Friday I got down to the plot but accompanied by a TV crew. Now before anyone gets excited, this is internet telly. They wanted to ask me a few questions about the book and so on.
I must admit to feeling incredibly self-conscious and awkward. No idea what the finished programme will be like at all but I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available. Bit different to my £80 video camera, courtesy of Aldi. The lens on their camera is bigger than my whole camera for starters!
It’s strange being asked a question and when you answer, instead of feedback from the other person’s expression he’s busy looking at a little monitor and making hand signals at the cameraman.
From what I gather, an afternoon’s work may well result in 10 minutes of programme. Probably make a great cure for insomnia though.
Book Signing at Burleydam
Saturday was up to Burleydam Garden Centre in the Wirral. Now book signings are strange things. Sometimes you’re besieged with people asking questions, usually about obscure vegetables that even Google hasn’t heard of. Then there’s the always the one who tells you he could write a book. Well, good luck!
This one was really nice though. I was a bit taken aback to see a great big poster of me by the door. It described me as ‘one of Britain’s most knowledgeable gardeners’. Well, you try living up to that! Judging by his expression, the chap going into the shop was taken aback as well.
I was greeted by the manager, Tania Simpson, who proudly showed me around the whole centre and introduced me to a lot of the staff. She’s got something to be proud of as well, it’s one of the best garden centres I’ve been in.
For a start, they’ve a lovely café area that does a good breakfast (sausage and egg, HP sauce – eat your heart out Gordon Ramsay) and a very nice prawn salad at lunchtime. That was my attempt to starve the ever growing waistline down a bit. Joking aside, it was top notch.
They’ve all the usual modern garden centre stuff, of course. Furniture, pet supplies etc which to me aren’t relevant, but they do have a really well equipped garden supplies section which is more than you can say for some of the big garden centres near to us.
The Good Life Garden
Now this was brilliant. They’ve a small area turned over to a raised bed vegetable garden with greenhouse, compost bin etc and a couple of chickens in an ark. It’s growing really well with a proper range of vegetables – they’ve not fallen into the trap of trying to be fancy.
The chickens egg production has improved since my visit. They heard about my recent course in killing, plucking and gutting!
Better still in the good life garden, they’ve got a diary of what’s happened each week for customers to read and best of all, knowledgeable staff who happily advise and help people with queries.
It great to see Shaun and WirralWally from the forums – Shaun’s allotment is just a mile or so away from the Garden centre. Thanks for stopping by. I had quite a few people stop by who said they were regulars on the web site as well, which cheered me up.
The one question that kept coming up was what to do about marestail. Since the Amcide is no longer available, it’s become even more of a problem. Hoeing it off will eventually kill it, I’m assured, but to be honest I don’t think you would ever win like that. It really is one of the hardest weeds to kill.
My best advice for handling marestail is to mix up some glyphosate weedkiller at the recommended strength and to mix in a thickening agent like wallpaper paste or even cornflour to make it gloopy. Then paint it on the fronds with a paintbrush.
The idea is that the weedkiller is kept available for longer and so the plant sucks more into the roots where it works to kill it. It’s a time consuming job but a couple of applications will bring the marestail down to a level where you can keep on top of it.