Reblogging The Pale Tussock Moth

I’ve never reblogged a post before, never thought much about doing so … until I read the free and very useful WordPress e-book, Grow Your Traffic, Build Your Blog, and decided to follow one of its many tips on all things blogging.  After all, many of you won’t have read my stuff from several years ago.  And for those of you have?  Sorry.

For the first of an occasional delving deep series, I’ve picked my highest viewed post by far.  It is a short piece, under 300 words, from September 2013 about a chance encounter in the garden.  (No, not that sort of encounter).  Thanks to a fairly high Google search ranking, the post has been read almost 11 000 times.  Here’s some context for that figure: my second highest – Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ – has been read 6 900.

For most of the year, traffic for the following post is fairly negligible but then, during September and October, viewings go through the roof – as people see the creature and Google it.

Here it is:

Pale Tussock Moth

And do let me know if you have seen either the moth or the caterpillar.  But don’t touch the latter.

Win A Copy Of ‘Down To Earth’ By Monty Don

On Saturday, I attended a pre-publication lunch held to promote Monty Don’s new book, ‘Down to Earth‘.  I don’t often accept the various invitations I receive through the blog but this sounded marvellous … and with free food and drink too.

Despite considerable effort spent making myself sort-of-presentable, I still felt out-of-place at the very smart venue – Hams Yard Hotel, Soho – and on arrival half expected a hand on the shoulder and a polite shove toward the exit.    But no.  My name was on the list, the smiley staff were welcoming and I was immediately offered a cold glass of bubbly.  I clasped it tightly and tried not to gulp.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (2)

Four storeys above the hubbub of Soho, the roof terrace was cool and tranquil and beautiful, as I double checked my fingernails for mud and scanned the early arrivals in hope of a familiar face.  There wasn’t one, so I tried to look purposeful by photographing my non-gulped wine.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (1)

And then I took a second for no good reason and, still acting purposeful, explored the terrace.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (4)

Monty Don would be arriving soon to sign copies of his new book for this small gathering of twenty or so bloggers and ‘influencers’.  It was as I took the above photo that I saw two very welcome faces indeed emerging from the green: Michelle Chapman and Alison Levey, who write the Veg Plotting and The Blackberry Garden blogs.  I’d met both before and they introduced me to two other bloggers, Sara Venn and Alexandra Campbell – The Physic Garden and The Middle Sized Garden – and I was no longer lonely.

Ham Yard Roof Garden (6)

With Michelle, I walked through a gate to a small but crammed-full veg garden, bee hives,

Ham Yard Roof Garden (7)

and even a green-roofed shed for goodness sake.  But to be honest I was so busy nattering to Michelle that I took less notice of this roof-top oasis than I should have.

Our small group of Garden Bloggers gravitated toward the ‘signing table’ where we were offered a succession of wonderful canapes – and more fizz.  I’d eaten nothing all day and was tempted to grab fistfuls of food at a time; but there was no need.  Chunks of tender beef with béarnaise sauce, small ice-cream type cones crammed with delicious mushroom risotto and prawns speared on to something very-tasty-but-I’ve-forgotten-what, kept on coming with lots of other delicious morsels.  I ate till I could eat no more.  We washed all that down with gin cocktails in glasses the size of goldfish bowls, leaving us all rather jolly if not overtly raucous.  I think.

Time for the main event.

Monty Don (1)

Monty Don appeared as if by magic straight off the telly and gave a short introduction about his new book, its journey from initial musings on a beach in India and its purpose:  his personal thoughts on what is important about gardening, with tips and pointers to make one’s garden grow well.

Then, each guest was handed a Hessian goodie bag (no, really) containing a handsome mug (mine with the inscription ‘For True Gents’), a small pretty plant, a tube of posh hand cream, a roll of posh twine, a pack of posh teabags and The Book, which Monty would sign for us.  I hadn’t expected a free copy and queued up dutifully.

When it was my turn to meet Mr Don, my mind went blank and rather than launching into pithy, witty, sparkling repartee nor even mentioning my blog (my son groaned and sank his face into his hands when I told him later about that omission), I recited my smuttiest limerick.

Monty Don (2)

Which went down well.   (I didn’t really recite a smutty limerick.  Though in retrospect, I rather wish I had.  As, I’m sure, does Monty).

Down to Earth by Monty Don

I’m sorry to say that since the lunch, I’ve barely had time to open Down to Earth, let alone read it.  But the publisher, Dorling Kindersley, who kindly laid on the lunch and to whom I offer my warmest thanks, have offered me a second (unsigned) copy to give away.

The book is published tomorrow and if you would like the chance to win your own copy, here’s all you need do:

say you want to enter in the “Any Thoughts” box below


(if you don’t do so already) follow ‘The Anxious Gardener’ blog; or follow me on Twitter; or like The Anxious Gardener Facebook page.  Or all three!  The relevant follow buttons are in the sidebar of this page.

You can also enter via Twitter or Facebook – check my Twitter feed and Facebook page for details.

Please note that the prize can only be posted to a UK postal address.

The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 15th October 2017.

I’ll draw a name from my hat, contact the winner and add the result to the bottom of this post.

Monty Don 3

Good luck!


The competition is now closed.  Thank you to everyone for taking part … and the winner is Rej via the blog.  Congratulations.