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.
David Hall recently had the pleasure of visiting Thailand an exciting, dynamic country full of contrast and colour. Being botanically minded he was particularly struck by the diversity of the beautiful Bamboo plants.
Often only thought of in our own country as a useful source of canes for supporting the runner beans this is certainly one of the most useful groups of plants known to man.
I could be sitting in my bamboo chair, eating bamboo shoots from by bamboo bowl with a pair of bamboo chopsticks.
My house could be constructed from bamboo and I could have a bamboo bicycle propped up outside ready to whisk me away.
But what would I be growing in the garden?
Bamboos are actually grasses. They range in size from tiny creeping plants to towering monsters, 30 or 40 metres in height. The shoots of the bamboo giants emerge from the soil and grow at an amazing rate, upto 45cm a day.
It is said that you can actually see the shoot growing in front of your eyes.
In the U.K. we are fortunate enough to have a climate ideally suited to growing a wide range of Bamboos. They can be used as single specimens, eventually forming thickets with delightful arching stems that sway gracefully in the breeze.
Some of the smaller varieties are also ideal for growing in pots or containers. They look particularly attractive when planted in one of the blue glazed pots that are all the rage at the moment.
Alternatively why not consider a Garden Feature made from bamboo! There are a range of gazebos and archways manufactured from robust bamboo poles.
You could consider simply 'planting' three or more different lengths of bamboo into the ground to make an interesting focal point. Or you could invest in some elegant patio furniture of a bamboo deck chair.
So why not make a bit of space for a bamboo? You won't be disappointed. It will reward you with its year round elegance and you will have brought a bit of the exotic East to your own back garden.
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.