- When I asked a question on GQT a few years ago, one expert advised me not to bother training a wisteria into a tree whilst the other two were most encouraging
- Me shouting no that's wrong, or you need to tell them about x whilst listening to GQT
- A certain allotmenteer rotovating all that couch grass on the telly
- Growers in places such as Scotland saying the RHS' plant trials aren't relevant to them because the conditions at Wisley are so different to theirs (I referred to that debate here, but unfortunately I can't find a relevant online link for you)
- My plants growing much taller than it says on the label
- Some of my plants thriving in conditions the book says are the kiss of death
Of course, Pippa Greenwood is right. There's oodles on the internet - not just by bloggers - which is poorly researched or misinformed, but the above examples show it's not just the internet where this happens. And of course plants are quite plastic in their behaviour, so a small variation in soil or aspect for example can be enough to prove that expert tome isn't quite as authoritative as it seems.
She was also talking off the cuff (I believe the experts still don't get to see the questions beforehand), so there isn't much time to think through the implications of everything that's being said at the time of saying it. I also need to say there's loads of blogs out there which are extremely good - you soon get to know which ones are the good 'uns. And because we can leave comments, any further questions, clarification, debate or extra information can be added immediately for the author to respond to. That's something I couldn't do today, so I shouted at the radio... yet again.
It's also a bit ironic really as I've just found out she has a website with a blog. And actually, the best bits on GQT are when the experts argue and start having a heated debate aren't they?
It gives me great pleasure to give advice on this blog and to answer your questions. But after today's hastily made remarks I feel I need to say something about how my advice and answers are put together. I'm no expert, so a lot of what I tell you about is from my own experience or my working something out. I always try to back this up with further information to prove or add to what I'm saying **. That's why my blog is so link rich and they're from the most trusted and informative sources I can find.
If I'm not sure about something or don't know, I'll also say so especially if I can't find something via my research which clarifies things. I also believe you have lots of common sense, and therefore read my posts with your own experience and the conditions you have in your garden in mind. The quality of the comments you leave bears that out :)
However, do remember that you need to take anything I write under the You Ask, We Answer heading (YAWA, my spoof magazine) or in response to those quirky internet searches which hit my blog (found under Question Time along with the more useful answers) with a hefty pinch of salt. Though even here, the odd bit of useful information may creep in from time to time ;)
And to show there's no hard feelings here's a link to the episode of GQT I was listening to today. The bit at the end when the lady asked a question about her rather poorly plant is one of those classic moments in my opinion which keeps us tuning in every week.
The picture is of part of the damson tree in the garden of the cottage where we stayed in Shropshire recently. I fear it may be bacterial canker, but I've just found out about a similar looking condition called gummosis. Therefore I'm just about to fire off an enquiry to the RHS members' advisory service before I tell you anything more about it.
* = Part 1 is here.
** = Guess what my major offline reference is for pests and diseases? Yes, it's RHS Pests and Diseases which is co-authored by Pippa Greenwood.
Update 3/10: Stopwatch Gardener has written a most thoughtful piece in response to this post with a great response in her comments. It's worth a read and illustrates one of the strengths of blogging: the response and interaction we get across one or many blogs. I also found out yesterday the BBC have revamped their gardening pages this week and started a new blog, with regular updates due from Alys Fowler, Bob Flowerdew, Jim McColl (Beechgrove Garden) and our very own The Constant Gardener.