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April 2003 Blether:
2002 Patrick Vickery

"The Bergenia Blether"

'Blether' is a Scottish word meaning a good chat (a good blether), often a long and lazy relaxed chat at that, and sometimes over a dram or two of whisky!

e-mail Patrick at: aldieburnplants@aol.com

Patrick Vickery lives in the Scottish Highlands with his wife, three children, two dogs, two goats and an assortment of smaller animals. They live in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world.

Patrick runs a small Garden Nursery (part-time), is a Garden Writer (part-time) with a particular interest in the humourous side of things (especially the things that go wrong!), and works part-time as a Special Needs Teacher.

Patrick's first gardening book  In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden. ISBN: 186163148 has recently been published. A 'how-to' book - a book that shows how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways, for both expert and gardening novice alike, at minimum cost and in an innovative and self-financing way, using a raised bed system of propagation, and concentrating primarily on hardy perennial plants that can be raised and grown outdoors without the aid of a polytunnel or greenhouse.

Available direct from the Publisher at: Capall Bann Publishing, UK; from bookshops; or from Amazon.co.uk via the Internet.

more info:

In Pursuit of Perennial Profit - The Pot of Gold At The Bottom of the Garden...

 A number of years ago now - as a child - I remember moving into a new house
and with it acquiring a considerable garden that over-looked the river. 

One side of this garden was bounded by leylandii hedging that separated us
from our neighbour, an eccentric naval officer (retired) called Mr. Leggett,
a man passionate about drinking, playing bridge and tending to his lawn - a
lawn, incidentally, that he kept well groomed and immaculate for he spent
long hours digging clover and daisies from it with a knife and fork. But he
had another passion as well, a passion manifested during night-time hours and
one which gave rise to some concern in our household: a passion for shooting
rabbits.  Nothing disturbing about that of course, no, not unless you're a
rabbit, only this was conducted by searchlight (ex-Navy surplus, I suspect,
or possibly 'requisitioned' from a Gun Boat or a Destroyer) and swivel
mounted to the ledge outside his bedroom window.

And so, with an air rifle attached to his upper body, and clad only in
pyjamas, he took well-illuminated pot shots at startled rabbits on the lawn.
His aim was invariably inaccurate, I recall, complimented no doubt by
numerous gin and tonics, and as a consequence many pellets passed straight
through the hedge and into our greenhouse. Some of these rogue pellets even
had the audacity to pass through both walls of the greenhouse and mutilate a
giant Bergenia Cordifolia ('Elephant's Ears') on the other side.  Strangely
enough, though, the pellets didn't break the glass at all, no, not a single
pane, but bored perfect holes straight through them.  As you might imagine my
father was not amused by this situation, no, in fact he was furious. 

In this day and age, of course, the spectre of 'Garden Rage' might manifest
itself in an ugly scene over the garden fence after such unneighbourly
conduct, perhaps even a slap on the head with a mutilated Bergenia, but this
was in more tolerant times: times when public rage was something akin to an
admission of mental incapacity and a diplomatic word or two over the garden
fence was more readily employed to resolve such matters.

Mind you, I never did discover what was said all those years ago over the
garden fence, but night-time warfare against rabbits ceased and the
greenhouse acquired new glass, so whatever it was, it must have been

(Copy right 2002 Patrick Vickery)