Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time to Branch out; Gardening News

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Time to Branch out; Gardening News

Article excerpt

Byline: PATTIE BARRON

Must-have plant: The double-U cordon fruit tree

Grow apples or pears on the classic French double-U cordon.

Cultivated to form the distinctive silhouette, the tree divides into two branches, each of which forms an eye-catching U shape that makes for easier picking. The tree can be grown flat against a wall, or several can be used as ornamental screening.

Crocus is offering three varieties, approximately 1.3m tall and 90cm wide and reduced from [pounds sterling]79.95 to [pounds sterling]49.95 (add [pounds sterling]5.95 p& p). The varieties are Pear Perardel, which bears red-tinted fruit that melts in the mouth; Apple Delbarestivale, which has delicious orange-red, yellow-streaked fruit; and Apple Pomme des Moissons, with sweet-tasting, red-flushed fruit. To guarantee cross-pollination, plant with another tree from the same flowering group.

To buy, visit www.crocus.co.uk, or call 0870 787 1414.

Book for bird-spotters

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch takes place every January; last year more than eight million birds were spotted by two million households.

Reassuringly, the house sparrow, which has suffered a 56 per cent decline since the 1970s, was the most-sighted bird of 2006, with more than four sparrows per garden.

But would you recognise any others, such as this male chaffinch (left)? The RSPB's Pocket Garden Birdwatch, by Mark Ward (DK), includes a foldout chart of the species you are most likely to see in your garden, and has advice on caring for them as well as tips on which trees and plants will provide shelter and food.

The book costs [pounds sterling]5.99, and Homes & Property has 20 copies to give away. To qualify, send a postcard marked Birdwatch, DK Publicity, 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, to reach its destination by 7 February.

The postcards of 20 readers will be picked randomly from a green wellie.

Teak's a real treat

Great news for Londoners who are looking for quality garden furniture: Indian Ocean's classy collections made from solid teak, stainless steel, aluminium, glass and stone are now available in a concession at Selfridges.

Now is the moment to consider whether you fancy a laid-back set of marine bar stools and bar table for the terrace this summer, or something more formal from the Ozone range, such as weatherproof carver chairs ([pounds sterling]350 each) surrounding a circular, steel-framed teak dining table ([pounds sterling]2,260, both left).

You can also order the magnificent four-poster Kokoon hammock, but make sure you have the space - it is nearly 9ft-wide - and the cash: more than [pounds sterling]4,000.

Indian Ocean is at Selfridges from February 1; you can view the range online at www.indian-ocean.co.uk.

Bag a pot plant

Plants that you have brought into home or conservatory to overwinter can have their garden pots stylishly concealed in Cabane's French cachepots. …

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