Like a magpie I’ve picked up all sorts of written material about horticulture. Amongst these were some old copies of Hortus “The Best-Selling Gardening Quarterly – Offering the finest garden writing in the English Language”. How many gardening quarterlies are there I wonder.

This was spotted and as a Christmas present I was given a year’s subscription to the periodical. Twelve months later I did not renew it. To my mind it was rather dull. There’s only so much I can read about the gardens of country estates and stately homes. Plus, actually not a plus but rather a large minus, it has in recent years included a regular piece by Hugh Johnson whose columns I have previously found tedious in the RHS’s Garden magazine and then Gardens Illustrated. I wasn’t about to sign up for thirds.

By now I’d picked up most of the back issues and whilst there was some good stuff in there I just didn’t have time to go and mine it. So earlier this year I sold the lot which gave me a good length of shelf space to fill with something more interesting.

In fact there were only two elements of the later editions that I enjoyed.

The interviews by Diana Ross, which are the best thing she’s done since her days with the Supremes and Sam Llewellyn’s pieces which were wildly brilliant, certainly compared to the rest of Hortus’ musty content.

Subsequently I got hold of a copy of one of his (many) books “The Worst Journey in the Midlands” which though described on his site as “a little masterpiece of gloom” is an amusing read about his descent of the Thames in an ancient wooden boat plugged with plastic filler.

Recently I was checking out Sam’s website¬†and was delighted to find it includes one of his Hortus pieces.

If only there were more.