What was the first thing you planted in your garden?
Onions. Many, many years ago, I planted them very early in the year; the soil was too cold and too wet, so my cheese and onion sandwiches ended up as just cheese. A salutary lesson – wait until the conditions are right.
Who or what inspired you to garden?
My father was one of the old school of gardeners who could grow just about anything, seemingly without really trying. Green fingers? He had chlorophyll in his veins. He loved his little garden and had a passion for night-scented stocks – and the occasional pint of Tetley’s bitter. A perfect combination.
What is your favourite plant?
Cedrus deodora is a superb drooping cedar whose soft, pale green foliage is a joy throughout the year. It’s not for a small garden; in fact, it can be a bit of a giant, but I regularly prune it to try to keep it within bounds.
What is your pet gardening/garden hate?
Slugs and/or a particularly virulent form of wort. I can’t beat the former, but I still battle to eradicate the thousands of unwanted seedlings of the latter. Another salutary lesson – don’t plant anything with the invasive tendencies of Napoleon, but if you do, make sure slugs like to eat it.
What’s your best/favourite gardening tip?
If you want to grow something, have a go. If you don’t succeed, at least you will have tried. Hopefully, you learn from your mistakes. I wish I could take my own advice. Patience may be a virtue, and it’s one I have spent year trying to discover – so far without success.