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RHS Flower Show: Malvern.

by Drucilla James

With Malvern’s Autumn Show and RHS Flower Show being one of the last of the year, we start to bid our valediction to the gardening shows. But sampling what the nurseries have to offer for this time of year, we go out in a blaze of colour redolent of autumn – the colours of fire and flame, from the pinks, oranges and bronzes, to the deep purples and reds which can still enliven our city gardens at this fag-end of the season.

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Casati close up ed again


by Drucilla James

For the last weekend in August Flowers@Oxford has taken over Lady Margaret Hall to promote cut flowers and everything you need to know about floral design. And to this end, everywhere in this Oxford college including the Deneke Common Room seems to have been decked out with flowers. Fantastic confections can be found both indoors and out, ranging from floral ladies languishing in punts on the river to temple huts in the Fellows’ Garden and gerbera pyramids right way up and upside down in the Front Quad.

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“Love the Plot You’ve Got”

by Drucilla James

Put off by the extravagant designs of garden shows? Never visited your local garden centre? Got a small back yard in town that’s become something of a dumping ground? Aged between 30 and 45 and lacking the inclination, money, knowledge or time to get interested in gardening? Then the gardening industry has you in its sights and is determined to show you that with a little TLC and relatively little cost you can transform your cramped, neglected back lot into a place to be proud of and perhaps become a life-long gardening enthusiast at the same time.

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The Tree Council invites us to gather ye tree seeds


At a time when our trees are being hit by pests and diseases, The Tree Council is encouraging local communities to collect and plant the ripening seed crop from our parks, hedgerows and streets to grow new trees to replace them.


London Wildlife Trust to open new nature reserve


Offering an opportunity to enjoy nature in the heart of north-east London, a reservoir closed to the public for nearly 200 years will open as a new nature reserve next year.


Regency garden restoration gets go ahead


The National Botanic Garden of Wales has been given the green light to proceed with ambitious plans for the restoration of the historic Regency landscape in which it is situated.


Pocket wetlands installed on Regent’s Canal


If you go down to the woods today in Camley Street Natural Park, in the rather unexpected setting of King’s Cross, then you will be able to see the floating islands newly installed on the Regent’s Canal, creating pockets of urban wetland habitat for London’s wildlife.

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Inspiring Kew


An exhibition showing how Kew Gardens has inspired creative artists from its ‘physic’ garden beginnings in 1759 to the present day will open later this month.

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Young and old join plant charity’s community initiatives


Plant Heritage is leading the way in involving communities both young and old in gardening through its National Plant Collection and Plant Guardian schemes designed to protect rare and threatened garden plants from disappearing.

Lime hawk, Sunnybank SWT, NIGHT  1 compressed (c) Paul Hobson px
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Young gardeners’ conference to take place


YoungHort, set up by young horticulturalists to promote the industry to their peers, is to host a second event – The YoungHort Autumn Conference at The LANDSCAPE Show in September.

Poppies in the Garden May 2012 (c) Charlie Hopkinson px

Gardeners commemorate WW1 Centenary


New forests, poppy fields and a Ration Garden are amongst the gardening events set to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.


Gardening events this week

by Drucilla James

This week, there are gardens to visit, both here and abroad, and harvests to celebrate – and there’s a floral design course to try your hand at too.

Hampton Court Palace Royal Kitchen Garden

Hampton Court Palace Kitchen Garden


Where horses once thundered past, kicking up earth during the dark chivalry of a jousting contest, now sit plump pumpkins with burnt orange skins, beneath the late summer sun. They take their place alongside peas, salad crops and herbs in a spot only a stone’s throw from the banks of the River Thames. This is the Hampton Court Palace Kitchen Garden, newly restored and packed with heritage varieties – a thrill to the senses and a slice of history to boot.


Rooftop vegplot

by Abigail Willis

The Dutch Caribbean island of Saba is a long way from Fitzrovia but its rocky landscape provided fertile inspiration for Wendy Shillam’s high-rise vegetable garden in W1. Seeing the way the resourceful Sabans raised veg crops in containers or in thin soil on the mountain terraces surrounding their cottages, Wendy realised that lack of cultivatable land need not be an obstacle to growing food on her fifth floor roof terrace in central London.


Parks under threat

by Alice Wright

They are often described as the “green lungs” of a city – leafy, rejuvenating oases amid the smog and crowds of urban life. But our much-loved parks are “close to crisis point”, according to The Parks Alliance, a body formed last year in response to growing concern about public green spaces.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bela'

Hydrangea heaven


Hydrangeas those erstwhile urban favourites are making a comeback. Chelsea 2014 Plant of the Year was Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ and singer Katie Melua is currently championing the drama, colour and year-round interest of the hydrangea as the Horticultural Trades Association August Plant of the Month.These showy attention-grabbers can require large growing spaces, but whatever your choice, be it mopheads, lacecaps or panicles, Ashwood Nurseries, show you how to make the most of them in the small urban garden.

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Garden ponds in the city


Whilst small spaces do not readily lend themselves to water features and ponds, there are ways to create a space with water. City gardens are not just a little bit of calm in an otherwise manic world, but are also great for introducing wildlife, and ponds are no exception to this.