Madazine
Chapter 42: Horticultural Matters

Announcer: I’m sure we are all grateful to Fred Green for enlightening us about so many aspects of gardening. Now, we have a few minutes left for listeners to phone in with their queries. You may have gathered that Fred does not take prisoners, so be prepared for some forthright responses. Let’s have our first question, please.

Caller: Hello. I’m Edith Loambarrow and I’m from Longacre in Somerset.

Green: Well, we all have our troubles, but what’s your question?

Edith: I have a problem with my agoraphobius. I keep it in the back garden, which faces south and the poor thing just doesn’t seem to like the Sun. What am I doing wrong?

Green: Everything! The clue is in the name, as anyone with a grain of sense would realise. You must have heard of agoraphobia. The plant’s yearning for a confined space, preferably a dark one. You should do something similar to what I did with my agoraphobias. I put them in a windowless cellar.

Edith: Oh, thank you. Did they flourish?

Green: How would I know? They’ve been locked in there for nine years. Does anybody have a more interesting question?

Caller: Good morning, Fred. My name is Shrubs and I live in Birmingham.

Green: You have my sympathy on both counts. What’s your difficulty?

Shrubs: I’m having a tough time with a patch of carnivorias. I was advised to dose them with bone meal, but they don’t seem to like it. What food would you suggest?

Green: Dead simple. Carnivorias love meat. Give them rare steak, but just watch out how you approach them. If they haven’t been fed for a while, toss the stuff to them from a safe distance. If you get too close, they’ll have your arm off as soon as look at you. Next!

Caller: G’day, Greeno. I’m Bruce Dongle, from Western ‘Stralia.

Green: Oh, come off it. Nobody rings a UK gardening programme from Oz. What’s your game?

Bruce: Straight up, mate. I live near Eighty Mile Beach. That’s a good way –

Green: I know where it is. Up beyond Perth and a bit to the right.

Bruce: Close enough.

Green; Well, I’m passably fluent it Strine, so you may speak freely. What’s eating you?

Bruce: I have a real headache with delirium tremens in my front garden.

Green: I can see how that would affect your head but this kind of thing is usually best dealt with indoors.

Bruce: Not sure what you’re driving at there. My worry is that they’re getting out of control. I’m up to the hips in them. Have you any ideas?

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