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Patrick Vickery is a Scottish gardner and garden writer. This article is reprinted on these pages with his permission. To read a bit about Patrick go here.  You can visit his page at

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Garden Blether Bites  February 2003

By Patrick Vickery (Copyright reserved Patrick Vicery)                               

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The Plant Blether

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.

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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

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!

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The Hare Blether

My hare (and thank goodness there's only one at the moment) has eaten Brocolli, 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.

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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 gardener's 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.

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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 2003 Patrick Vickery)

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This page was updated February 27/03

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