independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Flowers 'bloom best' with hard rock

Plants responded well to the music of Ozzy Osbourne's band Black Sabbath

Garden guru Chris Beardshaw is recommending a new technique for bigger blooms - blast your plants with heavy metal.

The broadcaster and gardening expert revealed on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time that a constant diet of Black Sabbath worked wonders on a greenhouse full of plants. But he also revealed exposure to Sir Cliff Richard proved a total disaster and killed every plant in a horticultural experiment.

The Gardener's World presenter 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 went on: "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."

Press Association

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