Gardeners’ World

‘Carol divides her perennials to continue the cost-effective stocking of her new beds.’

‘Monty Don shows what to do now to maximise next year’s soft fruit crop.’

‘Carol Klein is at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve; Joe Swift visits Marqueyssac in the Dordogne.’

This is genius. Gardener’s World is one of very few TV programmes that hasn’t changed in format since I was 10 years old, and it’s unique — here’s why.

You don’t have to watch much daytime television to see quite a lot of other shows about houses and gardens and other domestic projects, and most are pretty indistinguishable from each other. The thing that unites them is the way that each episode is a self contained hit of satisfaction. The investment, perhaps in the form of a randomly chosen envelope or a visit to an auction; the work (sometimes literally taking only a day, or otherwise presented in a time lapse sort of way to squeeze it all in); and finally the payoff — consisting of someone crying and surprised because they were out for the 8 or so hours during which their garden was ‘transformed’, or an estate agent valuing a house at £60 per person per week on the private rental market — are all contained in a single half hour slot. In that way, they’re pretty much the same as any drama or soap, as opposed to being truly non-fiction. Certainly, they’re not sold as sources of solid professional advice for landscape gardeners and property developers.

The reason Gardeners’ World is so different and, without its long history, possibly uncommissionable (?) is that the episodes are designed to be valuable and informative for people who actually are willing to go out in the Autumn to divide and re-plant something which won’t even come out of the ground until the next Spring. The format is ridiculously simple: it really is just people walking around the garden doing things, and talking about doing those things. Occasionally, there are inserts about famous big gardens that make me want to become a member of the National Trust. It’s calm and composed and makes almost no concession to the various trends in television beyond sometimes reading out electronic mail.

Even as someone who doesn’t have a garden, knowing that there are people around the place who care about watching this, and that the BBC exists to make it, is great.

In contrast, Autumnwatch Live is kind of shit and needy. The only bits that aren’t horribly cringey and suffused with badly-contrived sexual tension are the inserts, which aren’t live anyway. But again — at least they’re trying to make something based on a premise that we are interested in watching how the natural world around us changes over the course of months, rather than seeing a garden get obliterated by patterned paving slabs in half an hour.

34 thoughts on “Gardeners’ World

  1. Michael Bath

    I have found Gardeners World this year 2011 to be the worst its ever been Motty Carol are so old hat I cannt believe you have put them back on the prog. when Toby Alys where doing such a good job with very inspirering ideas. Now in Mottya garden its gone flat just like it did with Mr Titsmash is his garden so please bring back Toby and Alys get the young people watching again and get them motervated into gardening.

    Reply
    1. Toni Lewis

      Bring back Toby.
      This year and last, it was not a English garden they are working in but it looks like a French estate. who in the real world has a large flat garden divided with high hedges. His new pond this year is related to a lake.
      You have rabid Carol with hers OOOs and RRRs with her keep harping on about Glebe Cottage, (advertising for visits?).
      Toby was fun, showed how to dress a small front garden, different levels of small gardens. He related to the normal hard working person with little money and a small garden. and gave good clear advise on how to save plants etc. Joe had an allotment and that red haired lady came up with a different way of looking at things.
      NOW Monty acts the lord over his estate,with noting but old advise and a boring voice, while Joe shows designs the working man cannot afford, or fit into their garden. Carol, for gods sake, send her back to her Glebe garden and lose her.
      But I will take note of my 40ft by 30ft garden by putting a lake in and high hedges, (as if the fir trees next door don’t block enough light) Dig up the lawn and plant with daffodils. Of course there is the working shed, and a stairway to put pots on, and when then I dig in my veg garden. I will have to have a double decker style garden, just like bunk beds. so I can sit on top.

      Reply
      1. Michael Bath

        Tony
        You are so right in every thing you have said. I did think I was alone in these thought about GD my wife watched last night prog and she said MD looked ill again and and Carol was looking at weeds and drooling over them the prog its self was boring and dull.
        Do you think that the beeb will ever listen to us and get Toby and Aly’s back in plots that the ordinary working man can work in.
        Maybe we should dig up all our back garden and put in a pond as big as MDs in my case would need the front one as well
        Mick

      2. Elizabeth Greenaway

        You have said absolutely everything I am thinking. Your comment had me in fits of laughter. I loved it and it was all true. Why does the BBC not read these comments??

  2. sarah woollacott

    I have enjoyed gardeners world this year probably more than at any other time.I breathed a sigh of relief at the return of monty don, he is so watchable, full of knowledge and enthusiasm.I also appreciate Joe Swifts design analysis.
    I believe there should be more quality gardening programmes on tv. With the ever spiralling food costs it is going to be more vital that people get proper information on getting the best from their gardens.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      Over the years Ive enjoyed and looked forward to watching gardeners world but this year i found it flat Monty great guy but his garden is not inspirational as for the hour xmas show I ask you moving a holly tree that really was boring. I do agree Joe is great light hearted and does inspire loved him in the allotment would like see more of that, Carol a good plants women but she as had her day, get Alys back young fresh ideas and very noligable and equally as good a plants women. Toby great gardener again fresh new ideas and approach to gardening makes it fun. Monty like Carol had his day boring and flat his garden is dark dismall we need to no what we can do with our own plot not a mature fully grown garden like Montys. Get Toby Alys and Joe back get life back into the programe giving us new ideas for small gardens allottments in the age not many have a field to plant up in.
      I still cannot find out why the beeb took off Toby and Alys does any one know?

      Reply
  3. sue

    I have to admally that I have no axe to grind with Monty Don but really haven’t found the programme as enjoyable. Is there no way Toby and Alys could return, maybe in a separate programme. They were more in tune with someone with not a huge plot.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      I have to agree with you Sue Ive been asking the Beeb for a reason they took Toby and Alys off the program but so far they have not give me a satisfactory answer.
      I know Monty moved over because of illness and I,m glad he recorvered but why was he brought back to Gardeners World. I found 2011 programes dull and boring the heart has been taken out of gardening like I keep saying we dont all have huge plots for gardens or ones so well astablished as Monty and Carol’s. I say get the program back to basics so it teaches gardening, there is nothing like seeing a plain plot of land turned into a garden or a vegitable patch thats what Tody Alys and Joe brought to Gardeners World

      Reply
  4. judy simmonds

    I love the old style gardener’s world with monty and carol and came on this site to find out when it is on again. It would seem from all the comments above that we need two programs – one for the traditionalists and one to encourage new younger gardeners – both equally important.
    I agree entirely with the first comment from John J. Williamson.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      Thats a good idea to run 2 programes but the Beeb arn’t that clever, would be good to have the old Monty and Carol prog. on in the afternoons Toby and Aly’s on in the evenings when the younger gardeners are watching.
      Even tho Ive emailed the beeb several times asking what happend with Toby I did not get a proper answer but I have found out and the beeb sacked him and Aly’s in favour of Monty. Wheres the common sence gone from the beeb look what a mess they made of the one show presenters and over the years look at presenters they have had and lost them but still kept on the old farts for use on radio 2 at the weekends and midday radio programes

      Reply
  5. Amanda Hall

    Gardens World has lost its direction, many years ago it was an informative and interesting program, where one could learn about plants and how to garden. These days its just boring, please can we not have to endure another season of Carol and her bloody seeds, how many more times do we need to see her gathering seeds in a paper bag ?. Also, could some one tell Monty that we don’t all have hundreds of pounds to spend in a Garden Center. Can we please return to the more traditional format that we used to enjoy about 10 years ago.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      I have to agree with you on all counts the program has lost its way returning to Monty and Carol boring boring and boring lets get back to old fashioned gardening with Toby and Aly’s before Sky take them on and the beed again loses out.
      I say it againMonty and coral are old hat remove them please

      Reply
      1. Gill Cumpstone

        I have to say my friends and I stopped watching Gardeners World after Toby took over, fed up with his daft ideas most needing pots of money ! Like a previous comment we dont all have hundreds of pounds to spend at Garden Centers. Most of us are allotment growers and enjoy the veg growing advise from Monty. Why not mix it up ? Bring back the lovely Alys for a younger perspective along with Monty for good gardening advise.

      2. Michael Bath

        I found Toby’s ideas cheap and easy to do, Alys planting far more Interesting to listen to and watch then any we get from Carol, as for alloment growing Joes Swift was surly of more interest as he was working on an allotment and not just on his own little plot with a large garden that he never tends to all by him self Monty has gardeners working for him, get real and back to basics with Toby, Aly’s and Joe

  6. Gavin

    I don’t quite agree with the criticism aimed at Monty and Carol. I have thorughly enjoyed discovering the different elements of Monty’s garden and although most of will never have such a big plot to work with it is something to aspire to. Most of the features he covered are still relevant to most amateur gardeners because he has so many different aspects to Long Meadow, whether it is perfecting your tomato plants in your greenhouse, growing pretty blooming flowers or harvesting a good crop of root vegetables. Monty and Carol are both so passionate about gardening I find it really encourages your own enthusiasm for gardening to come out. If I’m honest I’m not too keen on Toby, he would probably be more suited to children’s television but Joe is great and should get more of a look in on the show this coming year.

    Does anyone know when it is coming back or what the format will be?

    Reply
  7. Genbrugge Guy

    Guy from Belgium
    Hello there,
    I have watched Gardners World since Geoff Hamilton ever since.Had wonderfull seasons with Alan Titchmarch,Chris Beardshaw,Pippa Greenwood and Rachel de Thame.Early 2008 Monty Don had a stroke and disappeared off the screen.Then came Toby, Carol and Alys and Joe Swift.I had my best years with Alan and Monty,no fuzz,the real gardeningstuff (in my opinion).Hope to watch Monty real soon.Oh, when will the new serie 2012-2013 start on BBC2??
    Kind regards.

    Reply
  8. Angela Parker

    I appreciate that Monty and Carol don’t appeal to everyone but neither do Toby & Alys!
    I’m 31 years old, only have a small patch of grass outside my flat and a small allotment but I’ve learnt so much from Monty and Carol (also Joe, Alys & Toby). Their knowledge and passion for gardening is fantastic and has inspired me to get into Horticulture. Each presenter has their own ways and methods but I’ve found all of them provide easy to follow guidance that gives me confidence.
    As garden enthusiasts, I’m sure we all have our own favourite plants, vegetables or flowers but we can appreciate other people’s ideal specimens.
    We can also apply this view to presenters! We all have our favourite but surely we can all appreciate the information given by the current presenters and apply it, even on a smaller scale.
    Let us not be divided.
    Enjoy Gardener’s World. It’s simple, informative and doesn’t over complicate.
    I can’t wait for the new series!
    All the best,
    Angela.

    Reply
  9. Arne Moeller

    Hello BBC
    Just saw the line-up of presenters for the new season of gardener’s world – what a disappointment!
    Bring Alys and Toby back. Pleeeeeeaaaaaaaaase!
    All the best
    Arne

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      I do agree Toby and Aly’s should be back in charge of Gardeners World tho Carol and Monty are good they are dull and boring even Monty’s garden is dull and plain really with hedges covering all areas bring the program back into the light with Toby and Aly’s again . Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase.
      But this is what we have come to expect from the beeb get good ineresting presenters then turn thier back on them and let them go.

      Reply
  10. Ghazbo

    Michael spends a lot of time slating Gardeners World presenters. Why don,t you buy some tools & spend your time in the garden, as you seem to know-it-all..!!! Many people don,t know anything about plants/seeds/bulbs/tubers/corms, etc, plus…the plants & berries which are dangerous. I myself no longer watch tv, its all soooo dull & uninteresting. But, i did learn an enormous amount when i watched Geoff Hammilton & Alan Titchmarsh, who,s knowledge still holds me in good stead. Enjoy your gardening all. Ghazbo of Yorkshire

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      I do actualy have an allotment and a garden and I too learned a great deal from Geoff Hammilton, Mr Titchmarsh and was just getting licking Toby and Alys ideas they where fresh and insperational and for sure compared to them i know nothing but like to watch and learn.
      I did watch Fridays GW on I-player found it to be the same none enterty that we had last year Carols visit to where ever was boring should have been on spring watch Monty trys but he dosent do any thing for me Joe might get interesting with his ideas so for me i shall not be watching the prog. Do enjoy your gardening every one.

      Reply
  11. Paul

    I love Gardeners world and really enjoy monty and carol, I have a small garden and am young but i love this program.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      You must be a one off I sat my daughter down to watch it she said it was boring and and no insperation to her what so ever.
      My wife watched last weeks and saud how many more ponds are the beeb going to let Monty build gues it was with licience payers money too, as for carol she is dead in the water so boring even Joes design ideas do hit any spot for me at all the whole program dull I still say bring back Toby and Aly’s for some life and bright insperations.

      Reply
  12. JULIE CASKIE

    Well I have to say that when I was younger, I found Gardener’s World quite boring but as I eventually followed my Dad’s interest in gardening, I became addicted to Alan Titchmarsh and then Monty Don. Sorry but I switched off when Toby took charge (no offense). Having moved in to a new house last year, I am busy developing my own veg plot for the first time and in the process of building a fishpond. I love Monty Don and his guidance. No not everything applies to my much smaller garden but he has easy to follow instructions and advice. I love Carol’s enthusiasm and Joe has helped me look at my garden design.
    Michael if you don’t like Monty and his team, then switch off-easy.

    Reply
  13. sammantha

    i love watching monty don he has so much knowledge, im just a novice gardener, who loves gardening just brought a greenhouse and have had a raised bed made for my veg and cannot wait to see first produce so excited brilliant hobby and cant wait to see next episode of gardeners world, great guys

    Reply
  14. Hazel Duffy

    No Paul is not a one off, I am a young gardner and stopped watching when Toby took over as I found him rather less than inspiring and a little boring and I don’t think that is anything to do with age, that is do with personality, knowledge & presenting style…..I love the new programme with Monty & Carol who I find inspiring and really interesting and I would love the programme to be longer (say 45-60mins). As a big lover of nature, animals and all things green…..I also love to see Nigel, Monty’s dog wandering around the garden, he looks like he is enjoying himself…..great decision BBC to bring back Monty and Carol in the new format. I know a lot of people who stopped watching and have tuned back in…well done! The viewing figures will tell you the whole story. Monty & Carol bring gardening wisdom & knowledge which is down to earth, accessible & they are interesting characters which comes across in their great presenting style. A great show which I always tune into now. Its nice to see a programme which is not monopolised by trendy presenters who are all show and no substance.
    It would also be good to see a few more different perspectives on this blog as well, rather than it being monopolised by one person – somebody needs to get out more and get a life….!!

    Reply
  15. samantha

    loved watching friday ep where the allotment guy grow pots and salad with loads of manure and coldframe in late season thought that was clever,

    Reply
  16. mrs patricia gilchrist & mrs Joyce webster

    my neighbour and I couldn’t get to Harrogate show this spring because of illness.Gardeners world haven’t reported on the Show very much in the past but last week NOT EVEN A MENTION.Its a lovely day out and good show to buy plants, get useful information about gardening from the growers themselves, and to buy plants you cant buy in the local garden centres.Give a thought for us keen gardeners up North.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      Monty and Carol are so full of them selfes they forget all about us up north like every one else does if fact last week my wife turned it off after Monty had just said what there was in the prog its getting as dull as dish water. we did used to go to GW live at the NEC last time was when Toby and Aly’s where there but not any more even that as gone off the boil with these two in charge and the lay out has alltured too.
      Do hope Sky get Toby and Aly’s on with thier own gardening show will just be saying up yours BBC.
      Dont no who is running the BBC now adays but it seems to me to be some stuck up southener who maybe should have been in charge 50yrs ago the whole of the beeb is going to the dogs
      Michael

      Reply
  17. Judith Holden

    Having taken a school garden to the Malvern Spring Gardening show last week, I ( along with our entire school) were really disappointed that none of the 14 school gardens were featured on Gardeners’ world. We worked on the project for over a year and involved around 300 of our school children ranging from 3 to 18 years of age. We were filmed at the ground and all the children, plus their parents, grandparents and friends were glued to the programme last week hoping for a glimpse of the gardens. Instead they showed some of the dullest aspects of the show, ferns! ( no pun intended) and disappointed thousands of children in the Worcestershire/Hereford area. The average age of gardeners was shown to be over 60 by the programme, this was a missed opportunity by the BBC to enthuse the gardeners of tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. Michael Bath

      Isn’t that just typical of the BBBC sooner show old farts drolling over flowers than young children who have put all thier effort into creating wonderfull garden how are we going to get young chi;dren out from in front of computers and games
      Michael

      Reply
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