The greenfly problem

I am, as you know, passionate about rose-growing. My success with the dwarf bush Rosa ‘Anna Ford’ is legendary.

But even at this snowy time of year, I am already thinking ahead to the problem of insect infestation. (There is nothing worse than a rose bush heaving with greenfly.)

Luckily, the discount warehouse the other side of Baddeley Manor is currently running a special offer on washing-up liquid which, as many of you will know, is an excellent way to combat this irritating aphid. (Dilute heavily and spray.)  I have prepared for the summer months ahead by buying in bulk. You may wish to follow my example.

By coincidence, Anna Ford, the wine-throwing newsreader after whom my bush was named, was featured in a recent interview for the Telegraph newspaper. She was quoted as saying that she enjoys the sound of birdsong. ‘Could there be anything more life-affirming?’

There has been a lot of interest in birdsong recently. (You have only to think of Sebastian Faulks.)

But not everyone hears beauty in the dawn chorus. Berta, my Polish au pair, has taken to sleeping with ear plugs. 

(photo Paul Brentnall)