Saturday Morning Brain Drain [20/3/21]

A place to let it all out...

Image via Horticultural Week

What I watched: Gardners’ World with Monty Don. (We get it on britbox.) It is a slow moving, garden-centric half-hour of gardening, horticultural events, and oddities. Of note, his garden covers two acres. The first show we watched featured Monty endlessly pruning a rosebush, a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society show, and the home of an eccentric woman with only potted plants, from tiny succulents to large trees – over 1,250 pots, and she is said to be “potty about pots”. Monty’s voice is smooth and mellow, and for me the show is akin to gardening version of hygge. Monty is now an industry until himself, à la Martha Stewart, with myriad television shows, books, and live appearances.

What I read: The first installment of DeadSplinter’s very own, groundbreaking (ahem) new weekly feature on gardening, Dirty Business. Helmed by @ButcherBakerToiletryMaker, with cameos by @LoveShaq, it will run each Saturday at 1:00 PM ET.  He inspired me to order a seed catalogue, and to yearn for warmer weather. Do catch up on last week’s installment, then hang around here for the new one!

I also researched color and shapes for the best flow of chi in the backyard, pulling from my library of books on Feng Shui, specifically the ones for gardens (when I purchased this one it was inexpensive and in paperback.)

What I listened to this week:

R.E.M. – Gardening At Night

Van Morrison – In The Garden

Tend My Garden/Garden Gate – James Gang

So, dearest DeadSplinterites, everybody all right?   Are you ready to get your hands dirty? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Please do let us know what is up with you!

About Elliecoo 474 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Two acres?  When does a garden become a farm?

    • @LemmyKilmister, right? We are currently at the greenhouse looking for some pots for our tiny backyard and small 7 x 8 foot kitchen garden.  I will report back…the show is interesting and oddly upsetting. Two elderly South African botanists were killed by ISIS while hunting rare gladiolus, and one of the host’s dogs died. We aren’t even halfway through the season! 

    • Two acres is a farm.  It may not be a big farm, or even a farm that grows enough of something to be sustainable, but ain’t no way it’s a garden.

      • A nursery?

    • …not to be facetious about it but I think it only becomes a farm when the acreage produces something edible for commercial purposes…two acres is a lot of garden for one person, certainly…but if you look into “stately homes” it might seemly strangely modest…highclere castle (which I believe is the building the show called downton abbey) sits on an estate of around 1,000 acres…& although part of that might be given over to some sort of farming (a few of these places have deer, for example) I believe that may not have been the case when it got landscaped by a guy they called capability brown back in the day?

      …some of these places are semi-commercial in terms of selling plants, though…like great dixter which was home to a guy called christopher lloyd…or the one beth chatto developed…both of which can be visited & which also sell plants (& some amount of gardening implements) as a way to cover the costs of keeping them maintained…which is a full time occupation for a sizable number of people

      …the english are funny about gardens…but some of them are kind of amazing…at westonbirt some 25 acres of ‘ornamental woodland’ apparently wasn’t enough & one of the historical owners planted an entire arboretum more-or-less next door, for example?

      • I need the closed captioning on to catch all the proper British pronunciations and Latin plant names, but it is just right as a show for right now. Happy Spring Equinox!  Also, the UK garden estates…swoon!!!! So beautiful! 

      • @SplinterRIP that was a reply to you which I forgot to direct. I appreciate the links above. Capability Brown is referenced in some of the period novels I read. I also like all the “royal” and “designated” bits of elevation given to British gardens and even collections of plants!

        • …I’m not all the way up to speed with the designations but I do know some places are not just ‘known for’ a particular kind of plant but home to a collection of varieties that are sort of like a definitive catalog?

          …also…if we ever get out of this pandemic scenario & anyone hereabouts finds themselves in old london town the chelsea physic garden is an interesting blend of quite-ornamental-but-useful plants that’s been there a long time…& the little cafe/restaurant they have did a fairly decent lunch unless my memory deceives me or things have changed a lot in last few years?

          • @SplinterRIP ohhh that sounds delightful. Then one can take the gathered herbs into the still room and concoct potions and remedies!

          • There is much to admire about Prince Charles. He is his father’s son, and while I don’t agree with his retro view that all decent architecture has to look like it comes from the pre-WWII era, he was quite right to call out how ghastly many British inner cities and housing blocks look and are to live and work in. I’m sure that when he said, in an unguarded moment, that he talks to his plants, eyebrows were raised among his family members, but what are the chances that his mother spent more time talking to her children than to her dogs and horses? Not much.

      • My grandparents lived in a 4 room pink house with green shutters, outbuildings for chickens and hunting dogs, a big vegetable garden, fruit trees and a grape arbor. We called it the farm, it was magical, and only 2/3 of an acre. Tomato/tomahto!
        Leaving Holland for Sweden this week and watching Beartown on HBO. Prolly won’t want to discuss that one either without sedatives.

  2. Friendly PSA: Staged is back! My how we laughed as we watched the first episode. It is a magnificent meta masterpiece. We decided not to binge it because we want to live off of the joy it brings us for as long as possible. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: Staged stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen as themselves, filmed on Zoom, set during the pandemic.

    • Oh wow, that sounds amazing and I’ll be looking it up later. Where do you watch it? 

    • @HammerZeitgeist, that was a true PSA. Love Tennant and Sheen, such bright, witty gentlemen. And their friendship is a joy to watch. 

  3. Anyone into gardening might want to check out Wild Your Garden – it’s a youtube series by a guy named Joel Ashton. He’s big on gardening for wildlife – ponds and meadows. He’s British and seems to be just starting out- but I like what he does and it’s all to help the wildlife in your yard. 

    • Thank you at Lymond, excellent suggestion!

  4. I finally finished Supernatural. The ending was… mostly satisfying. Which is better than I feel about most shows. But man did they throw a curveball two episodes from the end. Well… sort of. Has anyone else here watched it, or not care about spoilers? Because I would love to talk about it. I even briefly looked at the Supernatural reddit in the hopes of sating my desire to talk about it, but I quickly retreated. The Supernatural fanbase is crazy. 

    • @BigDamnHeroes, watched it, cried at the end. So well done. The final bridge scene…whoa.

      • The bridge scene was definitely beautiful. And what were your feelings on the scene… (hmm how to say without spoiling in case there are people here who care) of them fighting Billie? I was surprised they went there at all, but also somewhat disappointed in how they went about it. 

        • @BigDamnHeroes you are spot on about that scene. Other highlights for me were the Bobby scene and the way they chose wrap the brother arc. Just well done.

    • Is that on Netflix?
      I just put my Hulu account on hold, so I’m burning through Kanopy and Hoopla from my libraries on other stuff I want to see, before I go back to a streaming service.  I was thinking of giving Amazon Prime video a go, mostly for The Expanse and The Boys, but maybe I should do Netflix instead…

      • Am I following the thread correctly that your question is directed at me about Supernatural? If so yes, all of it is on Netflix and I highly recommend it, though it’s an emotional rollercoaster.
        I was also thinking about starting The Expanse. I’ve heard good things. 

        • Sorry, I should have been more specific in tying that to your comment.  Yeah, I’ve watched most of Supernatural, I’m not sure how many seasons I haven’t seen yet, but I’ve generally enjoyed it.  The powercreep is kinda absurd and ridiculous, but that’s also part of the appeal…

          • Totally! It gets pretty absurd, but that’s definitely part of the fun. I feel like one of the later seasons was a bit dull, because it felt like the stakes suddenly got lower… When the big bads get more and more powerful, I think you run into issues if the big bad is less powerful than the previous season. 

  5. Watched:  The United States vs. Billie Holiday.  Excellent film, and Andra Day nailed it.  For someone who has never acted before, she is a natural.  There were some parts in the film which were hard to follow–not sure if that was supposed to be some kind of allegory for Billie’s drug use, but whatever it was it didn’t work.  Other than those screwy scenes, I definitely recommend.

    Read:  Rough Mix by Jimmy Bowen.  This is really a re-read because I’ve owned the book for years and occasionally go back to it because it’s so enjoyable.  It’s out of print, but I’m sure you can find a used copy on the interwebs somewhere.  It’s basically a memoir/peek behind the curtain at the music industry from the 50’s-early 90’s.  His story telling style is engaging and funny, like the time he found himself on an airplane sitting next to Johnny Cash:

    “It was like sitting next to Abraham Lincoln.  Well…Abraham Lincoln on pills.

    Listened:  I’ve been listening to a lot of Todd Snider lately.


  6. I saw Lupin on Netflix, a French crime thriller starring Omar Sy as a master criminal who models himself after Aresene Lupin, an early 20th Century fictional master thief.
    It’s slick and entertaining, closer in spirit to older TV series like Monk or Magnum PI which follow a single entertaining lead character, instead of newer prestige TV shows like Breaking Bad. Omar Sy is super charismatic as the Senegalese-French criminal with a heart of gold, and the supporting cast is strong too. It’s not super deep, even though it gives his character a complicated, tragic backstory, but Sy is so strong that it’s easy to go along for the ride rather than worry about any plot holes or silly schemes.

    • @blue dogcollar
      It is on our list to watch, especially since we finished The Expanse. Thank you for the further description, it makes it move up to the top of the list!

  7. Still watching The Magicians, I’m on the final season. The show is better than the books, the characters are much more likable. 

    I read The Wolf in the Whale  by Jordana Max Brodsky suggested by @MemeWeaver. It’s not for everyone, there are descriptions of hunting and butchering of animals. But they aren’t sensational, very matter of fact and as it’s narrated by an Inuit, respectful. It has an interesting blend of mythologies. I enjoyed it and if you like The Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles and Circe you might like this. 

    I’m listening to The Opportunist podcast about internet cult leader Sherry Shriner. There’s a lot of lonely, vulnerable folks out there desperate for attention and purpose in their lives. And plenty of nefarious grifters ready to cash in. It makes me so sad.

    • Hi @Hannibal! The Magicians was worth slogging through the various timelines I think…I am about ready to cook ahead for the week, and may well need to gather my inspiration from yesterday’s Happy Hour post. Which I  would link to if I was not on my phone, and too stupid to figure out how to leave in the middle of a reply to hunt, copy, and paste the link.

    • @Hannibal, sounds like your take-away on “The Wolf in the Whale” was similar to mine. I thought that the blending of mythologies and their cultures was very interesting and well done. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  8. I missed the naming suggestions for the gardening feature. I’m  good with Dirty Business, but Stick to Sprouts was right there.

    • @MemeWeaver…good one, still chuckling!

  9. I watched “The Last Blockbuster” and “Varsity Blues,” both on Netflix . TLB is in Bend, OR and yes, is the very last Blockbuster on earth. Of course it would be on Oregon. Born in 1982, I can certainly see the nostalgic appeal, and feel a pang of regret at the fact the BB could have owned Netflix. But some were musing they could see a resurgence, riding the 90s wave of bucket hats and record stores. I just don’t think so.
    VB is just a fascinating rabbit hole into new money rich people none of us knew existed but aren’t surprised. I do wonder, for all those parents who paid to have their kids get into a college and paid someone to take the ACTs… What the hell were they going to do when DumDum McGee actually had to show up for class? (Also watch the Trixie and Katya I Like To Watch episode on this, on youtube. Hilarious).

    • Operation Varsity Blues was surprisingly kind in the portrayal of the parents in that whole bullshit scandal. 

      They knew what they were doing, they knew it was unethical even if they weren’t aware it was illegal. OVB to me felt more like it was saying the fault was the universities for having that avenue to let students in and being so selective, which while also fucking bullshit, doesn’t excuse the douchiness of the parents. 

      • On that note, I’m annoyed that no one from any of the colleges (except for the totally not guilty sailing guy) was held accountable.

  10. I’ve been rereading Mary Balogh’s Survivor Club series, and it’s like a warm hug. Her books are very steadily paced, which sometimes makes me as a ready get like UGH GET ON WITH THE STORY but then as I’ve also read some books with horrible pacing, I’m like yay thank you for the consistent editing. 

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