Friday, 31 October 2008


In more irrelevant news passing through the Baklava front desk this morning, some hedge-funded ladies reveal just how they balance up monetary concerns with deeper more long-lasting values like family. 

"She COPIED ME!": I seem to remember last having that argument with my sister, hmmm, when I was about seven. Luckily the American courts saw fit to try this case as a serious legal matter, rather than yelling "Well you can both go to your room until you sort this out, because I'm sick of both of you." 

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


I know this isn't about gardening, but it's the best piece of scientific research I've read about ALL year! 

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Introducing Celebrity Samurai Guest Blogger, Frank Ronin

Why hello regular Baklava readers, I'm going to be standing in for a few days as Emma is a little bit too can't-be-arsed.

Sometimes I find myself standing, silent, in the garden, I do, saying to myself "Frank, what on earth is that swishing noise?". Turns out of course it's the sound of a samurai sword, gently, tumblingly, making its way through the artichoke patch. 

Gardeners often talk about their preference for certain tools, but I can assure you a samurai sword is like having Felcos, long-handled pruners and a Flymo rolled into one. There's simply no substitute. 

But it's not easy to learn to use the samurai sword in the garden. It's a subtle weapon, and must be used with great thought. Mastering it means applying yourself to the ultimate discipline: the way of the warrior. You must transcend your own limitations. Only then is the circle completed. 

I probably most of all recommend it this time of year for a spot of hacking back the yew hedge. This is a job which must be done, of course, as autumn presses ever onward. I can also use it skilfully to carve a suitable tulip-sized hole, then toss a bulb in from the clever Japanese-style storage on my back, obviating the need to bend down. 

And if anyone's gardening opinions ever really annoy me, I can just hack them to bits and bury them under a new patio or other outdoor seating area. Say, if someone were to repeatedly go on, and on, and on about how much they didn't understand why anyone read my column? Oopsidaisy, swish slash and there you go. 

Anyway I'll be back again soon with more of my winsome gardening thoughts. Ta-ra! 

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Bit mournful here as my grandma's brother died in hospital overnight. He was 93, very jolly, and will be sadly missed. 

But here's one to cheer almost everyone up. Remember the pups? Yup this is the one my mum and my brother kept, in his latest portrait, by mon frère Joe T. 

He's called Cash after Johnny. They now have Cash and Bo, so my god she can start herself a Mississippi spaniel blues band in a minute. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Our much-beloved leader in bloggage, Sir James Alexander-Sinclair, has distinguished himself today by posting pictures of his first window box to the BBC GW site. I don't know why he would throw himself into the eye of the storm in this way as I am convinced he will now receive two hundred (at least) mean emails going on about his winter pansies. Well, I've definitely written one.

He also reveals his early love of  nasturtiums. In fact he's posted a whole set of his nasturtium photos to Flickr for us to peruse in more detail. Now not many people go on about nasturtiums, but I agree with the Hat: they are the best. Scorching colour and such beautiful leaves that mostly I don't even care when they get a bit soggy and don't flower. They go in my salads in summer, but even just post-prandially that orangey tang along the edge of a flowerbed will always make me happy. 

However my most important finding after ten minutes on James' Flickr is that I LOVE CORRUGATED IRON PAINTED WHITE. I just got emailed by a publisher today about a book about corrugated iron and I said I wasn't interested. WHAT AN IDIOT! IT'S AMAZING!

Put me down for ten sheets and a tin of quick dry primer, will you?

Friday, 10 October 2008


As some of you may know, I don't have a cat of my own. But here, pleasant readers, is my tribute to my very special relationship with the cat who lives just next door to me:

My neighbour’s freaky cat
My neighbour’s freaky cat
He looks about a hundred years old
His coat is warm but his gaze is cold
My neighbour’s evil cat

My neighbour’s evil cat
My neighbour’s evil cat
His miaow sounds like an old man's spit
He can actually sh*t inside my bag of grit
My neighbour’s devious cat

My neighbour’s devious cat
My neighbour’s devious cat
He looks at you with an evil eye
He bullies other cats till they won’t go outside
My neighbour’s frigging cat

My neighbour's frigging cat
my neighbour's frigging cat
He likes to sit in the windowbox
I hope he gets mange or some other pox
my neighbour's top dog cat

My neighbour’s top dog cat
My neighbour’s top dog cat
he eats up birds and frogs and has fleas
he's very, very Siamese
My neighbour’s devious, freaky, evil, totally horrible cat.

i hope you enjoyed my contribution to Happy Mouffetard's special LAPCPADPOUB day

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


So they fiiinnnnaaallllyyy fixed the broadband!

However circumstances being what they have been this week, it was hardly uppermost in my mind. My emails with other garden bloggers have not generally tended to concern financial matters, but in the last few days it's been difficult not to fret at least a bit to friends. 

Anyway, especially given la crise financière, I was sorting through my photos trying to find one that would make y'all smile. 

This is from the week I spent in France in mid-September. I meant to go to all the Niçoise gardens like La Mortola and was of course much too lazy. (Feel free to tell me I made a terrible mistake.) 

But we found this sign on an evening coastal walk around the Cap D'Antibes. And can I just say to the French, who had more Agaves in bloom than I've ever seen anywhere else: I do respect your coastal flora, I really do. 

We were also terribly, terribly nosy and had to have a quick peep over the wall at Roman Abramovich's. I don't know whether he was in or not, but what I can tell you: he has absolutely TO-DIE-FOR garden lighting. Really. 

For a moment in the spirit of James, I am listening to a lovely Bach cantata, number 93.