For non-blogging reasons I was having a look at what had happened in history on the 18th November.  Quite a few things it turns out, but the one that caught my eye was 18th November 1307 – the date that William Tell shot the apple with a crossbow that was on the head of his son.  An act that apparently led to the eventual formation of the Swiss Confederation.  Sort of Robin Hood, but more impact and less redistribution of wealth.

 It is not possible for me to think about William Tell without humming the William Tell Overture (Rossini 1829), which of course I mainly know from it being the theme tune of The Lone Ranger television series which was aired many (no seriously, many) years before I was born but has been repeated and shown so often I do remember it.

So what is the gardening link to this?  I don’t even like apples unless they are baked in crumble or pie and served with custard!  Well my thoughts turned to the things that make me remember certain things and that have influenced me hugely as an adult.
 Let’s be clear, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin have a lot to answer for.  The Pogles was and is one of the most important influences in my early years.  There was Mr and Mrs Pogle, their adopted son Pippin (the fairies gave him to the Pogles as a thank you gift, (not child exploitation – an act of genuine kindness to an ageing childless couple), and there was Tog a stuffed stripy toy that was brought to life.  I wanted to be Tog, he was my hero, I spoke like him without even trying!  Key to all this though is that the Pogles was about living with nature.  They lived in the wood, a hedgepig woke them every morning by ringing the doorbell and in the shade of their tree grew Plant.  Plant was a huge, towering poppy looking, magical, plant.  They fed Plant with bilberry wine every day.  Once given his wine Plant would tell the Pogles stories.  It was a sort of benign group hallucination effect but for a four year old, just magical.  I don’t give my plants bilberry wine to drink, but I loved Plant and I think that was the early start of all that has followed since.
Leap ahead a few years and you get to The Herbs (Ivor Woods and Michael Bond).  Each character was the name of a herb.  Dill the dog, Parsley the Lion, Tarragon the Dragon and so on.  I had never heard of chives before watching this.  I spent years trying to grow parsley (failing largely) and tarragon was just an exotic dream!  I won’t even go into Pashana Bedhi,which for years I could not even find out what that was; only to find out it is Indian Borage (Plectranthus amboinicus).  These programmes raised an interest in plants, herbs and their uses though that obviously still remains.  
Move forward many years and now I still gain inspiration for my garden from the films I watch, books I read and the television I enjoy.  Hence the Portmeirion and Susan Williams Ellis roses (The Prisoner).  I am waiting for my delivery of the Sir Clough rose which will make me silly happy.  Oh and then there is V for Vendetta with the Scarlet Carson rose.  Yes, I know, it doesn’t exist, it should be the Violet Carson rose which is the one named in the graphic novel and to my great delight links to Coronation Street.  Sadly though, it is very difficult to get hold of in this country and to be honest, it’s a little too peachy for me.  There is a definite criteria to actually make it into my garden.

oh and I must - of course I must:


  1. Food for thought and a beautifully constructed post! My husband P is a huge Clangers fan. His children grew up with them. I even got him a Clangers birthday card. I grew up without a telly but I did manage to catch up with Roobarb and Custard and Ludwig later on in life. I don't think I could say they influenced me but they were hugely enjoyable.

  2. I saw that date too, so thanks for the history lesson! Actually, there was a TV series in the Fifties about William Tell, which also used the Rossini overture, with lyrics that went:
    Come along, come along with William Tell,
    Come along to the land that he loved so well,
    Come along, come along with William Tell
    To the HEART of Switz-er-land.
    It's rather scary that i remember this...

  3. I vaguely remember the tv prog - and definitely the song - oh the joys of black and white tv :-)

  4. Oooh! Am reading this before supper and now all I want is apple crumble and custard :-)

  5. The Good Life was a huge influence on me, and although I have moved away from the idea of being sef-sufficient, I still love the show.

  6. Thanks Alison. I do remember Pogles Wood, very vaguely, and something about bilberry wine. Lovely nostalgic stuff to have the blanks filled in!

  7. What a delightful post. I found this while googling Pashana Bedi, the Indian herb which featured in the Herb Garden. I am now married to a Punjabi Indian lady, but she had never heard of it. I was brought up on Pogle's Wood, the Herbs, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, and many more... great memories.


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