Toby Buckland (centre) at Malvern Autumn Show in 2008 - just after his helmship of Gardeners' World was announced
So Toby Buckland, Alys Fowler and Greenacre are out and Monty Don, his Herefordshire garden and Rachel de Thame are back in at Gardeners' World. Quite a shock for us garden enthusiasts to take in late yesterday afternoon which inevitably set tongues wagging.
I thought Sue Beesley summed up the BBC's retro makeover well in her Stop Press post about it yesterday and I'll endeavour not to repeat what she's said already. The reactions to The Telegraph's breaking of the news also make interesting, if mixed reading. For those deploring the move, an equal number welcome it and inevitably the names Alan Titchmarsh and Geoff Hamilton also get a mention. There's also a call for fresh faces, but who that should be is much harder to tell.
What's clear from the many people outside our cosy garden blogging world I've spoken to recently is there is a genuine need for a good programme dealing with the basics and nothing else. There will always be people who are new to gardening or aren't that confident about the experience they have and who are we to deny them? I hope next year's Gardeners' World fills this need and that the BBC don't try and make it all things to all gardeners. That formula combined with a measly half hour slot clearly doesn't work.
I've also come to realise that even if the programme had my 'dream team', I still probably wouldn't watch it. Nowadays I prefer the one-off hour long Gardeners' World specials which go into a subject into more depth. Carol Klein's recent look into The Science of Gardening was fascinating (NB still available on i-player via my link) and I now covet the weather station she had installed. I no longer need a weekly (almost) TV gardening fix: I get that via blogging nowadays and I'm glad I can select my own personal 'pick and mix' combination of thought provoking, informative and entertaining material.
So in future I'll be cheering on the more imaginative programming such as Landscape Man [series 2 sadly dropped], Britain's Park Story and James Wong and the Malaysian Garden. Interesting programmes are out there: we just need to look a bit harder and let everyone know about them.