The Flipchart Was Erected On Dangerously Sloping Ground

This month is so busy as to be simply ridiculous. It is probably all my own fault. If ever you see a blue-arsed fly rushing around please look away as the arse in question is very probably mine. As a result I have been neglectful of this blog although the others (here and here) have been fed.

I have dealt with many, many plantlists. Sometimes, and this is one of those moments, I worry about the range of stuff that I plant. . The problem is that no matter how much I like something if I cannot get hold of enough of it at a sensible price then it is not much use. It is all very well specifying a gorgeously coloured rarity but if the only nursery that stocks it is in deeepest Wester Ross and they only have two spindly specimens then it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I have a number of nurseries which I use but am always on the look out for new plants and actively make sure that I do not endlessly repeat the same combinations: otherwise it is easy to become complacent.

And that would never do…

I have given a lecture from a pulpit. This is a first and a particularly gratifying experience. I may make the provision of a suitably ornate pulpit a central part of my demands for any future lecturing engagements. This one was in the village of Tiffield. Interestingly the side aisles of the church contained three lawnmowers.

It has not all been graft I have been to the South of France as well for a wedding. Not just any old wedding but the wedding of someone who, as a very small girl, was a bridesmaid at our wedding. This makes me feel very old. The service was in a church in the hilltop village of Grimaud where the smell of Wisteria wafted through cobbled streets, the bride was beautiful, the patisserie nearby and I wept, shamelessly.

A few words about Easyjet….The head stewardess was unbelievably bossy telling us to “Put down our reading matter and stop all conversations” in order to give our full attention to the safety announcement. This is a difficult moment: does one stare attentively at the poor girl/boy who is doing the gesture thing (low level lighting = wave hand at floor. lifejacket=pretend to blow into whistle etc etc) in which case they might feel awkward and worry that you were mentally undressing them. Or does one ignore them in which case they might feel bad that all their efforts are unappreciated?. A tricky matter of etiquette. Made more difficult as, if we are brutally honest, if the aeroplane crashes then low level lighting and the tube for manually reinflating the life vest will probably be the least of our worries.

The same stewardess later made an announcement about the refreshment trolley which “offered major international brands like Cheddars”. I am so proud.

I have also been to Wales but that probably deserves a blog of its own: suffice to say that I have only ever crossed that border a couple of times and have always been a bit sniffy. Never again will I utter a bad word about that fine, upstanding country. The scenery is magnificent especially when twinkling in the spring sunshine. Sadly I did not meet any Welsh people except for the lady I startled while asking directions in Brecon.

I recently spent an idle moment looking at my Google Analytics statistics. People search for odd things on the internet and, are often disappointed. Take for example the people who searched for “aerobic naked”, “Erotic underwear” or “dominated tight blue jeans” and found themselves not amongst debauchery and finely toned houris but here: reading about gardening. There is also someone who googled “how old is James Alexander-Sinclair”. I wonder if they ever found the answer. On roughly the same subject: many months ago I commented on a LiveJournal blog written by the much-missed Emma Townshend. Over the past couple of weeks I have been getting emails about comments on my comments. They are all junk of course  (as was my original comment to be fair) but one in particular caught my eye

“I am a regular reader of ‘Independent Minds’.The title of the article caught my eyes actually. The topic is very simple but quite interesting: Yeast infection Home Remedy”

I can assure you that the original post had nothing at all to do with yeast infections.I have written on a number of topics but this has never been on my list of possibles.


The actual subject was the suitability of cowboy boots as gardening footwear worthy of the First Lady of the United States.

Following the same link, I discover that I am now listed on the Wikipedia Celebrity Eggheads site which is a great thrill (i). Or was until I discovered that (apart from a weather forecaster called Phil Avery and a presenter on the Antiques Roadshow called Mark Allum) I am the only person  not to have their own Wikipedia page.

This is a bitter, bitter blow.

The picture is of a pollarded Plane tree – something the French do very well. I am listening to Mr Big Stuff by Jean Knight. I dedicate it to Mr Front Page Of The Telegraph Garden Supplement Again.

(i) Some of you will remember my brief moment of Eggheadery triumph when I beat Mooi (who also has his own Wikipedia page from which I learn that he is a Celebrity Vegetarian) in the Geography round but copllapsed ignominiously at the final hurdle.