Monday, 3 November 2008


After so many years of being pretty much a gardening guru to you all, I've decided to set down my idea of eleven ways that you can become a better gardener, so you can become like maybe a bit more like me. (This has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that mine and your favourite gardening work-out expert Bunny Guinness is in the Telegraph today telling us Twenty Ways to Be a Better Gardener. She copied me and I am in fact sueing her later.)

1. Don't leave the bulbs in the packet again.
I don't know how many times I have to tell you! Naughty, naughty.

2. Actually go and put all that garden waste on the compost heap.
Honestly, having a big pile of stagnating stuff in your kitchen is, apart from anything else, disgusting.

3. Go to other lovely gardens to see how they do it.
Remember to take the handbag-sized secateurs with you, though, ha ha.

4. When choosing a hedge, choose something really thorny so that the neighbours get eye injuries if they try to be nosy.
Serve them right, frankly.

5. If you see a big pile of honey fungus growing in your front garden, don't just leave it, dig it up there and then.
Rotten honey fungus is really yurck. It looks like the devil's nose mucus.

6. The Wisteria.
Look if I've told you once, I've told you a million times: it won't flower if you don't prune it. It's not rocket science!

7. If there's nature living in your garden, get rid of it!
Oooh, nasty, spiders give me the shivers. Pour some boiling water on it, I learnt that trick from my cousin who is president of Uzbehkistan.

8. If you don't have room in your potager for all the vegetables you want to grow, take over the garden of one of the staff.
This is a simple trick I learned from my aunt (god rest her soul). Simply write a letter giving the member of staff notice, and then within the month take over their garden, for increased vegetable-growing capacity without pain.

9. A lack of colour in the winter garden is easily remedied.
Send out a plant-collecting expedition to the Himalayas or China where they have many plants highly suitable to growing in English climates, but with lovely colours. And if you fund the expedition, you will have the commercial rights to exploit everything they discover!

10. Feeling cold? Do some star jumps!
It's easy to feel a bit chilly in the garden in winter, but there's no better cure for that than doing a few star jumps. As long as you make sure you have good posture before starting and warm up and cool-down properly. See my former close friend Bunny's book for details.

11. If you see weasels, shoot them.
That's what my father used to say anyway.

That's all for now. Bye! 


Victoria said...

Does Bunny have a chapter on hiatus hernia, or haemorrhoids, I wonder?

jane said...

I could not agree more what what. There is far too much emphasis on the so called "small town garden". Why on earth waste time on these piddling little plots?
Those of us with estates to manage feel disctinctly uncatered for, nay discriminated against.
One needs advice on how to sack one's help after he has left the bulbs in their packets and so on. the use of buckshot is rather frowned upon these days. O tempora o mores

JamesA-S said...

There seems to a huge plagiarism problem at your place, Emma. First the hedge fund ladies and now the very taut Bunny Guinness. I must be careful what I write lest I attract the attention of your highly paid litigation department.
Incidentally, your tip number 8. I have recently annexed half of one of my client's housekeeper's garden. The reasoning being that it was far too big and they would be greatly relieved that they no longer had to look after the thing. It will make a rather spiffy little addition to the cutting garden.

JamesA-S said...

PS I once spent a couple of entertaining hours trying to find out what Bunny Guinness's real name was. She resisted all my threats and cajolings so we are none the wiser. I suspect she is either called either Peardrop or Otter.

intrepid_explorer said...

Fantastic advice, especially about the bulbs. Sadly our wisteria upped and died after its last pruning. My friend blames global warming and a change in the direction of the prevailing wind but I think it was the curse of the pixies.

HappyMouffetard said...

I assumed Bunny was a contraction of her real name, which would turn out to be something like Bunella, Bunathon, Bunantha, Bunarine or similar.

Actually, that's stupid - Bunathon is clearly a boy's name.

James said...

It is a little known fact that Matthew Wilson's second name is Bunathon.

Victoria said...

I'm sure Diarmuid Gavin can think of a few names for her. In fact, I'm pretty certain he's called her a few names in the past.

Juliet said...

"I suspect she is either called either Peardrop or Otter"

Are you sure it's not Canna?

Sorry, couldn't resist :-[

The Garden Monkey said...

Bunny is a affectionate play on Bungo.

She was in fact named after a Womble.

As was Diarmuid Orinoco Gavin.

Hence their Chelsea spat - over which Womble was the best.

emmat said...

James I think that is a bit cheeky to Mazzer, however much he likes buns.

I am thinking of writing a new book to be called The Posh Person's Guide to Gardening which will feature tips on all this kind of thing culled from throughout the ages. I think it would be a great antidote to the current rash of knit-your-own loft insulation money-saving books that seem to be on the market at the moment, of which I do not approve, because there is no way any mere British amateur can ever knit something as well as a small Vietnamese child

VP said...

It's a shame James didn't take note of point 9, before shocking us all with painted heathers on the telly last Friday.

I'm still recovering.

VP said...

However, I am guilty as charged for point number 1 and have had to proceed to point number 2.

A very chuckly wuckly post Emma :)

Alex said...

What is your tip on sheds?

emmat said...

I have asked Bunny's cousin Biffy what she thinks about sheds and the Bifster emailed me back the following:
"Working in a shed, because it is a relatively small environment compared to the interior of your home, can sometimes cause people to become cramped and stiff. You absolutely must make sure in any shed that you have adequate room for stretching on the hour, preferably on a Pilates(TM) machine. Also try to fit in space for a small multigym of some well-made variety, and a running treadmill or erg rowing machine if at all possible. Some floor-to-ceiling mirrors will also help you keep good form during your exercise regime. Good luck!"
Isn't Biffy a sport?

themanicgardener said...

So helpful, I must say, from the original post right through Emma's channeling of the Bifster's advice. I'll have the old shed hauled off tomorrow, and be sure that the new one has room for whipping any servant caught walking past a patch of fungus or an unpotted bult.

The book I want, Emma, would be an introduction to the British gardening world, for us poor sods across the water.

themanicgardener said...

Oh, hell. That was "unpotted bulb," or should have been.

emmat said...

Yes, all us Brit bloggers should cooperate, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and transatlantic friendship, to produce such a book for you and all your fellow citizens of the New Country. (It would of course include instructions on how to get your plants to flower their socks off.)

themanicgardener said...

Well I should hope so. I think the Garden Monkey should write it, and James A-S should add caustic footnotes, and the rest of this merry crew could jot stuff in the margins and whatnot.

Mind you, I'm not asking for something dull and linear and sensible, one photo of gardening guru with bio and publications after another; no no, I had in mind something much more lively, complete with quotes and quizzes (even quizzes involving quotes, match-the-quote-to-the-celebrity type quizzes, or "Who is the Lord of Cord, and why?" or "Which gardening celeb has recently been compared (unfavorably) to Jeffrey Archer?" or, "What is the joke in referring to a current gardening celeb as 'La Titchmarsh'"?

You get the idea.


VP said...

I've also put this comment on over at Kate's:

I thought your quiz was great! I nearly fell off my chair laughing :D

I can also see it as a very successful book, though whether it would get past the publishers first is another matter.

Perhaps you need to dish out a question to each of us and we reply via our blogs. In fact we could give you 3 answers and you have to select which one's true! Do you have Call My Bluff (or something like it) over there?

emmat said...

I don't know the answer to this though; "which gardening celeb has been compared to J Archer?" Is it Diarmuid Gavin because he is a little bit naughty-stealy? or something?

VP said...

Emma - go forthwith to GM immediately. You'll find the answer there...

Clue - he also has a daytime TV chat show that our blogging rock appeared on recently.

themanicgardener said...

Oh my! I just stumped emmat with a gardening question! (Sort of.)

My verification word is "kisedl." Go figure.