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.
must check through the window and see what he’s up to.
The Surreal Blether
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
Of course I never use chemicals myself.
Far too expensive. And do they always work?
(Copyright Patrick Vickery 2003)