beat the burglars

The clocks in the UK go back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. Whilst we gain an hour on this day, it means that our days will be getting shorter and our nights longer and colder. These darker evenings are perfect for opportunistic thieves to target your home so you’ll need to make Read More

Beat the winter blues

Colour and light affect our mood, so if you are someone that feels down as the nights draw in, take steps now. People who get the blues in winter are said to be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). For your home and workplace you can buy daylight bulbs and fluorescent tubes that mimic the Read More

Berried treasures

Enjoy the rich rewards of autumn up close, by planting your garden with these fab four shrubs that put on an unusual and flamboyant display of colourful seedpods and berries. Enjoy non-stop pots on the patio by replacing summer flowers with the bright marble-like berries of the dwarf evergreen shrub, Gaultheria mucronata, which is often Read More

Look and learn

The fallen leaves, which carpet the ground provide food and shelter for many animals. Even when a leaf has fallen, it still contains valuable food reserves which can be returned to the soil and absorbed by the roots of plants, so recycling the nourishment. Teacher Julia Fairfax suggests you get your kids off the sofa Read More

Preserving the pick of the crop

Now that pickles and preserves are no longer a necessity to get us through the winter when native fruits are scarce, they’ve become something of a delicacy. Homegrown and homemade enjoy a cachet that that can’t be matched by anything bought, however expensive. If you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree or perhaps some Read More

Gap-fillers for late borders

Now, is a precious time in the garden when you can reflect and write notes on all your trials and tribulations and enjoy remembering all of the seasonal surprises that just happened without any clever forward planning. It’s always a good idea to take photographs of your best plant associations, so that you can repeat Read More

Food for free

Woodlands and hedgerows are great places to find wild food, but make sure you forage sustainably without harming woods or wildlife and also that you stay safe and within the law. For many people, collecting and eating wild plants and fungi have been part of life since childhood. For others, foraging is a more recent activity, so Read More

Hip hip hooray for roses!

Are you after soft, supple skin? Then use rose hips as part of your beauty regime, says beauty expert, Angela Lopez of Belle-Toi ( in Bournemouth. Rose hips are the seedpods of roses and the orange-red bulbs of Rosa rugosa, which look somewhat squashed and tomato-like, are only edible but are a great source of Read More

Enjoy your garden after dark

White flowers and silver leaves always look cool and sophisticated and not only shine in shade but sparkle by moonlight, so are good for sitting areas as the nights begin to draw in. In the sunshine many white or cream-coloured flowers seem dull and lifeless and act only as a background or accent for more colourful Read More

Hydrangeas – masters of chemistry

Lacecaps and mopheads, cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla, also known as Big Leaf Hydrangeas, are popular shrubs that have been around for decades and over the years become stalwarts of British summer gardens. Even bright summer bedding plants can’t compete with the eye-catching neon blue or pink flowers of the Mopheads pom-pom like flower heads. These giant Read More