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||Garden Blether - Plant Decemberr
By Patrick Vickery (Copyright reserved Patrick
The Plant Blether
There’s nothing like buying a plant to put you in the mood for a spot of
gardening, is there? I’m fond of those plant stalls that you find at markets
and car boot sales because you never know what you might come across and
the plants are usually quite cheap.
In the past I’ve sold plants at car boot sales myself, five or six pounds
for a pitch, forty or fifty plants - maybe more - neatly labeled in smart
pots, a flask of coffee and a tasty sandwich, then ’Bob’s your Uncle’, simply
watch the cash roll in, or that’s the theory anyway, though in reality it
doesn’t always work like that, not if there’s inclement weather to keep the
plant buying public at bay, or an alternative attraction elsewhere (an international
football match on the television perhaps). If so, you might be lucky to cover
your costs. I find it’s best to treat these things as a social event myself,
an opportunity for a good blether with old friends - blether, blether, blether
- and a chance to catch up on the local gossip.
If you intend to sell plants yourself on a regular basis of course, then
there are some pitfalls to be aware of.
"You sold me a Geum last time," one man bellowed at me
across the table, "only it was an Oriental Poppy!"
Easy mistake to make. Best apologize when this happens, smile pleasantly,
defer to the customer’s expert opinion (he was probably right anyway), offer
a replacement, chat pleasantly about the weather, go for the ’distraction’
"And what about the Lupin that should have been red, it
was lime green!!"
"Well obviously a mutation, obviously, obviously,
very rare indeed." This said with a smile. "Weren’t you the lucky one?"
And then of course there was the woman who wanted worms.
"Do you sell worms?" she enquired.
"Worms for the garden?"
Do people really buy worms? Was she serious?
"No, sorry, don’t do worms."
I enjoy a good browse around the plant stalls myself, always on the look
out for plants with potential. I remember one occasion particularly
well. (A car boot sale, Inverness, one Saturday morning). I was studying
the horticultural display on the table in front of me - and paying particular
attention, in fact, to some brown vegetation cascading down the side of a
pot in a limp and dead sort of way - when the stallholder caught my eye.
"Good plant, that," he said, "looks half-dead now, you
know, half-dead, but you should have seen it yesterday, looked fully dead
then, fully dead. Dug it up myself, fine specimen, fifty pence to you,
Well what’s the world coming to, I asked myself, when somebody wants fifty
pence for a dead plant? And worse still, I paid fifty pence for it too. He
was very persuasive, you see, I didn’t like to say no. Of course he
could have been right, couldn’t he? Maybe it wasn’t dead at all - or
even half dead for that matter - but simply in need of some tender
So I took it home, planted it, administered tender loving care and
then awaited signs of revival.
Over the next few days, however, my initial suspicions were confirmed.
I’d bought a dead plant and paid good money for it too. Well what can you
say to that? ’Good Heavens’ about sums it up, doesn’t it?
Copyright 2002 Patrick Vickery
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