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February 2015

January 2015

European premiere of our movie on Friday!

European premiere of Lies I Told My Little Sister in Northamptonshire on 23 JanuaryI've occasionally mentioned family activities other than horticultural ones - and the next exciting event is the European premiere of our movie in Northamptonshire on Friday!

Lies I Told My Little Sister is a family drama-comedy, written by my wife judy, which won many awards at North American festivals last year including Three Best Film honours, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay.

After the death of her oldest sister, a globe-trotting photographer is spurred by guilt onto a family trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with the younger sister she used to torment. Amid recriminations, revelations, a very strange shopkeeper and an old romance, they square off against the patterns of childhood.

Starring Lucy Walters, known for her breakout role in Steve McQueen's BAFTA-nominated Shame opposite Michael Fassbender. Also starring rocker/Broadway star Ellen Foley, who was Meat Loaf's duet partner on Bat Out of Hell, fifth best-selling album of all time. Foley, once girlfriend to Mick Jones of The Clash, was inspiration for their iconic song, "Should I Stay or Should I Go." I shoiuld also mention that I myself have a small cameo!

Now Lies I Told My Little Sister comes to our home town in England for its European premiere and judy will be there to introduce the film and answer questions afterwards. It will screen at the Stahl Theatre in Oundle at 7.45pm on Friday 23 January. Click here for more information and to order tickets online, or ring  01832 274734. The bar opens at 7.00pm. Hope to see you there!

New colors in bidens for baskets

Bidens 'Goldeneye'Bidens, tickseed, is not a plant that leaps to mind when we first think about annuals for baskets and other patio containers. It’s just not. A few years ago Bidens ferulifolia was touted as a useful basket plant but although its bright yellow daisies look good against the slender dark green leaves, and it develops an appealingly billowing habit, it makes such a big plant that almost everything else is overwhelmed.

But things have changed, and new varieties from two different sources have ensured that we all take another look at bidens.

In Britain, the Thompson & Morgan breeding program has developed a series of varieties which are much more neat and compact than Bidens ferulifolia, come in new colors and flower forms and which are also more prolific.

There are eight varieties in their Pirates Series with ‘Golden Eye’ (above, click to enlarge) probably the pick, its golden centered white flowers are outstanding. There’s also the pure white ‘Pirates Pearl’, the double yellow ‘Pirates Booty’ as well as single and semi-double yellow varieties. Unless your containers are huge, all are improvements on Bidens ferulifolia.

Then from Japan comes the Hawaiian Flare Series. No pure yellows at all in this series, which concentrates on orange and red shades and color combinations. The plants are larger than those in the Pirates Series with a semi-trailing habit and are very prolific. The first three in the Hawaiian Flare Series are ‘Hawaiian Flare Orange Yellow Brush’ (below right, click to enlarge), with gold-centered orange flowers, ‘Hawaiian Flare Orange Drop’ (below left), which is the reverse with vivid orange flowers and yellow-tipped petals while ‘Hawaiian Flare Red Drop’ (below center) is soft red in color. More are on the way.

These are all just starting to appear on websites, in catalogs and in nurseries. In Britain try Mr. Fothergill’s, Brookside Nursery and good garden centers. In North America try Burpee and good local retail sources, across the Pacific North West plants are also available in nurseries supplied by wholesaler Log House Plants.
Bidens ‘Hawaiian Flare Orange Drop’ (left), ‘Hawaiian Flare Red Drop’ (center) and ‘Hawaiian Flare Orange Yellow Brush’ (right)