The magazine Amateur Gardening has linked up with the National Vegetable Society and the Royal Horticultural Society to find the best allotment in Britain. The competition is part of the magazine's campaign to save the country's fast disappearing allotments, many of which are being buried under new houses, roads and shopping centres. The top prize is pounds 1,000, but all entrants get a pounds 2 voucher to set against seeds bought from Marshalls, the Fenland company. Application form and details from Charles Lyte, Carters Corner Place, Cowbeech Road, Hailsham, Sussex BN27 4HX.
A rare plant fair is to be held tomorrow (11am-5pm) at the Manor House, Birlingham, Pershore, Worcestershire. Look out for the first white diascia, D. integerrima `Blush', on Derry Watkins's stand. The Manor House garden has been extensively replanted by Jane Williams-Thomas, with massed phlox, roses and campanulas among silver-leaved shrubs. Admission pounds 2.
One of the earliest workshops in The Independent's gardening column featured Nigel Brand who was looking for planting ideas to brighten up a tiny courtyard and raised bed outside his basement flat in Barons Court, west London. "There is barely space to move now among oleanders, lilies, camellias and acers in pots," he writes. "I put in an old butler's sink full of stones at the far end through which water bubbles. The peace and quiet only get disturbed by Tube trains every two minutes or so - a minor inconvenience. New trellising above the sink supports a stauntonia and a clematis `The President' in a pot. It flowered through to November last year. From the other side of the sink comes a Passiflora violacea (also in a container) and the clematis `Hagley Hybrid' which has grown even better since I started using 6X manure and mulching twice a year. I tried a honeysuckle in a pot but it didn't do well - a martyr to mildew. Having had an intense desire to move, to have more room and more sun to garden in, I am so delighted with the way the garden has developed, I want to stay put for at least another year to enjoy it."