BBC coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show has been amusing us all week. Yes, it’s nice to see all those pretty flowers and hear what the experts have to say about the garden designs.
But if I’ve learned just one thing this week, it’s this: I’ll never make it as a professional gardener. And you know why?
Because I don’t speak Latin!
That’s the one attribute that separates the first-class gardener from the rest of us who are content to potter around in our compost heaps and water our herbaceous weeds from time to time. The real gardeners, such as Monty Don, Joe Swift, and the insufferable Alan Marshtit, all have behind-the-scenes teams of spade-wielding lackeys looking after things while they’re away. But when they are on screen they can throw in a Latin appellation for any plant you care to name at a moment’s notice. With this much Latin at their command, if these guys weren’t gardeners, they’d be well-qualified as potential Pope material!
I can always try though. It’s never too late to learn. So, next time you come for a tour of Waffle Gardens, you’ll probably be treated to something like this…
‘And here we have a plant that is an excellent food source for the caterpillar of many of our native butterfly species, the stinging nettle Urtica dioica. Looking fantastic at nearly 120 centimetres tall and covering nearly a quarter of an acre. Further down the rear border by the back fence we have some goosegrass Galium aparine, providing rougher texture in the garden and complementing the dandelions Taraxacum officinale, which, as we all know, can be used to make excellent dandelion coffee. Just dig up the roots and roast them for a week. Remember to wash off the ants first. Then throw the whole lot on the compost heap and have a nice cup of Camp. And finally a splash of colour from the dead nettle Lamium purpureum. A favourite with bees, this one, but not to be confused with the stinging nettle, which incidentally has now advanced another half an acre since you came through the garden gate. Actually, I’m wondering if it’s really a triffid. Better end our tour here, eh? Don’t forget to buy a souvenir guidebook on the way out. Thanks for visiting.’