Amusing moments were the Catchphrase man taking the mick out of our publisher, who is about 30 but looks much younger. RW did the ‘better present this one quickly cos he’s due back at school in the morning etc’. Publisher accused me of setting up. RW was kind enough to say he liked my speech. Secret GC didn’t show. Walker said they were probably at a mason’s meeting. I took some camera phone pics of partying/cavorting at the end of the night but can’t work out who the people are. I was seated between Michael Perry (below) and Ian Riggs. This pic below is from after dinner as T&M won best new plant for Digitalis ‘Illumination’. Don’t think I’ve ever mentioned a plant on here before.
2. Prince Harry hits Chelsea Flower Show, notes Richard Kay in Mail on 9 Nov. Hort Week had noted the same on 26 October (last month). RHS has an event at the Connaught in Mayfair on 29 November to launch this and the other gardens at Chelsea, with Alan Titchmarsh talking about what Chelsea means to him. RHS historian Brent Elliott will give a centenary history. Alex Denman and James Alexander-Sinclair will say what we can look forward to at the show. The Garden Media Guild has tied in to promote its awards that afternoon, at the nearby Marriott in Grosvenor Square. I entered the first story on ash dieback hitting GB for these awards. GMG is offering a free ‘goody bag’ with chocolate, toiletries, seeds and a copy of the English Garden magazine. Event is described as gardening ‘Oscars’. I will be there with Westland Horticulture.
3. This by me on wild bird food was in Guardian.
I actually wrote it a year ago. Probably should have added that many elderly folk feed the birds for company. Cost of bird seed – or a need to feed them in the winter – is a minor consideration.
4. At National Trust’s Morden Hall, Wesley Kerr, Sir Simon Jenkins and Ed Davey cut the ribbon on the £1m Archimedes screw. It’s a grand piece of engineering and will help make the park energy self-sufficient. Not open to the public. My boy, who likes such things, will have to go on a guided tour. WK called it a “prodigious and Promethean project”. Davey got a bit of stick about windfarms after this. Jenkins said he didn’t know too much about the thing.
Davey said he favoured lots of offshore windfarms and that hydro energy was great too. Managed to snaffle some NT gluten-free cakes for the journey north after. Not often you get much cheap in a NT café.
6. Ash dieback refuses to die in the press. Back in June, it was just another tree disease. Then I wrote about it. And it remained just another tree disease, only a few more people knew about it. Now it’s the hort story of the year. And to think. I was first to let the public know. I called every tree expert I knew back in June. Not many knew much about ash dieback. Bet they all do now. There’s more on Sunday 11 Nov probably in Mail on Sunday.
7. In Cumbria last weekend. Snow on fells. Set off fireworks in the garden. Met arb-uk.co.uk’s Andy Hancock in Ambleside. He’s anti-arb cowboys.
8. From Patrick Vickery: “PS: reading “A View From the Foothills, The diaries of Chris Mullin”, just now. His writing style and realism is full of humour – for some reason reminded me of your blog.” Ahh.
9. Patrick adds: “On a different note, just done a piece about the Donald Trump Golf Course development in Aberdeen. Not sure if the paper (Press and Journal) will publish it. There is a film called “You’ve been Trumped” – was on BBC2 recently. A good one to see if you get the opportunity – it’s also highly watchable. The contents may yet dominate the Scottish political landscape over the next 18 months (and hopefully even take precedence over the Independence debate. I hope so). A modern day tale of greed and corruption. The golf course even lies within a certain well-known politician’s constituency!”
10. Celebs are taking over as garden columnists. Titchmarsh does the Express and Monty Don (who is on the verge of signing a new 2 year contract with the BBC for Gardeners’ World – you heard it here first), the Mail. Monty used to be in the Observer but the Mail has a wider readership and is known for paying most. Diarmuid is at the Daily Mirror on a Saturday having taken over from the less well known Pippa Greenwood last year. Carol Klein replaced Adrienne Wild last weekend as the gardening writer for the Sunday Mirror. Also at Trinity Mirror, TV gardener David Domoney took over from Steve Riches at the Sunday People last month. I was writing something for thinkingardens on garden columnists but they want me to have a go at celebs and differentiate between different types of garden columnists. They’re all v similar I reckon.
11. I quite liked Martyn Cox’s piece in latest Plantlife mag. He asks garden celebs for their fave hedgeplant. Alan Titchmarsh: sweet briar; Carol Klein: honeysuckle; Chris Beardshaw: sloe; James Wong: elder; Roy Lancaster: beech, Matthew Wilson: old man’s beard; Chris Packham; white bryony; Cleve West: yew.