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Talkback: 2011 in the garden

Much as I loved Monty Don's Round the World in 80 Gardens, and much as I am delighted to hear that he is well enough to be able to present a popular show like Gardeners' World again, I am very disappointed that Toby Buckland and Alys Fowler will not be in the new series.
What's going to happen to Greenacre? For those of us who still have a lot to learn, Toby and Alice were essential viewing. My heart sinks at the thought of more grandiose plans for making tropical gardens in areas the size of a postage stamp, not to mention the endless trials of lawn mowers, etc..
It seems that the way we award accolades to our gardening presenters is by comparing them to the great gardeners of the past. If we truly want a successor to Geoff Hamilton, it has to be Toby: above all, Geoff was a practical man who brought gardening within the grasp of everyone, however small their plot, however small their wallet.
Could we not agree that there is space for all these different approaches, and if there are so many people interested in gardening, why can't we have two Gardeners' World programmes a week - a hands-on, get down and dirty one with Toby and Alice, and an Extra one with Monty and the rest of the team?
I'm keen on gardening, not just garden-related items, and I shall dearly miss Greenacre and watching it develop.


  • I liked your 2011 wishlist, especially: "May the caterpillars discover that synchronized swimming is infinitely preferable to cabbage munching." That is my garden problem number one, no I mean challenge.
  • I have one wish - that more people will think like Matthew Wilson(I had his book"New Gardening" for Xmas) and our own Kate and see their garden as part of the greater picture of nature. Happy New Year everyone.
  • I enjoyed that book - I have even made the wildlife bench in my wilder area of the garden. It is enjoyed by the visiting gang of pheasants as anything up to 16 of them jostle on it.So I will agree with your wish completely.
    Equally good in the garden were the insect boxes I copied from Toby (although one was used as a snack bar by a woodpecker). So my wish would be to see Toby back with some of his great ideas too.
  • Love the post. May my polytunnel with stand the weight of snow.
  • Lovely wish list.

    Tip: eat the Hairy Bittercress as you go.

    Trial the tomato 'Sweet Pea' - small fruit, ripens quickly, heavy cropping. No blight supposedly.

    I am compiling a free list of folklore to rid you of root flys etc. See my blog. Add to it if you so wish.
  • Forgot to add that I wish to see Alys again.
    I thoroughly enjoyed drilling holes in old cups and planting them up with bulbs. They looked really good on the kitchen windowsill. I often wondered what I could do with old cups from charity shops.So I wish that Toby and Alys can come back and teach me some more.
  • Thanks happymarion, how lovely. I'm wishing for a good summer, birds in my bird box, frogspawn in the pond and bees everywhere. Happy new gardening year!

  • i have been gardening for about 65 years and i still do not know everything. i really enjoyed gardeners world and cannot understand the change in presenters. it was informative, funny, helpful, easy-watching and enjoyable. there was always ssomething to learn and the guys and gals were very encouraging. i am not a fan of monty don as i found him too fond of growing vegetables and fruit and we have not all got large gardens but we can do some of the smaller flowery things. i do not know if i will watch it again.
  • Definitely have preferred the more 'down-to-earth' and practical,useful programmes delivered by Toby, Alice, Jo, and Carol recently than anything that Monty was in. Nothing's perfect but I think they are the most 'real' gardeners we've had for a while and I'm very disappointed to learn of Monty's return.
  • Can someone advise if Smoke Cones are still legal for Fumigating Greenhouses and if so where they can be purchased
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