Want bigger blooms? Blast your plants with Black Sabbath (and avoid playing Cliff Richard)
Friday 19 April 2013
Garden guru Chris Beardshaw is recommending a new technique for bigger blooms - blast your plants with heavy metal.
The broadcaster and gardening expert reveals to Radio 4 listeners later today that a constant diet of Black Sabbath worked wonders on a greenhouse full of plants.
But he tells the audience of Gardeners' Question Time that exposure to Sir Cliff Richard proved a total disaster and killed every plant in a horticultural experiment.
Black Sabbath - led by singer Ozzy Osbourne who fell off the wagon in recent months, causing difficulties to his marriage to former X Factor judge Sharon - are seen as pioneers of heavy metal with tracks such as Iron Man and Paranoid.
Panellist Beardshaw, who has also been a familiar face on BBC2's Gardener's World over the years, said using rock as a nutrient appeared to create larger flowers. And although the plants themselves were shorter, they were more disease-resistant.
The test came about because one of his horticultural students wanted to write a dissertation based on the effects of music on plants.
"We set up four glasshouses with different sorts of music in to see what happened to the plants.
"We had one that was silent - that was a control house - and we had one that was played classical music, we had one that was played Cliff Richard and we had one that was played Black Sabbath.
"It was alstroemerias we were growing and we bombarded these glasshouses with sound for the life of the plant."
He tells listeners, in the show to be broadcast at 3pm: "We were measuring incidence of pest and disease, we were measuring inter-nodal distance, we were measuring the floriferous nature of them and that sort of thing and so the one that was grown as a control house grew really well as you'd expect.
"The one that was grown with classical music - a soft, almost a caressing of the plant when it is hit with that sort of soundwave - those grew slightly shorter because of the soundwaves bombarding them and were slightly more floriferous and there was slightly less pest and disease.
"And the ones with Black Sabbath - great big, thumping noise, rowdy music - they were the shortest, but they had the best flowers and the best resistance to pest and disease."
He added: "The alstroemerias in the Cliff Richard house all died. Sabotage was suspected but we couldn't prove it."
Heavy rock music has over the years been associated with less beneficial effects. In 1989 it was famously used to drive General Noriega, the former military governor of Panama from his refuge when the US authorities played blaring music.
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