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.


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
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot