Gardening

The best summer gardens

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There's no shortage of inspiration when it comes to UK gardens - so if you're staying at home this summer, take a notepad, pen and camera to some of the best in the country.

Gardens grow community spirit

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As towns increase in size and green space continues to come at a premium, urban community gardens are springing up to allow people in busy, often deprived areas, some space to recharge their batteries.

A taste of summer

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Imagine stepping out on to your patio to pick fresh herbs for your cooking - from fragrant basil to accompany ripe tomatoes and mozzarella, coriander to sprinkle on spicy curries and salads, mint to add to your Pimm's or rosemary to sprinkle over lamb chops on the barbecue. Sounds idyllic doesn't it?

Heaven scent

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When I open my patio doors and breathe in the delicious scent of my neighbour's mock orange, with its pretty white flowers cascading conveniently over my garden fence, I know that summer is really here.

Don't use any old compost

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Bags of old compost are still being sold in garden centres and DIY stores, with no indication of the date of production on the packaging, according to a report in the latest edition of Which? Gardening, the Consumers' Association magazine.

Does your dad dig it?

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Help gardening dads get to work on their allotments, borders and lawns with the great range of gardening gifts on offer this Father's Day. Choose the right tools and accessories and your dad will soon be making light work of his digging, pruning, staking and clipping.

A perfect match

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There are some combinations that make life feel better - strawberries and cream, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, gin and tonic.... but for me, one of the classic combinations which will always bring a heavenly note to summer is the pairing of clematis and roses.

Poppy Love

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During the First World War, the blasted and bombed battlefields across Europe created ideal conditions for the poppy to flourish.

Show and tell

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It's not only ideas for planting your own garden that blossom when you visit garden shows - it's ideas about the accessories, tools and trinkets you see along the way, too.

Gardening Myths Uncovered

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If you think ivy kills trees, watering scorches leaves and digging is always needed to control weeds, think again.

Sett up your defences

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Walking up my garden a few weeks ago, I discovered great clumps missing from my lawn, and that the resulting holes had been used as some sort of animal toilet.

Emilia's Elegant Escape

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At the end of a hard day's filming, Silent Witness star Emilia Fox likes nothing better than to venture into her oasis of calm, with its walls of lavender, pretty clematis and fragrant roses.

Jim joins the judging panel

from The Big Allotment Challenge

Just as Simon Cowell knows his music, AND Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood knows his cakes, so award-winning gardening legend Jim Buttress knows his onions.

Gardening is child's play

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If the weather is fine this Easter, (and it's beginning to look like it might be), many parents will be wanting to sort out their gardens - and hopefully encouraging their children to give them a hand along the way.

Go and grow eco

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If your planting is attracting bees, butterflies and other wildlife, your shed is devoid of pesticides and your fruit and veg are strictly organic, then you are already heading along the right road to eco-friendliness.

Gardening gifts for mum

Sophie Conran tools and accessories, £19.95, Burgon & Ball (www.burgonandball.com)

Stuck on the usual 'flowers or chocolates' dilemma? Why not find some inspiration in the garden this Mother's Day, and treat the woman who knows you best to everything from decorative twine to wind chimes, seed collections or serious tools.

Lawn care after the flood

wet grass

If the recent deluge of rain means your luscious, closely-cropped carpet of green is now nothing but a soggy bog, you might be feeling a bit downhearted.

Perk up your patio

Garden Designer Diarmuid Gavin

If the rain ever lets up long enough for us to venture out on to our patios, we'll need some quick fixes to brighten them up in time for the warmer, and hopefully drier, months of spring.

A touch of texture

plants including digitalis, pimpinella and ravenswing create texture

Italian garden designer Luciano Giubbilei is famous for his creations of understated elegance, simple and clean symmetrical design complimented by his use of nature, materials, light, space and art.