My mother spends hours pottering around in her herbaceous borders, and watering her various pot plants on the terrace and has a wonderful garden to show for the time and effort she puts in. She knows more plants than I do and takes great pleasure in saying to me – ‘can you identify this?’ ….and ‘can you identify that?’ ….generally I will say…..‘no mother…what is it?’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty good with identifying plants but my mother buys things like ‘Anemone ‘Gladys Perkins’’….and expects me to know every bloody variant!
She is typical of a breed of ‘gardener’ that will probably all but dry up as time marches forward. She didn’t work once my brother was born and didn’t return to work once Dave and I left home – thus leaving her with time to spend on her beloved plants. Somehow I don’t see this type of gardener in the future? I could be wrong but I don’t see many men or women nowadays who don’t want a career and who would be happy just pottering around in the garden? …
Like I say I could be wrong maybe I’m not mixing with the right type of people?
I’ve also come to realise that my mother (and her type) could be one of the reasons we have so many invasive plant problems. Mother told me recently that she had been digging up her ‘Crocosmia’ because it had spread all over the back of her garden – but instead of destroying this most invasive plant…. she had decided to give clumps to her neighbours and friends!
She has planted Himalayan balsam at the bottom of her lawn in an area of low lying damp ground, she loves Buddleja, thinks that Golden Rod is a ‘great filler species’ and that Rosebay Willow Herb …. ‘adds a splash of colour to the roadsides’ ….
Hmmm maybe somebody needs to check out their ‘problem species’ ???
If you then realise that my mother is not alone in her opinions and that she is typical of a certain ‘age’ of gardener …..then you can multiply this type of thinking by the tens of thousands all over the UK then you begin to realise that we have a major problem on our hands in educating people.
The other problem with this type of person (my mother included) is that they just… WONT LISTEN!
My mother thinks that my company that deals with eradicating Japanese Knotweed is just… ‘….our Michael having one of his obsessive moments’. She hates ‘waste’ and is forever dividing and separating herbaceous species and giving them away. It never occurs to her that these types of plants are successful because they grow so quickly – and that separating and dividing their rootstock simply encourages this rapid growth and spread.
So how do you sort this out?
Maybe ‘Countryfile’ (one of mums favourite programmes) should do a bit more on invasive non-native species?
Maybe if we could get John Craven (who mum thinks is a ‘bit of alright’) to run with this topic, maybe just maybe she would listen…?
Perhaps the next generation of ‘gardeners’ will be a bit more ‘savvy’ and understand that using native species in their gardens is more beneficial to creating a more sustainable landscape….?
In the mean-time could somebody speak to my mum – she won’t listen to me!