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The Independent Travel
Osborne House, Queen Victoria's beloved home on the Isle of Wight, is open tomorrow (10am-6pm) in aid of the National Gardens Scheme. The terraced gardens sweep down to the sea, east of Cowes, and are decorated in the Renaissance manner with wildly ornate fountains and statues. The garden made for Victoria's brood of children surrounds a Swiss cottage. Admission (gardens only) pounds 3.50, house and garden pounds 6.

At the Orangery, Kenwood, another English Heritage property, you can listen to poetry and music tomorrow, as part of a celebration, The Glories of the Garden, which starts at 7.30pm. Tickets (pounds 7-14) from Ticketmaster on 0171-413 1443.

Water-storing polymers have proved their worth over the last couple of blazing, dry summers. You mix them with compost and they hang on to water better than the best-trained camel. Available from Greenacres Horticultural Supplies, PO Box 1228, Iver, Bucks (01895 835235), price pounds 4.20 for 12g or pounds 7 for 250g.

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