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BEST OF THE BUNCH: Smoke Bush (Cotinus)

THIS deciduous tree-like shrub offers a cloud of tiny purple-pink flowers in late summer, which is where the name 'smoke bush' comes from, but it's an all-round winner for much of the year because of its impressive oval purple leaves which turn a brilliant red in late autumn.

The Casual Gardener: Working over winter

John Manley
PLANTING crops in the autumn will give them a head start on those that would otherwise be planted in the spring, sometimes up to five months later.

Best of the bunch – Gaultheria procumbens (checkerberry)

A NATIVE of North America, the gaultheria procumbens, also known as wintergreen, is an uplifting shrub which provides spectacular colour and enjoyment all year round, producing white or pink bell-shaped flowers in spring and early summer, followed by beautiful scarlet berries as temperatures fall.

The Casual Gardener: Fruit to suit small spaces

John Manley
THE value of eating plenty of fruit is well known and what could be better than gathering some fresh from your own garden? Good for body and soul, fresh fruit packed with vitamins will feed your sense of well-being and reinforce your connection with nature in a way that shop-bought never could.

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