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Just wondered what people thought of the first programme from Hampton Court, this morning?

Gary Hobson

I did see the program this morning. It was on at an odd time - 11am. I wouldn't have watched but it was raining outdoors and I had nothing better to do.

It seemed to be a program made for daytime TV, non-gardening viewers. The first half seemed to consist of RdT among the lupins. Very colourful, and nice jolly music. Good light entertainment. I like lupins.

The second half got a bit more serious (but not much). Some gentleman was trying to promote gardens without lawns, claiming that grass is the most labour intensive part of a garden. He suggested using gravel instead. In my experience, gravel is an invitation to weeds. Those 'tiny' gardens each cost around £13,000. I don't know how they'd furnish a big garden.

Crazy paving seems to be back in fashion.

I liked the mini-wood with Monty, very naturalistic.

And Alys Fowler has a new job description 'the author Alys Fowler'.

I liked the lupins and the wood, but overall, I felt the program was bland.


I tuned in to Hampton Court Palace flower show and got such a shock to find it was all about flowers and gardens. Ayls is an author and has articles in a wide range of magazines she may not be to everybody's taste but her points of view are as valid as anyone else's, i agree with the gentleman about lawns i prefer not to waste my time with one,and i expect if you added up how much you would have spent in labour and have spent on materials for your own garden you might be surprised

I missed it. But..I got fed up with The Chelsea Flower Show coverage. It seemed more about the ubiquitous Clare Balding than the flowers or gardens. I'd have like more garden and flower shots and less boring chit chat! (maybe I'm just grumpy ...)


I like a bit of grass...but mine is full of clover for the bees, so it doesn't get cut too often, I' don't mind it a bit wild and wooly. I couldn't grace it with the term 'lawn' though. It more 'managed wildflower meadow' That's my story, anyway.....


I've sertainly spent more than £13,000 on my garden  and I would certainly do without a lawn, in fact mine shrinks year by year as I add more beds. I'm not looking forward to the apparent emphasis on veg in the later programmes, I expect that's where Alys will come in.I'll certainly watch  the other 2 evening programmes though - there's so little ablout plants and gardens on tv, it'd be rude not to 


Gary Hobson

A few thoughts about Thursday night's program.

The Best in Show garden was announced. It's a garden called Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Joe Swift actually visited this garden in the preview show. I didn't mention this earlier, because I didn't wish to lower the tone. In the preview Joe explained what this garden is actually about - it's about bladder control. Hence 'troubled waters'. Doubtless this subject is important to many, but, well...

Last night we saw a lot of other show gardens recreating the native environment of other countries. I wonder what is point of doing this. Why not celebrate our own plants... plants that would actually be at home in our climate.

One garden 'symbolised' a Tsunami. We were told that some stone 'symbolised' this, that a tree 'symbolised' something else, etc, etc. I suppose some people would say that this is gardening as 'art'. I'm far from convinced.

The sections on campanulas and and sweet peas were interesting, to those who grow those plants.

Monty did a feature about trying to get more schoolchildren to take up horticulture as a career, and public perceptions of horticulture, and gardeners. Talent goes where the money is, or it should.

At the end RdT briefly mentioned the RHS campaign to get gardeners to plant more bee-friendly plants. There was a more about this in the press yesterday:

Maybe that will be mentioned at greater length in Friday's program.


i watched it in the evening and thought it was good.. must admit the bit on the fact that we have missed 2 generations of horticulturists made me  snigger.. as i thought "well what you expect there is nothing much on tv about gardening programmes, and hte one we do have has been put on hold" that is so bad really that news.

thought the gardens were great but wouldof liked to see a garden from england in there.. but still not bad.. see about the plants for bees and butterflies tonight. so will be ready and waitin for it.



I didn't know it was going to be televised because I didn't see any trailers for it. I missed the first programme so will have to catch up on I player. I am going to record tonight's episode so I can fast forward the boring bits. I'm looking forward to the item on Bees, although I think I have reached the stage where I know just about everything there is to know about planting for wildlife.  Glad Sarah Raven was mentioned on last night's  programme, she has done great work in promoting pollinating plants and raising awareness, but I will say the RHS have been very slow to catch up and are only recently talking more about the subject.  

Gary Hobson
gardeningfantic wrote (see)

.. must admit the bit on the fact that we have missed 2 generations of horticulturists made me snigger.. as i thought "well what you expect" ....

It seemed to me a bit rich for Monty to be complaining about the public's perception of horticulture and gardeners. If anyone is in a position to influence this it's him and the BBC.


There was a Bee Friendly garden at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show.  The RHS then introduced the Bee Friendly plant labels at last year's Chelsea Flower Show and in cahoots with the horticultural industry and it had clearly been in the planning for some time before Sarah Raven's programme went out on the Beeb.  The RHS also does a great deal of work to support gardening projects and classes in thousands of schools across the UK so it's a bit rich to say they're slow.  They just don't plaster it across the tabloids for all to see.

They could probably do more to catch public attention and recent appointments to their Council should help but they have done very well in signing contracts with the Beeb to get extensive coverage of Chelsea and air time for coverage of shows like Malvern, GW show, Hampton Court and Tatton.    Now it's time for the Beeb to wake up and promote gardening as physical and spiritual therapy for all and careers for some with some decent programme content and scheduling across the year.

I didn't see the first Hampton Court programme but thought the second was interesting.    Many of our favourite garden plants, which also help pollinators, coem from far flung countries so those gardens were relevant if not always to my taste.  The slots on sweet peas and campanulas were interesting and the horticultural careers debate worth raising but there'll always be a stigma against gardeners and gardening as a career as long as most people continue to think of them as nothing more than unskilled cutters of grass and hedges deserving of low pay and little respect.

I did watch the Hampton Court programme last night and my heart went out to the plants people who worked so hard to get some half decent plants ready only to have them washed out, heart breaking yet they will be back next year, that is dedication for you.
The World gardens were interesting and having spent time in dry arid places thought the first view of the Jordanian garden far more typical than the view through the arch.
Some of the so called gardens I would call flamboyant fashion models seen once and forgotten others more in the realm of us gardeners but we would soon be adding removing and altering things to put our mark on it.
Alys is the modern trend having watched her trips through her own garden on TV I did wonder how she found anything in it. It did look more like a teenagers bedroom.
RdT always shows her knowledge and adds a certain something for us older watchers.
The sweet pea section was enlightening in that he sows his seed very early in the year and mulches well, so much for the thousands of posts on here as to Autumn or spring sowings, root pots or not, and any other fads we have, the plants man gets them in and lets them find their own way and quite successfully too.
Lawns can be hard work depending on whether you want a bowling green, football pitch or a nice green plot in your garden. I have two, one put down a year or two back where there had been gravel with a lot of pots on it, I much prefer the lawn. If it is too much there are plenty of people who seem to be in the business, I see vans arrive then a short period of noise and they are gone, then the people are not retired as I am so probably need the help.
Overall Interesting and anything is better than wall to wall tennis so I will look forward to tonight's programme.



I thought the programme was, dare I say it, a bit boring. I was going to write about the cost of the gardens but then thought no, just try and enjoy the programme for what it is, beautiful instant gardens and a few glimpses of the floral marque. I wish we could see more of the growers who supply the plants for these garden, they have had a nightmare year and are deserving of a bigger part of the show. Who are the people who decide the shows content? they seem to think that the show gardens are the be all and end all, yes they are very nice but a little more of everything else would be good.

I am looking forward to seeing the bit about bees tonight, hope to pick up a few more ideas the encourage more wildlife to the garden.Lets hope we get to see more plants and flowers, that what it should be about.

Anyway I will still watch the programme this evening, and no doubt enjoy it.


I haven't seen the programmes but was at the Show on Wednesday and thought the gardens were better this year.  I liked the fact that they were not too 'contemporary/architectural' in style and had lots of soft diverse planting.  The smaller gardens showed what could be achieved in the average tiny suburban plot - the cost would be much less if recycled/salvaged materials were used and of course far less plants as the show gardens have to look as full as possible whereas we could wait a full season for the plants to fill out.


For me there's nearly always too much hard landscaping in the show gardens and this is where most of the expense lies.  I'd much rather have flower beds and grass and a veggie plot than all that paving and pool stuff. 

If we all worked out the cost of our gardens , even without including them as a proportion of the cost of our house, plus all the time and money we spend on them each year and the current value of our bigger plants like shrubs and trees rather than their purchase cost I don't expect we'd be far adrift.   I know that when we left Harrow I took with me an acer in a pot that had cost me £25 to buy.   6 or 7  years later and careful nurture made it the same size as one they were selling in the same garden centre for £750.

Unfortunately it didn't survive the winters here but I've found some that do.   Add the value of what I've lost to hard winters to what's left and surviving and even thriving and the sums soon add up.



TV is now full of repeats and more repeats but why isn't Gardeners World repeated?  I would love to see some of the older episodes....


Bee friendly
I am going to Hampton court flower show tomorrow, really looking forward to it although I think I will get rained on at somepoint!!!!
Gary Hobson

From the Friday night show, the most memorable (and innovative and useful) idea was the pot of nettles placed in the middle of the flower bed. Brilliant!

If you don't already have any nettles, possibly because you live in an urban environment, you can buy seeds by mail order from various wildflower stockists.


I thought Friday nights show was the most informative and enjoyable. The man who spoke on companion planting was very interesting. I had no idea that lovage did so much good, need to find out more. Has anybody got any more tips. We have always used marigolds in the garden and greenhouse, and grown basil in the greenhouse too.. As for nettles we have a few, but they always seem to pop up in the flower borders just waiting to get you.

Perhaps Monty will expand on the subject when Gardeners World eventually returns!!!


I'm not really into wildlife gardening ( I live in the depths of the countryside and wildlife is rampant  ) but it seems to be the topic of choice at the moment. Thought the programmes have been interesting but can't wait for GW to return


Yes, Gardeners' World - we miss you!  The only good gardening programme on TV and it has to be set aside for sports coverage.  Bearing in mind that one is usually either a sports lover or a gardener, this is hardly fair!  I also agree that some repeats of older programmes would be good - I have only been back in the UK for a year after spending many years in South Africa so have missed many years of GW programmes.