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Sally Nex Sally Nex | 07:42 UK time, Saturday, 5 February 2011

Mr Bloom

Mr Bloom's Nursery - begins Monday 7th February at 10:05 on Cbeebies

In the (TV) news....

There's no getting around it: all the hot gossip this week is about gardening on the box.

First up: the sizzling news that ITV is launching its first-ever gardening show - and it's being presented by 'the nation's favourite gardener', Alan Titchmarsh. Rumours are flying of multi-million pound deals and head-to-head scheduling with the BBC on Friday nights.

As we all know, Alan hosted BBC Gardeners' World for six years until 2002, and has presented the BBC's coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show ever since. It remains unclear if the new deal affects coverage of this year's Chelsea.

Also this week, the announcement that one of the country's best-known small gardens is moving. The Blue Peter Garden, formerly of Television Centre, W12, relocates to the rooftop of the BBC's new headquarters in Salford Quays, Manchester: whether it will still be sunken, or will still have a fishpond, remains to be seen.

Created in 1974, the London garden is full of memories for viewers of a certain age: features include George the Tortoise's final resting place, a bronze statue of Petra the Blue Peter Dog and a plaque commemorating its designer, one Percy Thrower.

While we're on the subject of telly: green-fingered kids (and kids at heart) get set to be charmed sockless by Mr Bloom and his allotment, coming soon to a TV near you. CBeebies is starting its new gardening series for preschoolers this Monday at 10.05am.

Elsewhere on the web...

Fellow blogger Dawn Isaac let slip she's been secretly acting as gardening consultant for Mr Bloom's Nursery: she can now reveal it involves comedy runner beans, a singing aubergine with a French accent, and shy cabbages. What's not to like?

The cries of outrage over the decision to sell the nation's woodlands show no signs of dying down, though Jeremy Torrance of BBC Nature points out there are worse things attacking our forest than cash-strapped government ministers.

Monty Don, whose much-anticipated reappearance on the BBC Gardeners' World team is but a month away, makes an impassioned plea for woodlands, as opposed to forests: "I am inclined to think individuals are more likely to care than governments or corporations," he says. The words 'thrown', 'cat' and 'pigeons' come to mind.

Out and about...

It's getting hot and steamy out there this week: the annual Tropical Extravaganza at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew starts today, with exquisite orchids, dazzlingly colourful tropical flowers and a flooded Amazonian rainforest. I rather fancy taking Vanilla Tea in the Orangery this weekend, if only to try the cocktails made with home-grown tropical vine Vanilla planifolia. We've got Kew's Head of Display Collections answering your questions on exotics from the messageboards here very soon, too, so watch this space.

Orchid-fanciers can also drop by RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey next weekend, where Jim Durrant, of Sussex specialists McBeans Orchids, is giving a talk: there's also a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the spectacular Wisley orchid collection on offer.

And I know you're probably getting a bit snowdropped-out by now but I couldn't resist mentioning a red-letter day in any galanthophile's calendar: Brandy Mount House in Hampshire, home to a National Collection of Galanthus, opens this week. They grow around 240 different varieties (and over 100 species of daphne, too). The first opening is on Wednesday, with another chance next weekend. Unmissable.


  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

    I am glad Alan Titchmarsh has gone to ITV. When we lost Geoff Hamilton the BBC made a huge mistake replacing him with Mr Titchmarsh, a radical change and a complete opposite approach. Geoff was for being resourceful and humble outlining low key, soft sweet aspect of gardening. The intro music then to Gardeners World was perfect - the simple sound of a single guitar playing was heart warming. The switch to Mr Titchmarsh heralded the trumpeting of the huge commercial gardening industry and here was someone who would show case this to the full. I sense that the producers would have to reign Titchmarsh in(his ridiculous reconstituted antique stone ornaments would appear in his garden one week and then disappear the next. Now even the intro music is completely over the top - far too grand and pompus - not conducive to simple gardening pleasures. So commercial and grand were these times that we still see Mr Titchmarsh's face splatted over the many products he sponsored, Geoff Hamilton would cringe at the sight of all this. What is sad is we have missed a decade of good programming; more of real people like Bob flowerdew / Mr Lancaster / Carol Klien - less of flying gardeners and glamour girls.
    Thankfully Gardeners World is seeing sense and is starting to return to what its good at. They need to steer back to simple and humble, but not basic and elementary. If I see another program that states the importance of scarifying my lawn I think I will scream! We like tips and resourcefulness and clever ideas. If the BBC want grand then they need to make a different type of programme and don't hijack our Gardeners World. A new name for a Grand Gardening programme would be; The employers of Gardeners!


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