Olympic gardening – I was there, hanging with gardening stars, lycra louts
1. Did a piece for the Guardian on the Olympic park gardens. There was one in Telegraph on the same day. I’m reliably informed the author of the DT piece Noel Kingsbury has never been to the park, or seen the meadows or the gardens.
2. At Hampton Court. I’m back left, either Chris Beardshaw’s bodyguard or on Her Majesty’s Service with Sophie Wessex. Sent/papped by the Fat Gardener. At the Bournemouth garden I mistook the dove sculpture for a whale.
3. I see Alex James from Blur is having another go at a music/food festival, this time with Jamie Oliver. Last year’s organisers went into administration, leaving many creditors and popster turned cheesemaker James blushing. You would have thought AJ would have lied low for a while.
4. Did this charity event in Keswick. Here is the winning team. Wasn’t really a race and the event was cut short because of torrential rain and high winds. Still first though.
5. Ex England cricketer Paul Nixon, who once hit me for six, has a autobiography is out this month, titled Keeping Quiet. I was hoping to write this. Brackets failed as my dad would say.
6. Stars at Hampton-Danny Baker (looking bit better), Sophie Wessex (doesn’t garden-has two kids), Nick Knowles (white suit), David Seaman (spelt Seamen on the PR), John Humphries (with daughter maybe?), loads of garden presenters but not Titch or Charlie Dimmock. Titch was mid Love Your Garden filming (didn’t stop Domoney being there) but Dimmock, well, she’s gone, because of TV sexism against older women presenters. And most gardening TV producers are women. Apple Bee was an EDF promo at H Ct. Golden Knob one of the pics of apples that they used in the PR.
At Gardeners World Live James Martin, Titch, other TV gardeners. They don’t count as clebs at a gardening show. Andy Flower on the tube ahead of England cricket team’s loss to South Africa on a laptop.
7. Summer is the new spring says the Horticultural Trades Association,
trying to drum up business for garden centres after a cold and wet
season, which has seen plant sales down a quarter on last year.
The planting season traditionally stops when Wimbledon tennis starts.
It’s too hot, too late and it’s the summer holidays.
But while summer is unlikely to be the new spring, there is some reason
in what the HTA says.
The weather has been so bad (looking like the least sunny June, wettest
April etc) the season is several weeks behind where it usually is. You
can plant now. The soil is damper than usual and the climate is milder.
The downside is that slugs and snails are rife and will eat your new
plants unless you’re vigilant. There are 50 per cent more gastropods
around than at the same time last year, says the British Horticultural
Despite Monty Don on BBC Gardeners’ World saying he will not bow to
chemical companies and mention non-organic methods of pest control,
slugs pesticide sales are 20 times higher than this time last year one
manufacturer tells me. A garden centre owner tells me pesticide sales
were 92 per cent up last week, because of increased slug and snail
activity in the wet.
I conducted a straw poll of 20 professional grower exhibitors at
Gardeners’ World Live last month. They all told me that they admired
Monty’s principled stance, but he was wrong to advocate organics only.
Two people told me he was right. Both were TV presenters.
So, is this a bit of a write off season or not? And if it is hard to
grow stuff this year, is it ok to use chemical help?
7. Saw Mark Nicholas in hospitality at Wimbledon. Can’t stand this cricket commentator’s Tony Blackburn accent. Same with Andrew Castle of the tennis. Sound off for them. Boris Becker has moved house in Wimbledon. Has a load of sponsored Mercs outside.
8. Wimbledon town centre has a new metal stag sculpture on the station forecourt. There are no stags in Wimbledon. A womble would have looked tacky, said sculptor.
9. Titchmarsh set to sign a new B&Q contract I reckon. Secondary school gardening is where it’s at, says Titch, who I interviewed recently. Also interviewed Matthew Wilson this week about Greenfingers and sat next to Toby Buckland at GIMA dinner a couple of weeks ago, talking about football. They were all very nice.
10. Met some 90-year-old Kiwi war veterans at Green Park. Quite inspiring to hear the old guys’ stories. Serco has landscape contract. Mike Read was there.
11. At Hampton Court lunch, Elizabeth Banks got plenty of laughs by calling Sophie Wessex the Countess of Essex and john Butterfield, John Butterfly. Our table fell down but Dan Wolfe and I dived under it to save the day. Jon Wheatley took a photo of me under the table.
12. Monty Don has been tweeting that he is the great friend of nurseries but hasn’t been to garden centres for years. Many garden centres have nurseries. All sell nurseries’ plants. He’s also doing a BBC French garden series but says cuts mean its just three hours.
12. Saw Chris Young at Hampton Court. He asked about my blog and wondered what I did all day now it is occasional. Got me wondered what CY did. Unearth little heard fresh voices such as Lia Leendertz, Tim Richardson clearly. They feature in the latest The Garden issue. Sui Kee Lee told me there wasn’t much work going round for hacks. That’s because LL, TR and Anne Wareham get it all, filling the column inches of the retired formerly ubiquitous Ursula Buchan.
13. Tom Stuart Smith on the triangle at Chelsea 2013.
14. I asked a representative gardening audience sample what could be made better about Gardeners’ World. Stop the presenters saying plarnts instead of plants was the answer. You don’t say arnts instead of ants do you?
15. There’s a new cyclist on the road after Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France win. It’s the lycra lout who want to tell you they have been cycling for longer than you. These biking bores have a go at you for discreetly riding through red lights, down pavements etc, saying ‘you’ll give cyclists a bad name’. There are thousands of new cyclists on the road. And you never get anywhere if you don’t run the odd red. Most media is now pro cycling, with wrap round covers on the Times etc. They all run loads of cycle accident stories. Times have changed here. For years, the Evening Standard ran an unofficial anti-cycling campaign, reasoning its readers were not cyclists because you can’t bike and read the paper at the same time. This all changed when editors realised half its staff biked to work because they couldn’t afford public transport (reading Rosamund Urwin etc you will know how much they moan about their wages). Now ES loves cyclists. But let’s not forget the harm it did by running stories about the havoc bikers to pregnant dogs etc caused by nipping through the odd red.
16. NFU headlines.
NFU continues fight against changes to livestock movement rules
Subject: NFU News AMENDED headline
NFU continues fight for common sense livestock movement rules