Spring is a wonderful time to visit a garden where you'll see new vibrant colour and planting that will inspire you for the year to come. Here are David Hall's suggestions regarding the best spring gardens to visit.
As Winter draws in there are less hours of daylight to work outside, and David Hall's indoor pot plants assume a greater significance than during those hot heady days of high summer.
During the garden's winter dormancy, colourful indoor plants have the stage virtually to themselves. And of all the flowering plants available now for Christmas, Cyclamen persicum is surely the unsung star.
It is a compact plant that is inexpensive to buy and will flower freely until well into the New Year.
Mother Nature normally designs flowers that are uniform in shape, but one of the greatest virtues of the Cyclamen is its seemingly irregular flower. It is thrown from the top of a long slender stem like a flag billowing on a mast in a blustery wind.
The flowers are richly coloured, bold and proud, waving over a sea of silver, green and grey foliage.
The leaves huddle together into a tight mound, acting as the perfect landscape on which to plant those showy blooms.
Looking after an indoor Cyclamen is easy. In fact it is too easy. When they leave the shops and garden centres they should be compact and well budded, but often only 2-3 weeks after buying them the leaves have turned yellow and become limp. The flowers have wilted and may be even starting to rot.
Killing them with kindness by giving too much water around the crown, and keeping them in conditions that are too warm is normally the reason.
Sitting on top of the television in a centrally heated lounge are not ideal conditions. Instead, place them in a well lit position, in a cool part of the house, and water them from the base regularly.
Feed sparingly and pinch out any overblown flowers. After the flowering period allow the corm to dry. It is as easy as that.
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When David Coton's children suggested setting up a mud kitchen, he was initially unsure what was involved, but soon found out that they are easy to set up, great fun, educational and would keep the children busy for hours.
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