The broadcaster reveals to Radio 4 listeners today that a constant diet of Black Sabbath worked wonders on a greenhouse full of plants. But he tells his Gardeners’ Question Time audience that exposure to Sir Cliff Richard proved a total disaster and killed every plant in a horticultural experiment.
Black Sabbath – led by singer Ozzy Osbourne, who has had difficulties in his marriage to former X Factor judge Sharon – are seen as heavy metal pioneers.
Beardshaw, who has been a familiar face on BBC2’s Gardener’s World over the years, said using rock music as a nutrient appeared to create larger flowers. 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 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,” Beardshaw said.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“The alstroemerias in the Cliff Richard house all died. Sabotage was suspected, but we couldn’t prove it.”