Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Touch of Tuscan Fun; Gardening News by Pattie Barron

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Touch of Tuscan Fun; Gardening News by Pattie Barron

Article excerpt

Byline: PATTIE BARRON

Smart idea If you want to set a Mediterranean mood on your patio, painting the house wall will set the scene at a stroke. Provided, that is, you seek out the right shade of terracotta, which is the hard part. Under the terracotta banner, most paint companies offer washed-out apricot, burnt biscuit or a deep, dead red.

Sandtex's Masonry Paint in shade Terracotta is just the right tint to recreate sun-kissed Tuscan walls, and is pale enough to reflect light.

The plus point, says the manufacturer, is that, in the Ultra Smooth Microseal formulation, the paint will even out hairline cracks and make a dirt-and-weather resistant finish that will protect walls for a minimum of 15 years.

Sandtex is offering 10 Homes & Property readers the opportunity to try for free a 2.5 litre can of Terracotta Masonry Paint (cost [pounds sterling]11.98). To qualify, send a postcard with your name, address and daytime telephone number to: H& P Sandtex Offer, Icas PR, Russell Chambers, The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8AA to reach its destination by 13 September. Call 0870 240 1127 or visit www.sandtex.co.uk.

Life saver When Londoner Nicola Gammon moved to a new garden, she planted all sorts of lovely trees and shrubs, then watched horrified as many of them died. What she needed - and couldn't find - were basic plant-care instructions, together with a nudge whenever a particular plant needed special attention. And so, working with Capel Manor Horticultural College, Gammon started Shoot, an online subscription service with which you register your plants and garden conditions, then receive monthly emails telling you what you should be doing at that time - so your plants live happily ever after. The bitesized information is simple, relevant and reliable, and, says Gammon, enables you to build an online calender of care for everything from your plants to your patio furniture.

If you register up to eight plants, subscription is free. Subscription for unlimited plants and gardens - include, if you wish, your town, country and Cote d'Azur plots - costs [pounds sterling]18.99 for the first year, then [pounds sterling]12 a year, but Homes & Property readers can register, until 30 September, for [pounds sterling]16, by entering "2CL" into the promotion/discount box on www.shootgardening.co.uk.

Carved in stone Consider using a circular slab of stone as a terrace table; creating a rustic stairway of rubble rock; giving the lawn a sense of mystery with a series of standing stones.

The Stonescaping Idea Book (The Taunton Press), by Andrew Wormer, shows a myriad of imaginative ways to incorporate this most elemental of materials into your garden, and presents a great argument for using stone, real and artificial, as a durable, beautiful surface that needs little or no maintenance. …

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