Germination

Since mid winter is traditionally a period for armchair gardening, I have taken the opportunity during a quieter season to launch this site. I hinted in my first post at an interest in grammatical matters which arises in part from a previous career in the legal profession, where accurate written expression is key. A subsequent eight year sojourn in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s visitor information team neatly bridged a transition from law to horticulture.

Whilst much of my time was spent addressing customer relations matters, I took the opportunity of working in the world’s best known botanic garden to develop and expand my interest in gardening, conservation and the natural world. The generous co-operation of colleagues across the organisation, from the horticulture and science teams alike, meant that few days passed without learning about a new plant, conservation initiative or gardening technique.

During my last couple of years at Kew, and through a combination of distance learning and attendance at Capel Manor’s branches at Gunnersbury and Regent’s Park, I acquired the RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. So as to reinforce what I learnt on the course, for the past year I have volunteered on Fridays in the historic gardens at the National Trust’s Osterley House. This experience has been a source of inspiration for much of what I would like to share in these posts.

As well as writing about gardening, I am planning to develop a ‘light’ gardening business, and hope to be able to document its progress in these virtual pages. Whilst I shall not be operating a hard landscaping or design business, I shall provide a service for busy working clients or those for whom gardening has become more difficult with the passing years. I can clear small town gardens of weeds, prune shrubs and design and maintain planting schemes for containers and individual flower beds.

In the next post I report upon an early November day at Osterley and trace the West London origins of ‘Miss Willmott’s Ghost’.

From words to weeds

Punctuation and horticulture might not appear to be obvious bedfellows, but when ruminating on an identity for this blog and a fledgling gardening business, I plundered the title of Lynne Truss’s entertaining book, ‘Eats Shoots and Leaves’. Rather than skewering modern grammar, I aim to share some thoughts and observations on gardens, gardening and gardeners.

Pedantry and punctuation have led me to ‘Weeds Roots & Leaves’, though the inclusion or otherwise of ┬ácommas remains debatable. In the punchline of the joke which inspired Ms Truss’s book title, the inclusion of a comma changes the sense of the phrase entirely, as it would in mine, though to less comic effect.

My original working title, ‘The Pedantic Gardener’, scored poorly when suggested to friends, although I enjoyed creating the proposed copy: ‘If your flower beds are punctuated with weeds and your shrubs need editing, you need the Pedantic Gardener. I can help you compose an elegant garden…’ and so on in similarly pun-laden prose.

I rejected the draft tagline ‘Tall tales from a small garden’ on the grounds it was a little prosaic, in favour of ‘Small tales from a tall gardener’ so as to reflect the modest nature of the blog content and the height of the author.

In my next post I shall explain how I came to write this blog and my purpose in doing so.