Disco Dan And The Fiery Earwigs

My apologies.

I have not blogged and I should have done. To be honest I keep writing bits and then going away and coming back and rewriting it and then doing the same thing again etc etc etc. The post eventually looked like a pair of well darned combinations full of stuff that was more drivelly even than usual. The best blogs are, in my experience, the ones that are written fast and posted quickly.


I have been to various places and done various things but am going to exercise my well documented powers of restraint (i) and am going to limit my comments to a few words about about Tatton Park.

I went to the first ever Tatton Flower Show fourteen years ago and have been there most years ever since. This year I was Chairman of Judges (which, I think you will agree, is ridiculously grown up) and gave a speech to a collection of assembled bigwigs. I have been there in baking heat and torrential rain but what I have never done until this year is visit the gardens of the real Tatton Park.

My goodness, that was a mistake.

Think of the hours I have wasted trying to find some merit in a rough Back to Back when I could have been listening to the water tumble in Joseph Paxton’s Fernery.

As well as gardens there was art. Lord Egerton (who used to own the joint until he handed it over to Cheshire County Council and the National Trust) was quite obsessed with flight so there is an exhibition of air-related art works.There was quite an exciting one where you stood in a shipping container to watch a film about a bloke in a flame retardant suit wandering around a flaming aeroplane.

And there was this which was amusing and beautiful in equal measure.

And the garden is great: blousy yew hedges, a Pineapple house, Edwardian terraces, some good plantings, a  famous Japanese garden and some corking Begonias.

But the Fernery alone is worth the £5.50 toll on the M6 any day of the week.

I also remember promising you a bit of a rundown on the gardens in Moscow.

As to the gardens, they have quite a long way to go before they reach Chelsea standard but, seeing as most of them were put together in a few days and none of them have ever built a show garden before. There were three categories, gardens, balconies and nursery gardens. Most Muscovites are short of space and previously have only really been interested in growing food however, things are on the turn and decorative gardening is about to become extremely popular. This show and others like it will grow: of that I am pretty certain.

Unfortunately I seem to have forgotten to photograph many of the gardens which was a bit foolish but here are a few….

This garden was designed by the Gorky Park superintendent and was very pretty. Verbenas, the new Rosa Gorky Park (short, small flowered and pinky white). Pretty but a bit straightforward consisting of a cross within a circle.

Less straightforward, in fact a bit strange, but  amusing. Pond well built, car interesting (originally made in Ukraine by communists), roses in good health. Amusing is an asset in a show garden.

I didn’t realise until the other day that some people (including the late Steve Jobs) have button phobias – Kompounophobia. So if you suffer from such a thing please look away now. I liked this garden: lots of colour and lightly entertaining. The purists would throw up their arms in horror at many of these gardens but, if you take them in the spirit in which they were intended and regard them as the first steps on an interesting exodus then they were pretty darn good.

Two things of mild interest…

I am extremely over excited by the Olympics. I find myself worrying about missing the semi-finals of the Archery or 50m Rifle Three Positions. I cheered and yelled at cyclists and jumped up and down about rowing. I found myself watching dressage (which I would normally consider very dull: it was rather beautiful – horses dancing) and basketball (which seemed a bit complicated sometimes but thrilling all the same.). I get frothily patriotic at times. I would even kiss Sebastian Coe if he asked nicely: although if given a choice I would prefer Jessica Ennis. Or Clare Balding.

I am oddly fond of those very small jars of jam you get in hotels. Usually enough for a couple of croissants. The size and feel of the jars is very appealing. I mention this as I spent the night in an odd hotel the other day and there were lots of them. Farrow and Ball sample pots have the same effect.

I am listening to Twenty-five years by St Etienne

The picture is of the massed ranks of Begonias at Tatton Park.

This blog took 23minutes 17seconds to write and publish. Outside my PB but shattering Lia Leendertz’s record by six weeks. At least.

(i) Previously unacknowledged