Documents: Gardening From: Gardening From Scotland:

A ‘potted’ review of the past year
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

January 15, 2012

In 2011 I came across the following revelations. A pickle is not something that you put in a jar and wait years to eat but a process that applies to eggs, gherkins and onions. A burkha is an Islamic mode of clothing and not a biscuit similar to a bourbon. And a family ticket to St Paul's Cathedral costs £34.50 which is why, I suspect, they don't take kindly to folk protesting about corporate greed on their doorstep when such behaviour might deter the fee praying public. If it were possible to buy a season ticket to St Paul's that included Sky Sports and a free scotch pie in the vestry then it might be worth it - a 'goals and souls' sort of deal'? Many large corporations have shown themselves to be financially needy/greedy in recent years of course, but I single out St Paul's Cathedral because the 'pay to pray' concept is one that I find hard to comprehend.

What else? Corrieshalogoch Gorge ( Dingwall to Ullapool road) has a pay machine at the top of the path that looks like a parking meter. In fact it is a parking meter - although it's not for parking, it's for walking. A parking meter for parking would be more straightforward, don't you think? We stopped at the Gorge on our way back from the Ullapool music festival in September - a stunning spot, well worth a visit, take cash.

Sweeping cuts in public services destroyed the employment opportunities for many of the youth of today (and possibly the youth of tomorrow) and phrases such as 'we are all in it together', 'double dip recession' and 'quantitative easing' have become common parlance.

The bankers (a mythical breed of executive types) were lynched on a daily basis (metaphorically speaking) but the institutions they once controlled are now rehabilitated and proclaim solidarity with the general population by throwing up advertising slogans such as "on your side" (Nationwide), "with you all the way" (Bank of Scotland) and "for the journey" (Lloyds TSB). This is a well-orchestrated charm offensive that doesn't quite fit the present economic circumstances, very nice though it is. I'm still not wholly convinced that we are all in it together (I think some of us are more in it than others) but top marks anyway for the advertising campaign - very tidy.

And then there were the riots, disgraceful behaviour, no excuse, although I suspect that the culture of corporate greed, financial indiscretion by many of our elected representatives, broken election promises (sorry, Nick, but that was on a mega scale) and such like have not helped matters. It's obviously not sufficient for the vast majority of schools and parents to be good role models if the politicians and financial institutions don't follow suit. Those in charge of the country could - and should - do better. You can't blame the parents for everything.

Will 2012 be more promising? I hope so.

A good indicator of the economic state of the nation is the employment opportunities for the young. Let's hope they improve. An equally good indicator for the moral health of the nation hinges upon Wayne Rooney (footballer, Manchester United). Some sections of the media take malicious delight in portraying this guy in the worst possible light. He's a good footballer, no doubt about that, and as a young guy he has his faults (don't we all?), but there has been a vicious campaign for many years to be unpleasant about all things Rooney, particularly his looks and his intelligence. It's happened to many others before him of course - build them up and then knock them down? In my opinion, however, when the Rooney syndrome is eradicated from our society we shall be in a better state as a country to move forward optimistically no matter what our political leaders and financial institutions throw at us. It all hinges on the Rooney.

Happy New Year!

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