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Gardening problems? Try some heavy metal

The effect of music on organic life has always been at the forefront of the art / science debate. Whether it be the effect of playing classical music to a baby still in the womb or soothing tones played to farm animals, there has long been a fascination about the subliminal effects of music.

Enter gardening expert Chris Beardshaw, who casually informed the racy audiences of Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time on Friday that a horticultural experiment had revealed that a relentless pumping of Black Sabbath into a greenhouse worked wonders on the plants, but sustained exposure to Sir Cliff Richard killed every living thing in range.

Beardshaw insisted that the use of heavy metal acted as an abstract nutrient and appeared to spur the plant on to create larger flowers and apparently even increased their resistance to disease.

The idea for the experiment was born when one of Beardshaw’s horticultural students was embarking on a dissertation about the effects of music on plants.

"We set up four glasshouses with different sorts of music in to see what happened to the plants."

"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."

"It was alstroemerias we were growing and we bombarded these glasshouses with sound for the life of the plant."

He told Radio 4 listeners "We were measuring incidence of pest and disease, we were measuring inter-nodal distance, we were measuring the floriferous nature of them and that sort of thing and so the one that was grown as a control house grew really well as you'd expect."

"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 because of the soundwaves bombarding them and were slightly more floriferous and there was slightly less pest and disease."

"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."

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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