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May 2004 Blether:
2004 Patrick Vickery

The Geranium 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...

I saw Bob Dylan last summer, a sprightly looking chap for his age. I didn't meet him in person of course, no, no, afraid not, but saw him in concert at Stirling castle.  Bob "the stuff legends are made of"  Dylan strutting about in a skin tight suit in front of 7000 adoring fans. Some of them were grannies too, you know, and what energy they possessed, hip-hop folk from another musical era.

"I'm a granny, you know," screeched a youthful pensioner in delight as she twirled past us to the doleful sounds of 'himself' singing  "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." He did well, too, for a man of his age, sixty and still going strong.

Now I think Bob likes his garden, he could be a gardening man, you know, that song of his, "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands", has a bit about geraniums in it, a Geranium Kiss of all things, could be an indoor plant man perhaps, and one with a particular penchant for Pelargoniums?  I must ask him sometime. Well I might, you know, I just might, although it's not easy to get in touch with such an iconic figure as Bob for a chat about gardening these days, is it?  No, no, certainly not - not in such times of cult superstardom anyway.

"Do you like your geraniums then, Bob?"  I might say. "And how do you propagate yours?"

"Most likely you grow your way and I'll grow mine," he might say. (Or was it "Most likely you go your way and I'll go mine."  I'm not sure. I must look it up.  On the album anyway, Blonde on Blonde).

You never know though, he might like the occasional blether about horticultural matters, mightn't he?  It's not inconceivable.

Now after picking up on Bob's reference to geraniums I wondered whether anyone else waxed lyrical about the gardening side of things?  (Didn't Tina Turner sing about a Nut Bush?  I'm sure she did).

There's a castle near here, you know, not far from Dornoch, a sort of exclusive guest house concept for the rich and famous, the sort of establishment that Bob might frequent, short breaks away from the hurly-burly of busy life, celebrity weddings, that sort of thing. I can be out in the garden, you know, pottering about, a spot of weeding, taking cuttings, that sort of thing, when a low-flying helicopter 'whizzes' past en-route to the castle. Film stars, Rock stars, Presidents, Kings, they've all seen me.  Well I think so anyway, and I always wave, make a point of it.

Now once a year the castle is open to the public, just the estate grounds, in aid of charity, a summer fete to raise money for good causes, and so we set off after lunch - the whole family - for a pleasant afternoon of meandering amidst shrubberies and glasshouses.  We always check out the new plantings too, to see which guests, if any,  have planted a tree or a shrub to mark their visit.

Now occasionally, just occasionally, mind, if the opportunity presents itself, I might have a furtive peer through one of the ground floor windows in the hope of catching sight of somebody famous. Never spotted anybody yet, of course, not really, although just possibly - there's a slim chance - I may have seen that guy who used to advertise fish fingers on the television, 'Captain Bird's Eye', that was his name, but I may be wrong.

One year perhaps they'll have Mick Jagger on teas ('Brown sugar with your cuppa?') or Bob 'the stuff legends are made of' Dylan in the glasshouse tending to the geraniums. Now that would be a summer fete with a difference, wouldn't it?

Anyway, Bob Dylan or no Bob Dylan, it's certainly a pleasant way to spend a leisurely afternoon


(Copyright Patrick Vickery 2004))