• ALL DEALS
    ‘People like him do drugs, have a high sex drive’

    Photo Credit: Akshay Mahajan 28.8K Total Views Over the past few years, I’ve stopped keeping track of the news on a daily basis. No good seems to come from it. As a result, I’m the last to know about anything. On Wednesday, while I was running around on a writing assignment in my hometown of […]

  • ALL DEALS
    Punjab bypoll is now a one-horse race

    Photo Credit: Narinder Nanu/AFP 17.4K Total Views It was being seen as a semi-final, an acid test for the main contenders before the Punjab assembly elections next year. But the Khadoor Sahib assembly bypoll is now turning out to be a damp squib, with two of the three major parties pulling out of the contest. […]

  • ALL DEALS
    What flight attendants really think about when they first greet you

    Photo Credit: Tom Purves/Flickr 15.5K Total Views I’ve been a flight attendant for 25 years. Greeting passengers at the door requires concentration on several levels. Of course the objective is to make you feel welcome and comfortable, but that’s only one aspect. While I’m trying to give that impression, I’m evaluating you very closely, and […]

  • Hepaticas: early spring jewels

    Petal power: Hepatica flowers come in all shapes and sizes. Photograph: Michael Myers Robbie Blackhall-Miles Alongside the first of the green-flowered hellebores and the early flowers of thefetid adders tongue, hidden among the white canvas of snowdrops in the woodland garden, there grows a plant that takes some closer inspection. Hepatica transsilvanica(dark form). Photograph: Michael […]

  • Alys Fowler: variegation isn’t always a bad thing

      ‘What about that nice variegated Solomon’s seal?” I point to a lovely patch outside a Greenwich brownstone as we wander about Manhattan. “Surely that’s an acceptable variegation.” “Nope,” my friend says emphatically. “I do not like variegation.” (“I do not likegreen eggs and ham,” I whisper to myself out of earshot.) I point at […]

  • Gardens: plants that live on air

    Something in the air: Tillandsia plants have specialised hair-like structures on their leaves that act like sponges. Photograph: Alamy James Wong Over the past 20 years, a growing body of scientific evidence has suggested that simply being around plants can have an important impact on mental and physical health. Even while sitting at your desk, […]

  • Gardens: all hail the vulcan palm

    Branching out: the stately vulcan palm. Photograph: Joel Sartore/Getty Images/National Geographic Creative James Wong For houseplant obsessives like me, offerings in garden centres can be a bit samey. In the face of two decades of declining sales, retailers are sticking to an ever-shrinking palette of safe options. But every so often you come across a […]

  • Gardens: chamomile lawn

    Gardening can be expensive. Even if you side-step the ready-grown plants at the garden centre and start from scratch, some seeds can cost as much as £1 each (think F1 hybrid tomatoes). Others, such as the tiny dust-like seeds of begonias, can literally sell for more than their weight in gold. For plant geeks on […]

  • Gardens: grow a mini grove

    As an urban gardener with a tiny plot to play with, poring over the fruit tree sections of the gardening catalogues can verge on heartbreaking. But if you long to fit more in than the textbooks recommend, a novel technique adopted from commercial agriculture called high-density planting might be your salvation. The idea is simple: […]

  • Gardens: drug therapy for plants

    With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to get an early start on taking hardwood cuttings, like figs and roses, as well as sowing seeds of long-season crops, such as chillies and aubergines. If you are keen to up your chances in the dark days of February, there is an easy […]