News Winging it: The shrill carder bee is thriving in Kent

Conservationists stunned by the insects’ rapid recovery

Weak laws fail to protect woodlands from bulb thieves

THE SIGHT of bluebells, snowdrops, primroses, hanging mosses and rare orchids may soon be a thing of the past if laws protecting wild plants are not tightened, says the conservation charity Plantlife. It warns in Plant Crime, a report published today, that the law is weak, riddled with loopholes and rarely enforced.

Wednesday Book: The flowering of a sexual revolution

Wednesday Book: The Pursuit of Paradise: A Social History of Gardens and Gardening by Jane Brown, (HarperCollins, pounds 16.99)

UK's rarest wild flower being killed by invader

BRITAIN'S RAREST wild flower is at serious risk of extinction from a rogue New Zealand plant that has naturalised here and is out of control.

Letter: Flowering fields

Sir: Like Natasha Walter ("In the fields of conflict", 2 August) I have memories of cornflowers growing in fields from my childhood. But recently, with my family, I visited an organic farm and I saw them again.

Words: epigone, n.

SUCH IS what publishers (and zoologists) call territoriality that there is still no sign in Britain of Anthony Burgess's One Man's Chorus. As do Urgent Copy and Homage to Qwert Yuiop, these essays keep offering something new.

COMPETITION: LITERALLY LOST 80

This excerpt has been taken from a work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where is the action taking place? b) who is the author? Blackwell's Bookshops will award pounds 30-worth of book tokens to the first correct answer out of the hat. Answers on a postcard to: Literally Lost, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Usual competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by this Thursday. Literally lost 79: The book was 'A Year in Provence' by Peter Mayle. The action took place in Provence. The winner is Gene McDowell from Gloucestershire.

Honey bee virus threatens fruit orchards

BRITISH BEEKEEPERS are under increasing financial pressure, as a devastating mite which has almost wiped out the honey bee in the wild is now threatening fruit crops across the country.

Fashion: Blooming gorgeous

If you're tired of running around like a New Age stormtrooper in your clean-cut utility wear, then its time to change gear. Soften up for summer with floral prints: a full-blown rose or a demure sprig of violets, it's your choice, petal. By Susannah Frankel

Kew saves native flora for posterity

BRITAIN WILL this year become the first country in the world to collect and store the seeds of all its native wild flowers, plants and trees.

Bryson's America: If it hasn't flowered by August, then destroy it

I'M GOING to have to be quick because it's Sunday and the weather is glorious and Mrs Bryson has outlined a big, ambitious programme of gardening. Worse, she's wearing what I nervously call her Nike expression - the one that says "Just do it".

Country & Garden: In Flanders fields the poppies grew ...

Wild flowers may be a farmer's nightmare but they are a gardener's dream, because they'll grow almost anywhere.

Historical Notes: The relentless tyranny of the sink

DOWN THE ages traditional English laundry skills have always been the preserve of women. Long before the "whiter than white" virtues of Oxydol over Rinso wooed housewives from their copper boilers to the twin tub, there were devices trying to make the weekly wash less time-consuming and cumbersome.

Genetic Food: The Case Against, Fields where birds don't sing

YOU MAY never have heard of Green Concrete, but that's the idea behind much of the opposition to genetically modified food plants. It means a field devoid of all wildlife - insects, wildflowers, birds or animals - a field that is full of genetically engineered crops, but otherwise sterile.

Spirit of the Age: Adrift on the River of my Life

I WAS in a meadow. It was high summer and the grass was alive with a profusion of wild flowers, whites and yellows, bright purples and pale blues. It was a water-meadow in the upper reaches of one of the Yorkshire Dales where, the thought intruded, the flora had been allowed to regain its ancient glory (thanks to the wonder of the Common Agricultural Policy's set-aside provisions). But I put the notion out of my mind. I was looking for a river.

Peaks, gorges, blisters and vultures

Western Crete offers a variety of demanding trekking, so why does everyone always head for the Samaria Gorge? Jane O'Callaghan offers some alternative hikes
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss