Alex Massie

Department of Correction | 8 July 2008

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I may have been too harsh recently. I scoffed at the idea of a lettuce "bolting" and made merry with the New York Times leader writer who suggested that, now that summer is (allegedly) here, lettuces were prone to do this. Now, rather inconveniently, my sister, who in addition to being a very fine artist whose paintings any sensible chap of means would buy, is also a budding horticulturalist, pipes up with this:

"Bolting" is the term used by all gardeners on this, and seemingly that, side of the Atlantic for a plant that is running to seed (which generally means it's past being useful for eating). Lettuces are quite notorious for this. Spinach too. My leeks bolted last month. This is not therefore a desperate writer grasping for dramatic effect. He's just a thwarted gardener like the rest of us...

My apologies all round. But, notwithstanding all of that it is still a rubbish leader...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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