Cathi tells me it’s the done thing to provide a potted history about oneself on a blog. So, here it is.
Normanton 1947-50. Gardening memory - ‘mother die’ growing in the hedgerow.
Barnsley 1950-55. Gardening memory - digging well rotted compost from the base of my dad’s heap and selling it in our street at sixpence a bucket. One lady complained and turned away a bargain.
Peterlee (a year) and then Hartlepool 1955-65. I was thirteen when my green genes switched on. Upon their methylation I took over the garden. Gardening memory - growing coloured sweet corn, forgetting and giving the cobs to a neighbour. I feared it might poison them!
In 1961 I gained my first professional experience working at Brinkburn park nursery. It was next door to my old grammar school. Gardening memory - my excruciating embarrassment doing the headmaster’s desk flowers every Monday morning!
1962-64 A wonderful three years as a student at Wye College, partly squandered by my then overwhelming shyness. Gardening memory - a pollarded paulownia and a new scented dwarf cyclamen.
1964-68 Lecturer at Lancashire College of Agriculture and Horticulture. Gardening memory - an ancient overgrown shrub border completely rejuvenated when cut to the ground.
1968-1990 Lived in Bolton Percy and taught at Askham Bryan College. Gardening memory - knocking on the rector’s door in 1974 and offering to spray off the weeds in the overgrown churchyard. Later the ‘special award’ for ‘cemetery of the year’ in 1988.
My time at Askham Bryan was when they taught proper practical technical horticulture to students who had decent pre-college experience. I now wear rose coloured spectacles but concede not everything was perfect. Gardening memory - digging in steam sterilisation tubes in the glasshouses in my first practical class there.
I took voluntary early retirement in 1990 and supplemented my pension by working for clients as a ‘hands on’ consultant. That work has never ended although it is now unpaid and done for friends and relations. Gardening memory - rubbing soil on pruning wounds so spouses failed to notice. One lady asking how to kill a tree without her husband knowing.
2001 Moved here to Boundary Cottage. Met Harry and Cathi, Peter and Julie.
2012 Started blogging and acquired a lovebird. Poppy now rules our roost. Life has never been the same.
My greatest attainment was to raise two fine sons - who wish to be anonymous. Probably embarrassment! My contribution was small but they have a good mother: I was always to be found in the garden!
I now have two cemetery gardens and maintain the local village plot. I have opened my gardens for the ‘Yellow book scheme’ for the past thirty years. I hold the National Dicentra Collection and a Harlow Carr medal.
My other hobby is bridge, now in steep decline. I take a keen interest in healthy living. I sometimes stand on my head as part of gentle Yoga. I drink far too much wine. I have a firm belief in vitamin D and seek out the sunshine.
My permanent sunshine is living with Brenda.
After twenty years I have made an honest woman of Brenda! Here are my wedding pictures