In the news...
A call to arms this week from the RSPB, which believes if we all did our bit for biodiversity things wouldn't be in such a sorry state. Their 'Stepping up for Nature' campaign asks everyone to help birds, bugs and beasties somehow, whether it's setting up a school wildlife garden or letting nettles grow in a spare corner for butterflies.
Gardeners are in the front line in the fight against species loss. Slow worms hide in our compost bins, our hedgerows shelter hedgehogs, and our flowers are rich nectar sources for bumblebees and butterflies. So if you garden with wildlife in mind, pat yourself on the back - and squeeze in an extra log pile for the toads.
Also this week: never mind pumpkins, how about giant lemons? Students at Wiltshire College hope the massive fruits on their 38-year-old lemon tree could bag them the world record currently held by Israel with a 5.27kg (11lb 10oz) monster. And yes, it is possible even in rainy old England; a 4.8kg fruit from the Wiltshire tree held the record for 14 years until 2003.
Elsewhere on the web...
At last! After months of speculation and anticipation we got our first peek behind the gates of Monty Don's Herefordshire garden in the first of the new series of Gardeners' World last night. Oodles of snowdrops, rose-pruning and apple trees, plus the return of Rachel de Thame: expect blogs to be buzzing today as the nation's gardeners deliver their verdict.
The hunt for Britain's national vegetable is on: BBC2's Great British Food Revival put the case for cauliflowers this week, and next week Masterchef host Gregg Wallace argues in favour of the humble spud. Personally, I'd go for peas: but parsnips, Brussels sprouts and kale have a pretty good case, too. What do you think?
And this week's good read: garden design legend John Brookes on the age-old schism between designers and gardeners. About time they stopped arguing and got on with making good gardens, he says: hear, hear.
Out and about...
Vegetables and fruit have been sneaking into the big flower shows for a few years now: last year they even headlined at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. But now they've really arrived, with a show all to themselves.
The Edible Garden Show starts on Friday and runs through the weekend at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, and anyone who's anyone in the grow-your-own world will be there. Gardeners' Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood will be on hand for advice; look out too for Grow Your Own Drugs star James Wong, and designer Diarmuid Gavin. Also speaking at the show is Master Gardener Philip Turvil of Garden Organic who wrote a post on this blog earlier this week.
Elsewhere the gardeners of Powis Castle in Welshpool are inviting you to walk their world-famous borders with them to find out how it's done; the Garden Museum in London kicks off their Meadows season on Thursday with a talk by the aptly-named Charles Flower on bringing back wildflowers; and in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is holding a Festival of Gardening next weekend where you can learn how to create the perfect wildlife pond.