A Graceful Addition to Your Garden

Bamboo Fargesia, known for its clumping growth habit and elegant appearance, is a superb choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of exotic beauty to their landscapes. This non-invasive bamboo species offers a host of benefits, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Enhancing garden aesthetics with Bamboo Fargesia

The visual appeal of Bamboo Fargesia is truly captivating. Its slender, arching canes and lush, feathery foliage create a serene and tranquil atmosphere in any garden setting. This bamboo variety is perfect for creating privacy screens, windbreaks, or simply adding a striking focal point to your garden. The vibrant green leaves remain lush throughout the year, ensuring your garden looks vibrant even in the colder months.

Ideal for creating privacy

One of the standout features of Bamboo Fargesia is its effectiveness in creating natural privacy screens. Unlike other bamboo species, Fargesia is clump-forming and non-invasive, meaning it won’t spread aggressively and take over your garden. This makes it an excellent choice for creating a dense, green barrier that provides privacy and reduces noise from neighboring properties.

Supporting local wildlife

Bamboo Fargesia is not just beautiful; it also supports local wildlife. The dense foliage offers excellent shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals. In addition, the plant’s structure provides a safe haven for beneficial insects, contributing to a balanced and healthy garden ecosystem. By planting Bamboo Fargesia, you are helping to create a habitat that supports biodiversity.

Low maintenance and easy care

Gardeners appreciate Bamboo Fargesia for its low maintenance requirements. This hardy plant thrives in a variety of soil types and light conditions, from full sun to partial shade. Once established, it requires minimal watering and is relatively pest-resistant. Occasional pruning to remove dead canes and maintain its shape is all it takes to keep Bamboo Fargesia looking its best.

Cultural significance and uses

Bamboo has been revered in various cultures for centuries, symbolizing strength, resilience, and flexibility. In addition to its ornamental use, Bamboo Fargesia can also be harvested for its canes, which are ideal for crafting garden structures and supports. This dual-purpose nature adds value and functionality to your garden.

Incorporating Bamboo Fargesia into your garden design not only enhances its beauty but also provides practical benefits such as privacy, wildlife support, and ease of maintenance. Whether you’re aiming for a serene, Zen-inspired garden or simply seeking a robust and attractive plant, Bamboo Fargesia is an excellent choice.

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6 simple rules to manage your finances after lockdown that everyone can stick to

It’s been a long couple of months, but it seems like our time in this third lockdown will be coming to an end in the near future. In England, non-essential shops, hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms, among other things, are slated to open on 12th April, which is great news for those of us with roots down to our elbows and a need to pound the treadmill.

But there’s a growing concern, especially among those of us who have managed to save or improve our spending habits during lockdown, about what the easing of lockdown will mean for our bank balances and relationship with money. It’s natural to feel protective of progress made during lockdown, especially when saving money might have been one of the only silver linings to a really difficult time, but anxiety over the temptation to splurge is not going to help your financial wellbeing in the long run. Here are some ways that you can enjoy the easing of lockdown while maintaining good saving habits and a positive money mindset:

Plan in a little extra spending
Lockdown has been hard for everyone, particularly working parents, students and people living alone or with flatmates. Giving yourself permission to spend a little more over the next couple of months on things that you’ve missed is absolutely fine – in fact, it could be classed as an act of self-care. Take a look at your budget, or how you’ve been spending and saving in lockdown, and plan in some activities that you’ve been looking forward to doing. Create a savings pot specifically for this, and make sure that money is ring-fenced for guilt-free enjoyment.

Automate your savings
If you’ve been enjoying the feeling of saving during lockdown, make sure it’s something you can keep up without much effort by automating it. Take a look at what you’d like to save each month, and set up a standing order to transfer that amount to a savings account the day after you get paid. This way, the money is out of sight and out of mind, leaving you with a better idea of what you can afford to spend.

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Covid stimulus: Biden signs $1.9tn relief bill into law

US President Joe Biden has signed a $1.9tn (£1.4tn) economic relief bill that aims to help Americans impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic into law.

The bill includes $1,400 payments, an extension of jobless benefits, and a child tax credit that is expect to lift millions out of poverty.

Mr Biden said the relief package will rebuild “the backbone of this country”.

The spending bill, one of the largest in US history, passed Congress without a single Republican supporter.

Mr Biden is due to give a primetime address later on Thursday to tout the bill’s provisions. He and other Democrats will also hold a signing ceremony at the White House on Friday.

This sixth Covid-19 relief bill is a major legislative win for Mr Biden.

The package has been broadly popular among Americans.

A March Pew Research Center poll found that 70% of US adults surveyed expressed support for the bill, including 41% of Republicans.

Unemployment skyrocketed over the last year, with a current rate of 6.2%, according to the US Labor Department.

Mr Biden had originally planned the bill signing for Friday, but it was pushed up in his schedule “because Congress enroled the bill more quickly than we anticipated,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a tweet.

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The very best Airbnbs in the Cotswolds to book now for your post-lockdown escape

Are you even British if you haven’t had endless conversations with all your friends about how “amaaaaazing” The Cotswolds is? After all, this picturesque area boasts Michelin-starred restaurants, lakeside lodges, rose-adorned gardens and honey-hued stone cottages. It’s the go-to destination for the celebrities and influencers of the country (when they can’t get to Dubai), and it’s *actually* quite affordable.

With staycations THE holiday to be planning in 2021 (vaccine passports, possible quarantines and the endless uncertainty are enough to put anyone off travelling abroad for the moment), the Cotswolds are just going to continue to grow in popularity. So if you’re looking for the perfect spot for a relaxing countryside retreat in close proximity to Oxford, Cheltenham and London, we’d suggest planning your escape to the country. Stat.

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Hedging plants

One of the best investments that an investor could ever make is in hedging plants. These hedging plants are so flexible, they can be used to offset just about any risk an investor might come across. For example, hedging can be used in a wide range of situations such as trying to offset the risk of interest rate fluctuations by changing your investments to cash flow instruments, hedging can be used when looking to hedge the risk of inflation so that you can protect yourself against the inflation that is occurring. Hedging plants are one of the best investments because they are flexible, they can be used to offset risk, they do not have to be replanted every year and hedging itself is a great strategy for increasing your savings bank account. You do need to use the right hedging plan to in order to find the best plan.

There are many hedging plants to choose from, some of the most common plants would include cottonwood, basal, Columbine and scabiosa hedges. Most hedging plans are designed to either reduce the risk of loss or protect against risk. So for example if you were looking to protect against the risk of inflation then you would plant trees, this would make the hedging plan achieves its aim. You should also make sure that you plant the hedging plants correctly, for example if it is the case of cottonwood hedging planters then the cottonwood hedges should be placed on top of the soil around the tree rather than directly on the tree.

Some of the most common hedging plants are usually quite easy to plant, although there are some very rare species that will require specialist gardening knowledge and planting techniques in order for them to grow. One of the most popular hedging plants is Columbine hedging, but this is a very slow growing plant which are susceptible to cold weather and have a shallow root system. This means that it will not do well in dry climates and will become weaker over the winter months. On the other hand scabiosa hedging can be planted in any climate as it is resistant to dry weather, it is a fast growing plant with an overall average height of about 25 inches and a spread of about one square meter.

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The most stylish and functional picnic bags to buy now ahead of lockdown lifting

Back in normal times (i.e. pre-Covid; pre a year of being in lockdown for longer than we’ve been out of it), a picnic was the kind of activity reserved for the long, endless sunny days at the height of summer. But with restrictions only allowing for outdoor meet-ups (in England, you are currently allowed to meet with one other person and from March 29, five people from outside your household) and the need to socially distance as much as possible, picnics are now fair game, no matter the temperatures.

In the absence of dinner parties and meeting friends at the pub, a lazy picnic in the park is a pretty great substitute. As well ensuring you have a bottle of rosé from your wine subscription, more snacks than you could realistically eat, and the perfect people watching spot, it’s worth investing in some al fresco dining basics to make your meal on the ground more enjoyable. A stylish picnic blanket is a must, and there are some great picnic accessories to elevate your day out. But we can’t recommend investing in an *actual* picnic bag enough. Because there’s nothing worse than your Sainsbury packet spilling all your contents mid-way to the park when you’ve tried to add *just one more bottle* of fizz to your load.

The best garden furniture to transform your outdoor space ahead of summer – from bistro table sets to garden rugs & hammocks

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Best picnic sets: Here’s everything you need to elevate your upcoming socially distanced picnic

While there’s no denying the catastrophic (and on-going) impacts of Coronavirus, there have been a couple of positive outcomes. Not least our heightened appreciation for friends and family – and an overwhelming desire to see them in person the very second we can.

The latest lockdown might be lifting ever, so, slowly, but if all goes according to the roadmap plan, by 29 March we can meet in groups of up to six outdoors. (Currently, you can only meet with one other person from another household). So, what better way to make use of this easing of restrictions than through the humble art of picnicking. Meeting friends for chats and outdoor pack-up lunches/wine/*all* the cheese – with our picnic bags and blankets on hand – is something we’re counting down the days to, even if it means we’ll need a jacket and an extra blanket for the moment.

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Ant Group boss Simon Hu steps down in restructuring

he chief executive of China’s Ant Group has stepped down “for personal reasons” as the online payment giant undergoes a restructuring.

Simon Hu will be replaced by executive chairman Eric Jing, the company said.

Ant is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma who first made his name through the trading platform Alibaba.

The firm has come under intense regulatory pressure and was forced to drop its planned $37bn public share sale last year.

China re-opens door to Ant Group’s stock market debut
Is the Ant Group shake-up a sign of things to come?
Ant Group is China’s biggest payments provider, with more than 730 million monthly users on its digital payments service Alipay.

But it also acts as a marketplace for loans. It takes a fee to match borrowers with banks, who then take on the risk.

It also offers savings accounts and insurance, all through its mobile phone app.

However Jack Ma has attracted controversy in China, criticising the state-dominated banking sector, and the company is in the cross-hairs of regulators, eager to bring it into line with more traditional banks and lenders, and to contain its market dominance.

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Why the GameStop story is far from over

GameStop’s shares slumped by 40% in 25 minutes on Wednesday, after a few days of frenetic growth.

Earlier that day the share price had soared to nearly $350 (£250) – 100 times more than this time last year.

What does this tell us?
One of the wildest stories of the year is still very much alive
Many amateur traders are still both making money – and getting hurt
Our understanding of what happened in late January, when GameStop’s share price was making headlines around the world, remains incomplete
Why is it shocking?
In February, the prevailing attitude on Wall Street was the share price was slowly finding its natural position.

It had fallen to about a 10th of its late January market high.

And that spike was widely thought to have been a one-off – hedge funds would never again allow themselves to be blindsided.

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What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?

A digital-only artwork has sold at Christie’s auction house for an eye-watering $69m (£50m) – but the winning bidder will not receive a sculpture, painting or even a print.

Instead, they get a unique digital token known as an NFT.

Where Bitcoin was hailed as the digital answer to currency, NFTs are now being touted as the digital answer to collectables.

But there are plenty of sceptics who think it is all a bubble that is going to burst.

What is an NFT?
NFT stands for non-fungible token.

In economics, a fungible asset is something with units that can be readily interchanged – like money.

With money, you can swap a £10 note for two £5 notes and it will have the same value.

However, if something is non-fungible, this is impossible – it means it has unique properties so it cannot be interchanged with something else.

It could be a house, or a painting such as the Mona Lisa, which is one of a kind. You can take a photo of the painting or buy a print but there will only ever be the one original painting.

NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no tangible form of their own.

The digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets.

How do NFTs work?
Traditional works of art such as paintings are valuable because they are one of a kind.

But digital files can be easily and endlessly duplicated.

With NFTs, artwork can be “tokenised” to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold.

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