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  • Why palm trees can help us to feel good in the UK

    Palm trees are good for the health, and boost the spirits too. Here's 4 hardy palms for UK gardens and 3 excellent palms for indoors.

    Why are people pleased by the pleasures of palms? These iconic plants signify hot weather, holidays, gentle breezes and relaxation. There’s something about palm trees that needs a blue sky and yellow sun to make them look comfortable. Here in the UK there are many people who give palms some garden space, presumably in the hope that they might create some sort of tropical paradise. Some of these plants fail miserably to achieve much growth. Others die during their first tough winter. A few, however, are hardy and can grow into sizeable trees. Given the right environment, underplanting and setting, these palms can create an impressive impact, even in the depths of winter.
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  • 11 unusual fruit crosses that will make your taste buds quiver

    Plumcot anyone? Here’s 11 unusual fruit trees and bushes for the experimental gardener

    What’s with the weird and unusual fruit? Perhaps you have tasted some of the many strange fruit crosses that are now available. Are you tempted to plant your own unusual fruit tree or bush? If so, February is a great time to plant. You might even find bare root plants to keep your costs down. These curiously addictive fruit crosses are generally created from hybrids rather than selective breeding through genetic engineering of DNA. In other words, the new fruits arise from cross-pollination of two plants from the same species or genus.

    Here’s a round-up of the most commonly found ‘alternative’ fruit crosses. You can decide for yourself whether the tree or bush is the right one for you.
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  • Love is in the air, here's seven LIVING Valentine's Day gift ideas

    February brings hope, happiness and maybe love for Valentine's Day 

    Valentines, living gift, hoya, gifts for Valentine's Day, Valentines presents, pot plant, There's no mistaking the heart-shaped message offered by these Valentines Hoya plants.

    February signals the month of hope for several reasons. Valentine's Day is just one of them. It has become apparent that January wasn’t the easiest month to bear for many people who suffered from ill health and a certain amount of gloom caused by dull weather and grey skies.

    Aussie ‘flu and other ‘flu-like viruses hit the UK hard last month, with a rate of hospitalisation at around 4,000 per week at its peak. The symptoms of Aussie ‘flu are similar to normal ‘flu – i.e. headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, blocked noses and sore throats - but they tend to last longer and are more severe. The illness can also lead to pneumonia.

    It is now hoped that the worst might be over, and the launch into a brand new, and very short, month is one to celebrate!

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  • Fashion versus tradition in the garden. Are you keeping up?

    Should you keep up with fashion trends in the garden?

    You might not associate plants and gardens as being subject to fashion, but they are indeed. For instance, you can date many gardens by looking at their planting style or choice of hard landscaping materials. Crazy paving came into being as an inexpensive method of hard surfacing that used broken or incomplete pieces of paving, with mortar being used to fill the gaps. The craze for crazy paving caught on and during the 1960s and 70s it was everywhere. This style of paving might not still be in fashion, but it is still acceptable, but it will always have an air of ‘age’ about it. However, replace the mortar filling with low planting of Thyme or other such creeping beauties that will allow a softening of the ‘look’ and it is bang up to date. Older styles can be updated and adapted to the modern age with great effect.
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  • A definition of Mindfulness and how best to achieve it

    The definition of ‘mindfulness’ and how it applies to gardening

    There’s no getting away from ‘mindfulness’. References to this most desirable state of being are everywhere. But what is mindfulness and how do we achieve it?

    Mindfulness, depressed, anxious, anxiety, happy, happiness, psychology, state of mind, Mindfulness is all about your state of mind.

    It’s simply a word that urges people to cease rushing through their days without noticing things that are outside their own heads. We tend to miss so much because most of us are obsessing over thoughts, worries, lists of tasks, diary engagements, chores and more. Not to mention gripes about the weather; the people around us and the state of the economy. STOP! Many of us are failing to recognise or acknowledge the good stuff that’s happening right now. There are simple steps everyone can take in order to improve their daily lives and happiness will inevitably result.

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  • How to achieve kerb appeal in a front garden and lighten your mood

    Why your front garden might need some ‘kerb appeal’ and how to achieve it this winter

    Does your front garden have kerb appeal? What does the space in front of your property say about you? In fact, how often do you look at it, and does it really matter? The chances are that you concentrate on your back garden because it’s more private and you spend a greater amount of time in it. Front gardens are generally more for ‘show’ than for ‘play’, but they are places through which people walk all year round, whatever the weather.
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  • Hurrah for Hellebores, six reasons to want some of these winter wonders

    Hellebores: six reasons to love bleak mid-winter in the garden.

    Hellebore, Helleborus, golden sunrise, winter jewels, winter flowers, lenten rose, christmas rose, garden, winter, Helleborus 'Golden Sunrise' is one of the 'Winter Jewels' collection. It's well named as this really does provide an uplifting sight in winter.

    The Hellebore season is almost upon us. At the dawn of the new year, these sturdy perennials begin to shine. And despite their fragile appearance, they can withstand just about anything that nature brings. Snow, ice, rain, they just don't really care. What will damage them is too much direct sunlight (hardly likely in January). Position them in shady places so they are protected during the hotter parts of the year. They also won't enjoy sitting in a permanent bog. But apart from that, they are dynamite!
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  • Time to make new year's resolutions: make them achievable

    Happy new year:  make your life healthy

    One of the problems of winter is that it’s more difficult to spend time outdoors. The daylight hours are short, nights are long, and work often gets in the way of opening the door onto the big wide world. It’s not surprising that people suffer from colds, depression and general malaise during this time of year. So, how can you get the new year off to a great start? Continue reading

  • How to avoid man flu - the perfect Christmas present for a bloke!

    Does Santa suffer from man flu?  Probably not, we understand he loves flues and spends one night of the year sliding down them.

    Do you  know a  Neanderthal man (or perhaps you are one?) If so, he (or you) will probably suffer from man flu from time to time. So what can we do about it, and, more to the point, is it real?
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  • Schlumbergera are super cool, Six reasons to love Christmas cacti

    Why Schlumbergera - Christmas cacti - are so cool!

    It’s the season to not only be merry but to welcome evergreens into your home. Why? Because they symbolise life! The isles of supermarkets everywhere are crammed with festive products including Christmas house plants, bulbs and growing kits. It’s good to remember that outdoor things continue to not only survive but some are peaking with a brilliance that isn’t obvious at other times of the year.
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