Thursday, 24 February 2011

Pedantry, snowdrops and snakes

Spreads of snowdrop Galanthus nivalis at Welford Park in Berkshire
 Anyway, there I was at 7am last Saturday listening to one of those compilations with a title like 'The Essential Power of Ultimate Music, Ever', on my way to a hot date to talk gardening with BBC Radio Berkshire, when up pops Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’. You know: I want to love you but I better not touch (Don't touch) /I want to hold you but my senses tell me to stop/I want to kiss you but I want it too much (Too much) /I want to taste you but your lips are venomous poison. etc.

Driving when one should be sleeping leaves plenty if time to be pedantic about artistic licence. As any fule kno, but possibly not as any snake-fancying rock icon kno, poison is not in itself venomous. Venomous animals use fangs or a sting to inject their venom which is a biotoxin. Poisons can be absorbed, ingested or inhaled and need not be organic. Technically, wasps are venomous while poison arrow frogs are, well, poisonous. If Mr Cooper ate his venomous snake it would (probably) not poison him. And so on. Nothing that a spot of punctuation wouldn’t solve. Alice, if you are reading, let’s talk.*

With such things sorted, I rocked up in Reading feeling upbeat and had a lovely chat about snowdrops and pruning with Nicki Whiteman on the BBC Berks Breakfast show. On the snowdrop front, Welford Park and Kingston Bagpuize House will be looking awesome round about now (check out my spring feature in Period Homes and Interiors, Feb issue for an in-depth on Kinston Bagpuize garden) and Foxgrove Nursery is a prolific local source of unusual varieties (see Feb issue of Berks and Bucks Life). Coming up, I will be off to the launch of the Buckinghamshire National Gardens Scheme booklet and I am looking forward to seeing the 2011 NGS Yellow Book as I contributed to it this year. Enough trumpet-blowing. Things are sprouting, planting is a-go-go and I will tell you all about it soon.

*I don’t, however, have the original album sleeve so I may be doing Alice Cooper a grave grammatical injustice here.

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