For a blissful season, they were joined by Alys Fowler, whose presence front-of-camera suddenly concretized the fantastic fiction of Gardener's World by showing the face of the people who spend their time fluffing Berryfields until it it the perfect floral border for their celebrity gardener.
This cast has ebbed. Alys is gone, as is the Raven. No-one is allowed in front of camera at Berryfields nowadays apart from Monty and his dog (Carol is off visiting flowers and gardeners and Joe is investigating hanging baskets). The oversaturated HD close-up plant porn fabulosity is now cranked up to eleven, and the pinked out perfection of Berryfields is eye-popping. The elaborate pretence of the lone gardener has never been more artificial and fantastic.
Plus, I normally watch it on Sunday, when I have the delightful, lazy pleasure of being given three jobs to do in the garden way too late to do any of them.
Tomorrow I'm off to my next Garden Show - Gardener's World Live, with my Garden Show friends Jacky and Jo. We'll make a day of it (and hope they're better at supplying tea than Malvern Autumn show was last year!) For once, I'll be watching Gardener's World on a Friday.
As ever, it helps to have a job list.
- See Carol Klein in person.
She's a massive inspiration to me, tough, sharp and insanely keen on propagating. There's a signed talk in the afternoon, which might be the one to go to - quite apart from props for inclusivity and accessibility, signing adds a new dimension to any talk.
I keep flapping over these because they're expensive and I may need to try several before one takes in my hard soil. My mum-in-law has a beautiful one and is happy for me to take a clump; but she has Ground Elder, and at the moment, I don't. Primrose Hall in the Floral Marquee is promising an alstroemeria party all season long which sounds like another great opportunity to dither over getting one (and probably either get none or three).
I doubt I'll be able to find the one I need (much less fit it in Jo's car) to rescue my Apple Tree (I know, I know - it's bonkers trying to grow an Apple Tree in a container) but I hope to pick up some pointers, tips and strategies about container-confined shrubs and trees. There's an entire Pots Zone, which sounds promising.
My Broad Beans are really suffering this year. Having just discovered that the ants are drugging the bugs and biting legs and wings off if they look like wandering (thanks Springwatch) I'm starting to feel that my pest toleration is dimming. Can I buy a box of Ladybird larvae at the show?
They don't last in my garden. But that's actually kind of good, as there are lovely colours coming out all the time. There's some poppy lime and orange cocktail colours out at the moment. Time to kill another one!
- Enchanter's Nightshade.
I have an annoying, persistent weed that grows in my garden. I call it Maggot Weed after the wriggly white roots it has, that spread around nice plants, and kill them. I think it's Enchanter's Nightshade, but I'd like a clear identification from an expert, if I can.
- Little Borders.
My space is limited, but Gardener's World Live has teeny tiny show-gardens that are just 3x3m. My big back bed is about that size, and that is my flower space - Tim calls it my jungle - and I love it, but it's a savage world which loses as many plants as it keeps. Let's see how others do it, and what plants they pick.
- The Best Flower.
This is an always-on task for garden shows, of course. But June's that odd time of year My garden's a bit scrappy at the moment, with old troopers like Nigella, Poppy and Aquilegia taking most of the strain. Am I missing a trick? I bet I am. Time to find it.
- A climber for Spriggy. I've been trying to get a perennial pea scrambling up through my privet hedge for years now, with no luck. Time to broaden the search.
- FERN. There's a bit of space behind the waterbutt (in the dark) and a hanging basket above it (in the dry) and these are both sad-looking spaces. Hart's tongue below and Asparagus Fern above? We'll see.