Gardens Ablaze

A Gardening Blether
Monthly Column by Patrick Vickery
September, 2002


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An Inanimate Object Blether

"What size of shoe do you take?"
"A shoe the size of my feet."

Well I didn't expect that sort of answer, of course, a bit off-beam if you ask me, given to me by a child actually, quite logical of course, perfectly correct, but still unexpected.

On this note, have you ever had one of those days when things go a bit off-beam yourself? I'm sure you have. Haven't we all? The sort of day when an inanimate object hits you square in the face for no apparent reason.  Or a stupid day - a day when you do stupid things? I had a stupid day recently.

Very painful it was too.

I was ambling along the pavement and admiring the shrubs in the park (Buddleia, Jasmine, Philadelphus, that sort of thing) when a lamp post hit me on the side of the head. Not really the sort of thing that you expect to happen, is it, and very similar, in fact, to an incident a number of years ago involving a young lady called Cassandra:  'The Cassandra Incident'.

Cassandra was sauntering along the roadside verge without a care in the world - just like me - when she was hit full in the face by a road sign, dented it too, and even now, years later, the imprint of her face (main features only - nose, chin and forehead) are clearly visible beneath the words 'Please Give Way To On-Coming Traffic'.  For some reason she didn't see it, you see, and this despite the fact that she was looking straight ahead at the time. Now there's a mystery for you.  And what do you say after witnessing an incident like that? 'Are you alright' is a bit lame, a bit weak, isn't it, particularly when the poor woman is holding her face and making such horrible moaning noises. Or do you say nothing and pretend not to notice? Now there's a dilemma.  I said nothing at the time, of course, because I didn't want to embarrass her.  Sometimes it's best to turn a blind eye, isn't it, so I admired the wild poppies in the field opposite and pretended not to notice anything untoward as she lay dazed and horizontal on the grass beside me. (In hindsight though - if I recall correctly - this was an error of judgment for she was not best pleased, no, not best pleased at all).

But anyway, the final outcome to this saga was simply a matter of dented pride, dented road sign and no lasting physical injuries to speak of. To this day, however, I can still hear the sound of Cassandra on Road Sign as she connected with metal - a ringing, tinging sort of noise.

The lamp post and the road sign incident were accidental of course, but sometimes this is not the case. Have you ever been tempted to stand on a garden rake that's lying 'wrong-side' up on the lawn, I wonder?

Well of course you have. Who hasn't?

You know that you shouldn't, of course, you know what will happen if you do - it's inevitable, isn't it? -  but you stand on it anyway, just a bit, just enough to get the handle rising slowly off the ground, then wallop, it hits you full in the face before you can say 'Jack Robinson', 'Gordon Bennet' or whatever your colloquial phrase might be.  Very painful. Do it once and never do it again.

But no matter what dangers lurk out there in the garden (and who invented the garden shredder for heaven's sake!) we still opt to pursue such a satisfying pastime with obsessive zeal.

So how about life without gardening?

Would that be a good idea? Cut down on some of the risks associated with life in general?

No, that's unthinkable, isn't it? Give me a bit of risk and stupidity any day. After all, isn't that what life's all about?

(Copyright: Patrick Vickery)


A Tomato Blether - January, 2002

A Tree Blether - February, 2002

A Hare Blether - March, 2002

A Surreal Blether - April, 2002

A Slug Blether - May, 2002

A Goat Blether - June, 2002

A Half-Man, Half-Garden Blether - July, 2002

A Blaze Blether - August, 2002

A Notable Quotable Blether - October, 2002

A Plant Blether - November, 2002

A Compost Blether - December, 2002

A Copper Beech Blether (or a chainsaw pruning!) - January, 2003

A Heron Blether - February, 2003

A Bergenia Blether - March, 2003

A Rose Blether - April, 2003

A Critter Blether - August, 2003

Blether Home


Patrick Vickery is a garden writer who lives in the Scottish Highlands.  He runs a small perennial plant nursery and has one book published to date: 'In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden' (Capall Bann Publishers. ISBN: 186163 1480), a 'How To' book about the propagation of hardy perennial plants in an environmentally friendly way, and how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways for both expert and gardening enthusiasts alike - at minimum cost and in an innovative and exciting way.  And - of course - how to sell the plants you grow (should you wish to) to raise money (not a fortune) for yourself or a particular charity or cause. 


Patrick is married with three children, lives in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world, uses a raised bed system of propagation and has two dogs, a cat and two goats. His second book - 'Gardening Tales - Blethers and Grunts' - a collection of anecdotal tales concentrating on the more humorous side of gardening (particularly the things that go wrong!) has recently been completed.


Patrick's book can be bought from an absolutely fascinating website full of gardening, herbal, mystical, and magical books that one would never find anywhere else.  The address is

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