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Sally Nex Sally Nex | 07:44 UK time, Saturday, 26 March 2011

In the news...

The weather is a serious business to us gardeners: and never more so when it's unpredictable. The coldest December on record morphed into the ninth-warmest February after another hottest-ever year. Snowdrops have been late, but other flowers are early: with weather like this, it's no wonder they're confused.

The nation's first Climate Week this week celebrated all the positive ways people are helping slow the inexorable upward progress of the temperature graphs. Hundreds of people joined in across the country, planting trees, holding pub quizzes and inventing compostable packaging: the best won awards.

The Met Office provided the science: not only the rather unsettling graphs, but also films weighing up the science like this one:

Also in the news, tree thefts seem depressingly to be catching on. Last week it was western red cedar and Norway spruce saplings destined for Welsh woodlands (most, thankfully, found the next day). This week 12 juniper seedlings disappeared from a conservation project in West Sussex, sending juniper - these days a protected species - one step closer to extinction in the south of England.

On a more optimistic note, curry ingredient turmeric could be enlisted to clear landmines. It isn't difficult to grow turmeric at home though you'll need a greenhouse: quite handy to have around if war breaks out in your back garden, then. Or if you just want to cook a curry, of course.

Elsewhere on the web...

Chickens invaded the Gardeners' Question Time potting shed this week, snaffled by the team from chicken breeder Philip Lee Woolf to star in a grow-your-own extravaganza recorded at the Edible Garden Show in Warwickshire. The ensuing discussion covered talking to hens, Bob Flowerdew's catfood-stealing cockerel and Anne Swithinbank's rather fine chicken impression. And you thought they just talked about plants.

In case you had forgotten, there are only 58 panicking days to go till the RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens. At the moment it's all about walls: a green one for Anne-Marie Powell, designing her first full show garden this year, and a dry-stone one for both Cleve West and Kate Dundas (there are sheep creeps involved in this one). I'd say that's the snifter of a Chelsea trend emerging already, wouldn't you?

Out and about...

I hope you've been saving your pennies. You're going to need them this week: the plant fairs are back.

Specialist plant fairs are perfect for picking up those covetable little treasures and are packed with knowledgeable growers to tell you just how to look after them. So: email your bank to apologise and go indulge yourself and your garden.

Daddy of them all is the RHS Great London Plant Fair in Westminster. It's a magnet for the UK's very best nurseries plus international growers, and the RHS advisory team is also on hand to answer questions. Garden writer Noel Kingsbury is there too, exploding some myths of 'eco-friendly' gardening.

Next weekend the lovely 70-acre grounds of Consall Hall Gardens in Staffordshire host a Plant Hunters' Fair and the Gardeners' Plant Fair at Newburgh Priory in Yorkshire promises some of the North's most passionate nurseries and growers with unusual plants a go-go.

And herb queen Jekka McVicar's first annual open day is next weekend near Bristol. Choose from over 600 varieties and enjoy daily workshops run by Jekka herself.


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