Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.
Although we all like to encourage wildlife into the garden, creatures of a more inanimate nature can populate the landscape. Not all are native to the British Isles and Nathan James Dodd describes how your outdoor space can become quite a menagerie.
Resin puppies and full size dogs meticulously crafted by Toscano and Vivid Arts, are waterproof and beautifully painted. They can be located inside or out, and many different breeds are available in a variety of naturalistic poses.
Among this impressively large collection are an Airedale, Boxer and Labradors sitting, a Highland Terrier playing, Winston the Bulldog guarding, and even a Pug and Boston Terrier peeing.
Farmyard animals abound, lambs are a favourite and cockerels will strut around but not wake you in the morning. Pigs can be introduced without their endearing agricultural aroma, and Curly the Ram shows off a splendid pair of horns.
British wildlife is represented by hedgehogs and frogs, deer, badgers and, for any mollusc lovers, a large aluminium snail. Look above and a wise owl spies a fox on the prowl for any ducks who have left the safety of their pond..
Metal statuary is well represented by elegant deer, statuesque herons and rutting stags, in addition to a sun bathing otter. A doe rests in the long grass while rabbits with bronze effect rabbits dash past a kingfisher eyeing prey from a branch.
African wildlife may seem an anachronism in a British garden but they're certainly attention grabbers. Not every suburban garden is host to gorillas and elephants, with a stalking black panther, rhinos and hippos sharing water holes with a collection of flamingos. It's also a given that the meerkat and lemur families will endear themselves to any children.
Another well loved animal not from these parts is the bear and whatever type you prefer: panda, koala, black, brown or polar, you'll be amazed at how accurately they are crafted in high quality resin that is resistant to frost, chipping and cracking.
Flying in from all parts of the world are parrots, including the predictably named Polly, pelicans and penguins. Hooting Howie is only one of a large number of owls, a raven can add its dark presence, and a peacock will be notably regal.
Whether you go for native species or something a little more exotic, there's no doubting that these extremely well made resin and metal animals add interest to a landscape, used individually or in groups they will loved by children and adults alike.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
Our garden centre has been part of the local community for over 60 years, so when one of our partners, David Coton, received a request to donate a Christmas tree to a nearby hospice, he had no hesitation in helping them out.
Many people believe that Christmas would not have the same festive feel without the scent of a 'real' Christmas tree. They're naturally fresh, giving off a lovely aroma, and here Martyn Loach gives advice on which ones to buy..
There's a huge selection of Premier Christmas Lights, and it's no wonder why they are market leaders judging by the variety and innovation that's on offer. This is Andy Taylor's guide to their range of top quality lights and decorations.