I started watching a YouTube video about Highgrove House last night. It’s where Prince Charles lives. And it was about the garden he’d created there. And it had TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh fronting it.
It’s not the sort of thing I’d normally watch, because I’m not that much interested in a) gardens, b) Prince Charles, or c) Alan Titchmarsh. But while I was planning the visit to Nisakiman, I’d noticed that Highgrove House wasn’t far away.
So I ended up watching it. Or rather, not watching it, but listening to it, because I was using my eyes to read about, well, erm,… snow in the tropics (did you know that there was a report in January this year of snow in the Sahara desert?)
Titchmarsh introduced Charles as “the man who will be king.” And I suppose he probably will be. He’s been waiting to become king of England for pretty much as long as I’ve been alive. And it must have been slightly maddening to spend one’s life waiting to become king – but never actually do so.
And the garden is a bit mad. It’s not a conventional garden at all. It’s an organic garden. There are no chemical herbicides or pesticides or fertilisers used. Everything is recycled, including the bathwater from the house.
And the gardens themselves are all very unconventional. Something of a topiary artist, Charles has shaped trees into cubical and geometric shapes:
He incorporates gifts he’s been given into the garden, in little niches in elaborate rockeries:
And there’s a “stumpery” full of the stumps and roots of dead trees with flowers growing among them:
And lakes within lakes:
And in this Charles is the designer and head gardener, with a staff of several gardeners in what is a highly managed wilderness. And he has gardening friends with equally unconventional gardens. There is an entire gardening subculture of which I have been completely oblivious.
Prince Harry infuriates Charles with his ‘filthy’ smoking
Prince Charles has, according to chatter in royal circles, been giving new vent to his irritation over his son’s predilection for cigarettes, which began when he had his first smoke at Eton aged 15.
My worry is that, with all these certainties, he’ll be an activist king, lending support to all sorts of environmental (and antismoking) causes.
The emperor Franz Josef of the Austro-Hungarian Empire once remarked that the purpose of royalty was “to protect the people from the government”, and perhaps its been the loss of so many kings and queens in the past few centuries that has left the people without any protection from their governments. What did the execution of Charles I bring, other than the tyrannical rule of Oliver Cromwell? And of tsar Nicholas II, other than the tyranny of Lenin and Stalin? And the abdication of kaiser Wilhelm II, other than Adolf Hitler? And what did Cambodians do in the wake of the murderous regime of Pol Pot: they restored the monarchy. And with all these multiplying smoking bans and other intrusions by busybody government, aren’t people in dire need of protection from arrogant, unrestrained government?
But Charles looks set to become either just another influential member of bullying government, or else another Ludwig II of Bavaria.
And anyway, with my new theory of ice ages, I’ve become strongly in favour of global warming. The more of it the better, to stave off the impending return of the ice. And just yesterday I finally got working the equation that predicts solar heat gain at different latitudes. And I’m planning on dropping a kilometre of ice on the Earth’s equator, to see how long it takes to melt. Which is why I was looking for incidences of snowfall in the tropics last night.