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The snowdrops are out and the garden is starting to show signs of life. Is it time to get out there

A. Although the weather may still be pretty bleak, February is an important month in the garden, not least because if you get cracking now you will reap the benefits later. The usual provisos00:00 Fri 01st Feb 2002

These days we can get plants from the garden centre ready to go straight into the ground. Why bother to grow from seed

A. For the casual or occasional gardener then there is no reason why an occasional trip to the garden centre shouldn't suffice. But anyone who has really got the gardening bug knows that there is00:00 Fri 01st Feb 2002

A buyer's market

Last week, in response to a question from Ravenhair we looked at ways to ensure your property sold quickly and at the right place by making it stand out from the crowd. This week the shoe is on the00:00 Fri 01st Feb 2002

What are seed potatoes

A. Seed potatoes are specially grown tubers saved from last season's crop. Like seeds they are sown to produce this year's crop. Q. What is to stop you just saving some of your own crop and using00:00 Thu 24th Jan 2002

Hard sell or easy sell

Ravenhair recently asked for tips on how to sell a property fast while still getting a good price. According to the latest figures the housing market is showing little or no sign of slowing down and00:00 Thu 24th Jan 2002

Digging may be one of the most important jobs in the garden, but it is not exactly rocket science is it

A. No, but it isn't just a case of picking up a spade and turning over some earth either. Different types of soils and conditions demand different methods of digging, there are right and wrong00:00 Thu 24th Jan 2002

Why is there such a big swing away from using peat-based composts

A. The exploitation of Britain's peat bogs has become a hot environmental issue. Campaigners such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Friends of the Earth estimate that we have00:00 Fri 18th Jan 2002

What, apart from a hit 1970's sitcom, is rising damp

A. Rising damp is caused when water from the ground spreads into the brickwork by means of capillary action, i.e. rising through fine cracks in the masonry. It is usually found only in the first00:00 Fri 18th Jan 2002

What are the origins of the Dutch obsession with the Tulip

A. It was actually an Austrian who started it all. In 1593 the botanist Carolus Clusius left Vienna to take charge of the new botanic gardens attached to the University of Leiden in the Netherlands00:00 Fri 18th Jan 2002

How do plants cope with cold winters

A. It varies from plant to plant, but one rather good analogy that has been used is that of a business. Some plants have built up enough stocks before the arrival of winter that they can afford to00:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002

Giving houseplants as gifts, particularly over Christmas, is increasingly popular. What are the favourites

A. Excluding the poinsettia, which pretty much whatever you do will only have a shelf life of a couple of months at the most and so is really little more than a festive decoration, the most commonly00:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002

What do the experts predict are going to be in and out in the world of interior design this year

A. As if they'd all agree! Interior design is, or certainly should be, a matter of personal tastes, so there are plenty of different predictions out there. However, if there is one general trend00:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002

The housing market boomed last year. What are the predictions for 2002

A. On average house prices rose by around 12 per cent last year, the biggest annual increase for around 20 years. It depends who you listen to, but the general consensus between the big lenders such00:00 Thu 03rd Jan 2002

We have built up a well-established garden but are now moving. What can we legally take and what should we leave behind

A. A beautiful and well-maintained garden is often one of the major selling points for potential buyers. In such cases chances are that the owners have loving tended and planted it over the years00:00 Thu 03rd Jan 2002

This is the time of year we all start making our resolutions for the New Year and gardeners are no exception.

Q. OK, where shall we start A. Only the most perfect gardener (has such a thing been invented ) does everything in the garden when they should. For instance, how many of us kick ourselves every year00:00 Thu 03rd Jan 2002

Is January a month to be avoided in the garden

A. While December can be pretty bleak, January is the month that the garden bites back, particularly in the shape of snowdrops, which should start emerging towards the end of the month. In terms00:00 Fri 21st Dec 2001

Are edible flowers just for show

A. It is true that adding edible flowers to salads and dishes in expensive restaurants has become very trendy, some would say overly so, as it was in the late sixties and early seventies. Some have00:00 Fri 21st Dec 2001

Is it true that burglaries shoot up over the Christmas period

A. On average burglaries rise over the weeks immediately before and after Christmas by over 20 per cent, according to Home Office statistics, with over 70,000 of us liable to be the victims of00:00 Fri 21st Dec 2001

What is the Government s Starter Homes Initiative

A. It is a scheme, initially worth 250 million over three years, to help key public sector workers get onto the housing in property hot spots. Q. Why has it been introduced A. The continuing00:00 Thu 20th Dec 2001

Is snow a bad thing for the garden

A. It all depends. It is certainly preferable to the days and days of torrential rain we have endured over the last couple of winters and it makes the garden look extremely beautiful while it lasts.00:00 Thu 20th Dec 2001

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