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.
Enthusiastic gardeners who are also pet owners may be surprised to learn that many of the plants they grow are toxic to cats and dogs. David Hall has been reading a recent report detailing the dangers.
The findings, by MORE TH>N the insurance company, show that 31% of gardeners have no idea if they are growing plants that are harmful to pets.
Over thirty plants can be dangerous if eaten, they don't need to be unusual or exotic. Hostas, delphiniums and dahlias in your flower bed; lobelia and marigolds in a window box; wisteria and clematis against the house, they are all problematic for pets.
Usually the only problem is an upset stomach but according to the research, 8% of British dogs and cats have eaten poisonous plants, nearly half have needed to have treatment, and sadly 15% have died.
The insurers have even created a garden to focus attention on the problem, planted only with toxic plants. For humans it might be a very beautiful and tranquil place to relax but for their pets it's a poisonous no-go zone.
Called the 'Pawtanical' Garden, many people might guess that foxgloves would feature, but there are also chrysanthemums, daisies, hydrangea, ivy and poppies. Even tomato plants pose a threat, and all of these are typical of the plants we grow in our gardens.
In addition to plants, there are other dangers that pets are subject to: acorns, pond algae and cocoa mulch plus various fertilizers and garden chemicals.
The garden is part of a Pet Safe Plant campaign that wants to raise awareness of the problem and is designed to persuade manufacturers to clearly label their products.
If you are also concerned, tweet your support @MORETHAN using #safeseeds
You might not be familiar with the UK Men's Sheds Association but this is a fast growing organisation that, as David Coton discovered, encourages camaraderie and a sense of achievement among its members.
The Wildlife Aid Foundation recently purchased several animal ornaments from GardenSite and David Coton, one of our partners, thought that this charity carried out such terrific work that we made a charitable donation to assist with the cost.
With high winds increasingly affecting most parts of Britain, many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.
Here in Birmingham, the weather has been as changeable as ever, very warm just before Easter followed by a cold spell only last week. During May the threat of further frost will largely pass and, with spring well under way, Robert Hall is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.