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No green fingers for Tunners!
I’VE never had green fingers and so can’t keep plants alive, especially indoor plants. They don’t die of natural causes while in my care - they appear to commit suicide.
My dear old mum, on the other hand, has very green fingers. She can maintain a plant to full vigour no matter what state it’s in. She also has an idiosyncratic approach to nurturing salad.
Once she decided to take the seeds out of supermarket tomatoes and plant them in her greenhouse ‘just to see what would happen’.
She grew the most wonderful crop of tommies you could imagine.
A few years ago, I entrusted mum with some sorry-looking house plants while I went off on a three-month trip to visit my son in South East Asia.
When I returned, her conservatory had been transformed into such a lush place, it felt like I was still in the Malaysian jungle.
I was reminded of this experience while watching that wonderful BBC programme How To Grow A Planet on Tuesday evening.
What a remarkable programme it was. I was thoroughly gripped from the first little shoots of information disseminated in the delightful Scottish brogue of that enthusiastic and personable presenter Professor Iain Stewart.
It brought home to me how thoroughly accidental our existence on Earth is. Not just humans, but all life which depends on oxygen came about because of a purely random, but entirely fortuituous series of events.
The programme revealed, for example, that Earth was originally a purple rather than green and blue planet.
And it showed how the earliest plants crept out of the oceans to establish themselves on the rocky landscape.
But what really fascinated was being told how scientists at Exeter University captured on film the process by which plants alert each other to possible dangers.
My house plants probably used the technique to warn: “Watch out, Tunners is about!”