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Plant Sales, Scones and Sherry Cake
by Patrick Vickery
by Patrick Vickery


Patrick Vickery lives in the Scottish Highlands and runs a small hardy perennial nursery (part-time). Patrick is also a part-time garden writer, and part-time special needs teacher.

Married to Liz, they have three children, two goats, two dogs, an assortment of small animals, and lives in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world.

Patrick gardens using a raised bed system and all, of course, chemically free - a chemical free zone!
Visit his blog
His first book was published in January 2002 by Capall Bann Publishers, UK:-
"In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden" (ISBN: 186163 1480)

Also visit his website at

October 31, 2010

Picture this, rural life at its best, a car boot sale, Saturday morning, village hall, a jolly occasion to be had by all. We were selling plants and came across a batch of fruit scones in the kitchen: 50p for a fruit scone and a mug of tea. What a bargain, that’s what I say. It was a tasty fruit scone too, the texture just right, baked by some good lady or gent of the district. I put my plate down for one moment, fruit scone barely touched, just a morsel nibbled, when an amiable looking character embracing a clutch of ornamental ashtrays and a Daniel O’Donnel cd approached the table. “How much?” he queried, jabbing my fruit scone with his finger. “It’s a fruit scone, nibbled, not for sale,” I replied, eyeing the newly formed indentation in horror. How could I eat that now? “Fruit scone, nibbled,” he said. “You shouldn’t be selling a fruit scone, nibbled, not right.” And with that he departed in search of a non-nibbled variety. What on earth is the world coming too, I ask myself, when any old Tom, Dick or Harry pokes his finger into your fruit scone?

It could have been worse, of course, an old school pal of mine, Dave, musician, writer and occasional scoreboard operator at Port Vale Football Club, was selling a collection of his ‘old memorables’ recently when his mug of tea was up-ended by some character wishing to study the underside for Byzantine or Ming Dynasty markings, wholly oblivious to the fact that it contained steaming hot tea at the time, before sliding away without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

And that’s not all that happens at car boot sales either, no, for as well as being a seething hot bed of fruit scone jabbers and tea up-enders, there are some pretty potent fruit cakes out there to worry about. I purchased a potent one recently from a winking lady chorusing “a dash of sherry, a dash of sherry” at me as I relinquished my one pound coin. “Very good, very good,” I chorused back, clutching my newly acquired fruit cake.

The following morning I ceased all horticultural activity at ten-twenty precisely for a chocca mocca (Flask) and a large slice of ‘dash of sherry’ fruit cake (Tupperware box). Now no matter how horticulturally competent you are, beware home-made cake purchased from a winking lady (from now on referred to as “too much sherry in the cake woman”) chorusing “a dash of sherry, a dash of sherry” as you hand over your hard earned cash for an extraordinary large fruit cake. All is not what it seems. “Too much sherry in the cake woman” had put too much sherry in the cake, which is just fine for an evening’s munch but not so fine before eleven o’clock in the morning as it wreaks havoc with your herbaceous perennials, a fact I soon discovered when I stumbled through the mixed hedging to squash some fine examples in the flower beds beyond.

Luckily I’d only had one slice, eh, for otherwise who knows what might have happened? Too much sherry in the cake is not conducive to a mid-morning snack, you know, not if you plan to do anything constructive with the rest of the day.

Now to summarize: bite, don’t nibble, keep your tea separate from your ‘memorables’ and beware fruit cake baked by winking ladies. That’s about it. Nothing like a good rant, is there? Excellent.

Patrick Vickery © 2007

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