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The Casual Gardener: There's a renewed buzz about the benefits of talking to plants

John Manley
IF YOU sowed some sweet pea before Christmas and the seeds have duly sprouted, perhaps you fancy giving them a few words of encouragement? Or maybe it’s time to chat up those tulip bulbs you planted in October in the hope that it gives them some added vigour come spring? The idea that talking to plants in order to help them grow faster and stronger is nothing new.

Seductive Skimmia is a festive favourite

John Manley
IN THE same way there are few notable attractions in December’s garden, so too the gardening columnist's choice of subjects is limited at this time of year.