The best zero-waste products you need to grow a sustainable garden

Zero-waste shops can be found all over the country – I have two within a five-minute walk from my house. In fact, here in Bristol, we are also lucky to have an old converted milk float, renamed the Oat Float,... Read more

Gnomes, grottos and tame hermits: the weirdest English gardens in history

Lamport Hall is one of Northamptonshire’s nicer mansions. Remodelled in the 1650s by Inigo Jones’s acolyte John Webb, and again by the Smiths of Warwick a hundred years later, it stands serene and resplendent in rolling parkland, the epitome of... Read more

Why getting lost in the country is something that only city folk do

Is it news to anyone that country folk have a better sense of direction than their city-dwelling counterparts? I assumed it was because there are still parts of Suffolk where access to Google Maps is, shamefully, not considered a birthright. Apparently, though,... Read more

How to create the cottagecore look in your garden in one day

There are many reasons to stake or support plants, and certain garden situations lend themselves to certain techniques and materials. Border supports Many border stalwarts have a tendency to flop or even topple, either because they have brittle stems (delphiniums),... Read more

The 10 best daffodils for beautiful spring bouquets – and how to make them last longer

With the sun starting to make itself felt and the days lengthening, March is when I feel my spirits lifting. I, and it seems many gardeners, have a heightened sensitivity to light. Maybe that’s why we’ve chosen to spend our... Read more

The best seeds and plug plants to sow now for a spectacular summer display

My main way of preventing this is by sowing most of my annual seeds in late spring – very few seed packets are opened until the middle of April. This is because I can then put all my seedlings outside... Read more

Are electric cars suited to a life in the countryside?

You will likely be charging at home regularly, perhaps every day, which is still vastly cheaper than filling up with petrol or diesel. Although do you really want to be fiddling around with cables in the dark or in the... Read more

The secret history of the great British stile

Natural England is trying to push landowners into dismantling stiles and installing closing gates instead. The idea of the new Countryside Code is to make rights of way more obvious, discourage trespassing, and to help parents with pushchairs and people... Read more

The 10 best snowdrop varieties to plant in your garden

Another six-petalled snowdrop, but the shorter-stemmed flowers open to form Tiffany-style lamps. Margaret Owen, the late and much-missed galanthophile, found it in a Shropshire churchyard and named it after her late husband.  ‘Godfrey Owen’ spaces itself out as it increases... Read more

The only people who can take a joke are old Etonian toffs like me

Holm is situated in the centre of the village, adjacent to the church, round the corner from the chemist, a few doors from the pub and just up the road from the post office. I loved the restaurant, and gave... Read more

How to prepare your garden for spring

Fergus, our painter, finished all of the outside paintwork – doors, window frames, greenhouses, water butts, plant containers and more – at the end of autumn 2021.  Swapping the house’s previous lichen/stone-coloured paintwork for a Mediterranean grey-blue has completely changed... Read more

Rural homes could be left behind in ultrafast broadband rollout

Boris Johnson initially pledged to spend £5 billion so that 100 per cent of the country would have access to such a connection by 2025. However, the Government has since watered down that target, saying it is now aiming to... Read more

Six ways to prepare your garden for spring

Fergus, our painter, finished all of the outside paintwork – doors, window frames, greenhouses, water butts, plant containers and more – at the end of last autumn.  Swapping the house’s previous lichen/stone-coloured paintwork for a Mediterranean grey-blue has completely changed... Read more

I may have bought my home alone, but unexpected kindness means I’m not at all lonely

It is a new year, a new house and a new beginning. In some ways, I feel like a new person too, because although my house still has the same problems it had last year (which came up in the... Read more

Steve Backshall: ‘I’ve never been more out of my depth than doing the cha cha cha on Strictly’

Where do I start? I don’t think I’ve ever admired anyone like I admire Helen. She is so mentally tough. What she achieved over the year and half in the run up to Tokyo completely blew my mind [Glover became... Read more

Why you shouldn’t move to the Cotswolds if you want the quiet life

I wonder if local aristocrat and old Etonian Robin Smith-Ryland, who hosted the annual Effrenata Lifestyle Festival for couples on his estate a few years ago, ever went along. He was Master of the Warwickshire Hunt when I was in... Read more

Girls in Pearls and domestic violence: Duchess of Cornwall adds true grit to Country Life

“She loves the country life, but it won’t be just horses and dogs and lovely countryside,” said a source of the Duchess’s plans for the issue. “There is that slightly confronting side of the difficult issues the countryside faces. She... Read more

Meet the new ‘Londonshire’ set taking over the Cotswolds

Things have got so bad in Londonshire – as we now call my area of the Cotswolds – that frantic house-hunters have been reduced to dropping leaflets through letterboxes. This desperate exercise is generally met with the wrong side of... Read more

Farmers to be paid to restore natural habitats in push to rewild countryside

The initiative will be open to individual landowners and farmers or groups engaging in land management projects spanning 500 to 5,000 hectares. Applications will open shortly, with 15 projects due to receive funding initially. Ministers believe the reforms will play... Read more

31 outdoorsy fashion buys inspired by The Queen’s country style

The classic country style beloved by the royals and their set hasn’t changed much over the years.  Yes, their Barbours are less mud-stained now they’ve been designed by Alexa Chung rather than plucked off the peg chez mummy and daddy,... Read more

Gardening jobs in January: what to plant and tidy in your garden

Pick sprigs Pick the occasional sprig of winter scented shrubs lonicera, sarcococca and daphne and bring them indoors, where they will fill the entire house with their spring-like scents. Build up Get new garden infrastructure in now. I have put... Read more

Please do move to the countryside – just don’t expect your old life when you get here

Almost 100,000 people left London for the country in 2021. It is the greatest exodus for a generation and one of the stories of the year because for centuries urbanisation has been a sign of sophistication – at least for... Read more

26 of the UK’s most beautiful winter walks

Hampstead Heath tends to be the busiest walking venue in north London. Hollow Ponds, which is a few miles to the east and in Leytonstone, is just as nice thanks to its tranquil waters and wizened oaks. It’s in London,... Read more

Rural retirees ‘can end up in unsuitable, unsafe homes’

Elderly people can end up in oversized or unsafe homes if they retire to the countryside, a think tank report has said. The Social Market Foundation warned that the older age profiles of some areas were creating growing pressures on services and... Read more

‘I’m ditching the countryside after a year – cities are just better’

Despite friends saying that they were mad to do it, they are delighted with their decision. “I recognised why there was that recent surge of movement to the country,” said Mr Johnston. “It is a lovely lifestyle, with the exception... Read more