Operation Garden

There was some kind of documentary on the telly the other night and the narrator referred to the action as being part of ‘Operation Eagle’. Intriguing. Our police force does it as well. ‘Operation Buzzard was highly successful with three being detained for further questioning,’ type of statement being frequently issued to reporters. But for me all this ‘operation’ referencing raises two questions. Firstly, who makes up the names and, secondly, can I be more forensic in my own garden by adopting such nomenclature?

stakeoutRight - the first question answered. I’m reliably informed that there is a centrally generated list of operation code names for police forces to choose from. The idea is that a force chooses a name that they can mention without letting the target of the operation have a sniff of what's going on. It still has to refer in some way to the exercise. Obviously, I’m not privy to the list but I can imagine the scenario where, say, a police exercise of sitting in a car watching for litter louts can’t be called ‘Operation sitting in a car on the High Street to catch litter louts’. Operation Pick Up would be better. Or maybe not? Anyway, you get gist - if you don’t want others to know what you are doing, call your covert activity by a code name. This obviously applies to the garden.

I therefore offer up a centrally generated list of operation code names to use and abuse in your garden at the appropriate time and situation. I cannot admit responsibility if the code names have already been used or if they actually get you in trouble with the rest of your gardening companions or otherwise. Here goes:


Operation Demi John: You might use your shed as a quiet retreat from the hectic rush and noise of everyday life in the house. Sometimes a quiet snooze in your favourite fusty armchair or maybe even a slug of something home brewed is the only answer.  So, when it all becomes too much don’t storm out yelling ‘that’s it, I’m off to the shed for a swig and snooze’. Just say ‘Operation Demi John is now actioned.’ Calm will prevail as you walk enigmatically up the garden to your 6x8.


Operation Halftime: Then imagine the scene where you have been asked to look after your neighbour’s house plants whilst they are away on holiday. This involves a daily check of the plants and admit it, a shifty read of their kitchen noticeboard and a snug settling down in their ‘home cinema surround sound dedicated viewing room’ to watch the Sky channels you don’t receive. Or is that just me?! So, don’t say you are ‘just nipping around to the neighbours to check on the houseplants and read the kitchen noticeboard and settle down on their reclining leather armchair for the big match’. No, this will only get you in trouble with whoever you are telling. And your neighbours. Obviously. ‘Operation Halftime’ is much better - untraceable. Just ensure you hide the popcorn cartons if you prefer films to sport. (‘Operation Dimmer Switch’ might be more appropriate if that is the case).

compost2Operation NitrogenThere are times when you are at the far corner of your garden and nature calls. Not a cuckoo on the make or owl on the take. Not a rusty-winged pigeon or chirpy cricket. I mean ‘oh no, the house is so far away, my boots are muddy, I’m desperate and if I don’t go now….’ kind of nature call. You have to do what most gardeners do when in that situation. It’s what compost heaps are for. Now, if you admit that to anyone you will have disgust and scorn thrown in your face. Not good. Surely it’s much better to say that ‘Operation Nitrogen’ swung into action?

I’m sure you already have operation code names in place for your own gardening activities - I’d love to hear and share them. That is of course, if you dare to admit them.