WLM Member Monday – Henry Butterfield

Henry ButterfieldVictoria: Hurrah! Today we’ve let Henry Butterfield off the naughty step to ask him questions. May need to shout though because he keeps sneaking back into his wine cellar… Morning Henry!

Alan:  Our ‘enry!

Jacky:  Hi Henry, how many dogs do you have and what are their names?

Wendy:  What’s your favourite wine Henry?

Anne:  Morning Henry – do you have beehives and if so how many?

Frankie:  When did you first become interested in gardening and why?

Jacqueline:  Hi Henry, your garden sounds lovely. Do you have any top tips for wildlife friendly gardening? I try to convince myself that by not weeding the nettles I’m doing my bit, rather than just being lazy, but there is probably more to it than that!

Henry:  Blimey, the questions have started fast and furious. I’ll try and answer them as they come… So I will firstly start with………..

Jacky:  Meeeeeeeeeee…

Henry:  Jacky… I’ve got two dogs (one a Cairn and one a Cairn/Westie cross.) The boy Cairn is called Toto after the Cairn terrier in The Wizard of Oz, and the little girl Cairn/Westie cross is called Bonnie because that matches her character. Toto is about 7 now and bonnie is about 4. x

Jacky:  Love Cairns and Westies, have had both in the past. Our red brindle Cairn was called Vic and looked just like Spit the Dog! x

Henry:  Wendy my dear… Now, wine. There are so many to choose from. Although I know it’s more classy and posh to enjoy reds, I must say that I prefer a lovely chilled chardonnay. The company one has is often what makes a wine agreeable. A fine wine with a miserable bunch spoils it. But an average wine with good company enhances it!… Chin chin… Come into my cellar.

Henry:  Anne… Beehives… Now I don’t have any honey bee hives but I have set up numerous bumble bee nests and solitary bee shelters (namely just drilling various size holes in a post) I always leave plenty of plant debris under hedges because bumbles such as the white or buff tailed will happily make a nest under it. I must admit that I would love to have honey bees but my wife Evelyn won’t allow it (we live in a built up area and she’s worried they sting children.)

Cherry:  There’s certainly good company in your cellar, Henry. Half the WLM group are down there!

Cherry:  You say you like reading. What sort of things do you like to read?

Anne: Thanks for your answer – I love bees – we also live in a built up area so no hives for me either. Whenever I see them I am so envious and always buy local honey when I am driving around.

Henry:  Frankie… I’ve always been fascinated by plants and wildlife ever since I was a child. This was in the days when gardening was actually on the school curriculum. Strangely enough though (as often happens) when I left school, became a hippie and later settled into a proper job it sort of went into the background. When I married the first time and bought my first house, it had a decent sized garden and so my interest was rekindled. Gardening was just a hobby then, but as the years went by (no doubt others will ask questions that will cause what went on then to be revealed) Finally (with redundancy) came the chance to train up properly and so I got my RHS level 2, a Garden Design Diploma, and a certificate in wildlife Gardening… I think I can carry on this by going onto answer Jacqueline’s question… x

Anne:  Will you please explain more about your hippie life? I had to have a proper job in the 60’s (parents!) therefore my husband and I have just retired, bought a camper van and are driving to Greece next year with our dog, Poppy. We are going to be aged hippies.

Fay:  Did you go to any festivals in the 70’s Henry? Any photos of you as a hippie?

Micki:  Hi Henry! Who inspired your love of gardening?

Alison:  Ah ha! I met up with Bridgit Strawbridge earlier this year and am now totally wrapped up in the wild bee plight and have a solitary bee ‘lodge’ out and another mixed lodge ready to be nailed up!

George:  Henry, how do you feel about all these men jumping on the moustache bandwagon during the month of November (I did too this year)? You look like a man who has had yours for a long time. It’s awesome – very impressive!

Alan:  I agree George, my question to Henry was going to be ‘Have you ever entered the world moustache championships’?

Henry:  Right, Jacqueline… essentially, wildlife gardening is dead simple, and it allows you to be a little loose around the seams. Basically to attract bees, hoverflies, and other beneficial insects plant flowers that have open simple blooms, such as daisies, snapdragons and the like. Try and get some native trees and shrubs into the garden (the hawthorn supports over 225 different species of insect. The more insects you have, the more likely birds will nest in your garden because you are supplying a food source for their young (which means, don’t forget to put up bird boxes).. Pop into my garden website (that needs updating) at cherrytrees.weebly.com to see more about my garden. Oh, and don’t about nettles… nettles are nice! x

Cherry… Reading… I am an avid reader and can’t move in my study for books… In 50 years of serious reading I have accumulated certain sections in my library… namely… Cricket, biography/autobiography/memoir, gardening, The Raj, history, novels/short stories, a score of different Bible versions, “how to write” books, and First world War books (both factual and fiction). My favourite authors are, Laurie Lee, George Orwell, Beverley Nichols, Charles Dickens, Ian Mortimer (historian), and finally, none other than our own venerable Victoria Tweed. x

Anne/Fay… I’ll combine this answer to cover both your questions… I lived in Aldershot at the time, so as you can imagine it was a difficult mix (hippies & squaddies). I spent a while on and off in a commune in Farnham, doing what hippies did back then. The Northern Irish problems were in the ascendancy then and so we were always getting attacked by the squaddies or picked up by the police thinking we were Irish terrorists in disguise. It was hell of a job to keep your dope hidden. As regards festivals, I did the Isle of Wight a couple of times but don’t remember much about it!!! When I think back on it all now it was ridiculous, how we ever survived is a miracle. I did lose a friend through an OD and another in a drug related car crash. I would have been in that car if I hadn’t left my coat in the pub and had to go back for it. That incident haunts me still. It was one of the reasons I kicked the habit and became a ‘straight’ once again. Crazy days!

Bambi:  It sounds like a memoir in the making to me, you’ve never considered writing a memoir?

Henry:  Micki, who inspired my love of gardening? It was my old school teacher who taught gardening. I lived in Braunton at the time. He had us digging over the plot and in his thick Devonian burr kept telling us to pull out “the white root” (couch grass etc.) He taught us how to grow vegetables, look after the tools, sow seeds, pot on and all the other gardening stuff. This was in the mid sixties and he was ancient then, so we was one of the old school… like something out of Downton Abbey. I remember those days with great fondness.

Anne:  Very interesting answer – and yes I am sure it would be a good read Henry. I am so pleased you kicked the habit – btw I have no intention of partaking in that side of Hippiedom – wine is my poison,

Henry:  George, me bird (as they say in Appledore)… As regards the old moustache, I think it’s great that more chaps are growing them. It gives a fellow an air of dignity and makes him rather more distinguished than his naked brethren…. And Alan, no I’ve never entered the competition, but I might one day.

Anne:  I have just had a butchers at your website cherrytrees.weebly.com – would love to come and have a look round next year. We will be away until July but will be visiting friends in Devon in the summer so I will keep in touch and maybe visit you.

Henry:  Bambi… strange you should say that because I am actually in the process of writing a memoir, but not of that period. In fact, I think I may make the follow up… Thanks for the idea. x

Micki:  My mother inspired my love of wild flowers & nature, but I hated gardening as a child & swore I’d never have a garden! Needless to say that changed very quickly! Have you got a favourite wild flower?

Henry:  Micki… Haha…. Only wildlife lovers will understand this!… My favourite wild flower is the IVY!!!! It is so useful but so badly maligned… Nearly every word said against it by ivy haters is a lie!!!!! I have tons of ivy in my garden and it helps the wildlife thrive. I can’t say much more because if I got on my soapbox it would be like Hyde Park Corner and no one else would get a word in edgeways today LOL.

Cherry:  Thanks for the reading answer, Henry. Your study sounds like mine. My husband refused to build any more bookshelves “because you will just fill them up!” so now I have books in piles on the floor, with a narrow pathway to the desk. I love reading about history too and I’m getting hooked on memoirs after joining this group!

Victoria:  Henry Butterfield, you are SUCH an interesting person! I cannot wait to read any memoir you produce.

Bambi:  OOOh Henry! It sounds like you may be good for several memoirs! I can’t wait to read them.

Jacqueline:  Thanks Henry, we have loads of ivy too and there is always something buzzing around it.

Micki:  I agree about Ivy, Henry! Mine is now running the length of the garden & has become mature. It is home to so many insects & provides late nectar & berries. I’ve just looked at your garden (lovely) & am now going to put a mini stumpery in for my ferns – thank you for the inspiration!

Micki:  You read about cricket – do or did you play?

Henry:  Hi Micki, I’m too old to play now, but some years back I did play a little. I played occasionally for the General Post Office (Royal Mail as it is now known) I went in at number 8 because I could be an annoying slogger to get a few extra runs, but was essentially an off spinner. It’s funny that Stephen Finn keeps getting no balled because his knee keeps hitting the stumps, but I had a similar habit. When I released the ball my lower leg used to flick out at the knee and often went over the top of the stumps but sometimes just clipped the bails. We weren’t no balled for that in those days. LOL

Victoria… maybe we could have a word sometime?

Becky:  Good Morning Henry! Sorry I won’t be around today. I have to go to work soon. My mom also has a Cairn Terrier (we call him the Cairn Terrorist). She, too, was in love with Toto, but she named this little devil Emmett. He bites everyone (even Mom, many times). Are your Cairns biters? I think it is in the training or lack thereof.

Henry:  Becky, Toto can be a bit of an old misery. He moans and growls a bit (usually when you want to move him from a nice comfy spot) but never bites. He does know who the pack leader is! Bonnie is totally submissive and keeps rolling onto her back (yummy little thing – I could gobble her right up!) lol. It’s definitely the training. x

Cherry:  Toto and Bonnie sound super. I can tell you love them very much!

Becky:  My mom should have gone to the ER once after the terrorist bit her.

Cherry:  This is fascinating, Henry. Got to nip out this afternoon, but will be back later to catch up on what you have to say!

Henry:  Oh my, what did he do for heaven’s sake?

Dodie:  You sound like you have led a very interesting life Henry. Hope you do get to those memoirs!

Woofie:  OK Henry, I have to go to bed soon cuz it is past me bedtime here, but I got some questions for you… 1. Do you have a favorite or a group of favorite garden plants? 2. Can we see some of your sketches? 3. What breeds of rare chooks do you breed?

Jacky:  Good questions Woofie

Mark:  Yeah can we see some drawings please.

Jacky:  Go to bed Woofie!!

Victoria:  Henry Butterfield, are you dusting off your bottles? Love to see some drawings!

Henry:  Woofie… 1) Open flowered daisy type flowers. 2) Coming up!!! 3) Columbian Blacktails (not that rare) and Wheaten & Brown Marsh Daisies (very rare).

Mark:  Henry do you subscribe to the ‘letting the wine breath’ concept?

Henry:  Victoria… Pictures coming up:


Mark:  You are indeed an Artist.

Henry:  Little Pool Steps:


Henry:  Wooder Wharf:


Henry:  My experiment into the realms of modern art (Lowryesque). Known as “Dogs in the Park” This one’s good for close examination (lots of different things going on.)

I hope you’ll understand that the reproduction of these pictures on FaceBook is rubbish and doesn’t do justice to the real sketches.

Mark… do I subscribe to letting the wine breathe?… Haha, it’s never open long enough! *Gulp gulp* hic. lol

Becky:  I’m back! Did you miss me???? To answer your question, Henry, my Mom’s Cairn terrorist gave her a nasty bite on the arm and a day or so later she was taken by helicopter to a hospital with three blood clots. She nearly died, and everyone kept asking about the nasty bruise/bite on her arm.

Henry:  Lummy.

Becky:  I always wanted to draw and write. I was not good at drawing, so I chose to write. I am very impressed by your drawings, Henry!

Cherry:  Your pictures are beautiful, Henry.

Elisabeth:  I take all the bad things Tottie said about you back you have led a very busy and interesting life, thank you for sharing it with us. I love your drawings. Do you speak French?

Micki:  Or any other languages? Love the pictures too.

Henry:  Sorry Elizabeth/Micki… I only speak four languages: ‘Ampshire, Cockaknee, Double Dutch and rubbish.

Mark Bean:  i thought you sounded a bit hampshire

Micki:  I don’t speak as many as that, Henry!

Cherry:  When did you start writing your memoir, Henry, and was there anything that gave you the spark to start it?

Henry:  The idea for the memoir came to me when we were filmed for BBC 2s programme “Open Gardens”. It was a busy and fascinating year, with loads of new experiences. That was a few years ago now and after research and outlines etc. I started it properly last year. But I must admit that joining this group has now given me the impetus to crack on with it.

Anne:  I love ‘Dogs in the park’ is Lowryesque a real word?

Sue:  Lol!, Henry! I always say that last “language” is one of the three my mother speaks.

Lovely drawings, Henry! You seem to enjoy drawing buildings. Are you interested in architecture, as such? Do you ever draw people (other than your Lowri-esque work)?

Henry:  Sorry I been away for a while. My Internet connection went down for some reason, then I couldn’t open Internet Explorer, so here I am again on Firefox! Blummin’ TalkTalk! Hi Sue, Yes, I do like drawing buildings. I like the texture and contrast of different materials.

You may not believe it but I’ve only been drawing for about three years. One of our dear old neighbours, who is a good friend (Bill’s 92 years old now) and who has painted all his life taught me the basics. Strangely enough though, my dad was something of a painter. He could reverse paint on glass! I must admit Sue that I don’t do proper people. It’s the old story – I can’t do hands!

Cherry:  Great that this group has given you the impetus to crack on with your memoir because it sounds like it’s a tale that just has to be told!

Henry:  Anne, I’m working on a similar project now called “Prams in the Park” with pictures of what mum’s and their prams get up to in the park. And naa, I don’t think Lowryesque is a real word… Sue’s got closest with Lowri-esque I think lol.

Lee:  You sound so cool and talented

Henry:  Sorry folks… emergency has cropped up… Back ASAP.

Jacky:  Absolutely love your drawings, not really into modern art but also love the ‘Dogs in the Park’ – very well observed

Henry:  just got back exhausted from the hospital… My brother who looks after my 99 year old mum has developed a snorter of a ‘flu. The carer who saw mum contacted the doctor about my brother and the doctor said bring him up to the MIU and when he saw him said they’ll keep him in for a couple of days. Which leaves mum on her own. I’ve managed to get my sister to do a sleep over but tomorrow it all hands to the pump to try and find an overnight nurse… Phew!

Alison:  He drinks wine Victoria, anything he writes will be entertaining!!! Lol. Great skill Henry with good perspective, love them

Victoria:  Hope it all goes well, Henry, with your bro and 99yr old mum. Take your time. No rush.

Sue:  Blimey, Henry! I hope you manage to get something sorted quickly for your mum and that your brother is Ok!

Jacky:  Hope everything goes well for you and everyone will be ok x

Henry:  Trust me to end the day on a climax! But that’s how all good books finish, isn’t it?

Linda:  Henry, first I have to say that you are an interesting man with multiple talents – I really enjoyed seeing your art work above. Oh, and I love chickens. It was a great interview. I hope everything turns out okay with your brother.

Cherry:  A great interview, Henry. I’m looking forward to reading your memoir(s)! And best of luck with your mum and brother.

Anne:  Thanks for a very interesting day – all the best for your brother – think you need a drink now – as I have a key – may I pour you one x

Sandra:  Love the pen and ink drawings, Henry. Thanks for sharing. I hope your brother recovers soon and all goes well with getting care for your Mother in the meantime. I’m looking forward to reading your memoir one day.

Henry:  Anne, I’m holding out the biggest glass in Britain!… Tip it in maid!

Terry:  I ditto Sandra in wishing your family well, Henry. One bouquet for you, one for your mom, and one each for brother and sister. Take care, enjoy your wine.

Henry: Well, I’m going to try some shut-eye now… If anyone has any more questions, just leave them here and I’ll respond when I wake up… God bless you all you lovely people xxx

Anne:  sweet dreams x

Micki:  Night! Thank you for sharing your interests with us! Hope your brother gets well soon & you work things out for your mother.

Paula:  Just a couple extra questions Henry and thanks for all the wonderful answers….any suggestions for color to add to our mostly green wetlands. The area closet to tell house on built up land supports rhododendrons and azaleas….but the wetlands do ferns, evergreen trees, swamp oak and blueberries but not much color.

Dodie:  Thank you Henry for the great interview. You’re an interesting person! Hope all’s ok w/your family.

Victoria:  Thank you, Henry Butterfield, for being our Monday Member and allowing us to fire questions at you all day. It’s been fascinating and I know we all loved finding out more about you!

Sue:  Yes, thanks, Henry! It was a fascinating Q&A What interesting members we have!

Henry:  Paula, try planting snake’s head fritillaries in your wetlands for spring colour and visual interest. In the summer there are flag irises, dogwoods for the winter colour of their stems, then there’s day lilies and red hot pokers no name just a few. If you want any more info PM me and I’ll try to knock up a comprehensive list for you. Take care x

Woofie: OK.. unfortunately I can’t see the answers to my questions…have they been lost in cyberspace? I have been out all day and asleep before that so that the bloody fb thingy might have chewed them up:( Meanwhile I love your drawings, Henry.. they are beautiful And can you come and draw stuff on our new block in Wozland, for posterity, please?

Lorraine:  I am getting the same problem Woofie …thats if you see this. OK so it seems that others can see my post as you have clicked Like Woofie….do you mind if we do a little test….you can obviously see my posts…could you send me a little post and I will tell you if I get it …thank you in advance.

Woofie:  I see your posts Lorraine Le Ceve.

Micki:  Me too – have pm’d you!

Jacky:  Henry answered you 22 hours ago Woofie

Henry:  Well, brother’s in hospital… mother’s in hospital… Time for a rest until they come out again! What a couple of days… Phew!

Micki:  Hope you’re not too stressed out & that they’re both doing well in hospital x

Anne:  Sounds like it is the best place for them – hopefully your hospital is a good one. I bet you dont get much of a rest though – what with visiting, and the Xmas traffic to contend with. Keep smiling x

Jacky:  At least you know they are both safe x

Sue:  Goodness me, I hate traumatic times like that, Henry! Put your feet up when you can. There could be busier times ahead… x