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Indoor planter support asparagus fern falling over. Picture: Michel Sim
Some of the plants only planted a few weeks ago look healthy after treatment, despite the initial signs of decline.
During the analysis Dr Smith said: “The quick recovery in some of these plants is unusual but encouraging.
“It may be due to the fact they are growing in lighter conditions, although the average temperature and rainfall levels at this time of year make it much more likely they are still recovering from the dry weather at the start of the season.
“There’s a good possibility this is due to a combination of lower light intensity and milder temperatures, and with temperatures falling back over the next few weeks we’ll know if the plants are truly back to normal.”
Dr Smith said they had also found a high number of different fungi and bacteria in the soil.
“This is a bit of a surprise and it will be interesting to see if this is part of the normal cycle of soil health,” he said.
“Hopefully as the warmer spring days bring more rain to the soils we should see the plants’ health start to improve.”
The gardeners are also monitoring the plant’s leaf colour, which provides an indication of how they are coping with the rainy weather.
“Early in the season they all look good, but they’ve started to look a bit yellow and faded now,” Dr Smith said.
“This will be good indicator that it is time to collect the plants and move them to the protection of the tunnel where they can recover while staying out of the rain.”
He added that gardeners should stop collecting asparagus ferns at this time of year to help the plants recover.
“The low light conditions allow the leaves to recover and green up again in the winter,” he said. “It’s when you do want to collect them.”
Asparagus fern can be collected for use in your gardens at any time, and the research by the Asparagus Fertiliser Company is continuing.
“Our aim is to keep you informed about what happens to asparagus fern as the season develops,” Dr Smith said.
Dr Smith said it was not too late for gardeners to plant asparagus fern.
“As it’s now October, it’s far too late to start planting the following year, but for those who have already got the fern in pots, we can identify which varieties will grow best for their garden environment,” he said.
“We are looking forward to learning about which varieties you have growing in your gardens and are testing new varieties every year to ensure we produce the best quality fern possible.”
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Asked about the figures, an HMRC spokesman said: “We expect and require all those who are self-employed to register with HMRC. We are clear that self-employment benefits can be very expensive.
“While we are currently reviewing the support that is being provided, it is clear that individuals should not be forced to choose between leaving their work and their benefits.”
UPDATE: The HMRC has contacted The Herald with an update.
A spokesman said: "We've been reviewing the issue of higher income self employed individuals with incomes above £50,000 not paying their business rates.
"At this stage we have not been able to identify any new cases as a result of this review. However, our checks are ongoing and we remain in contact with all businesses who may fall within this category.
"We are working closely with the Government to ensure businesses can continue to access the supports they need."
Angela Roberts, Scottish director for The Tax Institute, said: "Anyone in Scotland who pays a company income tax is entitled to receive reliefs. These can include 'potential business rate relief' if the scheme can be reasonably justified in terms of fairness.
"Unfortunately for self-employed workers, HMRC can argue the scheme is unfair or unjustified even when a worker has a proven gross income of over £50,000.
"However, HMRC will only concede where there are two large businesses taking advantage of the loophole to target a significant number of self-employed workers.
"Businesses and employees who are eligible for business rate relief can get help by claiming online. Their tax advisers can then sort out all the paperwork and HMRC will pay the excess tax bill directly to the local authority."
Consumers' group Which? warns that profits for garden centre chains have jumped 27% since last year in the past two months, which comes as the recent deluge of the gardening season begins to take its toll.
Our supermarkets' garden departments are raking in the new growth after the recent cold snap.
But a Which? spokesperson said: “The garden centres are putting profits ahead of customers, with many of their garden centres barely open for summer and instead continuing to ship the majority of their plants and products from their own warehouses rather than the local horticultural stores.
“As we are only a few weeks into the busy garden season, we cannot tell what the trend will be this summer and whether it will be on the same trajectory as the last two.
“This is the third year in a row that garden centre profits have risen.
"We would encourage people to shop around for great deals on plants, products and services this year rather than sticking with the big names.”
JANUARY - A mum has been caught on camera furiously arguing with police after her bag of pot plants was pulled over.
She is accused of'smuggling a controlled drug'.
The YMCA employee could be heard shouting: "I've not even got any weed! I haven't put any weed in the car! You don't have a search warrant! Get out!"
She continued: "You know how I am? I smoke but I don't put