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Gardening gifts

by Drucilla James

Present inspiration, from quirky stocking-fillers to life’s little luxuries, for the gardeners in your life.

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Plantable Christmas – the gift that grows

by Drucilla James

Rather than the usual throwaway Christmas cards, wrapping paper and decorations, why not give versions that grow this year or send our horticulturally-inspired Christmas cards to encourage budding gardeners.

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Product news: nature in the city

by Drucilla James

These products may not be in the shops yet, but are worth looking out for, if you want to put fun and funkiness into city gardening and do your bit for nature too.

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Thomas Heatherwick to create garden pier

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Just as plans for London’s Garden Bridge move closer to realisation, Thomas Heatherwick has turned his attention to another floating park – this time on Manhattan’s lower west side.

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Largest roof garden for London announced

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Lookouts, a sunbathing lawn and a forest form part of the plans for the largest roof garden in London, unveiled for the latest phase of the Battersea Power Station Development.

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First public natural swimming pool to open at King’s Cross

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Work has begun on the UK’s first ever public natural swimming pond, as part of an art project within the King’s Cross Development. The outdoor, chemical-free pool will be completed by the end of the year, when it will be given time to develop naturally, before its scheduled opening in spring 2015.

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Community growers get Big Lottery award

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A project led by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens has won £800,000 of Big Lottery funding to help community growers become successful and proactive money-raisers to compensate for falling grants and declining local authority financial support.

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Chelsea gardens relocated

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Two medal-winning Chelsea gardens, now relocated, had their official openings on 26th September. The ‘RBC Waterscape Garden’ by Hugo Bugg and the ‘Hope on the Horizon’ garden by Matthew Keightley will now serve the purposes originally intended by their designers.

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The Tree Council invites us to gather ye tree seeds

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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.

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London Wildlife Trust to open new nature reserve

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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.

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Regency garden restoration gets go ahead

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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.

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Pocket wetlands installed on Regent’s Canal

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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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Gardening events this week

by Drucilla James

Lots of venues to visit to make Christmas decorations inspired by nature this week, as well as opportunities for healthy exercise, including walks and volunteer gardening. There’s also a timely reminder of the need to provide Christmas feasts for wildlife as well as ourselves.

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Make a Bulb Lasagne

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As summer and early autumn blooms begin to fade, Thomas Broom, Petersham Nurseries’ Horticultural Manager, shows us how to refresh our pots and planters to give interest through till spring.

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From Grey to Green: Adventures in Radical Urban Gardening

by Drucilla James

For many of us gardening may be a hobby or a chore, but for the speakers at this autumn’s greening the city conference in Sheffield, it is a life-saving necessity. From Professor Nigel Dunnett ‘s aesthetic ecology transforming urban drabness to Ron Finley’s horticultural antidote to the deadly fast food habits of the developed world, this event was full of ideas to make our towns and cities more uplifting, healthier and communal places to live.

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Student Eats – bringing the Good Life to university campuses

by Alice Wright

Vegetable patches and herb gardens are springing up on university campuses across the UK as students get involved with a food project aimed at sparking a passion for growing and eating sustainable, local produce.

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The Yeo Valley Organic Garden

by Abigail Willis

As the UK’s only Soil Association accredited ornamental garden, the Yeo Valley Garden is a standard bearer for organic gardening. But if the adjective ‘organic’ attached to the word ‘garden’ conjures worthy images of over-abundant weeds, undernourished plants and lacklustre design think again. Set in the Mendip Hills, overlooking the valley that gave its name to the eponymous organic dairy brand, this 6.5 acre garden is proof that organic cultivation need not preclude ambitious design, a diverse and thriving plantscape, or a sense of humour.