Sarah Raven, author of The Cutting Garden (Frances Lincoln, pounds 25) is holding a series of courses this spring and summer at her home in East Sussex, where she has made two cutting gardens, packed with flowers for picking. For those with no gardening experience, there is a two-day course (21-22 April) on making a cutting garden, which covers all aspects of the subject: design, structure, plant selection, maintenance and harvesting. Another two-day course for beginners is planned for 12-13 May. The subject is "Do your own party or wedding" with the emphasis on fast-growing flowers, that will be ready to pick within three months of sowing or planting. Call 01424 838181 for more information on the courses, held at The Oast, Perch Hill Farm, Brightling, Robertsbridge, E Sussex TN32 5H.

The Seventh International Heritage Rose Conference will be held at Cambridge this summer from 29 June to 4 July. The conference is aimed at those who love old roses and enthusiasts from all over the world will speak. David Ruston from Australia will talk about roses in 17th- and 18th-century flower paintings. William Grant from the US is lecturing on species roses as garden plants. Included in the conference are a series of tours: the grower Peter Beales's display gardens in Norfolk, David Austin's English roses in Wolverhampton and the collection of old roses at Childerley Hall near Cambridge are all on the itinerary. Contact Peter Beales, London Rd, Attleborough, Norfolk NR17 1AY (01953 454707).

The National Trust plans a massive series of spring plant fairs at various NT properties on Sunday 18 May. About 50 are planned that day across England and Wales. Wallington in Northumberland is taking part. So is Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire and Petworth in Sussex. The trust is appealing for plants to sell at the fairs so if you have spares, bear them in mind. The trust hopes to raise pounds 100,000 from its fair day to spend on urgent garden conservation work. Get a Spring Plant Fair Day information pack by phoning 0181-315 1111 or writing (with a stamped, addressed envelope) to The National Trust Spring Plant Fair Day, PO Box 39, Bromley, Kent

Comments