Plants

How to buy the best Christmas tree

If you're setting out to buy your Christmas tree you might be torn between which type to go for. Here's a guide on how to buy the best Christmas tree.

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Noble fir - which Christmas tree should you choose

If you're setting out to buy your Christmas tree you might be torn between which type to go for. Here's a guide on how to buy the best Christmas tree.

What is the perfect Christmas tree? In a sense, of course, all Christmas trees are perfect. But there’s no getting away from the fact that some clog up the vacuum cleaner more than others. So here is your essential guide to the various types of tree available, with some advice on the benefits of each, from scent to needle retention. We also provide a guide on how to get the best from your tree over the festive season – and beyond, if you have bought a potted or container-grown one.

 

5 inspiring winter garden walks

Don't let the cold, wet weather put you off from visiting gardens over the winter months. Here are five spectacular gardens that are worth a visit, whatever the weather. 

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5 inspiring garden walks

Don't let the cold, wet weather put you off from visiting gardens over the winter months. Here are five spectacular gardens that are worth a visit, whatever the weather. 

During the colder months, it's tempting to stay indoors and keep warm by the fire but winter gardens can be a great source of inspiration so it is well worth taking the time to visit. We've picked five winter garden walks that show off stunning garden structure and offer a great day out, whatever the weather. 

 

Isabel and Julian Bannerman share their ultimate horticultural library

After much discussion the award-winning design duo of Isabel and Julian Bannerman agree on their ultimate horticultural library.

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Ultimate horticultural library

After much discussion the award-winning design duo of Isabel and Julian Bannerman agree on their ultimate horticultural library.

Something close to a riot broke out when Julian and I tried to agree which of the books strewn over the table would go into this article. Five years ago when we moved to our current house, the removal men paled – they had never known such a houseful of books. Teachers and vicars liked books, they said, but we were something else.

WIN two sets of illustrated Herbarium cards

Enter our competition to win a set of Thames & Hudson illustrated Herbarium: Notecards and Herbarium: One Hundred Herbs to Grow, Cook & Heal

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WIN a set of Herbarium notecards

Enter our competition to win a set of Thames & Hudson illustrated Herbarium: Notecards and Herbarium: One Hundred Herbs to Grow, Cook & Heal

Enter our competition for your chance to win a set of Thames & Hudson Herbarium: Notecards and Herbarium: One Hundred Herbs to Grow, Cook & Heal, both illustrated by award-winning designer Caz Hildebrand.

Our competition

What's included:

How to identify trees: native deciduous trees

In the first of a new four-part series on identifying trees, Lia Leendertz outlines the key features of common, native deciduous trees so you can learn how to recognise them, even out of season. Here she takes a closer look at oak, ash and beech. 

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How to identify trees

In the first of a new four-part series on identifying trees, Lia Leendertz outlines the key features of common, native deciduous trees so you can learn how to recognise them, even out of season. Here she takes a closer look at oak, ash and beech. 

Knowing the difference between oak and ash, beech and hornbeam, feels like the sort of basic knowledge we should all have under our belts, like the ability to tie a slip knot and the setting point for jam.

Here we will show you the key features of native deciduous trees that you are likely to encounter on your own winter woodland walk to help you learn how to spot them. 

 

Spiced parsnip and apple muffins

The perfect cold-weather treat that is both seasonal and delicious. 

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Apple and parsnip muffins

The perfect cold-weather treat that is both seasonal and delicious. 

Spiced parsnip and apple muffins

Serves 12

Favourite seedheads for winter structure

Seedheads glistening with frost play an important part in bringing structural winter interest to the garden. Here's five plants that can be happily left to provide a eyecatching display

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Favourite seed heads - Foeniculum vulgare c. Lynn Keddie

Seedheads glistening with frost play an important part in bringing structural winter interest to the garden. Here's five plants that can be happily left to provide a eyecatching display

Five favourite seedheads

Plant structure in the winter garden can be as striking as anything formal or built – walls, hedges or gates – with as much interest to be found in the seedheads of smaller herbaceous plants as there is in the soaring branches of bare trees or the skeletons of leafless shrubs. Rimed with frost and faded to dusty shades of brown and grey, and almost unrecognisable from their heyday in summer, they bring a different sort of architectural drama in winter. 

 

Make your own origami seed packet

Organise your seeds ready for sowing and make your own origami seed packets – simply follow our fold-by-fold guide. 

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Make your own origami seed packet

Organise your seeds ready for sowing and make your own origami seed packets – simply follow our fold-by-fold guide. 

If you have favourite plants you like to grow every year it makes sense to harvest your own seeds to sow. These pretty envelopes are fun to make and make thrifty use of old issues of Gardens Illustrated. Simply follow our fold-by-fold guide below to create your own origami seed packets. 

 

Book of the month - The Almanac by Lia Leendertz

The Almanac by Lia Leendertz is a seasonal guide to 2018 and it's our book of the month for November. Here you can read our review of the book.

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The Almanac by Lia Leendertz

The Almanac by Lia Leendertz is a seasonal guide to 2018 and it's our book of the month for November. Here you can read our review of the book.

The Almanac: A seasonal guide to 2018

by Lia Leendertz
Unbound, £9.99

ISBN 978-1783524044

Keep this guide close at hand and you will start to appreciate the little joys each month of the year can bring.

Reviewer Alys Hurn is staff writer for Gardens Illustrated.

 

 

Key plants for an ornamental meadow

In the November issue we visit Susy and Coleman Townsend in Delaware, USA and here you'll find 12 key plants used to create their series of magical meadows.

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Key plants for an ornamental meadow

In the November issue we visit Susy and Coleman Townsend in Delaware, USA and here you'll find 12 key plants used to create their series of magical meadows.

When Susy and Coleman Townsend decided their 18th-century former farmhouse in Delaware, USA, deserved more than a neat lawn, they engaged plantsman and designer David Culp to create a series of magical meadows. Here they list 12 of their key plants.

 

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