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Climbing the walls?

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Julian Worricker Julian Worricker | 13:51 PM, Monday, 24 May 2010

Julian-in-his-garden_303x17.gifNot to be outdone by Winifred's garden furniture/wasp troubles, I spent last Thursday morning in my garden in the interests of You & Yours. This was to discuss ivy, a plant that proliferates in my tiny corner of west London, and which was the subject of discussion on today's programme.

According to a study carried out by researchers at Oxford University ivy doesn't necessarily destroy buildings after all. A three-year project, analysing the effects of ivy growing on buildings in five different parts of England, discovered that the plant plays a protective role. A canopy of ivy can act like a thermal shield, it absorbs some of the harmful pollutants in the atmosphere...and problems only tend to arise when it's pulled out too vigorously and parts of the wall come with it.

To examine this further a colleague and I welcomed David Hurrian, from Gardeners' World magazine, to my garden in Chiswick. Recordings like this ought to be quite straightforward, involving a working machine, a microphone and a talkative guest. But they aren't without their problems. While I like to portray my garden as a little oasis six miles from Trafalgar Square traffic noise is audible, planes rumble overhead, and there are the neighbours to bear in mind too. And this can lead to all manner of editing problems.

It's one thing to edit portions of speech, it's quite another to do it in such a way that the background noise doesn't suddenly do something unexpected. I remember being taught at radio journalism college about the perils of recording an interview with a clock ticking the background. If the interview is carelessly edited, the clock can go from being gentle and unintrusive to wildly erratic and consequently very distracting. Listeners don't pay an attention to the interview because they're too busy wondering if the clock in the background is going to be repaired in the near future!

Anyway, I digress. Today's piece about ivy provoked a lot of correspondence, so by all means add to it via other sections of our website, or you can just admire the photograph of me and gardener, David Hurrian.

You & Yours is on BBC Radio 4 at 1200 weekdays. Listen to today's episode on the Radio 4 web site.

Julian Worricker presents You and Yours on BBC Radio 4


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