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November 2003 Blether:
© 2003 Patrick Vickery

Garden Blether Bites:

'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...

What follows is a short selection of ‘bite-sized’ verbal snacks of an anecdotal, unusual and gardening kind extracted from previous Blethers.  In other words, my favourite bits.

The Tomato Blether

Apparently Bull’s Dung is an excellent medium for growing tomatoes.  Something to do with the testosterone content.  It brings on the ‘Toms’ a treat.  Good grief, what a thought, but undoubtedly an excellent conversation stopper should you ever need one.

The Tree Blether

As I wandered gaily along (looking for all the world like a suspicious character about to dig up a Christmas tree to lug back to the fireside) I saw other shadowy figures in the half-light of that crisp afternoon. We passed each other like ships in the night, heads down, silent, possibly the odd Highland grunt of acknowledgement, possibly not, but all seriously intent on anonymity. They were “at it” in the woods, doing the same as me, Christmas time was looming, the spades were out, the goose was getting fat. I even spotted a tree in the distance bobbing along under its own steam with a most peculiar loping gait.  Surely, I reasoned, somewhere beneath that foliage there must be a person with a spade, for how else could it move like that – how else could it move at all!

The Hare Blether

My hare (and thank goodness there’s only one at the moment) has eaten Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrot Tops, Parsley (that was a surprise), Fennel (even more of a surprise), Mints, Lupins, Geums, Cerastiums, Pinks….. in fact the list is endless.  But he hasn’t touched the Fuchsias or the Hostas yet.  Why not?  Saving them for June or July, I expect, by which time I shall be fenced off.  An expensive business - this fencing off business - a nuisance too, but worth it in the long run, particularly if a laid-back hare without a care multiplies over time into more of the same.

Now I must check through the window and see what he’s up to.

The Surreal Blether

My stomach told me that it was time for food, so I traversed the car park to one of the places that sold burger and chips – a ‘Burger and Chips’ place - where I was pleasantly informed by a man in a brightly coloured hat that today was ‘Special Offer’ day – simply collect four cereal packet tokens, recite The Lord’s Prayer backwards, stand on one leg with a finger up your nose (all at the same time, mind) and qualify for a free donut with accompanying toffee sauce (but only between the hours of nine and ten in the morning - something called a ‘happy hour’). Alternatively, present an empty packet of non-biological washing powder (5.4kg size) and a receipt for a well known brand of toilet roll (nine pack, quilted) at the counter to receive a free ‘Demented Harry’ (a soft drink apparently). Surely this was a wind up?  A 5.4kg packet of washing powder is very large, is it not?  Not the sort of thing that you would normally buy for the average family, and most definitely a reinforced trolley item, not a basket one? Now I know that gardeners are prone to exaggeration - aren’t we all? (Cucumbers the size of cricket bats, tomatoes as big as footballs, grapes like melons, that sort of thing). But this was taking things a bit too far if you ask me. Ridiculous in fact.

The Slug Blether

Got a slug problem? Haven’t we all. Hostas, Geums, Oriental Poppies, Lupins, Nasturtiums, you name it, they eat it. Big black ones, little grey ones, they do the same damage, nibble, nibble, nibble, and the plant is destroyed. Better nip down to the Garden Centre to buy a chemical to kill them with, slug pellets, something like that, to further enrich the chemical arsenal that’s already stashed in the garden shed. Just hope the teenagers of the house don’t take up smoking in there, eh, in the garden shed? Chemical concoctions, cigarettes, matches, could be a mighty explosion in the offing.

 Of course I never use chemicals myself.  Far too expensive.  And do they always work? 

(Copyright Patrick Vickery 2003)