I think I’m in love with Anne Wareham. It’s true that I’ve never met her and the one photo I’ve seen of her has her wearing goggles and driving a tractor. She also appears to be spoken for, as she’s dedicated her book to “Charles with love. Without you, nothing” and writes about making love to him by their “reflecting pool”. So it looks as though my love will be unrequited, but love it is, nevertheless.
My infatuation began when I was given a book called ‘The Bad Tempered Gardener’, of which my beloved is the author. I knew it was love when I came to a chapter on hostas, which was illustrated with photos of some immaculate plants, at the sight of which I thought “They’re not real”. And then I read the opening lines: “There is absolutely no point in growing hostas unless you are prepared to kill slugs and the only sensible way I have found to do that is regular applications of slug pellets”. And then a chapter on her veg plot when she says: “And the results were never so wonderful or so specially delicious as they are talked up to be. The potatoes tasted like potatoes – not a patch on the shop-bought Jersey Royals, whatever variety we grew”. These are truths which garden writers simply aren’t meant to acknowledge, and when she got going nothing was safe, from Show Gardens (most of them are ghastly) to other garden journalists (most of them are toadies).
Would I recommend ‘The Bad Tempered Gardener?’ Certainly not. You might fall for her as well, and where might that lead?