Unsurprisingly, this eponymous website is a good place to go if you are looking for a bench for your garden. Their range of styles is pretty impressive and there are prices for every budget from modest to substantial. In the range of FSC benches, the elegant Serpentine bench (£349.99) caught my eye and I also noticed that the more traditional Windsor Rose bench (click here to view) is currently being offered with a £50 discount at £379.99. I also liked the Bali and Devon reclaimed teak benches (from £299.99). Rather than being made from newly felled trees this range is made using timber from old ox carts, fence posts and buildings. This means that no two are exactly the same. Some of the designs seem to put style before comfort, but I’m sure it’s nothing some cushions wouldn’t fix. Or maybe I’m just showing my age!
‘Buddleja Buzz’ is a recent introduction that has won all sorts of awards. It is the first compact buddleja growing to no more than 1.5m high and spread, but with all the butterfly attracting qualities of its more rangy relatives. It is more restrained in other ways too as it will not self-seed everywhere and does not need cutting back in the spring. Breeders have now developed a range of colours, so it really is a plant for every garden.
I’m enjoying more comfortable gardening with my Kneelo, a new product from Burgon & Ball. It is a very light oval cushion with a neoprene cover and memory foam central core. I used it in the garden this weekend and my knees were very appreciative. The Kneelo (£14.95) comes in great colours including lime and fuchsia pink and is available from www.thegardenersshop.co.uk
A couple of weeks ago I made my annual pilgrimage to the trial grounds at Thompson & Morgan to see what’s on offer in the coming season. I’ve never been very keen on their flower pouch but thought the idea of using them for vegetables was brilliant. Perfect where space is an issue, for balcony railings and for keeping your veggies away from the local cats and other pests. They also had a very impressive new ever-bearing strawberry ‘Finesse’ that can be planted fourteen (!) to a grow bag and will crop from May to November. When it comes to flowers power, the new hardy gerbera, known as Garvinea is bound to be a crowd pleaser. I came away with a cerise pink one and a very pretty white with pink reverse on the petals – just like a lawn daisy on steroids. They are both very happy in the garden.
There are times when an insect repellent is essential but generally they smell pretty unattractive unless you are inexplicably fond of the smell of citronella. However there is a delicious exception available online. Simply look up ‘The Isabella Smith eau de colognes’ on google. They are deet-free and delicately fragrant.