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 Chelsea Flower Show, for many the highlight of the gardening year, is taking place between 19 – 23 May and Nathan James Dodd has been looking at what the crowds flocking to the event will see this year.
Show Gardens are naturally at the core of the show, full of brilliant contemporary ideas, inspiring the ordinary gardener with fresh, sometimes outside of the box, ideas.
Fifteen show gardens feature the work of world class designers whose approaches are diverse but similarly stunning.
There's the naturalistic ambiance of the M&G garden full of soft elegant planting and beautiful trees surrounding a oak framed 'retreat'. The Beauty of Islam garden explores the relationship between humans and the earth, providing a relaxing and inspiring sanctuary.
Others include the Cloudy Bay garden that is planted to reflect the qualities and characteristics of their wine, the lush landscape of the Hidden Beauty of Kranji garden takes us to tropical Singapore.
Another represents the perfume heritage of Grasse with a deeply aromatic design while many people will be interested in Prince Harry's garden for his Lesotho based charity.
There are many other gardens to admire in the 'artisan' and 'fresh' categories, but they are only half the story. Whatever your particular interest as a gardener, there'll be something that will attract your attention.
Nurseries and specialist growers offer all kinds of plants. Carnivorous, succulent, scented or heritage; lilies, heucheras, ferns and peonies – whatever excites you, they'll be an exhibitor to visit, gain advice and replenish your shopping bag.
If that's not enough, there's the RHS Discovery zone in the Great Pavilion where you, and your children, can learn about plant science and education. This includes the positive power of plants, school gardening, and several environmental issues.
Of course, you'll need somewhere to rest and recuperate, and the various catering outlets manage to sell over 13,000 sandwiches and no less than 27,000 cakes during th show's duration.
For more information and to book tickets on the show, go to the show website. Doors open at 8.00am on the 19 May and close at 5.30pm on Saturday 23 May after the plant sell off.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.