Edwards on ... World Cup blinkers help plant focus

I am not keen on football. I have never played the game and never followed a club.

I am immune to World Cup fever, though naturally I sympathise with those less fortunate, those prone to the ailment - the soaring blood pressure and ruddy complexions of grown men screaming at the television, the bouts of delirium that has them preach the glory of their team to anyone within earshot and the depression that all too frequently ensues because the beautiful game allows just one team to win through.

Detached, I regard the rest of the nation with a deep sense of foreboding. The same sage-like wisdom makes me feel for the unhappy band of English gardeners who love the Magnolia to excess. I hear them talk of vast numbers of swelling buds - of how this year, finally, will produce the heavenly display of their dreams. I keep a polite distance on the morning that should have brought them ecstasy, and would have, but for the late frost that rudely browned off every newly-opened flower.

I have not always been this wise. When the world first began to notice the environment, when the value of good landscaping was first understood, when the health benefits of parks and gardens were first acknowledged, I thought perhaps we were on the brink of a bonanza. I thought governments would incentivise the planting of trees and shrubs. I thought developers would be so keen to provide a good environment, they would not need the incentive. I thought the benefit of plants were so obvious the public would demand them by the wagonload.

The only World Cup excitement I remember from my childhood was one summer's day in the 1970s. I do not have a clue who was playing, but it was hot and we had a barbecue. Even so, somehow, something got left unattended on a cooker in the house and the kitchen burnt down.

I know nothing of football, so who am I to say what will happen? Perhaps England will win - I do hope so - and perhaps the world will wake up on 12 July and start taking plants a bit more seriously.

Tim Edwards is chairman of Boningale Nurseries.

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