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What's hot at Greenacre

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Production team | 17:24 UK time, Friday, 17 April 2009

Joe SwiftIt's all go for me at the moment, and that's how I like it. Busy, busy, busy. There are so many projects to do at Greenacre that it can feel a little overwhelming. It's important to break larger projects down into bite-sized chunks, and with that approach in just a few weeks things have moved on nicely.

Some plants are in the ground and it's actually starting to feel like a garden rather than a rugby pitch. Toby and I are building a great working relationship, but having fun with it too, which is important. Surely gardening should be about enjoyment rather than feeling like a hard slog? He has clear ideas about the range of gardens we're trying to create there and sketches them out on paper. I then put my designer hat on, draw them up on CAD, add some embellishments here and there, put in some detail and help work out the best way of constructing them to a budget. So far it's worked well.
Of course Greenacre is a blank canvas, but most gardeners inherit or already have many mature plants, so with that in mind I've been helping a couple redesign their garden to make it more practical and more organised, which in turn will create a more 'designed' and inviting look. Garden design has for too long been seen as something outside of most people's reach, but it really doesn't have to be. 'Bold and simple' has always been my mantra and my 'Design made easy' projects will hopefully get the basic principles of good design across.
And talking of good design, there won't be any tacky water features - they are definitely one for the 'Not Hot' side of the board... what do you think?


  • 1. At 9:30pm on 17 Apr 2009, ophrysnut wrote:

    "What's hot and whats not hot" - Well I'm afraid the whole of the Gardeners World programme is NOT HOT.I didn't know wether I was watching Blue Peter, or ceebeebies! The "dumming down" has hit rock bottom.

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  • 2. At 9:31pm on 17 Apr 2009, patteo wrote:

    It is always sad when a presenter leaves Gardeners World and it takes a while to get used to a new personality but I have to say that with Toby Buckland at the helm it is like a breath of fresh air and my favourite programme has just got better!
    There is such a rapport between the other presenters and the refreshing way that hints and tips are given have truly re-inspired me and helped too!
    Thank you Toby, Carol, Joe and Alys .... Keep the magic going!

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  • 3. At 9:39pm on 17 Apr 2009, ian-sue-mcg wrote:

    Having just watched the programme and enjoyed it thoroughly I now need some help please. During the "What is hot and what is not" there was a picture of a water feature consisting of a comical face on the surface of a barrel which had water coming out of the mouth and two hands on the side of the barrel as if the "character" was trying to climb out. It may have been under the heading "not hot" but my wife and I had a good laugh at it. The question is does anyone know where I can source one from ?

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  • 4. At 9:42pm on 17 Apr 2009, southam22 wrote:

    This is the first time that I have ever been so incensed to write to the BBC. This programme is not Gardener's World,but a dummed down mix of Ceebeebies and gardening for idiots.

    Hot or not is pointless, Carol sleeping on whether to train gardeners is absurd. I don't think I can take the tension - will she, won't she? As for knomes - perhaps they should have presented the whole programme - it would have been just as informative!!!

    Gardener's World should provide advice and information to an educated audience. It is the only programme of it's type.

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  • 5. At 9:43pm on 17 Apr 2009, cleardoublediamond wrote:

    I think people need to give the new garden and Toby and the team chance to grow, too easy to have a go at everything they do, let us comment at the end of the series, good and bad, that way is fair. not everyone will be happy when a show changes presenter, but give the guy a chance.

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  • 6. At 9:45pm on 17 Apr 2009, JE wrote:

    I liked the garden design feature, but the rest of the show seems to be turning into Blue Peter, complete with annoying pretentious child. Sorry but I am an adult with a strong interest in horticulture, with an RHS qualification. I want a more intellectually challenging gardening programme please. Why is everything on TV being 'dumbed down' so much.

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  • 7. At 10:55pm on 17 Apr 2009, teshka wrote:

    I love Toby and the new look but please keep the children out of it. Gardeners World has always been an adult program and should remain so.

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  • 8. At 10:59pm on 17 Apr 2009, keving9999 wrote:

    Whats going on, Ceebies meets Top gear, whats hot aka the cool wall and lilly carrot or what ever her name was, not impresses with the new format.

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  • 9. At 10:27am on 18 Apr 2009, 01kenn01 wrote:

    I agree that it takes time to get accustomed to a new presenter. It took a while for me to warm to Monti after Alan's departure and now Tobi has joined the team, it did not surprise me to see that he is creating a new garden. I do like to informal way the programme is conducted and the inter-action between the team, especially in the 'shed'. Great Idea the 'shed', love it, but not to keen with the 'hot or not' a little to trendy! Do enjoy the debate though, especially with the differing ideas each of the team bring to the discussion.

    Would love to see the veg growing through it's stages of growth and what we should expect to see. How the get the best from the plants we sow and how the feed them and when. This I am sure would re-assure the beginners that they are doing well to keep the enthusiasm going foward.

    I understand the need for Ceebies meets Gardeners World but lets keep it mainly for the adults please in future.

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  • 10. At 1:01pm on 18 Apr 2009, bloominfirtree wrote:

    Who does GW pretend to attract now?
    There was a perfect opportunity to show people how to garden from scratch. But no!. Everything miraculously appears.
    Is it appealing to the seasoned gardner? Why use star jasmine and other 'common' names when the nursery will classify under the Latin name?
    Is it to help us to grow more cheaply? Noone has told us the prce of starting up in detail. Many of us feeling the pinch at the moment and can't afford a big layout.
    OR is it for children?? WHAT'S HOT & WHAT'S NOT?
    COme on BBC! You can do better than this.

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  • 11. At 1:10pm on 18 Apr 2009, TheOldFellow wrote:

    I'm afaid that for the first time in my life I turned it off after five minutes. I don't think it's the presenters, but some producer who is feeding them puerile rubbish to present. Most of us are no longer at primary school. A quick check of the uk.rec.gardening usenet group would be a good place to start to find out how to correct things.

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  • 12. At 2:18pm on 18 Apr 2009, AuntieGreaves wrote:

    I decided to give the new format another go last night just in case l had been to hasty in my judgement last week but alas, l have to agree with many of the comments above. The little girl who took part was delightful but she managed to consolidate what l already thought and that is that the whole programme is aimed at the under 10's.

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  • 13. At 4:45pm on 18 Apr 2009, JanetBruten wrote:

    I loved the old Gardener's World, but I love the new one too, for different reasons. I've been actively gardening for 10 years, but over the past year various changes in my life mean I now have to garden on a tight budget and have a new interest in being able to eat some of what I grow. I am a complete beginner on all this, so I am really appreciating all the tips and tricks on how to sow seed etc. I also love the banter between the presenters, and the sense that it is a real team of people working together. Best of all, you are finally giving more information on the cost of the various projects you tackle, and ideas for doing things on the cheap. So although I understand that perhaps for expert gardeners they find less to enthrall them, for me, this is far more useful and inspiring for the way I garden now, and is giving me the encouragement to do as I have done today - fill umpteen pots with various veg and salad seed.

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  • 14. At 6:12pm on 18 Apr 2009, the cycling gardener wrote:

    According to the 'Gardening on TV' messageboard, its clearly not Gardeners World. I've said my piece over there, as have many others.

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  • 15. At 6:29pm on 18 Apr 2009, Elijay wrote:

    Why are people complaining about GW being 'dumbed down'? I think the new format is great. Nothing ever stays the same, go with the flow and enjoy it. The little girl was a delightful surprise, one is never too young to start gardening. Perhaps the 'Old Fogeys' are out of their comfort zone and would like to turn back the clock to that so called 'Golden Age' when everything was perfect. Onwards and upwards I say!!

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  • 16. At 7:45pm on 18 Apr 2009, toshiebee wrote:

    Thank you to the gardeners world team. I love gardening - it's not a chore (I've got enough of those), it's a pleasure. I've been gardening for a number of years in a very inhospitable area and with limited funds and I've loved viewing the new series. It looks at the real issues of ordinary gardeners - how to grow food, how to enjoy our gardens and the hints and tips are very useful. Gardening isn't a fashion, it's a love of being outside, resting our minds from everyday problems, and appreciating nature's wonder. The new series is honest - and I like that.

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  • 17. At 8:19pm on 18 Apr 2009, rog777 wrote:

    After years of watching GW last night's programme will probably be the last I watch unless you stop the DUMBING DOWN. What place has a "competition" to see who Carol will keep in her class-you will be asking us to vote next - WE DON'T CARE!!!!!!!!!!!
    I've no doubt we will have the obligatory 10 seconds delay in telling which "contestant"is leaving.
    And as for the feature on Gnomes - well an absolute low was reached with this dross( I checked and it wasn't 1st April).

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  • 18. At 8:26pm on 18 Apr 2009, hatfullofsmiths wrote:

    gardeners world is iconic, its been a staple diet for gardeners for many, many years, toby is a natural replacement for the very splendid monty don, he is a natural, where carol and joe didnt quite cut it, i'am at the novice stage.... still, however, i and all of us should feel after watching gardeners world, to get out into the garden, and enjoy, the new series is modern and very much of the enjoy gardening so keep it up toby and alys.

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  • 19. At 8:40pm on 18 Apr 2009, hatfullofsmiths wrote:

    .... in the last nights episode when toby said we have a very special guest, i thought it may be monty don, and we got a pretty child.. ohh well, enough said.

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  • 20. At 10:15pm on 18 Apr 2009, Valgal wrote:

    Along with many other viewers, I do like the character and presentation of Toby as new frontman for G.W. BUT please let's have some more detail in the 'what', 'where' and 'how' areas of gardening. I realise it is difficult to cater for beginners, intermediate and experienced gardeners but, for example on Friday, when planting climbers, to say use a "soil improver" did not help me to make a choice. I needed some forms of explanation by way of analysis,comparisons and personal opinions.Please get rid of 'the child.'She is annoying, precocious and unnecessary in an adult's gardening programme! Yes, I know we are experiencing a credit crunch, but let's not reduce this sensible, educational and innovative programme to a Blue Peter "one I made earlier." The experts on the show (Toby,Carol,Joe,Alys) can offer real help, advice and inspiration if only the behind-the-scenes production team will let them.

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  • 21. At 11:26pm on 18 Apr 2009, dolores_delargo wrote:

    Elijay wrote: "Perhaps the 'Old Fogeys' are out of their comfort zone and would like to turn back the clock to that so called 'Golden Age' when everything was perfect."
    I do not consider that my desire for a programme that does not insult my intelligence makes me an "old fogey". I do not believe that change for change sake is a good mantra, and I cannot see why this ridiculous parody of a programme should continue to be broadcast under the "Gardeners' World" banner at all.
    Let's customise an ice cream van and give out carrot seeds! Lets make a hanging basket against the clock! Kids! Schools! Vox-pops!
    Why not call this mess "Garden Invaders" (no - that's been done on cable), or maybe "Rhythm and Blooms" (no that's been done also), or how about "Sod's Law" (no - already taken). I would go off and watch repeats of the REAL Gardeners' World on UKTV Gardens, but in the dire depths of cable-land this channel is now axed and will be merged with all those awful "makeover" programmes to form a conglomerate channel etherially called "Home". I despair.

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  • 22. At 01:59am on 19 Apr 2009, BoristheB wrote:

    I've been biting my tongue, trying to give the new format a chance & not condemn out of hand. After all, it's not Toby's fault that he's not the much-beloved Monty ;) So I hope that the following criticisms are constructive -
    1) mrserinaceous & others made very good points in that the information presented is simply incomplete & short of essential detail. One example (of many) was Toby's planting of the fruit barrel last week - I watched & re-watched on iPlayer, but he failed to mention what type of tree was at the centre! Surely some discussion of the suitability of various plants was essential? Similar instances abound - I could list many, in addition to those already mentioned by other blog-respondents...
    2) The supposed "banter" between presenters is inappropriate at best & loathesome at worst. Certainly, gardening is as much art as science, opinion is often divided on even the basics and a useful exchange of ideas would be welcome. But Mr. Buckland belittling his colleagues & their embarassed replies is hardly informed discussion. I won't get drawn into TB's abuse of the lovely Alys lest my own rage exceed the bounds of civilised conversation, but even the "competion" tree-planting with Joe served no useful purpose. There was no difference in technique (except perhaps Toby's lack of a nail to fix his tie) - but both in their haste failed to water in!
    3)Please avoid the first-person singular pronouns, Mr. Buckland! This viewer is already sick of hearing about what "I" am going to do in "my" garden, how wonderful "my" greenhouse is, etc. We are all aware that not only do you have co-presenters but a large staff at work. The editors are of course equally at fault for allowing such clumsy style & downright bad manners to be broadcast.
    On more positive notes, it is surely worthwhile to see the team taking on a new site, encouraging beginners & emphasising the virtue of growing ones own. Moreover, experienced gardeners are *not* neglected, with articles such as "Me & My Garden", expert contributions from RHS professionals, etc. But let us hope that the series settles down a little and the opinions of dissatisfied viewers taken on-board.


    P.S. Sorry to have this lengthy rant on your blog, Mr. Swift - TB's would probably have been more appropriate. But the same arguments seem to be rolling on both at the mo. & this was the one I happened to be on last ;)

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  • 23. At 09:02am on 19 Apr 2009, modernhampshiregirl wrote:

    I can understand why there have been so many comments about the new gardeners world being to simple, no one likes change, but i believe the new format has a little something for everyone. So what, a child was on the program, surely this is a great thing!! Who is going to take over future gardens if we don't get our children involved??!!!
    Not everyone who gardens understands the latin names for plants. (i surely don't) Those who have made negitive posts need to relise that gardeners world should be a family program for all to watch, enjoy and learn from. Gardening is not just for those who know the latin name for very plant and consider themselves experts. For heavens sake stop complaining and start sharing your years of knowledge with others that just want to learn!!!!!!
    Keep up the good work gardeners world!!! x x x x

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  • 24. At 3:32pm on 19 Apr 2009, ladyswallow wrote:

    After watching the new series of Gardeners World its seem very strange to go from a developed garden at Berryfields to an almost bare garden at Greenacres, I wish I had the BBC's budget for the hard landscaping for my garden!! I am looking forward to seeing how the new garden develops and I am also looking forward to following Joe's garden design feature as I want to re-design the garden of my new property.
    I know it takes time for viewers to get used to a new format but there are two parts of the new style programme I would like to see dropped and they are the '30 minute project' and the 'Whats Hot, Whats Not' section, to me they are a waste of time, which should be put to good gardening use.

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  • 25. At 3:33pm on 19 Apr 2009, Colin wrote:

    Oh dear, of dear. Nothing much about this programme informed, educated or entertained. The 60 minutes dragged on, with the risible feature on gnomes a new low point. In comparison, the Beechgrove Garden is a delight.

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  • 26. At 5:42pm on 19 Apr 2009, lynnaria wrote:

    So,I am not the only person to think that Gardeners World has become the equvalent of a cheap and childish magazine like Heat or Chat (read them at the doctors). I had to leave the room twice and vent my spleen at the way intelligent adult gardeners are being treated by this new format. Having learned to garden from scratch by Geoff Hamilton, via the programme, and developed to a decent level by A.T.I hoped that Carol Kline would be the new presenter and we would continue to learn with an enthusiastic expert. Toby,seems at the same time, to patronise and underestimate the intelligence of the audience (Possibly not his fault-editorial decission?). There are so many bad gardening programmes out there why does this latest development in GW have to join their ranks rather than continuing to set a high standard.

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  • 27. At 6:07pm on 19 Apr 2009, rog777 wrote:

    Re the post by JJ Carter
    heartily agree- I feel sorry for English viewers being denied an informative and educational gardening programme that is The Beechgrove Garden instead they have what is now a puerile attempt to be "trendy"GW

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  • 28. At 8:07pm on 19 Apr 2009, shinysupersusan wrote:

    I am very disappointed with the new look GW. I have been gardening for a number of years and love watching GW on TV. The new look programme appears to be aimed at non-gardening people or those needing the basics. Doesn't the whole idea of the title Gardener's World mean heaven for gardeners? I would like to be informed, educated and inspired and on the new programme I am not. Monty showed so much passion and was so motivating. I know it's not because I can't except change because although it took me a while to get used to Monty I did still watch the programme and enjoy it. It might not be the presenters fault but I think the format does not work. The programme used to motivate me into doing gardening tasks which I love. Now all I want to do is switch channels and that is what we did when the child arrived on Friday. Also, I thought Alys was the head gardener? Why is she doing the presenting? Way not use some of the already experienced ones?

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  • 29. At 11:49pm on 19 Apr 2009, fastrosebud wrote:

    I am really rather disappointed at some of the comments I've just read on this blog. I think the new GW format is very good and I have throughly enjoyed watching them and found them very informative. I took exception to the idea that GW should be an 'adult only' programme. I have been a fan of GW for years and started watching the programme with my parents at a very young age. I'm looking forward to watching the new garden develope over the coming months and I have been inspired to spend more time in my own garden, something I have been neglecting of late. As far as I'm concerned GW is one of my favourite programmes on TV and will remain so.

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  • 30. At 03:37am on 21 Apr 2009, BoristheB wrote:

    Note that The Beechgrove Garden is available to all UK i'net users via the BBC's excellent iPlayer service.

    Watched it for the first time myself & it is indeed well worth a look.


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  • 31. At 1:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, rosieelephant wrote:

    I have been watching Gardeners world for as long as it has been on I have to say I am very sorry to see the end of dear Monty but we have to accecpt change. I do like the new format and the presenters except for the whats hot and not etc also I agree with other comments about the child keep her where she belongs on the cbbs or what ever it is.
    I am looking forward to the progress of the new gardens and projects, also going to the show in June may be see you there.

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  • 32. At 8:56pm on 21 Apr 2009, U13928233 wrote:

    I am new to Gardeners World and have recently started growing veg and getting my son involved. He may only be 2 but points to the garden every time he eats veg (I won't tell him I don't grow everything he eats!). I do enjoy the programme but do find the banter between Toby and Alys (especially on best way to grow potatoes) really sad and childish. Just show there are different ways to grow produce. I can't imagine there are too many kids watching Gardeners World on a Friday night - show kids enjoying growing things to give us all inspiration for the weekend ahead but don't treat us like kids.

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  • 33. At 11:53pm on 21 Apr 2009, bistaboo wrote:

    I think it is such a shame that there are so many negative comments here regarding the new GW format, but am reluctantly having to agree with many of them. I have watched the programme for more than 30 years have to admit it is dumbing down just too much for my liking. When I found out we would be having an hour every week it seemed such a great opportunity, but as for actual real gardening info, it might just as well be back to 30 minutes. I totally agree with the comments about The Beechgrove Garden - far more valuable in 30 minutes than an hour of GW. We are being told constantly of the massive increase in the take up of gardening in Britain and so surely there is a case for more programmes, which could then be tailored to beginners/amateurs/experts and so on? I only receive Freeview channels which means my choice of gardening viewing is limited to say the least, but I understand that this week the UKTV Garden channel is to be got rid of, giving even less choice. I also read this week that the BBC will once again be covering the Chelsea Flower Show, promising eleven hours of coverage during the week, and I wonder just how much of that time will be dedicated to plants & nurserymen, and how much to celebrity culture & uncomfortable banter between guests. I think I shall have to get my garden viewing fix from my recent eBay puchase of the BBC Geoff Hamilton Collection - now that's what I call gardening...

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  • 34. At 2:01pm on 22 Apr 2009, youngizzybee wrote:

    Gardeners world is not just an adult program so why should a child not present (ok she didn't look like any of my children after they had encountered mud and water). I watched it as a child with my parents and I now watch with one of my children (age 9). We love gardeners world and all the presenters, each brings different views. Its good to disscuss what is HOT even if some things are light harted, gardening IS allowed to be fun. Yes we do watch for good advice and O.K. the team have a challange on their hands with the new garden. Cutting back mature shrubs and neglacted apple trees will prove difficult but it will be facinating to watch the transformation. We loved the shed even if it was a bit over the top (they don't have a house to retreat to at the end of the day). We customised one Grandad didn't need for the children last year, I've now got some more ideas to improve it. All new formats need tweeking. Its only been out for a few weeks give it time.

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  • 35. At 10:38am on 23 Apr 2009, fairyhairymary wrote:

    Sorry Joe, you are great ... but I absolutely loathe the new programme, and so it seems does the Daily Telegraph ...

    "Toby Buckland ... painfully uncharismatic".

    "A textbook case of dumbed-down television, continually reinventing itself for new audiences whom it assumes to be of lower intelligence than their predecessors".

    "A depressing proportion of items are undemanding drivel, bereft of content. The rigorous production values that used to be a BBC hallmark are a thing of the past".

    "Carol Klein, one of Buckland's co-presenters, has far more charm, passion, knowledge, intelligence and, yes, sex appeal, but being over 50, seems to be regarded as fit mainly for deadheading roses ? a depressing sign of ageism".


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  • 36. At 10:04pm on 24 Apr 2009, teddyrogers wrote:

    dumbing down or just plain accessible to the general public?, either way i think it's a very watchable programme,however, if i may have a slight rant, the reclaimed doors for the shed !!,these stood for many years at legendary victoria ground at stoke city and painted in the historic red of the teams colours,so why did Toby have to paint them blue???.
    This blog is slightly tongue in cheek, but i would love to see the doors restored to there former glory!.

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  • 37. At 10:05pm on 24 Apr 2009, fuzzycactus wrote:

    Who'd have thought GW could cause so much controversy! Can't believe i'm joining in...
    I have to say i'm really enjoying the new format and it works for me. I think it's young, fresh and inspirational.
    I watch it with a big smile on my face every week! I think it has a good balance of serious gardening with light-hearted fun stuff - come on lighten up a little!
    GW used to be sometimes a bit heavy going in the old days, and I think a change of direction was probably needed.
    Shame it's put some people off, but if they have their Geoff Hamilton dvds to watch, it's not that bad is it? I didn't have Toby Buckland dvds to watch when Geoff Hamiliton was on!

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  • 38. At 10:17pm on 24 Apr 2009, Scotsgardener wrote:

    The main thrust is, as far as I can tell, getting couch potatoes off their bottoms and out growing SOMETHING....ANYTHING! We are a nation of lardy fast-food eaters and if GW can persuade just a few people that gardening is not the preserve of those who have large gardens and who know all their Latin names.

    There's space for all of us and, in my experience, there are a lot of very intimidated people out there who don't think that they're good enough to be gardeners.

    Maybe the BBC needs two types of Gardening Shows - GW for those of us who need all the encouragement we can get from friendly presenters and something a bit more formal and GW circa Percy Thrower?

    I must say that I laughed out loud when Alys was trying to bang in a nail when making the compost bins and Toby joked'....and three days later....' because that's exactly what my hubby said as he watched it too.

    I agree - c'mon folks lighten up. If all you experienced gardeners who don't like the current format could help shaky-handed gardening virgins like me (who find Toby et all encouraging), wouldn't the world around us all be a better place?!


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  • 39. At 10:55pm on 24 Apr 2009, MrsPointy wrote:

    As a relative newcomer to gardening, one might expect that I would appreciate the more basic approach. However, the way in which GW has been dumbed down beyond recognition staggers me and I can only describe it as a programme for children - I'm beginning to suspect that the next presenter will be a teletubby.
    Both my husband and I have enjoyed GW under the helmsmanship of Monty and Alan and indeed we have both been viewers of GW as children prior to this. I can only say that this new series is a sad illustration of the depths to which the BBC has sunk. Toby's "everyman" approach is regrettably falling short of the mark and his slots lack any form of worthwhile information. He seems to be encouraging gardeners to go out to garden centres and buy plants rather than build their garden up. Now I am not saying that there is not a place in our lives for garden centres, but is this what GW is about? I always thought not and enjoyed the support that GW provided for the development of a garden over a number of years and the help in dealing with all the thrills and pitfalls that gardening brings.
    Toby's approach to the viewer is as if they are a simpleton with absolutely no knowledge of even the basics of gardening. I can only liken his style to that of a Blue Peter presenter - "here's one I made earlier" we hear him cry in his 30 minute fix slot. I have been wondering when Alys was going to wheel out the sticky backed plastic and toilet rolls - imagine the horror when she started putting together her windowsill reflector. I cannot see Percy Thrower or Geoff Hamilton in such a slot! Whilst I appreciate that GW feels the need to "freshen up" given the sad departure of the much loved Monty, the new format is severely lacking.
    The Top Gear “cool wall” ripoff is nothing short of cringeworthy TV and sadly, we've taken the step of removing GW from the TV planner - no doubt, many other dissatisfied viewers have done the same. The prospect of sitting through another hour of Blue Ceebeebies Gardening Gear is not appealing in the slightest. It’s sad to see such a previously highly regarded cornerstone of British television turned into a washed out shadow of its former self, assuming that it’s viewers have little or no modicum of intelligence.

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  • 40. At 3:12pm on 25 Apr 2009, andera98 wrote:

    Well done MrsPointy my sentiments exactly! What divel the BBC has turned Gardeners World into and what a shame.

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  • 41. At 5:04pm on 25 Apr 2009, vextor wrote:

    What's Hot and What's not:
    Alys is HOT and the weather's NOT

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  • 42. At 1:07pm on 26 Apr 2009, jakibrown wrote:

    I really have enjoyed watching GW over the last few weeks - and as I am not an expert in gardening, I am very pleased to be able to have a programme that gives the impression that "anyone can be successful growing things in the garden". If that is "dumbing down" then so be it. It is an inspirational programme that encourages you to find out more by yourself once the programme is over - "self directed learning" rather than being spoon-fed! Not everyone knows the correct terminology, or how to prepare for planting, or how to care for plants, and being shown how to do things is just what I need by watching GW is great. I also use the Internet to find out how to do things - forums are a brilliant place to discuss all things gardening, so my message is, watch the programme, then read around the subject, ask questions from other gardeners, whether they be experts or beginners experiencing the same successes or failures, and above all, enjoy it. Stop whining about how GW has changed, embrace the joy of gardening instead. (rant over)

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  • 43. At 6:19pm on 26 Apr 2009, lynnaria wrote:

    I am not an expert, but my knowledge and garening skill has been gratly enhanced by GW over the years. Having commented last week, I watched again this week and enjoyed some of the segments. However the programme as a whole still seems to assumes the viewers have the attention span of a flea and the intelectual capacity of an idiot. The 'whats hot whats not' blog over the last week is mostly criticism of the new format yet on the programme this was dealt with in a whitewashing spin that ignored it altogether, (New Labour would be envious of the producers skill here.)

    The greatest insult was Joe Swifts Sunday Times comment that gardeners are change-averse. Who does he think make up the population of gardeners? We are people from all walks of life and some of us constantly encounter, embrace, and manage change. Some of us took a greater risk in life and in their gardening last year than starting an allotment or putting in a new water feature. However we want change that is positive, that will develop, challenge and improve our gardens and ourselves. If change must happen to gardeners world, let us have half an hour of good, informative grown up garden programming, and let the other half be dedicated to the Blue Peter escapees. (Actually, I withdraw that comment as an insult to Blue Peter presenters of every generation who did not patronise their young audience).

    I cannot get to Chelsea this year, and rely on the BBC coverage. Can we hope that it will not be introduced by MR Blobby, and that soft focus pictures of unidentified flowwers will not link the segments like wall paper, as happend on last weeks GW.

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  • 44. At 8:00pm on 26 Apr 2009, biggardener wrote:

    Toby Buckland and the new gardeners world has about as much appeal and talent as the song "Shutuppia Face"
    It's not only Toby to blame though the producer, writers, editors,reshearchers all really need inspiring.
    the music is ment to be slow and relaxing. I found it irritating.
    The show is ment to be about the basics but I saw poor tecniques in the use of a watering can and also Toby's dirty secateurs. Many other things also made twitch and cringe of how badly the show was put together.
    Also to be advised By Toby against growing Chilli from seed when Gardeners World Magazine were giving them away.
    If you want a gardeners world for the young, then you might consider a Gardeners World Elementry with an eirlier showing time.
    When Alen Titchmarsh was on the telly. He inspired me to leave my job as dog food shelf stacker and to be a gardener. I am now a single gardener for a large estate. I don't find the new Gardeners World as inspiring.

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  • 45. At 08:15am on 27 Apr 2009, fairyhairymary wrote:

    I agree with lynnaria.

    It is absolutely pathetic and insulting for Clive Swift to dismiss criticism by categorising complainants as change-averse. If change is for the better, people like it. If it is for the worse, they don't.

    There are several key issues ...

    a) Toby (Who?) Buckland has less personaility than a sheet of cardboard, it unbalances the show when the so-called lead presenter is outshone by everyone and everything else in the show.

    b) There needs to be a mix of items - beginners, intermediate and advanced - so that everyone can feel inspired and included. Otherwise, call it "Gardening for Beginners, Children and Top Gear viewers who don't like gardening". The mix of difficulty levels can be done, it worked fine in an old Channel 4 programme.

    c) Remove the gimmicks and let the relationships develop. It is absolutely painful to see people some of whom don't even like each other being forced to attempt the kind of banter that only comes from people enjoying each others' company.

    d) Clive Swift is obviously not lead presenter material but to see Carol Klein playing second fiddle is ridiculous. In Countryfile (where exactly the same patently ageist process has occurred) the senior and more experienced person (John Craven) seems to get some quite nice special assignments and therefore doesn't suffer the humiliation of hanging around the calllow youths who have stolen his job. Perhaps this would be a solution for Carol? At least until the poor ratings eventually see off Buckland.

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  • 46. At 11:17am on 27 Apr 2009, Adnill wrote:

    This is my first blog, ever, and I was disappointed to see how many moany people there are out there. I think the new Gardeners World is brilliant and I love all the new presenters. I've been gardening for years and there is always something new to learn. If those moany people don't like the programme, well...just don't watch it, there are plenty of us who love the programme. And as for the people who complain about "What's hot and what's not" board, saying we should not be treated like children, these people need to get a life, if I feel like a twelve year old (when I'm actually 55), so what! Life is just too short to moan, just get on and enjoy what there is.
    So... What is very very NOT hot is Bindweed/colvulvulus. Lovely flower but it makes a complete mess of the other plants in the garden, especially my blackcurrants, it comes up right beside the roots of the bush so I can't spray with Roundup there. Help!! I've tried digging it out but I was nearly in Australia when I gave up.
    One complaint though, I notice your programme wasn't on last Friday and not due to be televised this Friday either, due to Snooker. Don't put my favourite programme off, put off something like Eastenders which we can definitely do without anyway.

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  • 47. At 2:12pm on 27 Apr 2009, fairyhairymary wrote:

    Sorry Joe, I keep calling you Clive. How is your dad? You don't look 73 just yet.

    What's hot - The Geoff Hamilton DVD Boxed Set on ebay

    What's not - Gardeners' World

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  • 48. At 11:03am on 28 Apr 2009, joeswifty wrote:

    Dear All. It seems only right that I reply to some of these comments as they are on my blog (I’m afraid I can’t discuss them all). For a start I’m Joe and my Dad’s Clive! I hope you watched his new sitcom ‘Old Guys’. At 43 I would consider myself far too young for this role. Now, onto Gardeners World. I like to say that as we have a new site at Greenacre it provides the perfect opportunity and is only right that the programme is as accessible as possible to encourage new gardeners to have a go. We all started somewhere. There are just so many interesting projects we need to start from scratch. Of course as the series develops some of the gardening will become more complex and we will have a more mature garden to maintain which will demonstrate many techniques. At the moment we are covering these aspects with Carol, my design made easy strand and various videos from experienced gardeners and the RHS. No, we won’t be having children on it every week. It was to help kick off the Dig IN campaign which is a brilliant initiative to get everyone growing whatever their age or background. But wouldn’t it be great if Gardeners World was watched by the whole family on a Friday night? What’s wrong with that? I used to watch with my grandparents and maybe that’s where it all started for me? I’d also like to say that any banter between us is completely natural and unforced. We aren’t scripted but our producer and director do make sure we include the necessary content. We also can’t cover every single aspect of gardening in a single programme, or even in a single series. Gardening is a huge subject and is more diverse than ever (which I thinks a good thing). Over a series we will cover plenty, but we all need books and the internet to use as a research tool if we want to explore a particular subject in further detail too. Remember- we have a new format, a new garden and a new team. The production team all work extremely hard and are very conscientious about getting a balance across. Get behind us if you can and we’ll deliver a programme to inspire, educate and enjoy. I too am unhappy that the snooker has put us off air this Friday as it’s an important time in the gardening calendar, but I’m afraid scheduling is out of all of our hands. Thanks for reading this and happy gardening. Joe

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  • 49. At 11:56am on 28 Apr 2009, byrnesunit wrote:

    The last GW I saw - the one with the pond being clad and planted up - I thought was terrific. My son, who's 5 is allowed to stay up on Fri nights to see GW, and then we put anything he likes the look of into practice over the weekend or the following week. My point, kids have a lot of demands on their time from technology, etc. these days, so GW must be doing something right to hold my son's attention, to inspire him to get outdoors and try to grow things, and to inquire how I think Toby, Alys, and Joe are when off-screen ! Even we as amateurs know it's impossible for GW to be the only all-encompassing source of info available - that's where the internet, books, and fellow gardeners come in - so perhaps many of the correspondents on here should stop trying to turn GW into some sort of exclusive club.

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  • 50. At 8:59pm on 28 Apr 2009, pintsizeswissmiss wrote:

    I have also started a garden from scratch, after discovering all the trees and bushes on 3 boundaries belonged to neighbours. It's beginning to take shape. Will post a photo ...when I get the hang of my camera.

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  • 51. At 1:57pm on 29 Apr 2009, DivusAugustus wrote:

    Gardener's World was and probably still is the best programme on the BBC but it's sliding. What have gnomes to do with gardening? Also the presenters appear to have been taken to a fantasy world. Who is it who needs to sow a rugby pitch with flowers? I have a tiny garden, with lots of drains underneath to make it hard to plant anything with roots, windswept from being on a hill, scarcely room for plants let alone three compost bins, an insecure job and low income and certainly no space or money to build a swimming-pool sized pond or conservatory (sorry, greenhouse). Quite entertaining to watch but of no practical relevance to me. A disappointing trent. Also the what's hot what's not bit is a waste of time.

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  • 52. At 3:48pm on 29 Apr 2009, Ashbylass wrote:

    Whilst I do like new guy Toby, I am not liking the 'What's hot and what's not' feature. Or the obvious lack of Carol at Greenacre. I love Carol's nature and learn a lot from her communication techniques. Give her more air time please!

    As a new gardener (3 years - what a novice!) I do appreciate the dumbed down new look of the series. Us new gardeners need all the help we can get so we can be the next generation of passionate gardeners!

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  • 53. At 2:30pm on 30 Apr 2009, givgov01 wrote:

    Hi All,

    It makes me very sad all the negative comments that are on this blog. I think people forget that we all have to start somewhere, my generation had Alan Titchmarsh to learn from with his basic Gardening tips and now the new generation have got Toby and team to learn from with the new format show.

    Things go round in cycles and so it happens with TV shows, Gardeners World cannot continue to get more complex just because it has been running for so many years and shouldnt go back to basics, nor for the reason that the last generation of gardners have got to a level of skill that requires GW to continue to that level aswell, they should apply their skill to teaching new gardeners in conjunction with the GW show.

    As Joe has said on this blog as GreenAcre matures there will be oppurtunity for more complex projects etc to be shown which will be great, but I personally love the fact that GW is trying to appeal to the next generation to get them involved in gardening, think back to what got you into gardening ? was it a hugely complex project that took huge amounts of skill or was it the fact that you were shown you could plant a pack of seeds and watch you first plant grow ! I know what it was for me.

    As for the relationships of the team, give them time, everyone knows what its like to start a new job with new people, sometimes its clicks straight away, some times it does'nt - it will work, is working ! however, I would like to see more of Carole at GreenAcre.

    Sorry for the waffle guys, but I still enjoy this show even though it is a new format, everything changes, we should encourage it and help it.

    PS. I personally like the fact that its a rugby pitch that is being turned into a garden as I can see how things grow, instead of a mature garden being tinkered with...


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  • 54. At 00:36am on 01 May 2009, 9iron wrote:

    I am really enjoying Gardeners World with Toby at the helm. Monty was a wonderful presenter and a very big pair of shoes to fill but Toby has brought his own style and personality to the programme and that is very important. What do I hate or to use the current expression in the potting shed, what is Not Cool, the constant use of METRIC. Gardeners use 3 inch pots, they don't use 70 millimeter ones. If the RHS have bowed under reader pressure and have gone back to proper measurements surely the BBC can take the hint.

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  • 55. At 6:55pm on 01 May 2009, Sue wrote:

    Just something that I don't think has been mentioned in the other comments. The intro sequence. People have complained about dumbling down etc. I think the mood is set by the new intro sequence. I much prefer to see images of 'real' plants/flowers/fruit/veg etc than the picture book type art work. It's just my personal taste for what it is worth!

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  • 56. At 08:44am on 03 May 2009, Fred_dee wrote:

    I suspect that with the surge of 'grow-your-own'ers, GW is targetting that part of the audience, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just unfortunate that there is little value that the more seasoned gardener can take from the programme. At best, I find it uninformative, at worst, patronising and annoying.

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  • 57. At 10:19am on 08 May 2009, ozbizbozzle wrote:

    Whats Hot. New Gardeners World. We dont like change do we. Monty was great. Wish he could have spent more time on his veggies. Notice on his Gardens of the world Tour he would always end up with real gardeners growing their own food.
    Toby is great too. We have really warmed to him. Looking forward to new prog already.
    Whats not hot the new Countryfile!

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  • 58. At 3:13pm on 08 May 2009, lynnaria wrote:

    I promise that this will be my last contribution to this strand.

    1) Thanks Joe for your reply to previous postings. Someone really does take note of this input! Most of the feedback from bloggers seems constructive and trying to support the better development of the programme. We are not whiney (as some have said) just desperate to uphold the great core standards of an organically developing format.

    2) Most gardeners welcome remiders of how to get it right. We will never stop needing help and advice on even basic gardening stuff and will often welcome a revisit to core gardening skills. The subjects covered are not the problem, it is the poor presentation of subjects that is the bug bear. Much of that seems to be down to editorial values rather than the individuals. I did not get on with the cod philosophy of Monty Don, but somehow GW was still always watchable and useful and great fun. The format is the thing, although the presenters are significant.

    3) Re children: I have been watching GW with my now 14yr old nephew for several years now. He likes and understands the programme. He appreciates the fact that whatever his age, it has never talked to him as a child, but as an aspiring gardener. Children do not need to be coochi-cooed at. Neither do most adults.

    4) Please find time to address this issue on the programme, do not pretend that this blog, and the problems contributers are addressing, do not exist or are not relevant.

    5) Carol Klein for Prime minister (oops sorry I mean for lead presenter)

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  • 59. At 5:03pm on 25 May 2009, parisedna wrote:

    I am reassured that others also seem to find the hour-long programme banal and tedious.
    The superficial, charmless and desperate presentation makes Blue Peter appear comparatively sophisticated

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