Overheard in a garden shop

I was in London for a work related visit and thought I had better pay a visit to Kew Gardens.  I didn’t have very long to spend admiring the plants but here are a few thoughts.   I couldn’t resist this sign:

Pruning sign

Gardeners were hard at work cutting things back on the pergolas that surround the vegetable gardens.  Why was I in the vegetable gardens when there were 300 acres of rolling grassland, specialist planting and hothouses to look at?  Well I always prefer looking at vegetables and Kew has some impressive specimens even in November:

Swiss chard

I walked along the Thames behind the Gardens and was stunned by the bird life, which included seven herons, five cormorants and three robins.   Robins were certainly present in the Gardens, at least in the shops that is.  As with everywhere else, the shops at Kew are well into Christmas mode, with robins everywhere: metal robins, paper robins, knitted robins and even a knitted Christmas pudding hat. I wasn’t tempted.  But I bought a post card and overheard some useful gardening advice in the queue for the tills.  Two rather posh ladies were buying bird food and discussing the problem of squirrels.  ‘Chilli powder!’, one of them hooted.  I thought that seemed a bit strange but the woman behind the till agreed:  ‘Yes, chilli powder deters squirrels but birds can’t taste it’.

Cute but treacherous

Now squirrels have caused me much misery in the last year (destroying the bathroom ceiling by building a nest above it and fusing the electricity supply by biting through electric cables). So I’ll try anything to keep them away.  I even bought a squirrel proof bird feeder last year but  it proved to be bird proof as well so that was a bit pointless.  I wasn’t sure about following the advice of a couple of posh ladies in a garden shop so I checked online about the chilli powder and the RSPB agrees.

So, forget the squirrel proof bird feeders, I’ll be heading for the supermarket to stock up on chilli powder and sowing even more chilli seeds next year.

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