The Independent on Sunday's gardening columnist, Emma Townshend has a garden in West London which she regularly hears passing children refer to as "the Amazon Jungle". She has spent years researching Victorian horticulture and teaching history of science in adult education, while growing the biggest plants she can. Her basic ambition in life is to keep up that important neighbourhood reputation.
How "Thrilling" can you find gardening TV? BBC2 is upping the stakes next week on its regular "Gardener of the Year" competition, where ordinary gardeners compete against each other, showing off skills ranging from the best border plant knowledge to whip and tongue grafting. On Friday December 12th in the glorious setting of the Eden Project, the Beeb are pitting five previous winners of the title against one another in an effort to establish just who is the "Gardener of the Decade".
The BBC is keen to make the programme sound as exciting as possible, I notice. Sarah Moors, the BBC’s executive producer of gardening and factual formats, said in a press release: “The competition was fiercely contested and the programme is full of jeopardy and competitive horticulture. All the competitors were rigorously judged by RHS and Eden Project standards which was vital to the fairness of the whole competition. The programme promises to be a thrilling watch.”
Jeopardy?? Is that what we are all looking for in a gardening programme these days? And the emphasis on fairness in this new post-competition-faking era just makes me giggle. Next they will be saying they've tested all the competitors for performance-enhancing good looks. I will be on the sofa on the 12th waiting to see how "thrilling" I actually find it...