As part of a project designed to sow ideas, grow inspiration and cultivate futures, 300 London schools are growing their own picnic this summer and their reward could be a £500 voucher from GardenSite.
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.
Whether it's a bleak December or the more mild weather we are becoming used to, you can still spend useful time in the garden during the last month of the year. David Coton suggests some garden jobs that can occupy the short days.
David Coton suggests that there are plenty of gardening jobs that need to be done in November, from why you shouldn't throw away any fallen leaves to how to take care of your vegetable patch.
Spring flowering bulbs brighten the garden from when snow is on the ground right through to the sunlit early summer. Here is David Hall's guide to achieving a marvellous display of colour to herald in the new year.
It's autumn and David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that we should also now be planning ahead for next year.