Saturday, 16 October 2010

Red Planting and Political Blues

Verbena bonariensis and Cornus alba sibirica, with sedum in the background

I have been taking a good look at my front garden, which, despite needing a bit of a tidy is coming on nicely. It is north facing on very sandy soil so not the easiest spot, and its autumn-to-winter look is basically red and green. The leaves have come off the Cornus sibirica leaving red stems, there are big heads of sedum flowers, a few dark red snapdragons left, Parthenocissus henryana climbing the wall (although the Hydrangea petiolaris seems to have died on me) and lots of lovely ornamental fruit on the little Malus sargentii. The green bit is provided by Choisia ternata, bamboo, a small rosemary, a Sarcococca and a few other odds and sods that flower at other times of the year.

Malus sargentii and sedum, neatly colour coordinated
with my neighbours' car and front door

Trouble is, I think I am being too subtle. There are a few mauve highlights from the sage which is romping away (told you it was well drained) and Verbena bonariensis, which I thought would lift it and they do look quite nice as a contrasting colour. But when I returned from the garden centre today with a couple of red cyclamen, it seemed de trop. I have put in some pink, autumn flowering saffron crocuses although they are not quite up yet, and I am wondering about experimenting with cerise and white cyclamen instead of red. The colour scheme is so very controlled it can probably take it. I might buy a box tomorrow and see. They can always go elsewhere if it looks dreadful.

Meanwhile, I was at the DIY shed yesterday, buying compost, and I was struck by the plethora of faded and weathering garden ornaments. Pale gnomes, rusty flowers, dubious twisty things with glass nuggets, ceramic smiley sheep, that sort of thing. Most disturbing were the cherubs. Cast in low-grade concrete with lots of added coir, the cement was weathering away to leave a kind of green fur. Under-wing hair is not a good look on a cherub.

On the work front I am exploring. Coming soon to a print medium near you. Just just found my feature on my nascent apple juice empire in The Guardian. And I have just come off the breakfast show on BBC Radio Berkshire where I was talking to the lovely Nikki Whiteman. Tell you what, if you want to sound awake at 7.30am, listen to punk while driving. Green Day did the job this morning, which is a good link to the next bit (King For A Day. If you've got to ask, probably best not to know).
I am vexed with the coalition government. The latest estimate to put my kids through decent universities is what is known in the business as 'Titchmarsh Money'. So watch out Titchmarsh, I am after your job. This is not just ambition, it is Marks and Spencer’s ambition.

I mentioned this to my brother and he explained his theory that the Conservatives were probably back for a while. He reckons that one should not underestimate the British fetish for being told that they are very naughty voters and being spanked with austerity measures. Yikes.


  1. Might I make something clear as I would hate for us to fall out ?.....Green Day are not punk: they are very post punk. Very.
    I love the idea of un-depilated cherubs, thank you for enlivening my morning with that one.

  2. Hmph. Ok. Post punk. I was going to argue with you but I was listening to Nimrod, released in 1997. And, with a little research, I have just discovered that I am the same age as Billy-Joe Green Day. Since I know I missed punk in any meaningful sense the first time round, he must have done too.

    On reflection, my spouse reckons that they have to be post-punk as if they were any good at being real punk they would be dead.

    Still wakes you up a treat, though.