Friday saw the start of the new Gardeners' World season on TV. New production company, totally new garden, plus relatively new lead presenter heading up the rest of the gang. How was it for me? Well, you'll find my initial reactions as part of the fun panel assembled by The Garden Monkey over at The Guardian's garden blog today. How cool is that? :)
Having had time to think about it over the weekend, I believe the producers have missed a trick and tried to squeeze two programmes into one. If you're going to start with a totally blank canvas by digging up a rugby pitch, why not show us the field of dreams in more detail? On Friday we had just a few glimpses of Toby Buckland's plan, so unless you read last week's Radio Times, you'll have no idea of what's in store. It would have been far better to have shown us the initial planning and development stages, the key parts of the new garden and given us an overview of what's to come in the next few weeks.
With all of that in programme 1, next week could have focused on the new programme elements and given them proper time to breathe - especially Mr and Mrs Ovens in the Me and My Garden strand, who were a delight. There were too many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle being fitted together. As for nicking the cool wall from Top Gear, I believe it's only a while before my tongue in cheek suggestion of lawn mower racing will be featured on the programme!
Happy Mouffetard and Emma Cooper have also given their reactions over the weekend. As to whether the programme's smelling of roses or badly made compost, it's too early to tell yet: a little more bedding in is needed first. What do you think?
PS I've already had a google search hit asking what was the tree Joe Swift planted on the programme. It was a Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii), one of the best trees for the smaller garden as it has lots of interest over the seasons. It's not native though, if that's what you're looking for.