Beechgrove

It is raining.  Which means I have been cooking or thinking.  Unfortunately on this occasion, it is the latter.

I am a professional gardener.  When I am not being oh-so-professional in other peoples’ gardens, I write about plants for fun and for money.  It would appear that horticulture is my life, the be all and end all, that I am blinkered to anything lacking chlorophyll.  But you would be wrong.  Apocryphally my own garden is sorely neglected, staggering on with belligerent intent.  In my spare time I rarely read magazines or watch TV programmes about gardening.   Call me a lightweight, a half-cocked enthusiast, a traitor to the cause, but there are so many other things that interest me.  This isn’t helped by the fact that I find much gardening media repetitious or pompous or patronising or just not talking to me.

But there are exceptions, one of which is the BBC Scotland programme, Beechgrove.  For those of you not acquainted with this programme I will try to explain its attraction.  First of all it must be something special to extract me from my bed so we can breakfast early(ish) and settle down to watch the Sunday morning repeat for us softy southern Sassenachs.  Each half hour episode is over in a blink, packed full of delicious morsels.  However, if you are looking for breakdancing lycra clad dudes or indeed any kind of fashion statement you will be sorely disappointed.  There is a distinct lack of stage managed pets and no-one says “on-trend”.   In my opinion, and those of OH for those of you still not convinced, it the most enjoyable gardening programme in the known universe, although I am a little out of touch with the Venusian TV schedule.  It is not obviously concerned with demographics, everyone is included from young guns to elder statesmen, stately homes to allotments.  They experiment, have a few failures but many more successes.  What is more, they don’t pretend that the presenters do all the work!  They name check or feature the actual gardeners on a regular basis.  And very importantly they don’t take themselves too seriously.  It is funny and most of all throughly human.

I don’t know the whole story, the whys and the wherefores, but for some reason this diamond of a show is now off the air until the end of July.  Its 26 programme run has been streamlined to a measly 14, and in the meantime they “will be investing in more content on social media”.  I’m talking to you now, The Powers That Be.  This does not placate me, in fact it makes me want to laugh.  Or cry.  The point has been missed.  What I enjoy is sitting down with my partner, cup of tea in hand, to watch the interactions, the characters visited, the plants growing, listen to the advice tendered.  I use social media, perhaps a little too much, it has its place.  I am not however interested in, and will not be, having any interaction with the crew on line.  Beechgrove is going to be missed, and not only by myself.  It is about so much more than how to train your peach or when to sow your carrots.  It is what what we all need.  A little honesty in our lives.

The photo above is of a pretty pink dianthus, being held aloft by the soft foliage of a white heather.  Neither of these plants are à la mode, they are even better than that, they are timeless.

34 thoughts on “Beechgrove

  1. Good post and lovely picture. The BBC are a pain when it comes to dropping gardening programmes. As you rightly say Beechgrove will sorely missed being off air for all those weeks. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t watch gardening programmes either, well I don’t watch anything as we don’t have a telly. If I did I would have to hurl a shoe at it when Carol Klein came on. But I have been told good things about Beechwood by gardening friends. I wonder if it’s on youtube?

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  3. I agree with you about Beechgrove, I understand the garden is owned by BBC Scotland, they do this at the time they are going to cut the free TV license to the over 75’s. it is obviously cheaper to post it on social media and think they will attract a younger audience, when in fact they will lose the existing audience. I do quite like posing pets!

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    • Glad to hear you feel the same Brian. It is outrageous news about the TV licence. Another reflection of our sometimes uncaring society. ps I must admit I like do the pets, its just the way they use them that irritates me.

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  4. I have not seen Beechgrove so I am clearly missing a trick Gill. If you think it’s good, I am sure I would too. However I find I can’t watch any of the BBC flower show coverage or the majority of Gardeners’ World because I just can’t bear most the presenters. I’m sure they are lovely people, but it feels like they’ve been asked to treat the audience like a bunch of partially deaf simpletons. Too gushy and too superficial. I’d rather be doing the do than sat watching other people pretending the y do the do!

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  5. TT is a Luddite, but is happy to announce that there are a few episodes of Beechgrove available on BBC iPlayer. I will enjoy tuning in and seeing what I have been missing.
    Beautiful dianthus photograph.

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  6. Beechgrove is an important part of gardening viewing. The presenters don’t talk to us as if we are children and are relaxed and calm. I love watching it and those who haven’t seen it so far are in for a treat when it comes back in July, hopefully in the same format which doesn’t need changing or updating.

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  7. At least you are not watching ‘Southpark’ or ‘the Simpsons’. If I watched television, I would watch ‘Are You Being Served?’, ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’! I do not watch gardening shows, even when I am on them, just because they are so lame.

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  8. I have only just found out about this programme and it sounds as though I have missed a treat. I don’t mind GW most of the time, though I do get irritated by some of the presenters and also how easy it is for Monty to find space and dig holes to plant yet more plants! And Nigel is definitely the star 🙂 As for the free TV licence then I do believe it is fair to only give this to people on a low income now that it is to be funded by the BBC and not the state. Now if the state pension was sufficient to actually live on we wouldn’t need all these subsidies!

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  9. Well, how amazing, I can watch it online, so I’ll have a look during a quiet moment. Or thirty. I watched a minute or two in preparation and it looks a bit like our own Gardening Australia, a must view for me on Friday evening.

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  10. Glad to see I’m not the only one! Unfortunately I’ve missed most of Beechgrove this year, but happened to catch the latest one on iPlayer, only to discover that it’s off air for a couple of months. My better half and I have occasionally been known to watch Gardener’s World, but tend to switch it off after a few minutes of slinging around sarcastic insults (at the programme, not each other, I hasten to add).

    Anyway, Beechgrove is great – a remedy to so much that is wrong with the rest of telly!

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  11. I stopped watching Gardeners’ World years ago (about the time dear old Monty became presenter for the second time) but watched, and enjoyed Beechgrove up until I decided to dispense with my TV licence last July. Without a licence I cannot watch it on iPlayer of course. I miss it but don’t plan to fork out £150 just for the only BBC programme I watched. I am aware, though, that there is a growing number of Beechgrovers who are beginning to feel that the programme needs updating – its format is starting to turn people off, it seems.

    Meanwhile. there are some decent practical channels on YouTube (e.g. Huw Richards, Garden Ninja, Jack Wallington, Mr Plant Geek, Charles Dowding) and you can usually find bits of Beechgrove and Gardeners World – sometimes even full episodes – if someone uploads them.

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  12. For many years I’ve thought Beechgrove much better than Gardeners World and still have it on series record, but GW does seem to be improving a bit of late, with some more interesting features. I’m afraid I don’t like Monty or his garden, it’s all far too enclosed and overgrown for me! I do however love Adam Frost and his garden, and the sooner he takes over as main presenter the better!! I met him a few weeks ago at Malvern, and he really is lovely – very humble

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  13. Thank you Gill for introducing me to a refreshing programme just managing to catch the last 6 available online. Station friends were out in force yesterday in the drizzle and doing sun dances, bit different to last year.

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