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Sally Nex Sally Nex | 07:00 UK time, Saturday, 3 September 2011

apples

 

In the news...

The search is on for some of the most northerly apples in Britain, at the start of a new project tracing the apple heritage of the Scottish Highlands.

Local biodiversity officer Jonathan Willet has put 15 orchards on the map so far, including the rather wonderful Old Manse walled garden in Cromarty, where 31 Scots apple varieties grow. He’s also hunting for missing varieties like the Coul Blush, bred in Ross-shire in 1827 and described as a ‘sweet dessert apple with a yellow skin’.

After beating back the tide of Himalayan balsam last week, better news for the nation's waterways: a heartening list of the top ten most improved rivers, currently at their cleanest in 20 years.

The River Thames, declared biologically dead in the 1950s, joins the Wear in Co Durham and the Mersey as previously sick rivers now transformed into havens for waterfowl, otters, fish and eels. That's not to say the fight is won: this Oxfordshire village is the latest to lose its river under a green carpet.

And finally: those of a sensitive disposition had better look away now: this is quite the most wince-inducing tale I’ve heard in ages. Leroy Luetscher, 86, was doing some light pruning in the garden when he tripped. Result – one pair of secateurs embedded six inches in his skull. The really amazing thing is he survived: gardening can be a dangerous business, you know.

Elsewhere on the web...

If you've never watched Beechgrove on BBC Scotland, you're missing a trick: it's something of a Scottish institution, a mine of information, and a gardener's treat on a Monday night.

Beechgrove garden presenters

Left to right: Jim McColl,Lesley Watson, George Anderson and Carole Baxter

Luckily if you don't live north of the border, it's available on iPlayer: this week, our very own Jim McColl gives his verdict on the tomato varieties he's been growing (and has a little accident – nice to see even telly types occasionally snip in the wrong place too); Carole Baxter takes cuttings; and planthunter Michael Wickenden, of Cally Gardens, shares tales from his trips around the world.

And a good watch: the latest craze in Paris is 'moss graffiiti', invented by the French gardening guerrilla movement to green city walls. Beautiful, if a little unorthodox: do try it at home.

Out and about...

One of the best of the smaller flower shows starts this week: the rather delightful Wisley Flower Show, at RHS Wisley in Surrey, has been quietly building a reputation for quality specialist nurseries and a relaxed atmosphere. This year it's running over four days for the first time, and promises 40 exhibitors and a showcase for the floral art talents of NAFAS members. Next Saturday enjoy an exclusive sneak peek before the show opens, including a rather fine breakfast.

It's a good week for garden shows. In Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the National Gardening Show this weekend pits teams against the clock to create an instant garden. Wolverton Manor on the Isle of Wight is holding its annual Elizabethan-themed garden fair today and tomorrow, and the Suffolk Autumn Garden Show, also this weekend, should satisfy the most ardent greenfingered shopaholic.

And if all that's too sedate for you: head on over to Jimmy's Farm in Suffolk where Harvest at Jimmy's kicks off this Friday, bringing together grow-your-own enthusiasts, cookery gurus and rock musicians in an unlikely fusion that can only be a rip-roaring success. Alys Fowler and Monty Don are among the headline acts.

Sally Nex is a garden writer and blogger and part of the BBC Gardening team.

Read Sally Nex's Gardening Blog posts.

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