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.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2020.
Sustainability and a growing awareness of wildlife are two of the key gardening trends identified by the Royal Horticultural Society for 2020, with gardeners in a position where they can make a substantial impact regarding environmental issues.
Gardening is such a popular activity with interest only increasing over recent years that the magazine rack in your local newsagent or supermarket is packed with publications offering inspiration and practical advice.
Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is dull and overcast, David Coton suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.