Gardeners should read to plants

Fruit and veg growers hoping for a bumper crop may decide to follow in the footsteps of the great-great granddaughter of Royal Horticultural Society Scientific Committee co-founder Charles Darwin and read to their plants.

After reading sections of On the Origin of the Species for a month to her tomatoes, Sarah Darwin was found to have the most effective voice in a study of nine contestants at RHS Garden Wisley.

The research showed talking to tomato plants helped them grow, with Ms Darwins specimen stretching 1.6 cm taller than the control sample.

Garden superintendent Colin Crosbie explained: "We cant explain exactly what the magical property in Sarahs voice is, but it could have something to do with the pitch and tone."

He added female vocals seem to have the best effect.

It could encourage some garden and greenhouse growers to ignore funny looks from neighbours and get chatting.

Those who would rather learn more traditional ways to grow fruit and veg may enjoy a trip to the upcoming Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, set to take place next month.