The Imperative of the Mundane

My greatest horticultural regret of 2012 was that I spent far too much time gardening, nearly thirteen thousand minutes all told, and so never got round to reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

Regret yes, but resent? No, because somewhere over the course of those 2160 gardening hours, many of which spent in a wet ditch, I learned something. Something no kinky billionaire could ever beat into me – I learned that if you plant Pachysandra in waterlogged soil it goes yellow. Happy New Year everyone!

Not enough? O.K, well since we’re already sharing deeply personal moments of epiphany on the internet we might as well continue. So here, dear reader is the first of my horticultural insights of the year just gone; I shall expect yours in the comments.

I learned….  The Imperative of the Mundane

This year I realised that building a good garden is a lot like hosting a successful party – after laying on nutrients it’s all about filling the place up. It can be tempting to just invite fun-loving, loud-mouth  extroverts. Don’t. The few that do show up will clash horribly in the otherwise empty space, and no good party should end with its three sole guests fist-fighting in the utility room.

Instead what’s needed is a hefty contingent of nice, slightly dull but awfully reliable friends, among who carefully selected bon viveurs can flitter about looking good. Remember, success is all judged on Facebook these days, that filthy anecdote your old mate from uni just told won’t show up in a photo, but fifteen nice smiley girls from the office will.

And so for people as it is for plants. Cram em in, fill every corner! Let the bright and the beautiful do their thing in-front of an ever-dependable green backdrop.  Make this the year of the boring space-filling screening plants, the Aucuba, the Fatsia and the cherry laurel. A garden of chest-thumping Nerines is worthless if they are trying to show-off to a manky chain-link fence and a glimpse of the bypass.

More enlightenment from 2012 to follow shortly.

Extroverts and Aucubas

Extroverts and Aucubas


Garden Style

As a Garden Blogger I’m naturally on close terms with a lot of the UK’s top models and celebs, and these enchanting butterflies are always saying to me; ‘Ben, I’d love to spend more time in my garden, and god knows I need to, but I don’t know what to wear.’

Oh you pretty things, fear no more, here is the definitive guide on what to wear and what not wear in your garden.

rod mel

Melida, the flower that burned too bright

Firstly, don’t dress to bright! Melinda Messenger is constantly whinging on to me that her fantastic Frank Lloyd-Wright inspired prairie garden is not given the attention it deserves. Well no wonder Melinda! No one can bloody see it, tone down the colours, tone down the smile and your garden will shine.



Now this young model has got the idea, simple clothing in simple colours, I often wear something very similar myself when I’m mowing the lawn, however I’m experienced enough to have more than one outfit for the garden, if you’re a model buying your first gardening outfit do not make it this one! Think about when you have to prune the Pyracantha

If your planting roses don’t stand in the hole when the press come round, you’ll look like a wally.

rod garden

Rod - stood in a hole?

Finally, think about a moustache. These guys have the right idea, simple colours, just the right amount of flesh on display, and all stood on level ground, but its the moustaches that really make them gardeners.


Chelsea first XI