Gardens

King crimson: poinsettias, the perfect Christmas plant

Poinsettias are the second best-selling houseplant in the UK (after the enduringly popular Phalaenopsis orchid), and this year it's estimated w'll be buying some eight million of them over the Christmas period.

Plant peonies for a garden full of colour

peonies are lovely colourful flowers that are easy to grow in UK gardens

King crimson: poinsettias, the perfect Christmas plant

Poinsettias are the second best-selling houseplant in the UK (after the enduringly popular Phalaenopsis orchid), and this year it's estimated w'll be buying some eight million of them over the Christmas period.

Poinsettias, which hail from Mexico, have become the festive houseplant and you can do a lot with them from having a large plant in a pot, to cutting the stems to use in a floral display or incorporating into a wreath. They also make a perfect gift for men and women of all ages.

 

 

Aster la vista: flower of the month

asters are a perfect flower for autumn colour in the garden

Feed the birds

RSPB wildlife advisor Charlotte Ambrose says as winter approaches, so birds become vulnerable: 'Up until now they've been able to feed on insects and seeds, but the cold weather means they move into our gardens to find refuge. You can make a real difference and improve their chances of survival, as well as being rewarded by great views of wildlife in your garden or outside space.'

Ground screws: an eco-friendly alternative to concrete foundations

Concrete is an absolutely essential material for the building industry and it's unlikely a future Shard or the Burj al Arab will ever sit on ground screws. But the manufacturing of cement to make concrete accounts for five cent of global CO2 emissions and it ranks third in the production of manmade CO2 emissions worldwide after transport and energy generation; and as such there is a need to use alternatives to concrete foundations for smaller building projects.

Sailcloth upcycling: a new canvas

Dvelas is a perfect example of how simple and effective recycling can be. Based in Pamplona, it takes sails from boats and yachts that have become too worn for further use at sea and turns them into contemporary seating - beanbags, loungers, sun shades, stools and deckchairs.

Weatherproof artwork for your garden

You may never have thought of having a picture in the garden...perhaps hanging on a fence or leaning up against a wall.

But when you see the work of Sue Badby and partner Paul you may well cast an eye over your outside space and think mmm, perhaps that drab bit of wall over there could come to life with a large trompe l'oeil canvas, or the bare fence around the deck could look fabulous hung with a picture of an allium.

Sprout's grow-your-own pencils

healthy living is made easy with grow your own microgreen kits from Danish start-up Sprout. grow seeds on a hemp mat on the windowsill - the eco friendly way to cultivate your own food. seeds grow on hemp.

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