Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The myth spreads

The untrue story that the now famous Ebay sale of Galanthus plicatus 'E.A. Bowles' was 'bred' by me has now reached the front page of The Daily Telegraph and elsewhere. The facts have been clearly stated in my previous posts on the subject, but some journalist has put two and two together and made five.

Neither Colesbourne Gardens nor I have ever sold a snowdrop on Ebay.


  1. Just for the record - cos some folk are casting nasturtiums - it wasn't me. The only comment I've made on this topic is on your previous post.

    And It's a great pity that the story has been misreported. But I'm afraid newspaper journalism is, as ever, dodgy as hell.

  2. I put the story in The Independent, so shout at me by all means. We said the cultivar was being sold in aid of Myddelton House.
    but was grown by you. This was because we had a picture of you with the snowdrops, put out by SW News, saying you produced the bulb and it had been sold on ebay to benefit the Myddelton Trust.
    We also got a press release from the Myddelton Trust, making absolutely no mention of you, but implying that it was grown at Myddelton.
    Anyway, here is the text of our story which is still up online. If you would like to make any corrections, please let me know as I can get that done immediately.

    From The Independent of 1 February

    A snowdrop commemorating one of Britain's best-known gardeners has fetched a record-breaking £357 at auction. Galanthus plicatus "E A Bowles" boasts six pure white petals which are precisely equal in length.
    The variety was first spotted at Bowles's former home, Myddleton House gardens, in Bulls Cross, Enfield, north London, and the bulb was grown by John Grimshaw, head gardener at Colesbourne Park, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire. The profit will go towards the restoration of the Myddleton House gardens after a Lottery grant of £500,000 in 2009.

  3. Oh Lor, now I'm blushingly embarrassed. Victoria is absolutely not remotely typical of a lot of newspaper journalists and is totally not 'dodgy as hell.' In fact the Indy is the one daily I regularly read and enjoy and trust.

    I'd say more, Victoria, but the saw goes: 'when you're in a hole, stop digging,' so I will.

  4. Don't worry, your correction is getting out. One of my customers, here in the US, sent me The Telegraph story this morning and then informed me it was incorrect with the comment: "Jounalists!!!!" At least your journalists seem intent on fixing the inaccuracy, and I believe the on line article has been changed. I am not sure that would happen here.

  5. Don't worry, Nigel, I didn't take it personally! And I did sling it in the paper at about 200 miles an hour, so if there were any errors in our version, I was keen to correct them. The trouble is, the average journo doesn't know what a snowdrop is, let alone the difference between "bred", "grew" and "produced". My lot said: "£357? Is that high price, then?"

  6. Thanks, Victoria, you were supplied with dodgy information by SW News, after I had informed them of the facts yesterday afternoon - but they sent it out anyway.

    @Carolyn: don't confuse The Independent with the Daily Telegraph! They are very different!The latter changed its web version very quickly this morning, and will publish a retraction tomorrow.

  7. Yes, if you'd expect anyone to get it right it's Victoria. But journos tend to trust news agencies and sometimes it turns out that agencies are sloppy.

    Still wrong on the Telegraph website - says £350. I've joined the fray and blogged about this too. http://url.ie/913m


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