The Idiot Gardener

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The great seed robbery!

It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to report the great seed robbery. What is worse, what is upsetting and disheartening, is that I must also report that a previous winner of a TIGNOG is being stripped of his award, stripped of his TIGNOG for bringing the awards into disrepute. It’s a disgrace, a shame and a bloody scandal; that’s what it is. It’s a dark stain on the soul of gardening, a rot deep in the heart of horticulture, it’s a crime against gardening, a bloody terrible crime against us all, and the culprit has to be made to pay. Rather than repeat the whole story, I’ll just leave you with the letter sent today to the dirty criminal in question.


Dear Mr Fothergill,

Unaccustomed as I am to writing to a cartoon character, I feel compelled to do so in this instance. Yes, I accept that as the friendly face of mainstream gardening, you do go some way towards ticking the boxes for the great unwashed. I also accept that your seed and seed potato collection are – considering you are a mainstay of the sheds and confused garden centres (I speak of the places where Christmas Decorations and Hedgehog boot scrapers are more important than plants) – pretty diverse. I can’t comment about your flowers, as they’re for girls.

I am surprised that you even bother with flowers, as clearly – from your cartoon face – I can see that you are a man who knows more about onions and cabbage than hollyhocks and daisies. Your moustache is certainly more Burt Reynolds than Gay Bob, and for that I heartily commend you. Also, that’s one hell of a hat; definitely the head-adornment of a vegetable grower!

Now, before you think I am just contacting you to offer praise, I’m not. You see, there is no easy way to say this, but Mr Fothergill, I am on to you.

Don’t play the innocent, we both know what I’m talking about. It’s the seed scandal. You must have known that one day someone was going to spot it, and today, my moustache-wearing, titfer-adorned friend, is that day!

Recently I purchased from you, via a retail outlet, some squash seeds. Delikates, to be precise! Yes, I felt your smile slip when I mentioned that. It’s because you know what’s coming, don’t you Mr Fothergill? Now, I often buy direct from you, and as I had bought these seeds offline, so to speak, I was concerned that maybe some sly shop assistant was perpetrating the scandal, but no. The packet was intact. But you knew that, didn’t you? Yes, you did, because it’s not a ‘who-dun-it’; it’s a ‘you-dun-it’!

What does it say on the back of the Delikates packet? It says: Average seeds, 20. Yes, I do know what average means, but when I’d planted 10, how many do you think were left Mr Fothergill? Not ten; I know that and you know that. No, not nine or even eight; don’t play the innocent with me. It was five Mr Fothergill. Five.

Now, let’s say that the seeds cost £1.49, because that’s exactly what they did cost. Now, let’s say that a million people buy the seeds, expecting 20, and they only get 15. That means that you now have 5 million Delikates seeds, which I bet is exactly what you’ve got stashed in that fetching hat of yours.

Now, if you then sell those 5 million Delikates seeds in packets of 15, you have … ummm, hang on, I’m not great at maths … 333,333 packets of seeds at £1.49, which equates to just short of a whopping half a million pounds. Even in cartoon money, that’s stronging it a bit.

But wait, it gets worse. My Delikates pack states 20 seeds, and I’ve seen others quoting 20 seeds, but now I note that you’re selling them on-line in 10 packs, still at £1.49! That means that when I and the other 999,999 people bought 15 seeds instead of 20, your 5 million free seeds suddenly realise a value of £745,000.


Now, here’s the thing, Mr Fothergill. Do you know who might be interested in this? I’ll tell you who. Deputy Dawg! I can’t think of any other cartoon policemen or sheriffs, so he’ll do.

What have you got to say about that, then?

I look forward to your conmments.

The Idiot


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17 thoughts on “The great seed robbery!

  1. Kyna

    So what you’re saying is…if I can read between the lines…you were cheated out of some seeds?

    I think that’s what you were saying. There was way too much math in that letter. I hope Mr. Fothergill is good at math. He probably isn’t, since he shorted you 5 seeds. And he’s a cartoon. I would hope a cartoon isn’t better at math than I am. That would make me really sad.

  2. Jelliebabe

    Well if you bought 20 and got 15… What are the people who bought “approx” 10 getting 8? 5??? What are the profits now…

    Sheesh Deputy Dawg…You could have set Scooby doo on him at least…. I can just see them pulling his hat off and unmasking Mr Fothergill for…. The Caretaker GASP! “Why if it wasn’t for those pesky kids…”

  3. Jess

    I think it pays never to look to closely at these things… it is always upsetting. Remaining ignorant of being ripped off is always the answer.

  4. Sharon Longworth

    Dear IG, I so wanted to be able to come back and say ‘Hey, all my packets have got 25 seeds! But sadly I couldn’t, so perhaps you’re on to something here…
    As ever, a most entertaining read, thank you.

  5. Damo

    He’s been caught red-handed, profiteering from the innocent masses, who’d have thought such a friendly looking chap could be so devious!

  6. Shyrlene

    IG – it’s a travesty! And behind that kindly smiling character (who looks a little like Gepetto), is “The Man” – who is willingly “skimming the till” for millions. (..and I thought a bartender who sells watered-down drinks and taking ‘a little off the top’ was a dirty b@$tard?!!) What is the world coming to?

  7. Shiny New Allotment Holder

    Awww, Mr IG, I must be the lucky bugger that pretty much always gets over the average count as I’ve always congratulated myself on getting “summat for nuffink”. If they give an average count, I always count my seeds and I’m afraid I’ve always come out feeling like a champ winner. But then, if I’m in a garden centre I do give the packets a bit of a shake and pick what sounds like the best one…

  8. Britta

    Ooops – that’s all that blogspot tells me when it slurps up (again!) a long, witty comment of mine… Ha, slowly I get the impression, dear IG, that you exclude downsized balcony-gardeners from your blog! Not putting my one and only blog on your blog-roll either 🙂 (Of course I had not copied my comment – it’s lost in the world wide web – maybe I’ll try again at Easter – or better: Ascention Day, that will be more appropiate maybe. If you let me 🙂

  9. littlefoot

    Mr Fothergill… Hang on, I’ve seen that face before!

    Thats Stinky Pete! He’s shaved his beard, changed his hat and started selling seeds to unsuspecting seed sowing souls.

    Critters, go get Sheriff Woody!

  10. Meredith

    Oh, dear. We’re having this problem here, too, so much so that one seed company has gone to making see-thru windows in the front of its packets, with a huge yellow note: WE GIVE MORE SEED! — just so we get the point. The retail shrink-ray is hitting everything, I’m afraid. I’ve found a solution, though: order from the small, heirloom seed banks and independent organic growers and farmers. They’re still generous with the seed, and usually that seed is non-GMO, too, as a bonus.

    Funny letter!

  11. Ben Hardy

    I think the universe must have righted itself in my direction for once. In a pack of runner beans (I think), saying ‘average 20’, I got nearer 30 (though didn’t count exactly). So mayber there is some squash/bean trade off going on amongst seed sellers.


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