Flowering snowdrops offer
Snowdrops, often the first flowers of the new year, make charming clumps in the border, under shrubs and trees, in window boxes and containers, or naturalised in grass.
Homes & Property readers can buy 25 cultivated plants that are already flowering (known as 'in the green') from Thompson & Morgan for £8.49, or buy 50 for £14.98 and get a further 25 free. Both offers have free p&p.
Please send orders to: Evening Standard Offers, Dept MRES45, PO Box 99, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2SN and make your cheque payable to TMYP Ltd. Or call 0844 573 2020 (quote MRES45), or go to www.plantoffers.com/MRES45. Plants dispatched from February. Offer closes: 28 February 2009.
Potato patio planters and free seeds
Homes & Property is offering two reusable potato patio planters which will last for years, plus 10 potato tubers, and full instructions (compost not supplied). The potatoes are easy to grow and each bucket could yield 4kgs of potatoes. The variety is Charlotte, the salad potato of choice for top chefs due to its waxy, fine flavour. It can be left in the ground until needed.
You will also get three free packets of seeds: chives, parsley and a salad leaves mixture. One kit costs £19.95 including UK p&p, get two kits for £34.90. Delivery within 28 days. Closing date: 28 February 2009.
Credit card order hotline: 0870 950 5914, quoting R18474HP or by post with cheques made payable to Mr Fothergill’s Seeds to The Standard Potato Kit Offer (R18474HP), Rookery Farm, Joys Bank, Holbeach St Johns, Spalding, PE12 8SG.
Win: two stunning sandstone garden spheres
Homes & Property has teamed up with Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner, Brett Landscaping, to offer one lucky reader the chance to win two stunning sandstone garden spheres to bring a sense of contemporary style to their garden.
Colours vary and no two spheres will look the same. The prize is a 400mm and 300mm sphere, to create a bold focal point.
To enter, text HP SPHERE followed by your email address to 65400, or
ENTER HERE before 11.59pm on Friday 30 January 2009.
Terms and conditions: Texts cost 25p plus your standard network charge. Competition closes at 23:59pm on 31 January 2009. The prize includes UK delivery but not installation.
Brett is a leading provider of hard landscaping products that are sold through builders merchants nationwide. For ideas, its Gardens and Driveways brochure is available at www.brett.co.uk/gardenandhome.
Gardeners: Encounters with Exceptional People is a new book by garden writer Diana Ross that collects portraits of people connected with the gardening world. Beth Chatto, Roy Lancaster, Lady Salisbury and Dan Pearson are among those featured. Ross weaves their personal stories, aspirations and ideals into accounts with their relationships with gardens.
Homes & Property readers can buy the book for just £11.99 (usual price £14.99) with free p&p. Call 01235 827702 and quote ref: 46DRHP. Deadline: 31 January 2009.
RHS Wisley, near Woking, Surrey
17 January, 10.30am-12.30pm
Walk around RHS Wisley's collection of Hamamelis and other wonderfully scented shrubs and get tips on planting and maintenance. Call 0845 6121253 and quote booking ref: 5525 (weekdays 9am-5pm). Cost: RHS members £9, non members £17.50.
Orchid Day, RHS Garden Wisley plant centre near Woking, Surrey
17 January, 10:30am-4pm
Jim Durrant from Chelsea gold medal winner McBeans Orchids will be giving talks at 11am, 1.30pm & 3pm, and will be on hand to give informal advice all day. There is a wonderful range of orchids to choose from too. Entry free. Call 01483 211113 for details.
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: Jodrell Lecture Theatre
29 January, 7pm
Hillier Garden Centres managing director and gardening writer Andrew McIndoe will give an illustrated lecture at the wonderful variety of inter plants. Ideas will also be given on plant combinations that work in both winter and summer. All tickets: £5. Call 020 8332 5000. See www.kew.org/education/courses/index.htm.
* Improve your soil with organic matter to help its texture and nutrients and maximise drainage.
* Mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
* Prune trees.
* Beginner gardeners: buy your tool starter kit in the sales: trowel, secateurs, rake, hoe, watering can, spade, gloves and wheelbarrow are essentials.
Plan projects for 2009 such as a child-friendly garden
* Give children their own area and activities such as swings, climbing frames and trampolines. Use safety surfaces underneath.
* Encourage your children to dig their own area of soil, sow some seeds and grow their own plants. Choose seeds which germinate and grow quickly like nasturtiums so they don't lose interest.
* Don't forget vegetables - peas grow quickly and children enjoy eating the results! Colourful and quick -growing radish is also a good choice.
* Keep tools and garden chemicals out of reach. Avoid poisonous plants such as yew, foxglove, daphne and laburnum.
* If you have a sand pit, cover it when it's not in use to keep cats out. Worm your pets regularly to avoid exposing your children to potentially dangerous parasites.
* Ponds and small children don't mix - replace an open pond with a safe water feature or fit a safety grill.
For more by Matthew Appleby, visit www.hortweek.com.