I was cataloguing some books this morning. This in itself is hardly hot news - I spend half my life feeding in ISBNs and describing every minor blemish to dustwrappers in excruciating detail. The latter mainly as a cover-my-arse stratagem for customers who can’t be bothered to read descriptions properly, and try to send books back on almost any pretext, and worse, give me crap feedback. (The most consistent sinners in this regard come almost invariably via Amazon, for some reason. )
But that’s an anecdote for another time, perhaps. Revenons aux jardins.
Some way down the tottering pile I came across a book on roses* (Staple-bound card covers, in As New condition, 64pp including index, in case you care.)
Now as it happens we are just re-designing our garden. I say ‘we’ but in truth I have little to contribute as far as detail goes – if pushed I‘d probably make a right prat of myself by confusing Pelargoniums with Pergolas, or Ena Harkness with Ena Sharples.
The family conversation has tended lately to veer towards the Titchmarsh end of the spectrum at almost every opportunity. It’s been Begonias for breakfast, Lobelias for lunch and Dahlias for dinner, chez Phil. And it’s not just about plants – the minutiae of such fascinating constructional necessities as paving slabs and fence posts, decking boards and half-log rails, sheds and skips, are a constant theme. I can only pray that ‘Capability’ James (Mrs) doesn’t get ideas about a water feature – or ‘Incapacitated’ James (Mr) will have to permanently live in the loo!
Anyway – there was talk of replacing some of our rose bushes, because the current crop had gone well triffidy since last summer and were not only maliciously trying to ensnare the dog every time she went anywhere near them, but they were going to be in the way of the proposed new fencing. And guess who was given the job of getting rid of the redundant ramblers, leaving him with a back out of kilter and thorns in his hands and arms that are still painfully surfacing a fortnight later.
So as I picked up the book I thought “I’ll have a quick shufti – maybe I can mug up a quick Bluffer’s Guide.”
A substantial section of the book is given over to listing all the various varieties of Tea roses, Floribunda, Climbers, and so on , each with a short description of its good and bad points. Gripping stuff.
Until about half way through I came across this example:
ANGELA RIPPON: Popular for bedding and exhibiting………..
At which point all ambitions towards horticultural understanding went out the window,
In yer dreams, James!
*Rose Jotter, by Dr D G Hessayon- £4.95 from any good bookseller, or £2.50 from Uncle Phil’s Books. (including p&p, natch.)