Our Grumpy Gardener and Hunter Gatherers

The Grumpy Gardener – September
Hints & Tips With Mike Alexander
In his regular column for French News Online, professional gardener Mike Alexander warns against predatory hunter gatherers out and about in his September garden.

Blooms on the whole look better in the garden

The flower arranger as predatory hunter gatherer

One of my clients has had a visitor to stay recently. She appeared at first to be very charming and kind but I soon realised that she was really a flower arranger. Flower arrangers have an ambiguous relationship with gardeners.

We gardeners you see regard flowers as something to be carefully cultivated and nurtured, arrangers see them as prey waiting to be beheaded and displayed in much the same way that hunters hang their trophies on their study wall.

Mrs. Bloomstealer
This visitor — shall we just call her Mrs. Bloomstealer? — would sneak into my lovingly tended garden during the small hours of the morning covertly carrying a pair of secateurs. By the time I arrived it was too late and I was left trying to divine the cause of a sudden inexplicable loss of bloom in various patches across the garden.

Try to dissuade the hunter gather flower arranger from being a predator

When I realised who the culprit was and confronted her, Mrs. Bloomstealer came up with not only an elaborate series of alibis but also suggested the blame might lie with various unusual garden pests and even the clients’ little dog, all this while sitting in a room perfumed with flowers that looked remarkably like the ones we had been discussing.

I am not totally against the concept of placing flowers in the house as long as there has been some consideration given to where they will be removed from. Many plants actually benefit from having some of their blooms removed, responding with an even more abundant production. Another option is to set aside areas as cutting beds specifically for producing flowers for the house and here in France it is common to have a row or two in the vegetable garden for just this purpose.

A final word of warning. Flower arrangers are hunter gatherers and as such it is instinctive for them to cut flowers from where ever they see them. Even if your garden contains dedicated cutting beds or borders, the truely addicted flower arranger will easily succumb to an uncontrollable urge to remove plants from other areas which you are trying to protect. Flower arrangers need constant watching and need to be deterred from any unsupervised carrying of sharp implements into the garden!

And if words don’t work send them here

Previously – click an image below
To read February's gardening tips article - click this image
Is a world without bees possible? Read about this crisis that will affect us all - click here
Prune for Results
A World Without Bees?
What you should have done in January!
Prune your roses - click here
Fruit Tree Pruning
Wars of the Roses
Grumpy Gardener April - It's War Out There. Click to view
Click to read this article
Prune When Finished
Herald of Spring…
click to read Grumpy's july  tips
You’ve got to be quick!
Un-thirsty Lavender
To read this August 2011 article - click here
To read this August 2011 article - click here
Grasp the Nettle
Star Jasmine – Madrid
To read this August 2011 article - click here
To read this August 2011 article - click here
Jihad – on Bunnies Ears
Autumn Arrives
Designer chic or neccessity? - click here for full story
To read this article - click here
Designer Chic?
Gravity – not to be ignored!
If winter comes, can Spring be far behind? Grumpy contemplates the winter garden
If winter comes, can Spring be far behind? Grumpy contemplates the winter garden
If Winter Comes….
Hottest chilli in the world
Dogs and Daffodils... full story - click this image
The iris and Madame la Guillotine... full story - click this image
Dog Days…
Fleur de Lys
Hedge You Bets - how do YOU like your hedges... full story - click this image
To read a previous article
– click an image –
Hedge Your Bets

Grumpy Gardener

Our Grumpy Gardener has been gardening professionally in France for more years than he cares to remember and before that in Africa and the UK. Today he happily shares his expertise with French News Online readers. Your gardening questions are welcome and while they may not be individually answered, they may form the basis of future monthly columns.

Article: Mike Alexander

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