Category Archives: Silly bits

Grow your own Viagra

The Independant ran a fascinating article on Sunday: Grow-your-own Viagra craze hits Britains garden centres

Thankfully I’m not one to need to follow their advice (too much info?!), but this has to be one of the best botanical news stories I’ve read for ages.

It’s always nice to see the wonderful and varied properties of plants,

a plant widely available in garden centres has the same effect on men as Viagra

it was discovered by an allotment holder

The latest gardening craze was triggered by a discovery by a 55-year-old furniture restorer, Michael Ford, on his allotment. He was always experimenting with drinks made from different plants and one day he tried an infusion from his winter-flowering heather. He said: “The effect was almost immediate. I had to stay in my potting shed for an hour or so before I could decently walk down the street.

and the effect was validated by a botanic garden

Botanist Alan Bennell said: “This first surfaced when East European chemists reported finding a Viagra-type chemical in the floral tissues of winter-flowering heaths. They were able to isolate measurable amounts of material that is an analogue of the active principle in Viagra.

The only thing that spoilt the story was the date of publication – 1 April!

When is a knotweed a weed?

The Daily Mail is today reporting “Attack of the super weed hits Olympics” and suggesting that clearing 10 acres of this pesky little plant could cost £70 million.  They go on to say:

Surveyors have discovered that the aggressive weed has taken over 10 acres of the proposed sites for the velodrome and aquatic centre in Stratford.

I wonder how much that surveyor (oh, sorry, surveyors – it took more than one of them!) was being paid to identify it, when someone with the most basic of botanical skills would have known what it is.  And given the suggestion that its presence on the site is some new discovery, just when did it magically appear?

Specialists can charge up to £40,000 to clear only six square yards of ground affected by the weed, which has been called the most invasive plant in Britain.

The logic in the assumption that this means it will be £70m to clear the lot is beyond me.  Answers on a postcard please….

Got a problem? Blame global warming!

I hesitate to post this, seeing as the subject of global warming is clearly a serious one, but if nothing else it shows how the politicians and headline writers grab hold of things and twist them to their own ends. In fact I have just remembered that I posted something similar myself back in October 2006. But this list – Got a problem? Blame global warming! – knocks the socks off my feeble attempt! Here are a few of my personal favourites….

And that’s just three points out of about a hundred in the full list

Cliff Richard, Druids, and the Archbishop of York

These may appear at first glance to be odd bedfellows, but they all seem to share the dubious honour of having received a letter from a Mr Morello, who I have just discovered is a near neighbour of mine.

What he does is not something I can easily explain, so just take a look at some of his letters to find out more! (the links to other letters are top-right on the page)