Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gardening on air #2: Not a lot of people know this but...

Quotes from the priceless interview with Michael Caine for the Christmas edition of Desert Island Discs, which I've only just got around to listening to (we recorded it, so apologies to those of you for whom this is old news):

"I bought a mill house at Windsor which had a private gate on to Windsor racetrack. It was funny because I had about five or six acres there right on the edge of the Thames, and the Queen had the right to go through a gate and the path at the back of my garden. And so it was quite extraordinary, one day I'd be gardening and I'd look up and the Queen would go by in a Range Rover. She just waved."

"I took [my mother] to Beverley Hills for the first time. It was in the middle of winter here, like January, and of course in Beverley Hills all the flowers were out. We were driving through it talking and I said, looking out of the window, ‘What do you think of it, Mum?’ And she said, ‘Oh, it’s lovely, all that hysteria growing up the walls.'"

I shall never think of climbing wisteria in quite the same way again. Unfortunately you can't listen to the programme again (copyright restrictions or some such) but you can take a look at his esoteric music choices - most of them, I'm convinced, chosen by his teenagers as a wind-up for Kirsty Lang - here.


La Petite Gallery said...

Hello, I am a new fan.
I can't believe you saw the QUEEN so close. My! that is fantastic.
I have been to London and seen the palace guards that's all
the thrill I had, Fun!

VP said...

Our mate Steve came up with a similar joke when I mentioned the word Wisteria and we've spent the last 26 years pulling his leg that that's the only spontaneous joke he's been able to come up with!

Keith Wiley spoke at Bath Uni Gardening Club last night. It was wonderful. He's growing a walk of free growing Wisterias at Wildside :)

The Constant Gardener said...

Not me LPG but Sir Michael Caine! More eminent in every possible way. In fact both these quotes should be read with a cockney accent, if that's possible.

VP - Keith Wiley is just amazing, you're so lucky to have heard him speak. I'm not so sure about free growing hysteria - would like to see that - but I do love to see them scrambling up naturally into very big trees. Sadly you need several acres (and some very healthy trees) to be able to do this successfully but a house will do for the rest of us.

Plant Mad Nige said...

How like Keith Wiley, to come up with something so original and interesting. I've been a fan of the free-standing Hysteria for years. I cultivate two - a white and a pink - and seem able to maintain their shapes with minimal summer pruning.

I think the later-blooming Japanese kinds are better for this treament. The racemes are longer and are at their dangling best as the leaves are emerging. Lovely!

Should I put a piccy of mine on my blog?????

The Constant Gardener said...

I think that's now compulsory after that intriguing glimpse Nigel! along with an explanation of how they grow when they don't have anything to support themselves with please - natural trunk? artfully messy tangle?

VP said...

You need a stout stake whilst getting them established, prune in the usual way, and let them grow all lovely and gnarled.

The GQT question I asked in 2003was on this very topic. John Cushnie gently ribbed me for attempting such a long term project, though Bob Flowerdew and Anne Swithinbank were more enthusiastic.

Sadly my Hysteria died the year after just as it was beginning to get an interesting shape :(

Keith Wiley waxed lyrical about walking inderneath all those racemes. But then he waxed lyrical about everything!

So Nigel, we definitely need a picture of yours please! :)

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