The Garden … No Place for Television

Experience means little, if anything, anymore
in a perverse world where everyone’s opinion
is (seemingly) just as “valid” as anyone else’s.

Multitudes of belligerent youths and ‘instant experts’
having neither the will or humility to learn;
needing to “look it up”, rather than retain
intelligent thought,

think nothing of spewing profanity-laced contempt
at those whose wisdom, life experience,
and mature deportment should instead,
cause them to blush with shame.

Finding Common Sense in the 21st century
is like searching for a jewel in a cesspool:

you have to wade through
a tremendous amount of sewage
to find anything of value.

The television and the Internet
have no place in the garden
when those who use them are unable (or unwilling),
to discriminate, discern, differntiate Knowledge
from inexperienced opinion … or an outright sales-pitch.

The twisting labyrinth of Corylus: the Corkscrew Hazel

The Television exists to control your mind.

It has NEVER had ANY other purpose.

Television Removes the ability to think.
Gardening Requires the ability to think.

By the mid-1950’s, television was the
prime method of convincing American housewives
to buy Proctor and Gamble laundry soap,
as well as other household products.

The recurring, turmoil-soaked serial “filler”
in-between those brief mind control sessions,
was known as a Soap Opera

– and even then, the “Stars” of those
daily or weekly programmes would be seen
performing – often still in their character’s wardrobe
and ‘on set’ – in adverts for whatever brands of motor car,
or breakfast cereal were sponsoring their ‘show’.

In 1960, that TV – now a ‘must-have’ feature
of American life – began its subtle role
of re-engineering the morals and mentality
of anyone and everyone who owned a television set.

When one has no interest, vanity is not an issue:
one does not ‘defend’ “My favourite show”
… and the patterns fairly ‘jump out’
at the unbiased observer …

In 1960, ‘Sherriff Andy Taylor’
introduced Americans to the concept
that a child can be raised in a home without a mother.
Oh, there was a surrogate – ‘Aunt Bea’ – but to change thinking,
it is essential to introduced thoughts gradually.

In 1966, ‘Uncle Bill’ raised Buffy, Jody, and Cissy
without a woman whatsoever.
The only help needed was dear old ‘Mr French’.

A woman was certainly not needed to raise a child:
She was of far more use being ‘liberated’ from
instilling respect, manners, guidance, and admonishment
to her children … to instead, earning spending money
which contributed taxes to bureaucratic coffers.

In 1966, and again in 1970, the removal
of the traditional family conviction from women
would be championed by two heroes of The Cause,
as Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore
played character roles in which any notion
of the wife and mother being at home
to raise moral, responsible, and respectful children,
was utterly abandoned for a career at the office.

In 1969, kindly ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ featured
topics that were associated with promiscuous sex,
rape, abortion and drug addiction.
No need for a mother at home:
all the advice you need is found on the TV set.

In 1970, the son-in-law of ‘Archie Bunker’
made such vehement, passionate humanist
discourses as “Why do we kill people
to show that killing people is wrong?” –
captivating the simple

with the specious, infantile ‘reasoning’
that removes all concept of difference
between the vicious actions of a Sadistic Savage,
and the judicial imperative of removing evil
from a society of morally-centred people.

In 1971, ‘Daddy’ Walton
did not accompany his family to church;

which ushered in a legion of programmes
that featured increasingly rebellious children
who went to ‘friends’ for advice,
rather than discuss concerns
and seeking the wisdom of caring parents.

[ Twenty years later, the perversion of “The Simpsons”
would exemplify the slovenly, stupid parents
and back-talking, belligerent brats,
that were characteristic of mass humanity
at the close of the 20th century. ]

In 1982, the cinema introduced the world
to the ex-military, Steroid Ape who would set the standard
for profanity-spewing, bullet-spraying savages
that would be worshipped and adored
by thug humanity up to this present day.

Men would now follow the Way of the Grunting Savage,
and women would do all they could
do to hurl any last vestige of femininity
from their lives.

The 1990’s were dominated by series’
in which cohabitating groups of ‘friends’
were concerned, in each episode,
with little more than copulating.

Several concepts in 21st century TV
(at least, in Britain and Europe) are readily apparent:

the trend of ‘police’ series’ in which
the chief of police or top detective
is an aggressive woman;
while men are the dependent assistants
seeking her approval for their efforts;

the nauseating repetition of the “T” word
where every bolt of lightning striking the ground
is potentially an act of … T- ism,

and the theme of pagan Earth Worship wherein
the earth is about to collapse if “we”
do not do this or do that.

Woman as leader; Man as subordinate;
and constant fear-mongering to keep the masses
dependent and compliant.

For over the last decade, apparently,
one cannot even watch a television programme,
without a little sliding window appearing on screen
to advertise the next ‘upcoming’ programme.
Condition viewers to become used to intrusive ads.

I cannot fathom how people can sit through it all
– but they do.

And with the advent of the Internet,
multitudes who cannot distinguish
“there”, “their” and “they’re”,
or “your” and “you’re”,
not only regard themselves as “teachers”
– but have a willing audience
who ‘like’, subscribe, comment
… and even say ‘Thank You’ to them.

If it appeals to ego or ease, people Like it
… Believe it … and Express their gratitude.

Light, Water, and Soil: the first shoots of Sum and Substance
emerge from the garden bed …

The Gardener

The garden REQUIRES four things that are
clearly repulsive to Modern Humanity:

Contemplation – the capacity to think before acting;
Empathy – to see things from the plant’s perspective;
Patience – to do things properly, and
the Humility to stoop down to do menial chores.

A plant is in a stationary position:
it cannot tell you when it needs help –
it is up to you to have the empathy to
see that its home (the soil) is well-tended;
to bring it water;
and to look for signs when it is unwell.

Those who do Not ENJOY caring for the garden,
are Not a gardeners.

The garden is no place for laziness and apathy
– the very things that are the Selling Points
for TV and Internet advertising.

Those who ‘cannot be bothered’ to provide
affection and healthy mental stimulation
to their dog, cat, budgie, or goldfish;

and subject them daily
– like dogs in an SPCA concrete kennel –
to perpetual misery and mental torture,
do but reveal what selfish,
hard-hearted creatures they are.

Gardening is about Appreciation:
willingly expending the mental Effort
and Energy (a concept that used to be known as ‘exercise’)
to care for that something that so desperately depends
upon human intervention.


Gardening is not about spending money.
And honestly, gardening is not even difficult –
for someone with a tender disposition.

A long-standing, unkempt garden reveals
the apathetic character of its owner.
The days of labouring and living in coal mines
are long over:
the mantra of “I don’t have the time” is pathetic.

The Gardener will MAKE time.
The deserving owner of an Animal will MAKE the time.

Multitudes make the time to vegetate
in front of the TV or on the Internet;
but complain that they “Don’t have the time”
for things that require effort or conscience.

MAKE time for the garden, and it WILL
change your personality – for the better, I assure you.
Gardening Will make you a better human being.

And if you DO make time for the garden, do not be swayed
by the declarations of pedlars who pander to laziness.
Your garden Does NOT Need
the junk that Advertisers are trying to sell you.

Gardening is exercise for the mind
… body … and conscience.

It requires is a tender heart,
a sensitive soul – Empathy …
and the willingness to care and make the effort
for living things that depend upon you
for kindness.

Friend, Mentor … and Grandpa: John Hall, the man who taught me
and gave me my first ‘paid’ job in the Botanic Gardens, in 1969 …

What MUST You Buy to be a Gardener ?

Five tools:

1. a spade
2. a border fork
3. a trowel
4. a pair of by-pass secateurs
5. a rake

6. a wheel-barrow,
which helps to carry away the various results
of an afternoon’s exercise in the garden.


7. well-rotted horse manure
or similar, suitable compost.

There is NO other additive that is required for your garden –
no chemical,
no ‘booster’,
no other thing Whatsoever need be added to your garden.

There is No Need to Buy
the bulk of what is being sold:

no need to turn your garden
into a pharmaceutical dumping ground.

1. Friable Soil
2. Sufficient Water
3. Proper Light

– supply these things, and invest thought and exercise
and your garden will reward you with blissful serenity,
sights and scents.

As for television and the Internet:
one will not go far wrong with the instruction
of Alan Titchmarsh: an highly experienced gardener
with a demonstrable ability to teach in a congenial
and humble manner.

But sober-minded teachers of humble disposition,
who are unwilling to accommodate modern sloth
and ‘politically correct’ agenda-pandering …

… are a rarity.

Find them if you can, and appreciate their efforts.

[ Thoughts upon “Teachers on the Internet”
are presented on this site;
perhaps, there may be something to consider
in the suggestions offered there? ]

Gardening is about Empathy:
looking at a plant that is unable to move, speak,
or fend for itself – and making the Effort
to provide that plant with what it needs to be healthy.

Whether you garden on an acreage, city plot,
or high-rise balcony, Cultivate Kindness,
Responsibility, and Discernment –
and enjoy the plants that will flourish as a result.


A ray of morning sunlight penetrates the darkness …

The 1st of April … in the GARDEN


A Tulip displays in mid-morning

With April ushering in that extraordinary temperature
of 11 degrees Centigrade,
shoots begin to emerge from the cold garden soil –

Should there be one or two folk remaining in the world
who appreciate the wonders of the garden – in all stages,
Join me as we take a walk around …

In every garden bed, Hostas make their first appearance …

… as the first leaves emerge on bright red branches.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

From Blue Mammoth to the diminutive Blue Blush,
every species of hosta in the garden is now responding to the warming air.





The ‘glow’ of Forsythia

The Beautiful, Purple-Black of Hellebore “Blue Lady”.

The first display of Prunus


Something not destroyed by the interfering touch
of man-made inventions or brain-wasting techno-toys:
the wonderful sights of the garden
which, I trust, one or two folk visiting today
may have appreciated.

For those possessing the capacity, be congenial,
say “Hello” and leave a word of greeting;
I hope that you have enjoyed sharing the sights
of this walk around the garden on the 1st of April, 2018.

I shall leave you with another look
at one of the Tulips in the garden …

As always —
Rise above the degradation of the 21st century;
Cultivate Kindness, Gentility, and Attention to Detail:

Make the Effort … Care for a Garden.

April ’18

MARCH in the Garden … いしどうろう … ishidourou

March in the garden is the time to begin
the gardening year by walking systematically through
and taking note of what needs to be pruned and trained
for the year ahead.

During the last two weeks of March,
shrubs should probably be the first to receive
care and attention … with a pair of cleaned
and sharpened secateurs,

to remove all branches that are Dead, Diseased,
Damaged, and (what I call) Diagonal –
that is, growing inward towards the centre of the plant,
or at an undesirable angle.

With proper pruning, light and air
will now freely circulate throughout
the centre and interior of the plant.

When it is discovered that I make gardens
after the Japanese manner,
folk not infrequently seem compelled to ask
if I … “make Zen gardens”.

I had, initially, not the slightest idea –
and had to ask for an explanation
of the term.

The result of that query enlightened
both the inquirer and me:
the answer turned out to be .. “No”.

What was described to me seemed to be
Disneyland versions of what cinema-goers
think a Japanese Garden looks like.

Water …

Yes, most assuredly, each of these is integral

… But, No –

No stone Buddhas;
No Red, Arch-shaped Bridges;
No concrete stepping-stones with katakana characters;
No statues of Geiko Maidens carrying pitchers of water.

Such things would no more occur to me
than would putting plastic leprechauns,
gnomes, or fairies, in a garden in Ireland.

The garden, surely, is a place to relate
… to Nature …
to the plants and animals that reside within
the confines of the well-tended garden ?

Features added to the garden ( I had always
– apparently bizarrely – imagined) should always
be “in keeping” with the natural surrounding –

a dry stone wall;
a fallen tree used as the front of a raised garden bed;
or a stone positioned as a directional guidepost.

But there is indeed one man-made feature
– only one –
that I would like to share with you
since few seem aware of what precisely it is.

While the only statuesque features, for me,
are the trees within the garden,

there is one object that, for me,
is indispensible in any serene setting,
and that is

an Ishidourou – いしどうろう

… the stone lantern.

Although Ishidourou may be found
in a staggering array of sizes and shapes,
the yama dourou is one that is
composed of natural stones.

Before moving to North America,
I had always appreciated the gentle flicker of flame
from the ishidorou’s lantern,
when enjoying the serenity of a quite evening
in our country garden back home.

( Tragically – perhaps unsurprisingly,
there now exists the appalling practice
of outfitting modern stone lanterns
with electrical cords and light bulbs:

Such barbarous tastelessness
will never remotely approach
the gentility of a candle
placed within the lantern’s chamber! )

It truly is a wonderful and soothing experience
to sit and enjoy a gentle breeze in the garden,
by the flickering glow of the lantern.

In the rare chance that it might be of interest
to one or two folk,
a few photographs of our lantern
taken after being given bath with soap and hot water,
and left to dry before being placed outside.

Illustrated here,
a candle may be slid gently
into the rear of the Light Chamber …

The flame will then flicker
through the stone ‘grill’ in front.

There is absolutely nothing
that removes one from the crude vulgarity,
inherent noise, and self-venerating barbarism
of 21st century humanity

than the flame of an Ishidourou
sending its warm glow,
and casting gentle shadows,
in the darkened surround
of a garden in the evening.

If you have never considered
(or perhaps, even seen) an Ishidourou,
I hope that these few words
may pique your interest.