How to grow and arrange the most dazzling dahlia displays

It’s a tuberous rooted perennial native to Mexico and known for its showy flower heads, providing late-summer colour through to the end of October and the first frosts. It could only be a dahlia, the fashionable bloom currently at its dramatic best. “Dahlias used to be seen as old-fashioned, but in the last 10 years they’ve had a renaissance, in part thanks to their social-media appeal,” says Thomas Broom-Hughes, director of horticulture at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. Broom-Hughes holds the

How to give your garden a burst of colour all year round

‘Have colour in your garden. Enjoy it. I want people to be braver with colour,” urges the multi-award-winning garden designer Jo Thompson. In her new book The Gardener’s Palette: Creating Colour Harmony in the Garden, written in association with the Royal Horticultural Society, Thompson presents bold and creative ways to incorporate colour into planting schemes. The book features 100 schemes in total – each comprising three to eight colours – accompanied by stunning photographs and suggested pla

The best online homeware and interiors shops to refresh your home for summer

Where is the best place to buy furniture, kitchenware, textiles and home accessories? Many of us will be considering refreshing our homes to enjoy the summer ahead and often the best items to unleash your inner interior designer can be found online. Whether you’re looking for a new sofa, a bedding set or simply a scented candle, you’ll be able to find it at our curated selection of the best interiors and homeware shops below. The best online homeware and interiors shops in 2022 They may have dit

The Chelsea Flower Show’s winning gardens – in pictures

After a year of separation from family and friends, the delayed outpouring of horticultural creativity that is the Chelsea Flower Show 2021 (currently in full swing) is a joyous cause for celebration. Although a virtual Chelsea Flower Show took place in May 2021 and May 2020, the last time it took place live and in-person was in May 2019. This year’s unique show, taking place in September instead of in spring for the first time in the show’s 108-year history, presented a challenge to designers

Forget cottagecore, we've all gone mad for 'cabincore' now

First, there was cottagecore. Celebrating a nostalgic way of life which many young adults in the UK and the US yearn for and post about online via Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, cottagecore is a ditsy-print, whimsical vision of country life (think rose-adorned farmhouses and frolic-worthy, flowery frocks). It’s little wonder that lockdown led to increasing numbers of urbanites fantasising about little houses on prairies and traditional English country garden-style spaces. Cabincore – its rusti

11 of the most luxurious garden accessories to buy right now

Hanging egg chairs, hot tubs, floating teepee beds, parasols and fire pits… whether you prefer a modern look or a bohemian vibe, this year’s “outdoor lounge” trend peaks in August – our traditional holiday month. If you’re not able to get away, or prefer not to risk foreign travel, your garden is likely to become more about home comforts than horticulture, at least for a few weeks. Sun or rain, nature has to take a back seat when the back garden becomes an outdoor living room. Silly season is

How to add ethics to your home aesthetics

There is little doubt that spending so much time in our homes has sparked an interest in emotionally resonant pieces: furniture and homeware which is inspiring, rather than homogenous, which has cultural significance, and a meaningful story. At a time when our homes are in greater need than ever of cheering interiors with heart and soul, the best purchases of 2021 are ones which will make our home/work/life balance feel more joyful . And, increasingly, we want to invest in handmade products sold

The forgotten art of everlasting blooms – how to get creative with dried flowers

Bex Partridge of ­Botanical Tales is a floral artist, grower and gatherer, who works with dried flowers to create sustainable arr­ange­ments out of “dead stuff”: ethereal seasonal wreaths, hanging mobiles, bouquets, dome jars and pressed flower art. Her everlasting blooms capture a moment in time; and while in lockdown at home in Farnham with her husband and two sons, Henry, seven, and Arlo, four, she finds connecting with nature, tending to her allotment and crafting her displays more rewarding

Monty Don: My search for 'definitive' American garden

"I went in search of the definitive American garden, but what struck me about American gardens – having spent six weeks filming there in the past year – was their diversity,” muses Monty Don, when we meet at The Wigmore, opposite BBC Broadcasting House, to discuss his latest three-part series. He admits it was an ambitious task to condense such a large country into three hours of television. “How can you compare the deserts of Arizona to Seattle, or Boston? "But, and this is a spoiler, I came to

The best bunk beds for kids, including slides, trundles and tree houses

Bedtime stories, pyjama parties, midnight feasts, arguing over who gets the top spot: these are just a few of the childhood moments associated with bunk beds. But the fun factor aside, bunk beds are a practical option in smaller rooms – not to mention that they're often aesthetically pleasing, too. According to children's interior designer Talya Nicolay of Kinderoo Children's Interiors (an interior design company that creates personalised bedrooms and playrooms for kids), there are three key t

8 of the best picnic baskets and hampers

British summertime sees our parks and green spaces flooded with picnickers eager to make the most of the rare sunshine. If you're thinking of joining them, then you'll be in need of either a traditional hamper or a practical, modern picnic bag (complete with the requisite wine glasses or champagne flutes, in either case). They're perfect for spontaneous outings and drives out to the coast - but some are so pretty that you'll need to show them off, so make sure you check out our guide to the 30

In the garden with Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter

"It makes no demands on you, a garden. If you just sit, it will heal, or ease, or calm,” Imelda Staunton reflects as we perch on her garden bench, looking out for nesting blue tits. “It just allows you to be.” You might associate the 63-year-old with her award-winning role as Vera Drake, or recognise her as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films. Perhaps you caught her most recent theatrical performances, as Sally in Follies and Momma Rose in Gypsy – but she’s also a mad keen gardener. Sta

Lifestyle writer, journalist and editor