As GardenSIte's plant specialist I always keenly anticipate the HTA National Plant Show. This is my chance to visit nurseries, find out what's trending in the horticultural world and source new stock, all from under one roof.
The acer family has always been renowned for providing some of the great classical trees found in British Arboretums. Robert Hall discusses his suggestions for the best acers to invest in for your garden.
Go to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire this week and make straight for the Acer Glade. The effect is dramatic. Seeing such an impressive collection of autumn colouring acers will indelibly stamp a picture in your memory that will remain forever.
Shades and tints of copper, orange, bronze and scarlet reflect a coal fire glow when lit by the autumn sun. Each and every leaf responds to nature's call and in unison they draw a canopy of complementary colours over their supporting branches.
The acer family has always been renowned for providing some of the great classical shrubs of the horticultural world like the low growing Discectum Atropurpureum or the soft yellow Japonicum Aureum.
Both are excellent acers for the garden particularly with their first flush of spring colour, but cannot hold a light to Heptalobum Osakazuki for flaming autumn colours.
Osakazuki matures from a mid-green in spring through to a deeper olive green by summer before exploding to fiery scarlet before the fall. It is undoubtedly the most brilliant of all late colouring acers. Though fairly slow growing it will eventually form a large bush or small tree with a low, rounded head.
Plant Osakazuki in association with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and other woodland shrubs in moist well drained soil. Alternatively grow it in isolation as a specimen feature plant but ensure it receives some protection from the cold east wind. For it is the one element that will eventually blow the Osakazuki fire out.
If you want to purchase an acer for your garden, I suggest you contact your local Independent Garden Centre for stock availability.
This guide by Andy Taylor is all about battery powered lights, a very safe way to decorate your home with festive colour. With low running costs and bright LEDs, batteries may be the smart choice this Christmas.
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.
In the past Christmas decorations were limited to streamers and fairy lights, but not any more as Robert Hall discovered when reviewing the huge range of novelty Christmas items that are brought to life by LEDs.
Christmas wreaths, swags and garlands might be thought a little old fashioned, but Robert Hall thinks that modern versions of these traditional decorations are a fabulous way to combine tradition with colourful contemporary themes.