Ritual humiliation of this floral fantasy

editorial image
Share this article

This week I am pleased to report that the mass-plastering of Crockett and Tubbs pictures around the greenhouse seems to have done the trick.

No more nibbled shoots. Hurrah! After four days of mice no-shows, I was inspired to replant, with, belt-and-braces, a few extra trays just in case Stuart Little shows up again.

Just as I was feeling pleased with myself, what should show up in the mail bin but the Thompson & Morgan catalogue.

Wait a minute, I hear you say. Mail bin? Isn’t that the recycling bin? The one you put all your junk mail in – ‘Free BT Broadband for 6 months’, smallprint: ‘new customers only’, ‘Are you over 50?’, and ‘Let us rip out your bath and put in a tiny one with a door in its place’ – and put out every fortnight for the bin men ... bin people? bin persons? Waste disposal co-ordinators?

Nope, in our case it is an actual, metal bin complete with bin lid with ‘mail’ crudely painted on it in white gloss (we thought ‘post’ sounded a bit snooty).

We have three dogs, including the Big Brown Dog who likes nothing better than his daily bark (think demented scrapyard guard dog on a chain) at our brilliant postie (so sorry, Sid). Any passing walkers/cyclists/workmen in hi-viz vests and motorbikers suffer the same fate.

So, for a quieter life, we accept our mail in this ‘bin’, placed over the wall on the right-hand side of the gate in an area where only our chooks roam.

If we didn’t accept our mail like this, we probably wouldn’t get any at all, due to Big Brown Barkalot scaring folk off unnecessarily.

Anyhoo, back to Thompson & Morgan. Just as I am starting to feel quite proud of my replanting, the late-afternoon emptying of the mail bin reveals the latest, full-colour brochure from Messrs T&M.

Oh, how depressing. If you love gardening, but aren’t perhaps the most green-fingered soul, you may never have found yourself on the T&M mailing list. But once you get on it, it’s a ritual humiliation about twice a year.

From front cover to back page, it is bursting with colourful, robust, plants flowering rampantly. You can’t help but ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaaah’ with every turn of the page.

If you have never seen it, imagine the flowers pictured as the equivalent of Cheryl Cole’s hair – so healthy-looking, so abundant, so vigorous ... so weirdly, well, long. But Cheryl-style hair is only possible under special conditions – in Cheryl’s case, very regular trips to the hairdresser to have those long extensions put in.

Even the fantastic displays of bedding plants, flowering beautifully in many of the gardens along the Bongate in Jethart, face stiff competition from the Fantasy Flowers in the T&M catalogue. Not that I’m saying you couldn’t achieve the results shown in the T&M catalogue.

But mere mortals like me will have to make do with ogling the gorgeous pictures knowing that they could never have blooms like that in this life. Perhaps in the next. With lots of Miraclegro, 24-hour care and Monty Don on-hand as a personal gardening advisor. Sigh.