Status Quo front man Francis Rossi loves his garden and tells me, "I used to live just 100 yards down the road from where we live now and I lived there for over 30 years. The garden was beautiful, it was 3 acres of mature trees and formal Italian gardens, very secluded and well planned out by the previous owners. Now we have just over an acre and I have planted loads of things, including 360 laurels, 3 Indian bean trees, and three Handkerchief trees. I love laurels, they are so reliable and I love the little vibrant green leaves in the spring. The problem I have is that things just don’t grow quick enough. I am determined to live to 100 to see it all mature.
"I remember the droughts of 76 and being really worried for all my trees. I love to see it rain now cos I know it’s good for my garden."
"One of my Handkerchief trees isn’t looking very well at the moment so I’ll give it some Bach Rescue Remedy. I believe in all that homeopathic stuff. I have a great woman who helps me with all the homeopathic and holistic stuff and she told me to give the tree Rescue Remedy."
"I have always suffered from migraines and found the only thing that helps alleviate them is Tongkat Ali. It has a bit of bad press because it is associated with improving Men’s performance but I have to speak as I find and it works for my migraines - and nothing else," he laughs. "I can't understand people not trying something that works! There is so much we don’t understand about nature’s abilities. We need to learn to trust these old remedies.
As well as being a fan of nature and his own garden, Francis obviously loves his animals too. As well as a Westie and a Labrador he also has a pet pigeon, Sid who was rescued by his daughter Keira Tallulah. “Sid’s tapping on the window,” he explains half way through our chat, “can you hold on while I go and get him some food?”
Francis has eight children and affectionately refers to the others by number, “Kid no 1 loves his garden but he has a lot of help and kid no 3 is keen too, he’s copied me by planting loads of laurels. All the kids appreciate a nice garden though because they grew up in one.”
“Eileen (Francis’s wife) loves getting out in the garden too as he explains, "She’s great. When I clip the laurels she’s really happy to do the clearing up. She doesn’t mind at all.”
“We grow our own garlic now and once you’ve tasted home grown garlic, you’ll never buy the commercial stuff again, it’s horrible, it smells like a damp room.”
“When I get back from Tours and all the pressure and negative press that goes with them, I just go out into the garden and I think, ‘I don’t care what people say as long as I can come home to this’. I am a bit reclusive. I do get frightened very night I go on stage but then I always look forward to coming home; it’s my holiday. We break up, like school,” he laughs, “on the 19th December and then I’ll be home for the winter with log fires and pottering around the garden; I can’t wait. I love it. And then it’ll be spring. It’s all so beautiful.”
You can see Status Quo in concert at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff 14th December as part of their QuoFestive Tour. Visit https://www.statusquo.co.uk/
From Lynne Allbutt's Green Scene column for the Western Mail 20.10.2012 - see the rest of the column at https://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/home-garden/2012/10/20/green-scene-lynne-allbutt-91466-32057658/