What a fantastic day Sunday was for gardeners. I couldn’t believe it when I woke up to sunshine, and then realized that it was also warm. I got a huge amount of work done and the garden looks the better for it. A top tip – an instant way to make the garden look tidier is to mow the grass and edge the lawn. You can buy a special sort of half-moon tool designed specifically for the job or just use a spade as I do. This gives definition and demarcates the beds and lawn. Put the turves face down on the compost heap and they will rot down nicely.
The other day someone (she knows who she is) asked me what sort of chocolate I liked. Having a very unsophisticated and greedy palate I immediately said, ‘oh Galaxy, I love it’. My friend looked quizzically at me and asked, ‘but don’t you like dark?’ – which I do, but not that nearly totally cocoa kind that tastes bitter. Her point was that choice of chocs is another class indicator; the darker the smarter, milk choc for plebs and white chocolate is so beyond the pale as not to register. We like to think that, unlike Britain, we are not at all class bound and have a lovely fluid mobile society. Well my eye to that, we are riddled with subtle class indicators. Little things like talk of ‘serviettes’ placing coasters on the table will elicit knowing looks between those who think they are a cut above that sort of thing. The funny thing is, of course, that the only people who obsess about class and all the little rules and potential social elephant traps are the poor bourgeoisie. Always the butt of the joke, the middle class are slagged and despised by those lower down the social scale, while looked on with amusement by genuine toffs who laugh at our Hyacinth Bucket foibles. I have met aristos who happily go to the toilet, drink instant coffee and shop in Aldi without a care in the world. Being bred in the bone U gives them the confidence not to give a damn about social convention. My friend and I always joke about using the’ rear view looking glass’ when in the car – mirror was considered unspeakably common until very recently. Anyway the point of all this is that snobbishness and weird conventions also apply to gardens. Here is a list of what is vulgar and what is not – as always the list is not set in stone. Once something becomes common currency and is adopted by the masses it instantly loses its cache and becomes vulgar. Also do note that I am common as muck and have love lots of the infra dig things I list as non-U.
p.s. Never, ever say something is ‘classy’ – terribly common!
Below the Salt
Top of the Table
|Standard box lollipops (usually seen each side of the hall door looking windswept)||Box bowls, cubes and obelisks|
|Red hot pokers, big red and orange Kniphofia||Rare choice small Kniphofiae in delicate creams and yellows.|
|Tying spent daffodil foliage in tidy knots||Allowing daffodils to rot down naturally and messily amongst emerging plants|
|Plastic garden furniture, especially white||Rusty cast iron garden furniture|
|Loud summer bedding in serried rows||Drifts of self-seeding annuals|
|Japanese cherry trees||Magnolia wilsonii – preferably grown from seed collected on plant hunting trip to China|
|Fishing gnomes||18th century marble statue of Flora|
|Hybrid Tea roses||Old English shrub roses|
|Alan Titchmarsh||Dan Pearson|
|PVC greenhouses||Cedar greenhouses|
|Yellow and green variegated leaves||Cream or silver and green variegated leaves|
|Lobelia and alyssum||Omphaloides and Brunnera Jack Frost|
|Luminous coloured heuchera||Tiarella cordifolia|
|Jolly yellow trumpets of daffodils||Pheasants eye and paper whites|