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.