According To Hewson... It's gardening Jim, but not as we know it

What are we to make of the BBC's The Big Allotment Challenge and Great British Garden Revival? Aside from their entertainment value, will they help bring a new audience and much-needed cash to the garden market? After all, someone needs to buy the many splendid plants we grow.

We could, of course, grow less. But that's not in our nature, right? And why break the habit of a lifetime and stop losing money at the wrong end of a supply chain that protects corporate interests at the expense of growers?

The shows are not without merit, if you can bear the obligatory group hugs and tears as the latest gardener "leaves the allotment for good" - not withstanding that snobby judge turning up her nose at some poor soul's best marrow jam or tomato chutney.

Thank goodness for expert judge Jim Buttress, whom I remember from my Royal Parks days - hugely knowledgeable and a true gent. I can recall sitting in his Hyde Park office as he introduced me with such enthusiasm to the workings of London's royal spaces. Happy days. A Britain in Bloom judge to boot. They should give Jim his own show.

I wasn't aware that the Great British garden needed a revival, but there we are. Is there really a shortage of geraniums (sorry, slapped wrist, pelargoniums), irises and grasses? Still, it's very watchable and without the overly competitive element of reality TV, hence we are at least spared having to vote for our favourite gardener or best ridge cucumber.

Of course, these programmes are there to entertain us through the dark and dismal winter evenings rather than drum up business for UK Horticulture plc. But despite my teasing, let's not underestimate their influence and indeed that of their presenters.

My wife, for example, threatens to spend more time in the kitchen having been spurred on by the likes of Mary Berry and James Martin. Likewise my own interest in food and drink has also grown. But I still wouldn't let that snooty woman taste my chutney.

Andrew Hewson is a freelance writer and columnist

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

Next year is Fleuroselect year of the chilli pepper and Thompson & Morgan and Mr Fothergill's have ranges around the hot vegetable, with a new way of promoting sales.

Garden centre building: what's going up?

Garden centre building: what's going up?

After a lull in new builds, 2018 could see a slight resurgence in garden centres being erected.

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Thompson & Morgan is refocusing on the garden centre seed market, hoping to win back business from Mr Fothergill's, which has expanded during T&M's long sale process.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles