Window Lights are wonderful way to greet visitors to your house at Christmas, and here Andy Taylor reviews Konstsmide's contemporary and traditional range of Candlesticks, Welcome Lights and Silhouettes.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, our New Oscott Garden Centre has just taken delivery of that most seasonal of plants – the Poinsettia. These are David Hall's tips on to how to keep these beautiful plants at their colourful best.
First of all, a few facts that you may not know about the poinsettia. In its natural environment it can grow up to 10 feet tall and was introduced in the 19th century from Mexico by Joel Poinsett from whom the plant takes its name.
What many people refer to as flowers are in fact bracts or coloured leaves, the true flowers in the centre are tiny and insignificant.
Poinsettias don't only come in red, Although this is the most traditional colour, many different variations are available, these include white, pink and marbled varieties.
Although everyone knows what a poinsettia looks like and they arrive in the garden centre looking fabulous, it is a plant that sometimes does not receive the care and attention it requires.
They can be very demanding and do not react well to any kind of stress or duress and you should only ever purchase your plants from a nursery or florist that keeps the plants in warm conditions.
Plants bought from a supermarket or from pavement sellers will have been chilled and will almost certainly fail to flourish.
The true flowers in the centre of the plant should ideally be in bud or just opening to ensure a long display of colour. When you get your poinsettia home, place it in a warm and bright location and, most importantly, not exposed to any kind of a draught.
Be very careful with watering. Wait until the compost is moderately dry and then water thoroughly with tepid water.
With a little care a poinsettia should reward you with many weeks of attractive festive foliage and can even be kept for another year.
All you have to do is allow the plant to slowly dry out in the spring and prune back hard. Re-pot and place in a light location but out of direct sunlight where the temperature is about 16 - 17ºC.
Feed weekly, keep warm, and in November alternate between 12 hours of natural light and darkness. The bracts should then colour again but will probably never be as good as in the first year.
With gardens becoming smaller, neighbours closer and roads busier, we all suffer from different types of noise pollution. But, as Andy Taylor reports, Forest have now come up with a new kind of fencing that minimizes this nuisance.
Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and Spring is just around the corner. Nathan James Dodd suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.
Heating will be a deciding factor on the variety of plants you are able to grow in a greenhouse and the number of plants that can be kept over winter. Here, Robert Hall goes through the pros and cons of the different types of heating that are available.