Memes, Polls and Early TV Gardening Memories

I love the way blogging takes you in totally unexpected directions. A little while back I tagged Aunt Debbi with the '6 random facts meme', which she answered a couple of days ago - cheers Debbi, nice one. In it she revealed she doesn't like folding socks - alongside a number of others I commented that life's just too short for all of that. Debbi's now taken it a whole stage further by running a sock poll on that vital question 'Should socks be outlawed?' You betcha. You have just 5 days to get over there and add your vote and even add to the debate if you want.

Which brings me to the Fork 'n Monkey awards - voting closes tomorrow, so get over there now and vote! For one of the awards, The Most Unusual Vegetable Based Blog, The Garden Monkey reminds us of those glorious Sunday evenings when Cyril Fletcher held court on That's Life. As well as his odd odes, he often produced pictures of the most curiously shaped vegetables sent in by viewers. This is My Patch posted about her Ood-like parsnip a while ago - well worthy of commendation to Cyril (RIP).

Pretty well everyone in the UK has fond memories of Gardeners' World (GW) on TV and there are often heated debates on who is/was the best presenter. Geoff Hamilton is often declared the eventual winner. However, I also have memories of another gardening programme from my childhood, ATV's Gardening Today - so bad Googling it doesn't come up with the goods. This was part of ITV's (i.e. commercial TV) regional programming output, so was consigned to the post 10 O'Clock News graveyard slot on Thursday evenings. I suspect my dad was often the only viewer, though it did inspire him to found Birmingham Organic Gardeners (I love the resultant acronym - so like dad).

This programme was filmed at King's Heath, in the public park next to my old school. We always knew when they were filming as the outside broadcasting lights could just be seen above the sixth form block. The presenters were Cyril Fletcher as the keen amateur gardener, plus another old codger as the expert. Cyril was supposed to ask all those daft questions we're usually too afraid to ask about gardening and the other guy was supposed to answer them. They were as wooden as the potting bench that was frequently featured on the programme and I don't think they got on particularly well as 'Mr Expert' (Arthur Billett?) always seemed to be in a bad mood. Like GW, they also used a number of garden sets - veggie plot, loudly coloured annual bedding plot (this was the seventies after all), traditional greenhouse with geraniums etc. etc. What amazed me was how large these gardens looked on the telly compared to the actual postage stamp size of the entire set when I walked past it on the way to school. It's the TV TARDIS effect I suppose.

Sadly my blog doesn't have sufficient veggie content to be nominated for the veggie blog award, in spite of its title. However, I couldn't resist reprising the photo from my International Year of the Potato posting in honour of the Fork 'n Monkey awards, my childhood memories and the good all round fun to be had here in blogland.

Update: dND's come up with the goods re Gardening Today's presenter. It was Bob Price - I knew there was a B in there somewhere. Her superior internet search skills have come up with this link. It would appear that the TV garden has expanded somewhat since my day.


  1. Bob Price may be the expert you're looking for.

    It always amazes me where information turns up!


  2. Hi VP, nice post. I think my early TV gardening inspirations are Pogles Wood (also inspired me to make elderberry wine, though it turns out it's not such a good plant food) and The Herb Garden. Felicity Kendal was also somewhat inspirational a few years later.

    And of course it's Geoff Hamilton!


  3. Hey VP, The sock situation has gotten totally out of control. OFB is being out voted soundly. Thanks for playing.


  4. I didn't have a garden when Geoff Hamilton was gardening in his. I do like looking back at the old episodes with him in though, there are a lot of aspects at Barnsdale which I love, and would use in my own garden. Thanks for the mention of my parsnip post Michelle. x

  5. dnd - thanks for finding that out, I've put an update on the main post :)

    Simon - I'd completely forgotten about Pogles Wood - ah the memories! And The Good Life...

    Aunt Debbi - I had to go on over to your place and add to the fun!

    Louise - have you visited Barnsdale yet? I'd love to go. And it was a pleasure to link to such a fun post that still makes me giggle even now ;)


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