Paper Newspapers and Gardening Columns

I have been a reader of the Financial Times for many years – the paper version which makes it quicker to scan the whole document for interesting articles or letters to the editor. But to avoid the risk of infection to me or the local newsagent’s staff I have switched to the on-line edition.

One article I spotted yesterday in it is that all newspapers are suffering sharp declines in their print editions. Will this be one of the permanent market changes that is crystallized by the coronavirus epidemic? One of the reasons for the decline is far fewer visits to local stores and supermarkets where people often picked up a paper, and fewer casual purchases in other outlets. Will buyers revert to paper when the epidemic is over? I hope they do because otherwise the price will go up and make taking the print edition even less viable.

Another recent interesting article in the FT was on the 50 years that Robin Lane Fox has been writing a gardening column for the paper – currently on Saturdays. I always read it.  Long may he continue. Why should not financial news publications contain articles on gardening? No reason so here is my contribution to the genre. But bear in mind that I live in London so only have a small garden.

Like a lot of those stuck at home during the epidemic, I have been doing a lot of gardening of late. Mainly tidying up after winter, but there are a few things to comment on.

This is the time to fill those patches of bare lawn so I sewed some grass seed where a tree had been removed. I planted a plum tree the winter before last and hoped for some blossom and fruit this year but there is nothing to see so we will have to wait another year. This is an Oullins Golden Gage which we had in a previous garden. It has large yellow, very sweet fruit – highly recommended. But needs to be eaten from the tree as it does not keep for long. Hence it is not a commercial variety.


The tulips we planted in a pot two years ago have flowered well again – see photo above. Monty Don suggested in one of his TV programmes that they should be thrown out and replanted when in pots after a year. But I don’t believe in creating extra gardening work so I left them in. The daffodils planted in the same pots have not done well though so they will have to be removed. The same pots have hardy cyclamen in them so there is no bare soil after the tulips have died down.


One tree in the garden that always looks good at this time of year is the Japanese maple – Acer Palmatum Orange Dream – see photo. Bright green leaves in spring and turning orange in Autumn. Behind it is a Rhodendron Impeditum with bright blue flowers at this time of year. They lighten up a relatively dark corner. Both are not too vigorous, ideal for a small garden, and easy to look after. No maintenance required at all in fact which I always like in the garden.

I treat my garden like I do my investments. Preferring to hold those that are sturdy and long-lasting. Those that are weak or require constant attention don’t last long in my garden or my investment portfolio. My garden is like a “low-effort” portfolio of hardy shrubs that can survive extreme weather conditions with no special care.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: )

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