Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.
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.
People have been using holly, ivy, laurel and other evergreens to decorate their homes over Christmas for hundreds of years, but today's Wreaths and Garlands bring tradition up to date with bright new materials and effects.
You might think that a wreath is a simple handcrafted ring of fir branches, but that's possibly before you have seen Premier Poinsettia wreaths.
These are a colourful confection red, gold and greens with pine cones, berries and baubles. Some are lit by LEDs to enhance the colours and textures.
There are minimalistic designs with bunches of red or gold berries and these contrast with rustic styles that are a winter cornucopia of fir cones, leaves and berries, even citrus fruits and cinnamon.
Fibre optics can add intense gold flourishes while bright LEDs sprinkle light on Konstsmide's battery operated wreaths.
However sumptuous these designs are, there should still be room in everyone's home for a wreath with a simple red bow. Handcrafted and locally sourced, the wonderfully scented foliage cannot be beaten.
Garlands can grace walls, stairs or doorways. Again the foliage may be augmented with berries and real pine cones and completed with fairy lights.
Luxurious ones feature large velvety burgundy coloured poinsettias and finished in glitter gold with complementing red berries.
Simpler garlands comprise foliage with LEDs lights that can be displayed inside or outside the house. Others are a mix of green bay leaves, ivory, gold baubles, ribbons and perhaps fruits.
As opposed to the mesmerising colour changes are achieved by fibre optics, others have a dusting of snow with white berries for an attractive wintery effect.
A Christmas swag is a beautiful addition to a fireplace or wall. These differ from garlands as they are thinner at the ends and heavier in the middle.
A luxury style will have foliage dressed in gold dusted cones and leaves, Christmas lights may be added if you so wish.
If you want something more opulent choose one with gold coloured embellishments that contrast with the natural looking green foliage and feature gold poinsettia heads and baubles that are spaced along the swag’s length.
More naturalistic swags have lifelike foliage and are generously decorated with real pine cones and bright red berries. They are designed using wire and therefore can be easily shaped as required.
Whatever you decide, you won’t be disappointed by the choice, quality and design that is on offer.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.