Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Share my garden


Last year we were without Night Scented Stock for the first time in years. You may remember that I killed them all off by falling for an offer of 15 kilos of Eastern European car-park sweepings purporting to be 'all-purpose potting compost' for £1. They must have spent more printing the sack than they did on the 'compost'.

This year I bought 10 kilos of what I am hoping is not toxic waste for £3, so I have hopes for blissful scent in the hoped-for warm Summer nights.

Because Night Scented Stock seeds are becoming increasingly rare in shops, I now buy them on eBay. I found a reputable grower based in Wilton which sold them, but checked down the list to see what else was on offer.

The Wilton supplier began with an offer of 1000 seeds for 99p, including postage. Just below that, the same supplier offered 2000 seeds - for 99p including postage.

Further down, the same supplier advertised 4000 seeds - for 99p including postage. I think you can see where we are heading with this post, so I will miss out the other offers from that supplier and cut to the final deal.

I ended up buying 30,000 seeds from the Wilton supplier - for 99p including postage.

You may think that I was being unattractively greedy by buying so many seeds when our little window-box will only take about 500 for a very crowded and stunted display, but I have been giving them away to people who have gardens. I love giving away Night Scented Stocks, especially to people who have never sniffed them on a balmy evening. I am almost evangelistic about it. I over-plant because it is not the 'display' I am after, it is the scent from the little flowers - in the dark.

I have been wondering how and why the supplier can afford to sell such differing quantities for the exact same price, and all I can come up with is that they treat the buyer in the same way that people trust the public to use an honesty box. That is to say that they cannot imagine someone buying 30,000 seeds for 99p and throwing away the other 29,500 which they have no room for. Then again, they could be as evangelistic as I am about Night Scented Stock.

The flower in the picture above is called, 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost'. It is named after an elderly lady who used to visit people's gardens and wander around the flower beds pretending to admire the plants. Sometime after she had gone, the owners of the gardens all noticed this peculiar flower sprouting up in her wake. She secretly spread the seeds of it all over the country in as many gardens as she could visit, and it still grows self-seeded to this day.

She was obviously one of the first evangelistic guerrilla-gardeners in her time.

45 comments:

  1. The above pictured flower is the garden version of a wild flower known as Sea Holly Eryngium maritimum. It can be found growing along coastal shingle and sandy beaches.

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    1. Oh, I wondered what its real name was before Miss Wilmott started spreading it around.

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  2. Night scented stock were the first flowers that I planted when moving to my present location. Their scents are quite delightful !

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  3. A friend of mine scatters nasturtium seed around Cornwall. If we see the flowers growing in random places we look knowingly at each other and say "judith's been here!" I love the term guerrilla gardener.

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    1. I think the Victorians did the same with all those invasive plants from the Himalayas.

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  4. Amazing how such a tiny and non-descrip. flower can have such an amazing and wide travelling scent.

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  5. I used to buy seeds from a rather eccentric American man (in the UK) who's name was Size. His Co was called Seeds by Size, and offered roughly the same bizarre deals. In fact reading the above I wondered if in fact this was Mr Size himself?

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    1. I've just seen that he's still around, but his business seems a bit more sophisticated than back in the 70's.

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    2. I am surprised John hasn't latched on to Seeds by Size...

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  6. Pity this is not smelly blogland - I can almost imagine the smell of night scented stocks - perfect

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    1. If flowers were always involved then I am with you, Weave. I would not always want a smellerama on John's blog...

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  7. Never seen or heard of it. Wish I could smell it. Don't forget - the first Saturday in May is World Naked Gardening Day. I thought you''d like to know.

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    1. I know Malmesbury's famous naked gardener. He is nuts.

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    2. You would do.....isnt his wife a naked gardener too?

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    3. No, that's the scarecrow.

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    4. Ha ha! They moved from the Bath area to Malmesbury, right by the Abbey. There is a notice on the entrance to the garden warning people that they will see nakedness - not a pretty sight. A friend of mine once went to their house to discuss a marble kitchen, and the whole interview was conducted in the nude. Them, not him. Weirdos...

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  8. How cool that you and your seed supplier are now bringing delightful evening scents to more and more UK gardens! If the 2017 compost proves worthy, will your plants provide seeds for next year's planting?

    Sorry to report that my apartment building's management forbids window boxes. Otherwise, i would be asking you to mail me some seeds...but I think that is also forbidden.

    I will ask the folks at the farmers market plant stands if any of them sell night scented stock...friends of mine have access to roof garden spaces where they live.

    I want to sample that scent!

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    1. I will send you seeds. Send me your address.

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    2. Far out! Thank you, Tom.

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    3. Send it to tjstephenson@talktalk.net

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  9. Tom, whiffs of honeysuckle and lilacs meandering in my Grandma Howard's house are lovely memories of my childhood. I, too am going to look this plant up. What I would give to smell it!

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    1. Once smelled, never forgotten. It is like listening to an Indian music classical evening Rag.

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  10. I had a potentilla called Miss Wilmott ..... do you think she spread lots of different seeds ? XXXX

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    1. I dont know why but this made me gaffaw

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    2. I was going to put in brackets that it sounded a little rude John !!!! XXXX

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    3. I think John is talking about feeding the chickens again...

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    4. I once shagged a minor film director called willmott

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  11. Replies
    1. It's not the first time I have used it. I like to piss-off my landed neighbours...

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  12. I've read the story of Miss Wilmott's Ghost in seed catalogs before. I don't think I've ever smelled it, though.

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    1. I bet that will make John titter as well Jennifer !!!! XXXX

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    2. Miss Wilmott's Ghost may not smell that much. You need to sniff Night Scented Stock. Definitely not John.

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    3. I smell of clinique ! Well only when im on my best behaviour

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    4. You need to smell her garden.

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    5. I will never smell a lady's garden
      Been there
      Never again

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    6. Ouch! Was it that bad, John?!

      I'm so sorry!

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    7. No ....but willies are better

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    8. I see this conversation took a down-turn after I went to bed. I thought the whole point about Clinique was that it is completely odourless?

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  13. How are 10 kilos of compost going to fit into a little window box?

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    1. Damn. They sold me underweight too. I managed to get it all in! (Stop it John, Jack@ and the rest of you perverts...).

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