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I often participate in fun dog shows in aid of charitable causes.
Stalls are sometimes set up nearby, selling items such as local produce – jams, cakes and plants.

A few weeks ago I was at one such canine event in the Fenland area of East Anglia. From this rural region, I was anticipating lots of lovely items on sale – top quality produce from organic gardens and country kitchens.

A woman was waiting behind her stall of tempting items. I bought a perennial fuchsia for myself and a jar of jam for my friend – rhubarb and ginger preserve, I think. Sadly my friend discovered that the jam was totally mouldy and inedible. However, the fuchsia is excellent. I’ve not grown that type before. We joked that this stall holder should be kept well away from her kitchen, and stay firmly with gardening, which was her obvious talent !

That led me to think about how we acquire favourite plants – by accident or in ways which are unusual or amusing. Some years ago I stopped at a church fete sale – just an impromptu visit – and what a miracle – I found Penstemon heavenly blue ! I hadn’t previously seen any type of penstemon. It was love at first sight, and today I still have its descendants in my gardens.

When I moved into my current house, one neighbour got into the habit of copying whatever plant I bought -

‘Now you see it in my garden, now you see it in hers’

I was philosophical about this – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – but I did start to have fun by obtaining one or two less common plants, which would be a little harder for her to find – such as the climber, Pileostegia viburnoides, which is now another of my favourites. (She hasn’t found one of these yet – sshhhhhhh)

For some of us, it is by accident that we gain plants we love. My gardens are blessed with antirrhinum (snapdragons) – presumably brought in as seeds by birds – their reciprocal thank you gifts for all the peanuts I provide for their eager beaks.

I have a small type of lilac which I can’t name right now. I’d admired the tree every time I walked past it on the way to the supermarket. One day I plucked up courage to knock on the stranger’s door and ask for cuttings. This has resulted in two beautiful bushes from the parent tree.

There is a saying: ’ To keep a plant, the best answer is to give it away ‘. In other words, give a friend seeds or a cutting, and then if you lose your original plant, your friend will return the favour, and you’ll have your plant’s offspring back again.

I have aubrieta in my garden which originally came from the garden of the house where I was born. Okay, it’s the basic purple type, but this brightens the rockery and, for me, is associated with happy childhood memories.

There’s an area outside my back fence, which abuts a footpath. It isn’t my ground, but I’ve made it into an attractive flower border, admired by many passers-by. ( In fact, so appreciated by one mystery pedestrian that two hydrangeas went missing…. If he or she had asked me instead of thieving, I would have glady handed over some cuttings ! )

The aforementioned plot is west-facing, of which aspect I have little in my own gardens. I plant spares out there, or plants I don’t like very much. But I have to laugh at myself when plants I’ve in effect rejected, have then blossomed on this west-facing border, and I’ve fallen in love with them, and ‘stolen’ them back into my own garden !

I wonder if any GoY members have stories of amusing or unusual ways in which they have acquired plants. I would be delighted to know.

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Iv been given back a Wonderful Memory of my Dear Dad who sadly passed away 15yrs ago,It was something id totaly forgotten & without GOY id of never Remembered either,That 2 came from a Plant being Given2Me By A GOY Member "Janette" She posted me some lovely Baby plants back in May/Jun time this yr &it was the ASTER that gave me the Wondeful Memorys of my fathers Own Garden,I was a Young girl & he always had Asters of all the colours u could mention in his front Flower Boarders & his lawn was so PERFECT& SQARE which really did set the Scene :)

26 Aug, 2008


When we moved here, into what is really a hamlet, I was delighted to find a small Nursery just up the lane. The two owners have since decided to retire, sadly, but it's great to have someone so close who is very knowledgeable about plants! You obviously well know what gardeners are like - we love to share spare plants/cuttings etc, don't we - and each time I go round for a chat I get given a pot or two to bring home! Usually, they won't hear of accepting any payment so I try to give my friend bits of plants that she has seen in my garden, or a tray full of excess seedlings. She is the person who has given me the interest I have in tiny shade-loving flowers - the Anemone nemorosa and Geraniums like 'Beth Chatto' that came home with me and are growing happily under the shrubs. What a pleasure it is to go round her garden (though it needs some work, sadly) and just talk plants! By the way, what a great idea you had to brighten up the lives of the passers by. What a shame somebody abused your trust.

26 Aug, 2008


Yes, Spritzhenry. The stolen hydrangeas were both taken when they were bursting with pink flowers.(Dug up, so therefore a premeditated action)

I had grown them from cuttings so they were my 'babies'.
Now, in that west-facing border I don't plant anything too
enticing. I stick with lavenders, hebes, etc.

That's a lovely story of exchanging plants and seedlings with your friend. And great that she's inspired you to learn more about tiny shade-loving flowers. There are certain plants in my garden which, when I admire them, remind me of special people. It seems that this is the same for you.

Jacque isn't it great that the pretty Asters, do the same for you, evoking memories of your dear Dad and his perfectly square lawn. Thanks for posting, both of you.

26 Aug, 2008


There were beautiful gardens at the college I went to. On my window sill in the halls of residence I had yogart pots full of cuttings to take back home in the holidays! Some survived, some didn't, but I still have quite a few plants that originate from those gardens - including my penstemons, giant scotch thistle, Asphodeline, a hardy geranium and my treasured Euphorbia carassias subsp. wulfenei, which I brought back as a tiny seedling. They all bring back happy memories and memories of hard work, good friends and fun times. Thanks for this blog :-)

26 Aug, 2008


I used to work at one of the Cambridge colleges. My duties included giving out the student grants. That was fun!

I recall the beautiful gardens. The head gardener had previously been in charge of the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge, so that gives you an idea of the types of planting.

Sid, that's good to know your treasured Euphorbia fared so well, and is one of numerous survivors with which you associate so many happy memories.

I'm receiving some very interesting replies to this blog, and I'm hoping there will be lots more !

26 Aug, 2008


In my garden in Hungary I've got a number of plants from different countries that I have visited, and most of them were from friends either from their gardens or given to me as a gift either as a plant or seeds depending on whether we were driving home or fllying. Therefore the plants in my garden give me memories of special people and the places where they live. I have Asters and Zinnias from a friend in Ukraine,.A Diplodenia, a lot of Primulas, some Hibiscus shrubs, a Rhus tree, and tulips from Romania. I have a climbing Rose and a raspberry from Serbia and a selection of bulbs bought in Slovakia. I've also got pretty decorated plant pots from Romania and various garden ornaments from different places too. I'm growing a tree from seeds brought back from Armenia, and a selection of perennials from my sisters garden in England (Just to remind me of home). I guess Ive got an international garden and whenever I look at the plants I think of the people who gave them and the country they live in, and feel very blessed and priviledged to have such lovely friends and have visited so many lovely places.

26 Aug, 2008


Wow, Chrispook, what an amazing response. You have a truly worldwide collection with so many memories and associations with friends and far-flung places!

I'm sure there are times when you're homesick for England.
I hope the perennials from your sister's home give you happy thoughts of the UK. Thanks for such an interesting answer.

26 Aug, 2008


Oh the famous Pilostegia virbinodes takes me back.Found it at the back of a neglected garden centre corner labelled hydrangea which of course it isnt - so planted it as such and couldnt understand why it was spreading through everything.

No idea it was a climber till Andrewr pointed me in right direction.This the most fantastic ground cover has spread horizontally through everything and is ideal for growing up through scruffy split conifers.

26 Aug, 2008


It seems the poor Pileostegia suffers globally from being misunderstood ! I bought mine from one of the top garden centres in the UK and it is definitely described in the catalogue as a 'SLOW-GROWING CLIMBER'. Then later I was able to check it in an RHS book which labelled it as a 'VIGOROUS PLANT' !!!

My experience is that Pileostegia viburnoides starts off very slowly. Then after about 3 years, it really gets going, and, as you say, Bonkersbon, spreads amongst scruffy trees and bushes. I've got several such scruffy areas in my garden, so the Pileostegia plants are very welcome to romp through as much as they wish.

Thanks for your input to my blog. Quite a giggle - your trying to treat your Pileostegia as a hydrangea. You maybe thought it was a new and rare variety which you'd reveal for the first time at Chelsea. LOL

27 Aug, 2008


I used to work in Swansea and one day I'd been up to the town in my lunch break when on my way back I saw a formium lying on the pavement. Some yobs had uprooted it from a roadside flowerbed and just thrown it there. Well I rescued it and it now grows in a large pot in my garden. It was only small when I found it but it's grown big now.

I also have an Aspidistra that belonged to my great grandmother. of course not the same leaves but it's a continuation of the same plant. I've put a photo of it on GOY a while ago.

All the best, Hywel.

27 Aug, 2008


I like your stories, Hywel.

It's wonderful that the formium happily grew tall for you after its rescue from the roadside. Have you put a photo of that one on GoY?

So how old is the Aspidistra? I'll try to find its photo on your pages later. I bet your grandmother would be absolutely delighted that you've looked after her plant so lovingly.

Thanks for your memories. best wishes, Terratoonie.

27 Aug, 2008


Hey, I've just realised.
It's phormium, not formium. lol

I kept thinking it didn't look right.

A lovely plant however you spell it. LOL

27 Aug, 2008


It was my 60th. birthday last April and my sons travelled from chesterfield in england as a surprise visit. my oldest lad brought me a dragon fruit to try. I,d never seen one before in fact i never heard of them. on opening it i noticed lots of tiny seeds mixed in with the flesh. being the kind of person that will try to grow anything i put a small amount of the flesh on some tissue to dry it off..afew days later i put the seeds into a seed tray, not really expecting them to grow. they germinated within days and now i have about a dozen small plants. they are a type of cacti and are growing quite well

27 Aug, 2008


This spring Mark and I passed what started as a beautiful display of orchids outside the front door at our local market and as the days passed and the rains continued they started to drown in the trays even tho I would empty them every time we left the market. One day I decided that I was going to rescue a couple of them, the cashier said to take the dead thing she didn't I did...I brought them home and we took them out of their pots and trimmed all the dead roots from them and left tehm to dry a bit...well I forgot about them for a week and thought oops they are dead for sure now but we repotted them in the mixture we use for the crocosmia and they have bloomed for us beautifully and are putting out baby shoots too. So we have 2 orchids with no names to add to our collection of conservatory plants many that came with me from the states when I moved here.

27 Aug, 2008


I thought it didn't look right when I wrote it. LOL. My spelling isn't very good.

27 Aug, 2008


Hi Terra! Well, I can't thiink right now of any unusual ways I have acquired plants, other than the many marvellous sugggestions from GOY members for "themed" plants for our WoZ garden! My favourite right now is the lobelia cardinalis "Ruby Slippers", which is the one that got me up and running on GOY in the first place! Guess what? After more than an year, the 3 plants I got are finally flowering - will post a pic soon. Great blog, Terra, and I note the short paragraphs, heehee (if anyone wonders what this is about, Terra has become my "official" blog proof-reader/editor, and sends me messages asking me to make my paragraphs shorter! I do try to oblige - reminds me that I have to go back and look at another one "what I wrote earlier". Oh dear, this is just one great long paragraph, lol! Many thanks again, Terra!

27 Aug, 2008


Oh TT you not seen my views on Chelsea - dont get me started not enough paragraphs.

28 Aug, 2008


Islander, that's a very interesting story of how your 60th birthday resulted in the realisation you can grow baby dragon fruits. I hope you'll be putting photos of these on your page, so that we can all watch them grow.

I've just looked up Dragon Fruit in Wikipedia: A pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species of the genus Hylocereus
(sweet pitayas) also known as Dragon Fruit.

Wow, I'm learning LOTS of fascinating things through GOY !

28 Aug, 2008


Mrs crocosmia, that's an unusual way to acquire two no-name orchids ! You really do rescue EVERYTHING - dogs, cats, plants - have I forgotten anything? I'm sure you'll post here and tell me if I have !

It's good to know the orchids are putting out baby shoots. This could become a whole new specialist subject for you !
I have the same request to you, as I asked Islander: please put photos on your page, so everyone at GOY can follow the little shoots' progress as they develop.

Thanks for providing this interesting story, and for telling it in such an entertaining and descriptive style. I loved it.

28 Aug, 2008


the way you acquired your plants is sort of remarkable, in that getting ideas and suggestions from GOY would have been totally unbelievable a few decades ago, before the advent of the internet !

In your garden at the moment, it seems like your Ruby Slippers are really walking away with first prize. I hope you enjoy them, just don't WEAR them. When I go outside and start weeding or pruning, I sometimes find I still have my slippers on. lol

Don't start me on that ... I'm collecting garden footwear photos on my home page favourites. Check them out. GOY members have some fantastic boots and clogs ! lol

Yes, you and Bonkersbon are progressing VERY well with your paragraph training. But I'll be keeping a close eye on your future blogs to make sure you don't slip back into the dreaded ' Block Of Mind-Boggling Illegible Not Graphic' habits known for short as BOMBING. lol

28 Aug, 2008


When I lived in Northern California I rescued one African Violet at the local grocery store where they were going to throw it out because it quit blooming and took it home googled it and within a year I had accumalted 250 different varities thru trades and resuces...LOL now I have just 2.

28 Aug, 2008


Mrs croc,
I knew your rescuing wouldn't end with dogs, cats and orchids.

Now we hear you went international, with African Violets in Northern California.

Look out, Mr. croc, next she'll be opening up a rehab. hospital for garden gnomes. LOL

28 Aug, 2008


Oh no not gnomes they are forbidden here!! LOL I am originally from California...

28 Aug, 2008


Hi. I don't have a photo of the phormium. It looks rather sorry for itself at the moment. I'll put a photo after I've repotted it.
The Aspidistra must be from the 1880s . It belonged to my grandmother's mother. Obviously none of the original plant remains now.
Best wishes, Hywel.

28 Aug, 2008


Hywel, maybe the phormium will perk up, now that it realises we know how to spell it. LOL

When I started this blog, I had no idea I would be told history of plants going back 130 years !

That must be a sort of GoY record .....
unless someone reading this knows otherwise?
Maybe you've inherited an ancient tree?

I'll look forward to photos when you are ready, Hywel.

Please post on here when they are available so everyone will know.


28 Aug, 2008


There is a photo of the aspidistra but not the phormium yet.

28 Aug, 2008


Thanks, Hywel.
I've found Great Grandmother and her aspidistra.
I left a comment and 'like' for you.
She would be very proud of you.
If anyone hasn't seen this,
please check it out.
Interesting picture. So much history.

28 Aug, 2008


[On the history of how we acquired plants, I have received a very interesting account from Poaannua, and I'm sure he won't mind my sharing it with you here]:

[These are his memories]:

I do have some knowledge of how we bought plants etc,
[ back in the earlier part of the 20th century]

My father ran a florist's business in Lowestoft when he was demobbed after the First World War.

Two years later he moved to Whiteparish and began a Mail Order Nursery which he continued from several addresses as income improved.

There were at least three gardening magazines that were crammed with adverts. I believe most gardeners made most of their purchases this way.

Mail Order was very reliable. Most nurseries grew their own plants and really depended on sales to the Big Houses for their main income.

Mail Order was the main source until the garden centres arrived, which, together with a great increase in postal charges made it uneconomical to sell that way.

Nurserymen changed to the method of wholesale sales [directly] to the garden centres, or relied on local trade.

[Thanks, Poaannua, from Terratoonie, for these fascinating and interesting memories of how the garden trade developed.]

31 Aug, 2008


This is really interesting reading! Thanks, Poaannua, and to you, too, Terra, for sharing this.

31 Aug, 2008


20ish years ago when I first started gardening I used to plant seeds from bought fruit to see what would happen. I planted a little black seed from a kiwi fruit and it duly sprouted. It soon out grew its pot so I put it outside expecting it to die off in the winter- which it did. However it came back in the spring and continued to grow. I had no idea it was a vine but eventually realised and moved it to my pergoda-which it has now covered. Its never fruited but I love it anyway and wouldn't be without it.
best wishes, Mike

1 Sep, 2008


Popeymike, that's a good story, about the Kiwi fruit.

You might have started something here -
we'll all be trying to grow a vine like yours.

Thanks for the input.

Anyone else acquired plants in weird and wonderful ways?

1 Sep, 2008


TT I really enjoyed your blog, thanks for sharing :) Had a good chuckle over your Imitating Neighbor LoL as I have one myself which I have been playing "plant games" with for a few years haha!
Here's my story...when I first moved to Alberta I had to learn what grew that first summer in my new home I let everything grow up and only pulled what I knew for sure was a weed. An interesting plant was growing in my front flower bed which I faithfully watered..until one day it bloomed some lovely little yellow flowers on it .. I asked my neighbor if they knew what this plant neighbor laughed and said they had spotted the plant and were wondering if I was planning on taking up farming...I had grown Canola! Course I had to pull it as it is very aggressive and would seed just like a weed...the neighbors still have a chuckle over my passion for all that flowers!

1 Sep, 2008


Thanks for that memory, Lorraine.
A very funny one.

It would have been worse, I guess, if your 'copying' neighbour, on spying your Canola plants, had grown lots of similar ones !

The two of you might have needed to bring in the tractors to harvest your healthy Canola crop. LOL

1 Sep, 2008


Hahahaha! My neighbor does have a ride on lawnmower, may have done the!

1 Sep, 2008


When I lived in California I worked in road construction and traveled the state and into Nevada and Oregon...when I stayed at the motels it never failed that their flower beds always needed deadheading, so I would do it for them and slip the seed heads into small paper sacks and the cuttings into moist paper towles and baggies and re-home them to my garden....I have groomed many flower beds all over the state and started a single person re-homeing project....LOL


1 Sep, 2008


Wow. What a story.
Very inventive and enterprising !
Interstate propagation on a grand scale !

Mr. c. what an ingenious partner you have in Mrs. c.

Give her a few paper sacks and she'll create a complete garden centre. Britain's gain is USA's loss.

We're glad you're with us Mrs c.

Why not try a bit of intercounty propagation over here?

The UK is smaller, so, with soaring petrol prices, you can groom our flower beds at a fraction of the West Coast cost. LOL

1 Sep, 2008


LOL now there is a thought..........tho a fern did follow me home from the local woods down the road earlier this spring.... Well it was crowded with all the others and needed room to grow....and boy is it growing now!!

I never go anywhere without my baggies......a girl must be perpared for anything!

1 Sep, 2008


When we bought our summer retreat we were faced with mega restoration works that needed to be done on the house and we never gave a thought to the possibility of creating any plant life on the pavement, especially as I was quite happy with my brilliant view.

The whole of the street was lifeless and void of any vegetation, apart from the odd snapdragon growing in between the terracotta roof tiles. A plant expert friend came to visit us from England and he suggested and helped us build that little rock-garden I’ve sent photos of, to fill in a very ugly and bare alcove in the stone wall - all we had was a vine coming through the pavement, climbing up into the balcony above. That was in 1987. Napoleon’s mum moved in on one side in 1990 and proceeded to embellish her bit of pavement too, then Romeo’s mum, who I have said is mega-potty about plants, moved in on the other side in1998 and planted her bougainvillea and other glories and hey presto the street became a mass of colour.

Pots of all shapes and sizes have since been added over the years, further and further along the pavement on either side of my kitchen door and terracotta "halfmoons" have been nailed to the wall, creating an annual display that is different each year and is always a pleasure to the eye. Most of my plants are bought for about 30cents from the local "vivaio", which is a very humble little sister of your garden centres. Others have been given to me as thankyous by visiting friends.

I know very little about gardening and even less when it comes to names etc but I could sit for hours just watching people potter about in the earth and sharing the joy this botanical passion gives to my green friends.

4 Sep, 2008


Looking at your wonderful photos, Terry60, I can't agree that you know very little about gardening. You produce very colourful and attractive displays.

Thanks for this interesting story of how your own little corner of Italy gradually built up into a flowery paradise.

I'm especially pleased that Ajay has posted a 'like' on this blog - due to the many varied and fascinating plant acquisition stories the GoY members have provided.

Please, if you're reading this for the first time, add your own memories. Everyone on GoY has such interesting anecdotes. Thanks.

4 Sep, 2008


I was telling a friend how gaudy and over the top I found Fuchsias, vulgar things I called them. ell a few weeks later she brought in this little wee plant in a tiny plastic pot and said 'grow that and see if my views stay the same'. Well its now a delicate bushy and thriving wee bugger and goes so well in my backyard. Thanks Sue.

6 Sep, 2008


Whalleyranger ~

That's a super story ~

One little fuchsia cutting changing your views so dramatically.

I guess soon you'll have a whole Fuchsia Forest -
fuchsias all over the place.

Thanks for adding your tale to the blog.

6 Sep, 2008


When I was a poor student, living in a room 10'X8', I wanted plants. A rather unscrupulous fellow student took me to the glasshouses in the local Botanic Gardens. We asked the curator all about interesting-looking plants, said "thanks", and surreptitiously dug up offshoots or took cuttings! I ended up with 64 plants in my small room over a period of 2 years! This memory still unnerves me at times!

7 Sep, 2008


David ~
this could be a confession with calamitous consequences.

I used to work helping students at a Cambridge college, and the head gardener, who was a good friend, had originally worked at the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge.

It could be that you've confessed all this to the wrong person.

The college cleaners used to remark that some of the students' rooms were crammed with an amazing amount of foliage.

In particular, a young chap was forever playing Elton John songs....

8 Sep, 2008


Aye kept growing lettuces became known as Rocket man.

8 Sep, 2008


Was never there, honest! Hahha, BB!

8 Sep, 2008



The other half of my employment, when not dealing with devilish students, was secretarial, for the College Chaplain
( honestly ! )

So I reckon you'll be okay. LOL

9 Sep, 2008


i have received many plants and seeds from folk on GOY, very much appreciated but i have to say the most unusual gift i have ever received apart from Janette's cow must be the two koi i was given.
i have been giving driving lessons to a woman whos husband has koi in his pond, his wife invited me in to see their pond after her lesson the weekend.
i was so impressed with both their pond and their garden, the pond is done in japanese style with bamboo growing all around it ,its 6ft deep and his filter system is the size of my washing machine lol.
turns out i knew this man, he had done some electrical work in my house 2yrs ago and had remembered my pond.
he is getting some new koi this mt in from japan and he had 2 that wernt fully Japanese. one is from Germany , the other from israel. i was admiring all the fish, the pond, the garden when he got a large net and scooped these two koi out , put them in a bucket of water and said ,,, they are for, i was stunned, still am lol. so have to do my best now to make sure his wife passes her test as a thank you lol

9 Sep, 2008


Irish ~
That's a good story.
And a first - how to acquire fish in the most unusual way ! Lol

I've seen the photo on your page - very good-looking Koi.
And as I've mentioned there - being a fishy gift from an electrician, you were lucky he didn't give you electric eels.Lol

Please eventually report back on this blog the outcome of the driving test. Lol

9 Sep, 2008


aye i could have powered my house with the eels tho , get him to rig them up to the mains lol

will let you know how she gets on with her driving test, its booked in for next monday.

9 Sep, 2008


Yes, please report back on Monday, Irish.
That'll be great.
Everyone on this blog will be waiting with bated breath...

The important road sign to remember is that triangular one.

It's either Road Works, or
Man Holding Umbrella Because It Is Going To Rain.
In 2008 I know which answer my money's on.

10 Sep, 2008


lol it could actually mean man holding umbrella while doing road works, but then again maybe not cos surely he would be in the portacabin having a cupa

10 Sep, 2008


I wonder which road signs would be most appropriate for GoY ~

For the gardens :

fallen rocks, steep hill upwards, steep hill downwards, fallen tree, wild animals, loose chippings, uneven road.

For the (weary) gardeners :

Bend to the right, bend to the left, double bend.....

and my favourite, at the end of the day, as we drag ourselves back indoors......staggered junction.

11 Sep, 2008


you got an idea for a new blog akin to your olympic one Terra, original road-signs for gardens. could start you off with : slow snails ahead or :low flying pidgeons

16 Sep, 2008


Islander ~
Another excellent idea. Are you eating lots of fish -
brain food? You're brilliant :o)

Okay, here we go ~

Give priority to wheelbarrows from opposite direction.

No mowers with over 12 seats.

No stopping during times shown except to set down passengers and pick up weeds.

(For overgrown garden paths) two lane carriageway reducing to one.

For Spritz : Accompanied snails crossing the road ahead.

And for our wonderful GoY Yellow Book gardens, such as Grenville and Andrewr :

Holiday Route to Tourist Information Point leading to
Areas of Outstanding Beauty.

17 Sep, 2008


I'm happy to report that two of my learners passed their driving tests this week, i had three doing the test. one failed for hitting the kerb when she was reversing, examiner said she would have passed otherwise so she is going to reapply straight away.
i have another two people taking the test next week so fingers crossed. they are a young couple who both have the driving test next Tues, at the same test centre and their wedding day is on Wednesday lol, so it would be a lovely wedding pressie for them if they both passed.

17 Sep, 2008


Irish ~ Sounds like you are a good instructor ~
lots of learners throwing away their L plates !

So, did the wife of the electrician pass her test ..
or is she the one hitting the kerb? :o)
I would feel sorry for her if she needed to retake the test.
What right had the kerb to be in the way like that?

Wow, wedding presents driving tests. That's different.
Let's hope they both pass.
Walking down the aisle wearing L plates is not a good look.

17 Sep, 2008


TT, it WAS the electrician's wife who hit the kerb, bet she got a shock eh lol.

17 Sep, 2008


Like I've said to you before, if you were my instructor you'd get me in giggles and I'd fall out of the car laughing :o)

Maybe everyone on GoY keep fingers crossed. ...and we'll await you reporting back again. LOL

17 Sep, 2008


Here's another story of getting plants for free ~
When I moved to my road, I didn't know my neighbours, so gave them secret nicknames, nothing unkind, just suitable words like Pyjama Man (don't ask) and Lamp-post Man. These folk have since become good friends,and I obviously know their real names now, but the other 'handles' have never quite gone away.

Some weeks ago, Lamp-post Man gave me an old bucket full of muddy bulbs. I planted these in two pots, and now I have the most marvellous display of purple autumn crocus. I'm not sure what to do with them after flowering? Can they stay in the pots or should I take them out and dry them? If they do stay in the pots should I keep the compost moist or can I let it dry out till the spring?

So many questions. Lamp-post man says the bulbs produce leaves in the spring, which then look ugly as they die off. Any more info. very welcome please. Thanks.

18 Sep, 2008


I gather that the bulbs recharge through their leaves after they flower until they yellow and die off .Then dry out at which point either lift or leave in pots until next year when you can start watering again.
will check it out!

23 Sep, 2008


Thanks, Arlene.
Autumn crocus lose their leaves in the spring, so it's a bit confusing.

Irish ~ any news on the driving test? :o)

23 Sep, 2008


I think the autumn crocus being referred to are really colchicums (they get called autumn crocus because the flowers look like a large crocus but they're not from the same family). They grow large leaves in the spring wich can smother anything small in the way but then die off. Then in autumn the flowers come up with no greenery in sight, hence the other common name of Naked Ladies.

There are also REAL crocuses that flower in the autumn and their leaves die off in spring.

Hope that clears up the confusion

23 Sep, 2008


Andrewr, Thanks.
I've started looking on internet for more info.

So far I've read that they need protection from slugs, and that pigeons like to pull off the petals. :o( :o)

23 Sep, 2008


well TT that's another one passed his driving test, on a roll now i am lol.
have two today taking the test and another one doing it next week. fingers crossed again everybody.

24 Sep, 2008


Well done, Irish.
Are you saying the electrician's wife has passed - or are we still waiting on that one?

24 Sep, 2008


oh sorry TT , no she failed for bumping the kerb while reversing. she said she will re apply and take the test again asap.

24 Sep, 2008


Terratoonie, how do you keep up with these blogs? No wonder you'all are bonkers! Hey, didn't you just have a dog show of some kind?

Anyway, here's my true story.

I cut open a "pink lady" apple last spring for my Mom's lunch. When I cut it in half, there was a seed inside which had already split and sprouted. I carefully removed that little seed and put it in a small planter with some terrific soil. It began to grow. I loved taking care of it and it grew steadily into a tiny tree. I had it sitting on my bar where it could get lots of light every day and spend quiet hours of darkness each night.

Things went along just fine for a couple of months then one morning I got up and my plant was lying on the floor in a broken little heap of dirt and broken pottery,

Seems my ornery cat, "Boy" wanted to see just how far he could push that plant before it went crashing to the floor. It's a fetish he has. He is not permitted on any high surfaces and has been really good about not pushing anything off shelves and tables for the past two years so I thought that little plant was safe.

I guess when Mommy sleeps, temptation runs deep.

Anyway, my photo log stopped there. No more progress pictures. The plant could not be salvaged.

29 Sep, 2008


Skippy ~
Thanks for that story. An interesting and different one.
Maybe one day you'll find a sprouted seed in another pink apple, and you can have a second try.

Naughty "Boy". Maybe he was jealous of the tree - getting too much of your attention. Lol.

Yes, I did go to a super dog show. Warm sunny day.
My Welsh Terrier won Veteran class, and Best Trick class with his Welsh Supernanny routine. I'll upload photos of some of these over the winter. Today was spent sorting out more 'loo-tipping' plumbing leaks around my house!

Thanks for your contribution to my blog.
Much appreciated. :o)

30 Sep, 2008


well done TT that your dogs won at the show, look forward to seeing the photos.

1 Oct, 2008


Irish ~
Thanks. I'm sorry I don't have a camera in use right now from which I can upload lots of photos. But there are some pictures of my dogs on order! Meanwhile I'm busy 'liking' other members' pictures. Your photos are lovely.

It's been a crazy week. Still trying to sort out plumbing leaks. My neighbour plumber: "Pyjama Man", has, I think, finally sorted it, having visited this morning and again this afternoon. I've been posting on GoY in between turning stop-cocks on & off etc! For part of his payment, I weeded his front garden. That's the true GoY tradition :o)

1 Oct, 2008


Dear Terratoonie,

I hardly know where to begin. I have been so finger pinched that it has affected my faith in gardeners. Yet here I go again
Finger pinching also includes the theft of work, a phone call conversation from an unethical but formally well-respected garden writer in my own local. She believed herself to be the next Gertrude Jekyll That she was NOT! After a long and 'taped' phone call about a certain garden subject I specialized in, it appeared - near word for word.

She did the same to a wonderful wacky fern grower here in WA. Judith, has a totally unique style of words, (very funny) and when I saw the next article posted this garden pinching Garden Editor wrote in a style that was not her in her own voice at all. It was Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds.

I contacted her about it, and said it was okay. It increased her sales. :-(

I do not like thieves. Twice all of my mother stock were stolen (I am talking about two big trucks worth), none of my nursery stock was taken. These were NURSERY PEOPLE knowing what they were after. A few years later a site nearby was offering what I could only have supplied.

H ...wood did the same thing, by sending in a ringer, always buying one of the neatest things I had week after week for two years. Propagating them for when they opened up. To add insult to injury, no credit for the source Skyline Nursery was given. Worse yet, some of these items were not mine, nor theirs. They were cultivars developed some twenty years before by a master nurseryman in Santa Rosa. I got them from his equally brilliant son Nevin Smith of the former Wintergreen Nursery.

This Ribies sanguinium 'White Icicle" was now introduced as a H,,,wood introduction. It was NOT!

As for stealing plant ideas and landscape ideas, I did have my own solution. More on that later.

Thank you for all of your kind comments on my own site. They are appreciated.


30 Nov, 2008


Yes, Herb. there are so many forms of stealing.
Your reply has got me thinking.
Theft of ideas, designs, and words.
These at times could be more hurtful than theft of actual plants.
Please post here to let us know when you have written more on stealing plant ideas and landscape ideas. I shall be interested to read more of your opinions on this. Thanks.

30 Nov, 2008


Two quick posts, because they sorta ease the pain of the other experiences.

Two ladies come to my place. I have a marked off place for plants that are mother plants. In the ground. It was signed, these plants are not for sale. I happened to have a shovel leaning against the locust tree.

One of the women, picks up the shovel and begins to dig up one of my plants. I shreek out "What are you doing?"

I like this, can I have it?
No, this is a plant I propagate from. It is not for sale.
Answer, You have four of them!

and on it went.

That rudeness was equaled when some again ladies, asked about a special Ceanothus I had growing on the outside of my fence asked about it.I gave them its name and explained that it might be hard to find as I knew of no other person selling that variety.

They were welcome to take cuttings.
That Sunday, I was couch- potatoing, reading a good book. I heard a car stop and some noises, but then I perk up when I hear serious tools being dropped. Those gals had a pickax and pry bar and were begining to SPLIT the Ceanothus in two.

Since then, I have NEVER offered permission for anyone to take anything from my garden.

Herb -- who will be 58 tomorrow, or today over there.

30 Nov, 2008


I hope you have no more devious customers. !

30 Nov, 2008


A follow up, or self- confession will you. The only plants I nicked were cacti. Who would miss a pup or two? My father taught well. Long story about this cactus binge we competed in. This thirteen yr. old would also weed for the local park people for epiphylium cuttings. All these plants I would root.

This was near Oakland CA. My father would take my plants and me to a super flea market in Alameda. He left and then picked me up at the end of the day. I made a lot of money for such a young lad.

Perhaps a remnant of that karma still pricks to my shoulders. Before my daughters graduation in L.A. I simply stepped out of the pathway into the garden area to read the tag better --. (Actually true, I have poor vision) when this Gestapo like guard near yanks me back and gives me a berating. It was humiliating.

Not so much as my girls taking a photo of me standing in front of many golden barrel cactus. My soul may be a Saguaro, but my body more resembled the former. So sad. Since then I have been coming back to my leaner self, so I am happy. I used to be a collegiate swimmer, then I would have been a collegiate floater.

I now leave the succulent pinching to one of my daughters. She has done well and has sent me some plants. No bad karma for me at all.

As for collecting seed from Park trees or gardens, I always ask permission and am rarely refused. People also appreciate it when you value a plant of theirs that you might want to propagate it. Asking is both polite and responsible, IMO. Knowing this daughter of mine I know she is doing that as well.

Now Mary Ann and a few other ladies’ I knew. had no such scruples. Mary Ann was in the Beijing Imperial Gardens and spied seed on a 400-year-old Tree Peony. She thought nothing of liberating some and bringing it home.
I was near spitless when I heard that.

Now another customer I work for related that his MOTHER had the same cacti affliction and denial process. He was ever so embarrassed to go to some garden with her and watch her carefully pinch some plants into her hanky and deposit them in her purse.

The consequence one time! Returning the motherly thief to her home she starts sneezing and reaches into her purse and blows on that cactus filled hankie. It is very hard to remove hundreds of spines from ones nose.


1 Dec, 2008


Thank you Skyline.

Amazing the devious and desperate schemes cooked up to steal garden goodies. In Britain over recent years, some very huge, heavy garden ornaments have been stolen from gardens. The items are removed by robbers using large lifting machinery and trucks. These devious people also dig up whole rows of newly planted bushes and trees.

It seems folk will go to extreme lengths to thieve 'to order' ~ knowing exactly what they intend to steal - very pre-planned.

Your second set of comments ~ very amusing.

The moral seems to be to colour code your hankies - green for plants, white for noses. :o)

1 Dec, 2008


"The moral seems to be to color code your hankies - green for plants, white for noses. :o) "

That was so good Terratoonie, but still does not get you off the cosmic close line. My own vision of purgatory. Souls, like laundry pinned in a long row, waiting for a new birth below. Then like sperm to ova, the first and most unencumbered one wins the spot. The rest bounce off, and it’s back to the close line.

I may have posted it before, but the most amusing theft was reported in your own BBC. I used to subscribe.

Man stole a Monkey-puzzle tree from a block down the road. The police recovered it after following the dirt and wheel prints his dolly left behind. Oh, the added clue was the blood trail he left behind, so punctured was he from the theft.

1 Dec, 2008


That foolery posted, let me get back to your original blog.

Your ending sentence is quite different from the blog itself and is a good one.” I wonder if any GoY members have stories of amusing or unusual ways in which they have acquired plants. I would be delighted to know."

That supercedes many of the following responses, mine included. My own contribution came from another and her "beginings" began a short-lived magazine called Bindweed.

On just another normal day came in this bouncy thing full of life and happiness. She had just turned 50 and was celebrating it. We talked and exchanged thoughts and became instant friends. Stay in touch, said I as I was heading out to a favorite beach of mine. I would write a poem called Driftwood, about lost lovers and all that stuff.

Imagine my surprise when a few days later (no email then) she writes to me this: It was to become the beginning of Bindweed. I entitled it --


"Well, I am a gardener by birth and avocation, a gardener both in the literal sense and in the figurative sense of sense of "seedsower." I come from a long line of green-thumbed individuals who, like me, spent more time caressing a blossom, talking to the plants, gazing in amazement and wonder than finding out the botanical name! There is a place for both, however. I will admit to that!.

One of my treasures is a home movie taken of me with my paternal grandmother... I was about 2 years old (maybe younger) ... and she is holding me and walking through her rose garden ... bending close so that I could see and touch and smell the blossoms. Somehow, when I watch that silent film, from this distance and in this place which life and age have now placed me, I see my own spirit developing. A spiritual inheritance, a strong 'green' line was flowing from her to me. It flowed from her to my father, and even though my father and I had battles-royal, I feel his 'green' in me, a direct line (This is not to leave out my maternal grandmother ... Welsh, strict, proper, tough ... a lady ... who grew dahlias the size of dinner plates and roses fit for a queen ... or the dining- room table. 

She could also ring the neck of a chicken in preparation for a proper Sunday dinner"
  (c) Maggie Patterson 

Fifteen years later I have not yet had any better description of how one fell into gardening. I put a copyright on that, even though it was just a personal letter to me.


1 Dec, 2008


I have a habit of picking up a cheap plant or two whenever we go on holiday... then I name it accordingly. Must post a pic of my new Katoomba Plant.

6 Mar, 2011


That's an interesting idea ...
Katoomba ... what a lovely word :o)

6 Mar, 2011


It's a lovely town, too :o)

11 Mar, 2011



11 Mar, 2011

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