Lord and Lady Mantle have guests in residence, the Royal Pixie Highnesses, Princess Maia-Rose and Princess Elizabeth-Daisy. You may have heard of them, they regularly grace the pages of Hello magazine. They had decided that whilst holidaying on the estate, they would immerse themselves in local traditions and watch the servant toil in the garden. Unfortunately the maid had forgotten to pack their Burberrys’ so Lady Mantle made them some dapper reproductions out of bin bags. Very chic they looked too with their customised hemlines and sellotape fasteners. Wellied-up (spotty or flashing heels, take your pick), punk coats donned and we were ready.
I take back all the things I have said in the past about princesses. They worked hard and enthusiastically. Sweet peas were cut, seeds were collected and sown, we smelt things both good and evil, we planted and watered, weeds were tugged and new friends made. It rained incessantly and I heard not one mutter or moan. Mud was their friend, they were curious and carefree. They scooted about the garden, bare headed, soaking up much more than the North Devon mizzle. There was an unfortunate incident which was the result of a combination of running and wet grass, but this surely is a horticultural rite of passage. Some magic ointment and bumps and bruises were soon soothed. I really must get some of this salve for my first aid kit. Luckily it was almost butty time and combined with a glass of hot milk the poorly leg was quickly forgotten.
The photo above is of Princess M-R holding Johnson the caterpillar who later “escaped” his plant pot home which had been lovingly lined with nasturtium leaves. He shared this temporary home with Johnson, Johnson, Johnson and Johnson. Princess E-D also nurtured some of these cabbage whites who were named Charlie and Cuthbert (several of each). These were also later liberated before they suffered too much trauma. We really don’t need rampaging gangs of butterflies bent on revenge.
How do we get young people to choose horticulture? Do we make it trendy? Do we make it financially attractive? Do we need gimmicks? Or bribes perhaps? No, we make it fun.