Posted: 15/05/2015 at 19:33
Have to confess, I enjoyed it. Mainly because it was about gardening, unlike Top Gear, The Island and Scrapheap Challenge. The nursery bit was like a kids in a sweet shop moment, and presents me with my own 'dissonance', but it was enjoyable in the way that watching someone else doing a supermarket trolley dash would be enjoyable. Like other people have said, Joe Swift came across as a lovely bloke - very helpful and human. The judges were interesting - I have always wanted to know what they are looking for at Chelsea, and now I think I have a better grasp. I don't think it's any worse or more indulgent than show gardens are anyway. I like the idea of an enthusiastic amateur exhibiting alongside the 'professionals' - a bit like if an amateur painter got to exhibit alongside Damian Hirst and Tracey Emin, and given a lot of us look at art and think it's all a bit pretentious and over-rated, it will ask some questions if Sean, the ordinary fella, comes up with something that more people actually like and can relate to.
So my moment of dissonance....... Well, I think if I were doing this Chelsea Challenge thing, I would want to use the plants I know well. No one nursery is going to have all the things - the varieties - I would want to use, so I don't like the idea that they go to some nursery, and just shove whatever varieties happen to be there, onto a trolley. If the programme had to make one improvement, it would be that the contestants could bring plants from home - things they had grown from seed, or cuttings, or if necessary, things they had dug up temporarily from their gardens. If it's all about the plants, it is a bit of a shame if they have to select from the limited palette of what happens to be in the nursery, lovely specimens as those plants may be.