Why we must keep up with the latest fashion
When I was a young boy, I can remember during Wimbledon fortnight all the children in the village would stretch a net across the lane in the village and we would pretend we were Lew Hoad or Rod Laver.
We would only have to take the net down twice a day to let the farm lorry through for his journey up to Covent Garden market and back. There were no cars therefore there was no need to concrete over the front gardens.
Every man in the village would take great pride in bedding out his front garden. I remember my father would have a marvellous display each year. The centre row of the bed would be planted out with a variegated geranium called Mrs Josephine Cox. The rest of the bed was bright red Salvias, around the edge was white Alyssum and blue Lobelia. On each corner would be planted a deep purple Heliotrope (cherry pie).
Talking of cherry pie, this year has been one of the best years on record for cherries and my wife and I have visited our local farm shop to buy wonderful cherries. Apparently over 6,000 tons are expected to be harvested in this country this year and we are exporting them to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar and South Africa. Cherries have wonderful names such as Sunburst, Sweetheart and Penny.
The beginning of October would signal the time to start building the village bonfire. This would be the time for all the men of the village to pull up the summer bedding from their front gardens and put it all on the bonfire and then bed out their front gardens for the spring.
The most popular plant for spring bedding was the Wallflower. Every greengrocer would sell bunches of Wallflower plants. Like clothes, fashion in bedding plants has changed over the years, very few people plant Salvias nowadays and Wallflowers seem to be a plant of the past.
Last week whilst I was working on the allotment a neighbour came across and said “Stephen I have a problem. I have grown a hundred Wallflower plants and hadn’t realised they were part of the cabbage family and are prone to club root disease. Which I have on my allotment.”
Fortunately my allotment doesn’t suffer from this so I volunteered to plant his Wallflowers on my plot for a few months until November, when they should have grown enough to be planted out in his garden.
It is strange how fashion changes over the years, I can remember my lovely sister who sadly died this year, going off to work in London in the 1960s wearing the shortest of mini skirts which at the time was considered quite shocking.
When I was a boy, if you saw a man walking down the street with a tattoo on his arm, you would assume he had spent his life in the Navy. Then suddenly David Beckham and Robbie Williams decided to cover their skin with ink and now it is the norm for young boys and girls to be sporting a tattoo somewhere on their body.
Even the fashion in flowers has changed. We all must accept that this is the sign of the times.