New series signal renewed taste for gardening at BBC

Horticulture industry figures have welcomed the BBC's renewed commitment to gardening programming after the corporation released details of five new shows -- from Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Carol Klein, Alys Fowler and Sarah Raven.

HTA director general David Gwyther cautiously welcomed the BBC's recommitment to gardening after several quiet years: "Any more gardening of any sort on TV must be a good thing. I would like it to reflect trends that are really happening out there in gardening at the moment — back-to-basics and grow-your-own food."

Presenter Monty Don has two shows scheduled. Monty Don's Italian Gardens is a new BBC2 series of six hour-long programmes scheduled for February.

Don is also fronting six-part series My Dream Farm on Channel 4, a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall-style programme about a small-holding. The first episode was broadcast on 21 January.

In Alan's Garden Secrets, Alan Titchmarsh will visit his favourite historic gardens and demonstrate how to copy parts of them. James Wong's Grow Your Own Drugs will also return.

Meanwhile, Gardeners' World will begin in March and will revert to its traditional 30-minute format. Toby Buckland, Carol Klein, Alys Fowler and Joe Swift will present. Rosemary Edwards will continue to produce the programme until the Chelsea Flower Show. The BBC has yet to appoint her successor.

Carol Klein's six-part Life and Death in a Cottage Garden, set at her Glebe Cottage home in Devon, is a Gardeners' World production.

Alys Fowler's The Edible Garden, due to broadcast in March, shows viewers how to be self-sufficient and sustainable in their back gardens. Fowler told HW the series had been put back from January to March to fit in better with the planting season.

In River of Flowers, Sarah Raven will plant wild flowers to help create habitats for wildlife.

Gardening writer and broadcaster Steve Bradley said: "I think more commitment to gardening TV from the BBC is long overdue. Grow-your-own has taken off and the BBC has almost ignored it."

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