The Good Web Guide has given us 5 stars and says we are ‘streets ahead of the competition’ !
Look up the full review on
...for the garden

‘August is never an easy time for gardeners and garden lovers. If your borders are beginning to look a bit flat you may be experiencing what garden designers call the ‘August Gap’. This lull in planting is traditionally overcome with the bedding out of dahlias. However, if dahlias really aren’t your thing, try planting the garden designer’s secret weapon, Agastache (Hyssop) -  with its aromatic minty foliage and long flowering season. It flowers from July to October and is very attractive to butterflies.’

Alice Bowe, Garden Designer and owner of Garden Boutique

Garden Boutique stocks all sorts of garden accessories including these self-watering pots which are ideal if you’re going away for a short break. They even self-regulate the amount of water they dispense.

This month don't miss

Exhibitions, sales, fairs, courses and events you should know about.

The Shell Ladies of Margate, are life-size sculptures of shell ladies created by artist Ann Carrington. They will be appearing on Margate Sea Front and in The Old Town every weekend this month. For more info go to

International Antiques & Collectors Fair (7 & 8 Aug), Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Notts. The Big Daddy of antiques events in Europe, with up to 4,000 stalls over 84 acres.

Covent Garden Night Markets (Thurs and Fri 7-29 Aug), Following its success in 2007, the Covent Garden Piazza will once again host London’s only food ‘night market’, and this year features a kitchen theatre starring celebrity chefs. There will also be stalls selling fish caught fresh from the Thames as well as Grade A oysters and a wild game stall offering everything from pigeon to grey squirrel ! For more details call 0203 047 2555.

Christie’s Interiors (5 and 12 Aug) Christie’s South Kensington. These regular sales give decorators and collectors the opportunity to acquire one-of-a-kind objects and collectibles in virtually every style from antique to contemporary. 020-7389 2768

City Seaside (until 26 Aug), The London Eye is bringing the seaside to the city with deckchairs, a sandcastle, seaside games and street performers on Saturdays. For more info visit

Clifton Chilli Fiesta! (16 & 17 Aug), 10-4pm) Clifton Nurseries is getting fired up for its first-ever Chilli Fiesta. Free entry but for further details and bookings contact: or call 020 7432 1871,

Dates in your diary

Two must-visits for September....

Decorex International (21-24 Sept)
, Royal Hospital Grounds, London SW3. The essential pilgrimage for interior designers, buyers and architects from all over the world. Over 300 top interior companies take part, including The House Directory – don’t forget to come and see us on stand K320 ! Visit to register, or call 01923 690638 (trade ticket enquiries only). Members of the public are invited to a Private View on Tues. 23rd Sept. 3-7pm. Tickets cost £20 and include a glass of champagne.  Call 01923 690665 to book.

100% Design (18-21 Sept)
, Earl's Court Two, London, SW5. The UK’s best-known contemporary interiors event. Presenting big brands, emerging talent and new products, 100% Design attracts leading manufacturers, star designers and major specifiers from the UK and overseas. For more information about 100% Design or to register log on to Visitor hotline: 01923-690624

Sources of the month

Introducing two new members of The House Directory

have a fun and user-friendly interactive website presenting thousands of rugs in every conceivable style, colour, texture and size. You can search by design, shape, colour, size or material. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you can design your own rug from scratch with sizes up to a giant 4 x 5 metres. Prices range from £50 to £3,000+. Delivery in the UK is free. They are also offering our newsletter readers a 10% discount on all their thousands of online products.

From shell ladies (see above) to shell rooms: why not commission artist Blott Kerr-Wilson to decorate an indoor or outdoor room entirely in shells…
Her past projects include a shell-work garden pavilion in North Wales, a shell cabin in Cornwall and the restoration of Cilwendeg shell house on the foothills of Snowdonia. (But she’s just as happy covering bathrooms, bedrooms, or fountains !) Tel: 0033-549352256 or 07891-688860

Ask the experts

Selected from our free Q&A service

My son is allergic to dust mites and I’ve been told that a silk duvet might be the answer. Is this right? If so, where can I find one?

Silk-filled duvets are naturally hypo-allergenic and resistant to dust mites, and also repel mould and mildew. They also seem to be very suitable for a British climate as the temperature-regulating properties of silk mean that they keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. We have several companies on our website for you to contact: (who also do baby sleeping bags); (who can make them in any size or weight); and What’s more, the Chinese believe that the amino acids in silk emit small particles called sleep factors, which are supposed to ease the nervous system, help you sleep better and improve your sense of well being !

New books

For some deckchair escapism, have a look at Coastal Style by Sally Hayden and Alice Whately (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99). It features hundreds of photographs to inspire you and remind you of the pleasures of sun-warmed decks and eating alfresco. You can buy it for a special price of £17.99 (inc UK p&p) from Macmillan Direct on 01256-302699 by quoting code GLRT91.

If you are more interested in the arenas and architectural backdrops of Beijing than the Olympic Games themselves, look up the RIBA bookshop’s list of recommended books on China, Sports Architecture and the Olympic Games.

Stop Press

The soft furnishings company House Couturier is offering 50% off all display curtains until 18 August. 020-7371 9255 or