Garden news

Fabulous offers on miniature orchids and Red Champagne rhubarb; win a two-day cooking course with Rick Stein; garden events and things to do in your garden this week.
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Miniature Butterfly Wings
These miniature orchids are known in Japan as 'Butterfly Wings'

Half-price miniature orchids

Experience the exotic in your garden with hardy miniature orchids. Known in Japan as 'Butterfly Wings', their dainty blooms are just 2cm in size and seem to float on stems 20-25cm tall.

Butterfly Wings will withstand temperatures of 0 degrees C or even lower if in soil with good drainage. Plant them in borders, patio pots and window boxes.

They are supplied as naturally small tubers, in a wide range of colours. Includes a step-by-step guide. One tuber costs £9.99, or get three for £14.99.

Please send orders to: Evening Standard Offers, Dept.MRES46, PO Box 99, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2SN. Make cheques payable to TMYP Ltd, or call 0844 573 2020 (quote MRES46), or visit before 28 February 2009.

Grow Your Own Fruit by Carol Klein

Grow your own fruit: book offer

Growing your own fruit is the big campaign from the RHS and BBC this Spring. Popular BBC Gardener’s World presenter Carol Klein has written an accompanying book, Grow Your Own Fruit.

Her 2007 Grow Your Own Veg sold more than 300,000 copies. Carol says: “The grow-your-own food movement has reached mammoth proportions. Knowing what is in - and on - your fruit is imperative.”

Homes & Property readers can get a copy of Grow Your Own Fruit for the special price of £13.59, including free UK postage and packing (usual rrp £16.99). Call 01903 828 503 and quote reference MB209.

Red Champagne rhubarb offer

Red Champagne rhubarb
Red Champagne rhubarb
Rhubarb is one of the easiest things to grow. Red Champagne will give you real flavour and long cropping. A long-lived perennial, it needs little attention and is often one of the first fruits of the year.

With its huge leaves and bright, deep red leaf stalks it makes a spectacular addition to a herbaceous border, vegetable patch and even large containers. Red Champagne is a big cropping, tasty, mid-season variety.

Buy two crowns for £8.95 (including p&p) or six for £19.85, saving £7. Credit card order hotline: 0870 950 5914, quoting R18475HP or by post with cheques made payable to: Mr Fothergill’s Seeds to The Standard Rhubarb Red Champagne Offer (R18475HP), Rookery Farm, Joys Bank, Holbeach St Johns, Spalding, PE12 8SG, before 28 February 2009.

Garden tools

Tools for schools

Bulldog Tools is launching a children’s stainless steel range of mini spades, forks and trowels next month. It is backing the RHS campaign for school gardening with a ‘tools for schools’ initiative. There are 5,500 schools already registered.

Bulldog will donate £30 of tools to qualifying schools; up to 500 tool packs worth £15,000 in all. Registered schools will also be able to buy discounted tools from Bulldog.

The campaign has a 2009 planner available and a pack for the RSPB schools’ birdwatch (runs until 30 January). It is also promoting the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. See

Win: a two-day cooking course with Rick Stein

Rick Stein
Rick Stein
Gardeners who buy from Johnsons World Kitchen seed range of vegetables for the 2009 season will have the chance to win a place for one person on a two-day residential cooking course at Rick Stein’s Padstow Seafood School.

The prize includes two nights’ bed and breakfast at the Seafood Restaurant or St Petroc’s Hotel, together with evening meals for two, and travel costs. The 25 runners-up will receive signed copies of Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes cookery book.

To enter, you must buy three or more packets of World Kitchen seeds, answer a simple question and send in the receipt to Johnsons freepost address.

The closing date is 31 August 2009. See Call 01638 552200 for details of local stockists.

Clifton Nurseries

Spruce up your garden

London garden centre Clifton Nurseries is launching a drive-by maintenance service as part of three new services to help homeowners sell their property.

For a basic monthly fee the landscaping and maintenance team provides four guaranteed maintenance visits a month.

Clifton will rent out plants on a weekly basis at 10 per cent of the retail cost per week, while they try to sell their houses, and is offering garden makeovers for viewings to bring in instant impact.

For further details, call 0207 289 6851 or visit

Garden events

The Big Garden Bird Watch
24-25 January 2009

The Big Garden Bird Watch is a national bird survey on 24-25 January 2009. Gardeners count birds on their plots for an hour and the RSPB collates whether number of each species is rising or falling.

To attract birds try CJ Wildlife’s new whole fat-filled coconut fat-filled energy for birds (£2.99). Visit
Butterflies in The Glasshouse
Until 22 February 2009, open 10am–3.45pm daily (last entry 3.30pm)

The glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley will be home to 1,000 tropical butterflies until 22 February. This fluttery arrival comes as part of the charity’s commitment to wildlife conservation.

Visitors can observe the butterflies' fascinating lifecycle and watch exotic species from around the world feed from fruit platforms and descend on nectar-rich flowers such as Lantana, Canna and Zingiber.

The butterflies will emerge from pupae in a special behind-the-scenes heated home before being released into the glasshouse.

Free with garden entry, which is free for RHS members, £8.50 for adults, £2 for children 6-16, and free for those under six. Visit

What to do this week

Grow your own potatoes
January and February are the months to decide which varieties of potatoes to grow.  Virus-free seed potatoes are available from garden centres for a few weeks early each year.

Chit or sprout them for a month in a box in a light, dry airy place. Dig over the potato patch and incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil. In early March plant in trenches or holes 3cm-60cm apart, then mound soil on top.

'Grow Your Own Potatoes' forms part of the Potato Council’s 'Love Potatoes' campaign to encourage us to buy British. Schools should register online by 6 February 2009 at for a free potato-growing kit containing ‘Rocket’ and ‘Vales Emerald’ seed varieties. Kits will arrive in time to start growing on 3 March 2009 and potatoes should be harvested by 23 June 2009.

Onions can be grown from seed or as sets (immature onions, which take five or six months to mature). Seed takes longer. Plant sets as soon as the ground warms up a little in March or April.

Plant them so that two thirds of the bulb is beneath the surface. Onions need plenty of water and do not like competition from weeds. They do best in rich soil that has been well manured. Harvest just before the onions set seed.

For more by Matthew Appleby, visit

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