topiary specialist James Crebbin-Bailey ( www.topiaryarts.com ) showed me some pictures of a small front garden in Hampton, Middlesex, I could have kissed him. Fortunately for him, we were at an RHS event and someone had just started to make a speech, so puckering up and embracing in the middle of the Westminster Hall just wouldn't have been appropriate.

Aroma therapy: The flowering plants that will fill your garden with uplifting winter scents

My attempts at indoctrination seem to be working: I've been taking a chilly group around the garden at Kew, making them breathe in and smell the winter flowers. "Ah," a friendly German man says, "I have always just looked around the garden with my eyes. I'm learning now to use my nose too."

Early daffodils? Don't leap to conclusions

It ain't necessarily so: if spring flowers are appearing remarkably early in your garden, it's not always because of climate change (although it may be).

Fuchsia perfect: A few years ago, if you'd have asked Anna Pavord what she thought of fuchsias, she would have given you short shrift. Nowadays though, she admires their hardiness and ability to charm in late summer

"I don't like principles," wrote Oscar Wilde. "I prefer prejudices." I don't actually prefer them (though it's often entertaining to be a devil's advocate), but can't pretend to be without them. Take busy lizzies. Well, there's the point. I never did take them. I've spent a whole life avoiding them. I've abused them in print. I've called them naff and worse.

Dahlia days: Autumn has come early this year, but there's one gloriously garish plant that's guaranteed to liven up even the drabbest of borders, says Emma Townshend

"Excuse me," says a lady visitor to Wisley, "can you show me the way to the dahlia test beds?" It's not your average Sunday afternoon out, but the idea of test beds is to see lots of different dahlias all in one place without the distractions of a garden to sway your decision-making. I was thinking of having a look myself, but got sidetracked enjoying the skill with which Wisley's gardeners have incorporated many of my favourite gaudy plants into their spectacular early autumn borders.

Urban gardener, Cleve West: School's out

The sculptor Johnny Woodford once gave me the nickname "Reckless West". While I loved the punk era of the late Seventies/early Eighties (which fuelled an early desire to use shock tactics in gardens), my conservative dress code and pathetic constitution for drink or drugs failed to ignite the wild-child within.

Urban gardener, Cleve West: What a performance

The Chelsea Flower Show will be preening its feathers this weekend as exhibitors put the final touches to their creations, hoping for acclaim by way of a coveted RHS gold medal. Judges will be poring over the clients' briefs for each garden and making their own assessments (before judging begins in earnest on Monday) so they can be clear about the designers' intentions and make sense of gardens that have been conceived over a period of months, created in weeks and destroyed in days (or even hours). Their transient, theatrical nature is said to have no relevance to real gardens but John Sales, RHS judge and former Gardens Advisor for the National Trust, believes that our backyards have just as much, if not more, in common with theatrics than exhibits at flower shows.

Latest stories from i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue