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January 2010

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Production team | 10:48 UK time, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

As a new gardening year arrives along with the most snow we've seen for 30 years, I've begun to realize that the challenges of being Greenacre's new garden manager are more than simply juggling camera crews and compost.

As with all gardens in this weather, Greenacre has been very quiet, in fact there are more fox tracks than human tracks in the snow - though it's nice to be reminded of the life in the garden when all of the plants are hidden by a huge frozen blanket. I am beginning to associate Greenacre with snow as when we started here (11 months ago) it snowed for the first 10 days! Here's hoping it starts to clear soon so we can get back out there working the ground ready for the coming seasons!

Snow at Greenacre

There's always work to be done here - even in these conditions: cleaning around the greenhouses; tidying the shed; checking over the condition of all the tools as well as, crucially, knocking the snow from laden branches of trees, hedges and other plants. At Greenacre the Chusan palm looked a lot happier once he had been unloaded of snow! Badly affected plants are usually evergreens such as conifers; especially those grown for their column-like shape such as Irish yew, but most plants appreciate having heavy snow shaken off.

City Veg Garden

This is, of course, our first full winter at Greenacre and we are still getting to know our new home and neighbours. We have a resident fox who digs his way in under the fence and in the warmer months spends his nights sitting in different plants (particular favourites were the cosmos and the dahlias); there is also a badger sett not far away and of course the rooks, who most nights circle over the garden when the sun begins to set.

Pond at Greenacre

Gardeners' World will be back on the 5th March. In the meantime, I'll be busy with the new polytunnel, propagating as many plants as possible from seed to stock the beds and borders here at Greenacre. From fruit and vegetables to perennials and bedding plants hopefully we'll have room for them all!


  • 1. At 11:58am on 12 Jan 2010, gardener54321 wrote:

    Cannot wait for the new series, counting the days.
    I think Toby Buckland and all the presenters do a fantastic job.

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  • 2. At 1:42pm on 12 Jan 2010, priscilla101 wrote:

    Great to get an update...especially while the programme is off-air! Greenacre looks amazing in the snow! P.S. Can we get a picture of Ned Harvey?

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  • 3. At 3:50pm on 12 Jan 2010, fynch wrote:


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  • 4. At 9:50pm on 12 Jan 2010, kaylin wrote:

    I think Fynch's comment is unfair and unneccessarily unpleasant. Toby Buckland is a knowledgable and watchable presenter and has the advantage over at least one previous presenter of genuine gardening experience. His predecessor was emphatically NOT a gardener, as the technical crew of the show could attest. I've seen critisism that the newer format of Gardener's World is unpopular with some viewers, as it is trying to open up gardening to novices like myself. This seems a very narrow and elitist view and it's a shame that the BBC is caving in so quickly to the dissenters. I've certainly become a fan over the last year and hope that Mr Buckland and the team will continue in the same vein to try to bring the show to a wider audience.

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  • 5. At 11:42pm on 12 Jan 2010, macjim wrote:

    Sadly, I am one of the lost viewer to GW. Since Monty had to give up due to his health, and his replacement by Toby, and with the move to the new site, the programme has changed beyond all recognition. It's become what can only describe as the equivalent of the coffee table gardening book and has become the instant garden programme. The 'shed' gives the impression of the 'Santa's grotto' and does nothing for the show. Jo and Carol are great and give some incentive to watch, but sadly, GW is no longer the 'must' watch programme anymore. How about replacing Toby, sorry Toby, with Bill Chudziak.

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  • 6. At 11:06am on 13 Jan 2010, spectaclebear wrote:

    I agree that the early programmes were more MTV than BBC but now that the overall style is less frenetic I find GW much more watchable. As a relatively inexperienced gardener I find GW does me well and I can truthfully say that I learn at least one new thing each time I watch. Yes, some of it is relatively simple and some of it is more specialist than I need but surely if GW is to appeal to a broad viewer base then it has to include items that cover a range of experience and interest. One of the joys of gardening for me is learning about new things and being surprised by what's out there. And please can we have less personal criticism of the presenters - we all have our likes and dislikes and it seems to me that people need to be given a chance to settle in.

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  • 7. At 2:36pm on 13 Jan 2010, mop wrote:

    I look forward to gardeners world each week! I do however feel I miss the familiarity of the already mature garden such as Berryfields that we would visit each week. I am surprised people in this financial climate( and weather for that matter) are complaining about the new presenters being happy and joking during the proramme, I still think all the presenters are able to impart valuable knowledge to the viewers. Thanks GW.

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  • 8. At 12:08pm on 14 Jan 2010, Michelle Wheeler wrote:

    All the presenters do a fantastic job.And as a RHS student find the programme a great way to study using a different medium.

    I am a great fan of Toby Buckland and we must not forget the awards he has won in his own right as a hoticultralist.

    Looking forward to March.

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  • 9. At 12:26pm on 14 Jan 2010, veejay wrote:

    I have enjoyed GW for many years and have found the different personalities of the presenters as variable as the many things we all enjoy growing. We may like some more than others and of course have our favourites, but "vive la difference" is what I say, live and let live.

    I think it is about time we had another gardening prog. - as well as GW. Foodies (of which I am one) have a plethora of food programmes - far too many, so come on beeb, get rid of at least one of these "samey" chefs ego trip productions and give us a gardening prog. with a difference, possibly one with a bit more depth. Gardeners World on its own is trying to cover too many bases, lovely as it is.

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  • 10. At 7:48pm on 14 Jan 2010, Anne wrote:

    May I express my deepest gratitude to the presenter of gardener's World ,Toby Buckland for presenting the award to Landscove Primary School Devon today ,for it's plan for a rural School Garden. I am particularly happy for the school and particularly for my son, who I am delighted to know will benefit from this prize. From a very happy Mum .

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  • 11. At 12:33pm on 15 Jan 2010, ancientyew wrote:


    If you are going to criticise the production team and the presenters, particularly when you criticise Toby Buckland's ability to communicate and present, might it not be a good idea to ensure that you can achieve at least a basic standard of literacy in your own contributions? Pot, kettle and all that.

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  • 12. At 7:39pm on 15 Jan 2010, SparklyTwirler wrote:

    I think Toby is doing a good job. I would like to see a map of the site though - so I can get clear in my mind where the different features are

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  • 13. At 9:29pm on 15 Jan 2010, thelazygardener wrote:

    I think the changes at least showed a willingness to engage new gardeners whaich has got to be a positive. That said it was nice when it all calmed down towards the end of the series - much more relaxing. I couldnt agree more about needing more gardening on tv, at the very least it would be nice if the schedulers didnt keep messing around with when the one show we have got. A weekly half hour GW spin off for example? As for the presenters Toby seems a nice eough bloke (pity he's a gooner) who has good screen chemistry with Joe, who has also come on as a presenter now he's not stuck road testing lawn mowers all the time! Anyone who advocates "pottering" in his first show is ok by me! Would like to see Carol in the new garden though. For all the moaners (no offence) its only a tv programme and therefore not as important as the time you spend in your own garden. if you treat it like this then the bits you are not interested in (personally not that fussed about veg) soon pass. Save the vitriol for the slugs. enjoy your gardens

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  • 14. At 6:30pm on 16 Jan 2010, garrigillgal wrote:

    I'm a novice gardener and a long time watcher of GW - I must admit I didn't like the new format at the start of the last season although towards the end it seemed to calm down a bit and was much more watchable - not sure about Toby though - perhaps he will blossom under the new (again) format - hope so - like other posters I don't think anyone who has been the main presented should have another shot at it - there's a wealth of talent out there - perhaps a lady?

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  • 15. At 7:20pm on 16 Jan 2010, Andrew Maxwell wrote:

    Unpleasant posts on this topic do little to open the world of horticulture to our younger generations - our future horticulturists and gardeners.

    It's a shame that the BBC seem to be doing their utmost to disenfranchise their talent - it's clear to see that recent announcements regarding GW taking a retrograde step to some perceived 'Golden Age' of gardening are designed to appease those viewers turned off by Toby and the new direction he ushered in.

    Speaking as an experienced middle aged gardener, whilst I loved Monty's writing he had me switching off GW in a big way. Under his tenure GW became truly elitist and pandered to middle class assumptions/beliefs about gardening.

    Like Alan, Toby is a classically trained horticulturist who has stuck at his craft and has a lot to offer , I believe, the novice and experienced gardener alike.

    And I'm afraid it's plain old life that new viewers will get turned on to gardening and seek it out through TV shows like GW - we can't stay stuck in the past refelcting the views of a minority. GW's demise would be swift it did.

    Go Toby!

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  • 16. At 5:03pm on 17 Jan 2010, happytraveller wrote:

    I have been an avid GW watcher since early Geoff Hamilton times and it was a "must see" until Monty Don took over. I just didn't find him credible as a gardener. The new format doesn't work either, Toby might grow on me but Alys and Joe, no. Carol would have been the ideal choice with her knowledge, personality and enthusiasm. The arty camera work, silly items like timed tasks, potting shed etc. don't work. We have never seen a proper view of the garden, just snatches here and there. Get back to basics, growing, pest and disease control, new plants on the market and feature other peoples gardens but show more of the gardens and less of the people, all gardeners love to get ideas from other gardens.A bit of humour always helps.

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  • 17. At 5:06pm on 17 Jan 2010, happytraveller wrote:

    Just like to add that Martin Fish on radio Nottingham is knowledgable and amusing to listen to. GW could take a listen and gain some tips!

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  • 18. At 5:16pm on 17 Jan 2010, Satin wrote:

    I only really got into gardening last summer when the garden looked so disappointing due to a lack of plants. As I'm planning on growing lots of annuals this year I'm really glad to hear GW will be starting on the 5th March this year. I'm also looking forward to that GW special meant to be shown around the end of Jan about the last year at Greenacres. I only starting watching GW in the sutumn last year so it will be good to catch up on how the year in a new garden went (similar to my own tiny garden I've had for 2 years which was a blank canvas).
    I enjoyed Toby's presenting style and Alys remeind me of myself so enjoed the program though they jumped from topic to topic too fast for my liking. I'm hoping GW will be more like it was in Alans time as a presenter - Monty Don sent my family to sleep so I stopped watching GW till last autumn.

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  • 19. At 6:40pm on 17 Jan 2010, Botanic wrote:

    The plethora of opinions currently circulating throughout the press about the past, present and future of Gardeners World make fascinating reading, if only to prove that you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
    The one truth that cannot be ignored however is that the BBC have comprehensively lost their way with this programe. At least they have been man enough to come out and admit it this week. Youth and inexperience may look endearing to trendy young producers but it simply does not wash when faced with putting together a programe such as this which depends so much on factual knowledge. This country has a heritage of gardening the rest of the world would die for. With the huge resource of professional horticultural talent that is out there surely the BBC can take some time served advice and then give this gardening nation the gardening programe it deserves. The knowledge and experience of Carol Klein is conspicuous in its ability compared with the rest of the presenting and production team. Please find more like her.

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  • 20. At 8:04pm on 17 Jan 2010, Andrew Maxwell wrote:

    Let's not forget that Alan was loathed when he took over from Geoff, and Monty equally came in for some stick when he replaced Alan.

    Instead of being so down on the presenters let's just get on and enjoy the show - it is the only regular horticultural show out there and you'd all be moaning if they axed it!

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  • 21. At 7:52pm on 18 Jan 2010, ravenjoy wrote:

    I am really looking forward to the new series of GW. I always feel inspired after seeing it. Love the photos of Greenacre in the snow but glad most of it has disappeared now, in my part of the country anyway!

    I did think that all the moaning about presenters was firmly in the past but it seems not judging by a few posts on this blog. Last year's series did get off to a shaky start but gradually the annoying items were dropped and GW became thoroughly enjoyable again. I like the style of Toby Buckland, not the style of previous presenters but then why would he be? Give the man a chance for heavens sake!!

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  • 22. At 8:00pm on 18 Jan 2010, thelazygardener wrote:

    To Andrew maxwell - you speak a lot of sense. I started watching GW when Alan was lead and really wasn't taken with Monty for w whle, although he grew on me. I also agree with the comment about his writing vs his presenting style at times. toby seems a nice cheerful bloke who likes pottering around outside. Lets just chill out and wait & see what happens. Greenacres will have established more, the programme is (supposedly)returning to its roots, maybe we will even get a decent summer!

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  • 23. At 6:16pm on 19 Jan 2010, Richard Gell wrote:

    My message to Fynch and all other moaners is to simply use the off switch on your remote. Not everyone is 'RHS standard' like some and it's good to see even basic tasks being run through in easy steps. The programme needs to change over time and if it doesn't it will be stale and will not encorage new generation gardeners; experienced and older gardeners need to accept the programme is not just for them and the energy the presenters bring is refreshing. My 8 & 12 year old daughters now watch the show and want to help in our garden now due to the programme and many friends in their 40's like me are now switched on to it and learning. If you don't like it watch something else or get of your TV and stop the ever so boring comment about the licence fee you pay.

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  • 24. At 8:12pm on 19 Jan 2010, Russell wrote:

    I have been watching gardeners world for many years now man and boy, we have seen presenters come and go and i feel that they all have brought their own special distinctveness wich has made the programe unique, as a time served retired arborist i still find things new each day with horticulture and arboriculture, so all i am trying to say is none of us now it all so let gardeners world teach us all something new each week, no need to be rude even though we may not agree.
    personally i have enjoyed most of the presenters, it is and always shall be a wonderful programe well done toby and the team.

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  • 25. At 8:45pm on 19 Jan 2010, LazyRizzo wrote:

    If you're looking for new blood for gardening programmes, have a look at this


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  • 26. At 12:38pm on 20 Jan 2010, whp wrote:

    Toby's not doing a bad job and will probably grow with the series, although he really needs to stop patronizing Alys! However, isn't it about time we had a woman for the lead presenter? Carol would have been fantastic in my view.
    Can't wait for the new series. I've been watching on and off since Geoff Hamilton, who will never be bettered. Friday nights are just not the same without GW!

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  • 27. At 5:27pm on 22 Jan 2010, Kathy wrote:

    Something needs to be done to revive the program Carol is great and very watchable. She doesn't shout and knows what she talking about.

    The rest can go as far as I'm concerned. There must be a wealth of new and existing talent young and old.

    Please give us proper information presented WITHOUT added loud background bashing and crashing noise and so called music. For once it would be nice to hear everything clearly including the outdoor sounds with no additional noise of any kind when the presenters are speaking. I always watch with the subtitles on so that I can mute the noise when necessary. The noise spoils concentration and enjoyment. Please listen to previous programs and judge for yourself. If music must be used let it be relaxing and quiet. Perhaps a survey on noise within this program and others might be an idea.

    The shed was a disaster. As I have the same shed I know that they must have rebuilt it completely, raising it to add bigger doors and more windows. They made it look like something from a scrap yard. The colours are yuck!

    Some of the practical projects were not worth doing and the results not very good. Does anyone try them out first?

    The program content should be more about plants, some of it technical and some of it straightforward to suit all gardeners.

    There should be a short botany lesson each week presented like a mini lecture. There should be practical stuff too but it shouldn't look like it has been cobbled together at the last minute due to time pressure as it does now.

    I have watched GW for years but am seriously thinking of giving up.

    There is plenty of room for other gardening programs.

    Why is no else making a decent and proper gardening program that isn't filled with gimmicks such as makeovers, competitions and trendy unwatchable formats?

    There I've got it off my chest at last.

    I am still looking forward to the new series in the hope that it will have changed for the better.


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  • 28. At 5:56pm on 22 Jan 2010, Russell wrote:

    I totally agree with you whp and kathy i think carol is absolutly brilliant she is so vibrant and passionate.

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  • 29. At 6:30pm on 30 Jan 2010, God_Bless_Percy_Thrower wrote:

    I'm afraid I have to join the ranks of those who feel GW no longer has that certain appeal.
    I find Gardening programs on some Shopping Channels more interesting!!.
    Taking it a step further with a constructive comment!
    I would like to see more variety or diversity in each GW program, possibly based on the German equivalent "Querbeet durchs Gartenjahr" which goes on air every Saturday afternoon on BR Alpha at 4.30 UK time.
    I do not understand German but sad to say I get a lot more out of what the German program shows than GW.
    A good example was this afternoon which showed some interesting Plants & flowers, planting techniques, preserving of fruit, and a visit to Que Gardens..... and YES it is on air during the winter as well... after-all "Does Gardening Stop During the Winter...!!??"
    I'm sure someone at the BBC will have access to BR Alpha (Digital) on Astra 1B at 19.2 degrees east to see what I am talking about....!!
    Kind Regards to all

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  • 30. At 8:52pm on 30 Jan 2010, wayne wrote:

    I have for many years followed GW, as with most i would expect would be the late Geoff Hamilton, he was the show's best presenter to date, but we do have to move on and i must say that Toby as brought some fresh air to the show, i do feel that we go on about flowers, as much as they are part of the GARDENERS WORLD thing, I think it's time the show aired more on the Veg side, as we Know with the big increase with Allotment up takes, this is were we need to be going, Joe's Allotment bits had me hooked. Geoff had a way in doing this and included flowers..

    As with the BBC's old programmes like The Victorian KiTCHEN Garden, with the late Harry Dodson, this was a programme were money was well spent.

    Please BBC, get back to the Roots of Gardening before more viewers are lost.

    Toby - keep up the good work as you do with Joe, Carol and forgetting the lovely Alys (can see her doing her own show soon).

    Best Regards

    Allotment Wayne..

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  • 31. At 2:13pm on 31 Jan 2010, Ferdinandbrussels wrote:

    I have been watching GW here in Brussels for many years , i even saw the series with Geoff few years ago and i must say the series have always been very inspiring. I learned a lot during those years and i can't wait for the new season to start. If i look at other so called gardening programs on Belgian television , i must say that GW is THE BEST and i think the presenters are doing a fantastic job!! Keep up the good work.

    Greetings from Belgium

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  • 32. At 2:19pm on 03 Feb 2010, steve arnold wrote:

    With reference to all negative comments above, the Presenters do a brilliant job. I am currently starting up a large community garden, and have do deal with another 50 odd allotment holders on top of that, and trust me - you can never please them all. However, at least they are concentrating on the most important thing - growing! Alys' attitude towards growing is exactly what the show needs - and the more of this the better (permaculture, forest and edible gardens), Joe and Toby's back to basics is perfect for the likes of myself where i am starting from scratch with building and diy. I would like, however, to see more cheaper options, particularly as the price of materials constantly rises. GW is doing a brilliant job, whatever it takes to get people to grow more and appreciate food (other than the monotonous 'celebrity' chef programmes)is good in my book!

    So stop all the negativity and whinging!


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  • 33. At 05:28am on 08 Feb 2010, Eva Kolivoskova wrote:

    Steve, could not agree more!!! They are doing a superb job! I can't wait for the new series. The time of GW should go back to 8.30 on friday eve though.

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  • 34. At 8:54pm on 12 Feb 2010, ScudLewis wrote:

    I share the thoughts with many here. The most recent series of GW fell well below par. We all have a rosy view of the Geoff Hamilton era of GW, so I looked up a clip on YouTube. And yes - it was THAT GOOD!


    Don't get me wrong, I'm not some old guy moaning how 'it was better in my day' - I was watching GW in my teens and caught Geoff for only a few years - then the reign of Alan began (who was also excellent).

    I suggest BBC producers look at the format and look at what made GW so good in the 90s. The projects, the skills, the weekly features...

    I don't blame the recent presenters for GW woes - but the 'we must copy Top Gear & play to the younger audience' really doesn't work.

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  • 35. At 9:02pm on 12 Feb 2010, ScudLewis wrote:

    oh...and @ Wayne. I too also bought the Victorian Kitchen Garden DVD a few years back. Now that is an awesome series. Harry Dodson and Peter Thoday are legends!!!

    Before I forget - Alan T's 'Joy of Gardening' & 'How to be a Gardener' - were brilliant series!! Oh happy days!

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  • 36. At 11:53am on 15 Feb 2010, Botanic wrote:

    Any informed debate about television gardening usually concludes with praise and very fond memories of The Victorian Kitchen Garden by Peter Thoday and Harry Dodson. This is no accident. This was truly one of the most inspirational and well produced pieces of gardening television ever made. I was a young horticultural student at the time, and yet this series about an octergenarian Head Gardener and his run down walled garden had me and all of my fellow students gripped and hooked for weeks. It even genuinely inspired several of us to go on to form careers in historic and botanical gardens. Yes that was twenty years ago, but I reckon if you put it to a current day television producer that you had a great idea for a programe which was purely about an elderly gardener (with appaling dentistry) calmly and quietly showing how he maintained his garden fifty years ago, you would be thrown out of the room. Yet the Victorian Kitchen Garden is conclusive proof that gimmickry and misguided "yoof" populisim are infact less attractive to a wider and younger audience than genuinely informed and insirational programming. I for one crave to see another programe as inspirational as this, not for my own benifit, but to see that a new generation of gardeners get as enthralled and excited about the subject as I was. Making a bird box out of rubbish in five minutes won't do this.

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  • 37. At 4:27pm on 22 Feb 2010, tyler wrote:

    Having read a few of the comments on this page i cannot help but think that alot of the people here are very rude. Toby is a great presenter, he is the everyman of the gardeners world team and how people can be so rude about him i find quite offensive. I am a young women in my twenties who before this time last year had no interest in gardening what so ever, but thanks to the gardeners world team and a few other tv programmes and books, last year i grew vegatables for the first time and re landscaped my garden. Now all the structural work it done and we have just put in a small green house, now the garden is in desperate need of some planting but as a poor couple hit hard by the ression my partner and i are growing practically everything from seed. As i type there are about 500 little seedlings sitting on my kitchen table. I have throughly enjoyed the show over the last year and it has been a huge inspiration to me. So toby in my opion youre great!!!!!!

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  • 38. At 4:32pm on 22 Feb 2010, Alie Stoffers wrote:

    I can wait t´il 5 maart, me and many people here in the Netherlands, look all the week forward to Garderners World, its the only good reason to look television at friday!
    We love the way Toby and his colleages to there job every week! We learn and entjoy every minut of the Show, please continue the good Job!
    Gardeners World go´s all over Europe, its the best gardening program!
    I love the spring, because the new series started! thank you very much,
    Alie Stoffers www.de-tuinerie.nl

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  • 39. At 10:59am on 04 Mar 2010, Suze60 wrote:

    I was introduced to gardening by my father/grandfather/uncle and my brother and I now advise our own offspring. However our knowledge is very Edwardian in it's origins so young presenters like Toby and Alys are a breath of fresh air and keep us on our toes !

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  • 40. At 11:20am on 05 Mar 2010, Botanic wrote:

    I feel compelled to quote the well known saying, "if it aint bust, don't fix it", and never was anything more true than with running a garden. So I look upon the unnecessary clammour in some circles to reinvent the wheel with this subject with some dismay and a little amusement. I have been involved with both amateur and professional gardening and there is absolutley no doubt that professional, time served traditional skills are in fact very relevent and helpful to modern domestic gardeners. Yes, there is always a place for new ideas, but it's a crying shame that these time saving and proven skills are in jeapody of being lost and untaught through simply the lack of anyone with the knowledge and skills to do so.
    By all means have some new, but don't totally disregard the old, it will be regretted!

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  • 41. At 10:09am on 19 Mar 2010, chris wrote:

    What has happened to the shows blogs now? Reading what was going on outside of the show was something i enjoyed and looked forward to. Is it because of the negative comments?

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  • 42. At 06:12am on 20 Mar 2010, John wrote:

    I am a little surprised at the critism of Toby Buckland. Its early days yet I know but given the chance, I believe he could become the natural successor to the late, great, Geoff Hamilton

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  • 43. At 6:37pm on 09 Apr 2010, Ewa wrote:

    I really can't wait for new posts - where are they?
    Spring is already here :)
    Even comfrey travels around happily http://ewainthegarden.blogspot.com/2010/04/comfrey-darling-comfrey.html

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  • 44. At 10:25pm on 09 Apr 2010, citrus wrote:

    I saw the programme tonight & loved it. Gardening for grown-ups once again, hooray! There were 3 presenters simply being themselves, & thereby effortlessly communicating their enthusiasm for plants. I now see what Toby has going for him, previously masked by the CBeebies approach forced upon him. A real pleasure to watch now, thanks!

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