Sunday, June 13, 2021
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A gardener’s guide to the Budget

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While the Government tends its perpetual-fruiting Money Tree, TCW’s resident horticulturist casts his eye over yesterday’s events and advises on plants to be considered for today’s gardens.

GARDENERS have, for some weeks, been waiting anxiously for Head Gardener Rishi Sunak to deliver his annual flower:

The Budget (Takeus maximus)

Introduced in 1733 by the then head nurseryman Sir Horace Walpole, this somewhat unappealing hardy annual has found favour with subsequent horticulturists and is now firmly established. It throws up copious thorny stems and has a pungent odour.

Corporation Tax (Stuffia businessensis)

With its sheer luxuriance of foliage, it is hard to beat this magnificent hedge. It requires minimal pruning for optimal effect, but many novice gardeners will make the mistake of radical cut back, resulting in a poor display and a long recovery period.

This plant should not be confused with its distant relative:

State Sector (Sclerotica uselessio)

An invasive weed. Once established it can prove almost impossible to control and will thrive under all circumstances, resisting all attempts at eradication.

Furlough (Notasyeta redundantia)

This recently cultivated arrival has rapidly found acceptance in all quarters. From the moment it starts its growth in spring, when its scented leaves push forth, until its 18-month blossoming, no one can doubt the attractiveness of this plant. Sadly, without warning, Furlough can wither and die, so is not to be considered a long-term prospect.

Universal Credit (Supportus allus)

One of the more decorative members of its genus. It will reward patient idleness with a rich and enjoyable display lasting January-December and will be equally at home in pots, containers, beds and sofas.

Hospitality (Ruinedus industrius)

The habit of this plant is distinctive. In spring, stout green buds will emerge from its centre. From this will develop a spreading head of appealing flowers which open in succession. Unfortunately, this well-known and much-loved varietal has been blighted by a hitherto unknown bug (Dubious scienceii). A pesticide manufacturer produced a prophylactic and aggressively marketed remedy called ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ which briefly stemmed the advance of the disease, but it was strangely withdrawn without notice, leaving this species extremely vulnerable.

Culture (Allarts closedum)

Forming dense hummocks of evergreen leaves that make excellent ground cover, its candle-like flowers decorate the plant throughout the year. Crossed with the more robust BBC (Propagandia unlimitus) it will produce a host of lovely cultivars such as Museum, Cinema, Theatre and Galleries. Needs regular feeding with a proprietary fertiliser such as ‘Grant’ or ‘Subsidy’.

Pension Tax (Soakus oldiesi)

This long-lived perennial has formed the backbone of gardens across the land for generations. Recently however it has been subject to horticultural experimentation in the form of harvesting. Far from increased yields, all we have seen to date is resentment at continual uprooting and plants storing reserves in their roots, protecting them from the rapacious ministrations of the Head Gardener.

Green Bonds (Totalus rubbishum)

New for 2021, this vigorous (and some say pernicious) creeper is an import from the USA where it has grown prolifically and unimpeded in recent years. Used effectively as camouflage, it will cloak neglected buildings with an ostensibly attractive carapace of enticing flowers emitting a heady and alluring scent.

However, we have received reports from America that it has run rampant, destroying established gardens in a short space of time, leaving a despoiled and unrecognisable landscape that is incapable of regeneration. We would warn against planting.

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Alexander McKibbin
Alexander McKibbin is a retired media executive who worked across domestic and international media.

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