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December 2:

(click on the pic for a (slightly) larger version)

Since it’s horrible weather, I’ve cancelled all gardening and I have time on my hands, I thought I’d throw all conventional blog posts out of the window between now and Christmas and launch a little competition.

As you will see I got busy with my Paintbox and have created an advent calendar. I will be “opening” a new window for you each day to reveal the picture behind it.

Each of the pictures is taken from a blog (3) somewhere in the gardening blogosphere (almost all of them already listed on my favourite blogs list).

Each will give you a clue to a letter: usually the title of the blog, but not always (1). I’ve also thrown in a few memorable events from this year, plus a few clues refer to authors of blogs not the blogs themselves (I don’t want to make it too easy, for goodness’ sake).

The 24 letters, when unjumbled, will give you a two-part answer:

– what the first prize is: something every gardener will want at the top of their Christmas present list this year (4)

– and the genus name of a group of plants which you should be able to see in flower now.

The first person to email me both parts of the answer after the window of no. 24 is revealed on 24th December will get the prize 😀

1: A few clues:
– When it’s a blog beginning with the word “the” I’ve usually left out the definite article – so “The Manic Gardener” would be “M” (for Manic). Note the ‘Usually’: there is one exception.
– where pets are pictured, the letter is always the name of the pet (with one exception, though that particular ‘pet’ is more of a visitor and hasn’t got a name anyway)
– in two clues the name of the blogger is required, not the blog: in these cases it’s always the first name (so James as in Alexander Sinclair). And they’re not at all obscure, so you should be able to find out easily from the blog itself.
– I’ll be around to answer any queries and duck any brickbats throughout via the comments section and will also give you a final clue as to the answers on the final day just in case you’re stuck.

2: Rules and regulations:
– if you recognise a picture from your own blog, please could I ask you to refrain from posting the answer and giving the game away
– you may post your guesses below for each day but please don’t post guesses for the final answer – if you do I’m afraid you’ll make yourself ineligible for the prize
– I will be giving clues to the more tricky ones: keep an eye on the comments section
– answers and prizewinner announced as soon as I’ve recovered from my Christmas hangover (hopefully before the end of December)

3: Apologies, excuses and abject grovelling:
I realise the graphics are pants. I am not, have never been, and on current evidence will never be able to master Javascript as relevant to blogger.com so I have given up in disgust and you’ll just have to make do. It is possible that they may improve as the month goes on but they may well not. Sorry.

I may well get into quite a lot of trouble with this as I have filched all the clues from other people’s blogs. I’m hoping you’ll all take it in the spirit in which it’s meant – i.e. as a way of sharing with people the gardening blogs I’ve enjoyed this year and hopefully getting lots of people to come visit your blog. I will, at the end if not before, make sure that when the answers are given they include a link to the blogs concerned. I would have linked the pictures except that that I think that requires Javascript, so I refer you to the apology above.

If you really, really object to my using material in this way just get in touch with me (post or you can find my email via my profile) and I will change the clue and grovel even more abjectly.

4. Well, quite near to the top if you don’t count Matthew ‘Darcy’ Wilson. And Cleve West’s thighs.

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