With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
If you enjoy strolling through a bluebell wood over the Spring Bank Holiday, you may not be aware that this beautiful sight might soon disappear, Martyn Loach explains why we should all be aware of a foreign invader.
Bluebells are such an iconic spring plant throughout our woodlands that it would be unthinkable if they were no longer there to enjoy. But the fact is that they are under threat from a horticultural armada.
You may not be aware that there are two types of bluebell, the elegant English version and a hybrid Spanish invader. Once an invited guest into our gardens, the Spanish bluebell has now escaped its domestic confines and is now inter breeding with our native plant.
There are various differences between the two types. The English bluebell bends elegantly in the breeze and only flowers on one side. These flowers are much darker than the Spanish bluebell, they are scented and contain pollen that is cream coloured rather than greenish blue.
The problem is that when the varieties cross pollinate, it is the characteristics of the Spanish bluebell that dominate, and slowly but surely the delicate attributes of the native plant that we love so much will be subdued.
There are more bluebells in the dappled shade of British woodland than anywhere else in the world. It would be tragic if this wonderful sight were to disappear but eradicating the non-native bluebell is impractical.
However, you can do your bit by not encouraging their spread. Compost garden waste, don't dump it in the countryside and, the next time you visit a garden centre, buy some English bluebell seed that is readily available rather than the Spanish alternative.
You're spoilt for choice when looking for a bluebell wood to visit, wherever you are in the country they'll be one nearby, but don't forget that it is illegal to dig up the bulbs. Try these links to find the nearest location to you:
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.