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.