Thursday, 01 November 2012
Meet the British
Our humorous, tongue-in-cheek guide to British stereotypes. This week: The Lady Gardener…
By John Calvert & Michael PowellCharming posh woman who uses the word Rancunculus a lot and can spend six hours weeding without getting dirty. She has the stamina of a mountain goat and will live well into her 90s. She is married to a smugly retired gentleman with no neck who has made lots of money doing something boring, while she has spent her life playing host and propagating. She has had the leisure to look after herself, so she is still quite slim and well kept.
Her type regularly pops up on Gardeners’ Question Time asking a question designed to show how wealthy she is. ‘Margaret Foxton-Smythe, Sunningdale Ladies Horticultural Guild. I have a sizeable garden with light sandy soil. Can the panel offer some planting suggestions to fill a south-facing border between the parterre and the Palladian Tea House?’
She wears a wide-brimmed hat because it reminds her of her formative years in colonial Kenya before she was sent to a convent school in Britain. Gardening’s main appeal is that it allows her to discreetly demonstrate her wealth, social standing and good taste. In her social circle a camomile lawn serves the same function as a 52in plasma telly.
- Reading material The Accidental Gardener, RHS publications, seed catalogues, BBC Gardeners’ Magazine.
- Favourite TV programmes and films Gardeners’ World, Gardeners’ Question Time.
- Heroes and role models Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Gertrude Jekyll.
- Most likely cause of death Infected rose wound.
- Favourite music Mozart, Vivaldi (Four Seasons), Tchaikovsky.
- Ego issues Feels that her plant selection is very much a reflection of who she is.
- Fears Aphids, black spot on her roses, slugs and snails in her brassicas.
- Likes Gardening, weeding, planting, rooting, Chelsea Flower Show, bacon grease as a rabbit deterrent.
- Dislikes Pervasive weeds, pruning, taking stuff to the tip, moles, cutting the grass
- Earnings Husband earns six figures.
- Offspring She has kept her figure despite three grown-up children.
- Would like to drive but actually drives Morgan/Mercedes.
- Most likely to say ‘One simply never has enough time, does one?’
Related tags:Calvert’s Guide To TheBritish  Volume One: British Stereotypes In Order Of Social Rank  John Calvert  Michael Powell  The Lady
Daily tip from the lady archive
"It is not always she who appears most kindly in her interest who is the safe sharer of sacred (maybe sorrowful) secrets! Charming manners do not always connote sincerity of heart!”The Lady. In Confidence. 4th April, 1918
PRIVATE HOUSE in Andover/Winchester area requires personable, experienced, professional cook with own transport (live-out). Must be calm, adaptable, energetic, happy to use seasonal produce from garden and able to provide healthy, imaginative dishes. In addition to producing meals for owners, required to provide lunch for estate staff during week. Usual hours 0800-1600, Monday-Friday, but flexibility required for w/e and evening work. Salary negotiable. Contact: Apply Box 15495Apply now
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Yes - the Queen does a great job and is well worth it - 59.5%
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