Skip to main content

Sparkling Snowdrops, Batman!


I was talking to my botanical uncle about snowdrops the other day, in the context of bigging up our welsh garden. Turns out that my paternal grandmother put in all sorts of exciting things but he reckons that quite a lot have faded away – and anything that has any susceptibility to slugs just gets munched and won’t bulk up.

Anyway, we have a niceish spread of Galanthus nivalis ,and some others which I have been told are probably G. elwesii (they have bigger, greyer leaves, apparently) although my uncle suggested they could just be from a different population of G nivalis, snowdrops being a heterogeneous bunch. I will go and have a closer look in the spring, but the flowering times are certainly different. I would like to get some interesting ones, but at the same time it would be a bit daft to splash out on slug food. We shall see.

I had quite a party week last week, with the annual Garden Media Guild Awards in London. It has been blogged to death, so I will sum it up as glittering cast of celebrities and the gardening somebodies, lots of deserving people honoured for their work and a nice lunch followed by a slightly riotous time in the pub.

I had a good time sitting next to Christine Walkden and Chris Baines (we chatted about music promotion and folk rock) and I was shortlisted for both the Environmental Award for a piece called Tomorrow Never Dies about the Millennium Seed Bank in Amateur Gardening and the Plants and Well Being award for a piece on the gardening charity Thrive, published in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life. I like a glamorous ‘do’ and my ambition to go as a ‘Beguiling Horticulturalist’ (see ‘Adventures in Floristry’) went pretty well – well, people were very nice about my dress, which was, if I say so myself modestly awesome. (James A-S says I win the 'most sparkly' award hands down, but to be fair I did suggest it as a category).

The previous weekend my partner and I were invited to a party entitled ‘A Day at the Races and a Night as a Rock Star’ by our most excellent neighbours. Chris went as Axl Rose which was jolly effective. I like a man in eyeliner. I went as my own bad rock self – which turned out to be controversial. A matter of semantics, hanging on how you interpret ‘come as a rock star’, and they decided that I fell somewhere on a line between Lily Allen and Bjork. Hmmm. Apparently it was an outfit that Noel Fielding would also have gone for. (‘I DIDN’T say you looked like Noel Fielding, darling!...’). Trilby, goth T-shirt, velvet jacket with integral feather boa, boots...maybe not too far off, in truth. (If anyone wants me to hang around on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and take the mickey out of Jedward, you know where I am).

A jolly evening spent in the company of Slash, Ozzy, Marilyn (Monroe, not Manson), ZZ Top, Janis Joplin and half of Kiss. We followed a decent rendition of ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ from the boys, with ‘Cover of the Rolling Stone’ by Dr Hook which seemed to be fitting and culminated spectacularly with a kid doing a power slide that took out the speakers.

So Beguiling Horticulturist, perhaps. Rock Horticulturist? Quite convincing, actually. Not the same thing as a Rock Gardener though. No.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Metamorphosis

Writing a book is often likened to having a baby. And with some justification. There is the giddy conception and whirlwind of excitement, then the warm glow of a contract signed. It then the process starts to lag and become heavier; sweetmeats are deployed to maintain performance – pregnancy, like literature, is an endurance sport. My new book, Published by Green Books, 22nd September  2016 Finally, fat and fecund with promise the manuscript is delivered to the publisher, for supervision and medical intervention if necessary. And, finally, the screaming and anguish suddenly stops. The Author's desk (the buns have already been eaten) And here is where the process differs. After months of to-ing and fro-ing, deliberations about nuanced argument and tone of voice, followed by concerns about stacking words in a column and balanced captions, it is confiscated. They just take it away. To put it another way, it is like watching caterpillars. They eat and eat and eat and

On The Road

Galanthus 'Fly Fishing' at Bellefield House . My latest snowdrop crush. Back in the dim and distant mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the land and pterodactyls were frequent bird table visitors, I spent an enjoyable few years managing rock bands. There were headline gigs, support gigs. Mainstream venues and pubs. In some places the PA was state of the art, in others you thanked your stars for the decent size amp in the back of the van. Some nights the crowd was ecstatic. Others, the bar man, his dog and a couple of regulars would sit there, nodding and comparing the band to musicians that had died before the lead singer was born. Occasionally people listened to the first thirty seconds, got bored and went off to get drunk and find someone to sleep with. So it goes. I have just finished a modestly epic tour of the land, promoting The Plant Lover’s Guide to Snowdrops . And, as I pull myself vertical, brush off the debris and straighten out again, there are som

A Problem of Packaging

What I have learned today is that budget archive boxes are a false economy. Any saving is squandered on parcel tape to wrap the miserable container to the point where it resembles the misshapen prey of a filing-obsessed spider. The full box bulged and warped as I wrestled. It repeatedly burst open at the top and disgorged slithering contents. It mocked me with torn handles and strained joints (those of the box rather than my own). I fought back, suppressing an uprising of RHS Chelsea catalogues, a stampede of assorted articles and the subtle exit of   book reviews , all destined to be consigned to the cupboard. And it dawned on me that this is not a problem I have had before. Filing is not exactly second nature, but I have never before had to quell an actual mutiny of both packaging and subject matter. But then, as the back catalogue becomes more extensive, more bulky and weighty then surely it must become more potent too. Libraries are powerful places. History, knowledge, th