Sunday, 12 June 2011

TV stardom and rain

Today it’s raining, and I’m not coping with being stuck inside as I’m at a bit of a loose end. Usually there isn’t much of an option as with the garden being such a demanding mistress she needs me outside tinkering with her.
Back border with 'NGS' bench
The in laws were down this weekend and it was reassuring to hear their surprise at how far things had come along. They were very content looking at the garden from the new benches (I call them the NGS benches as they make it look proper NGS). We also lost Irene for about an hour going and taking pictures of everything which made me realise how visitors would be happy.

Apart from that I did a bit of tinkering, filling gaps with some of the hundreds of marvel of Peru seedlings that are popping up, and splitting a Thalia. Thalia is one of my favourite plants at the mo as it is very tropical in appearance and responds very well to sun and lots of nutrients. I had one in the pond for years and it never really did anything, then I put it in a pot on the terrace and gave it loads of pelleted chicken manure and it exploded into a beast.
Pots on terrace last year, Thalia is infront of banana
However this all pails into insignificance compared to my big moment which came on Thursday evening when a random speculative call from the BBC turned into them sending a camera crew and reporter down to a volunteer celebration event that we were doing for about 220 local volunteers. Usually this media stuff all turns into nothing, and that morning a visit we had been trying to organise for Ed Milliband had been jettisoned but lo and behold they appeared.

I usually go a bit wide eyed but this time there wasn’t time as the reality of putting on an event for 220 people was rather time consuming and stressful and they were the least of my worries. (I had a perfect ‘remain calm’ face when we arrived and found out we were about 40 chairs short and there was a very high stage that anyone with a disability would really struggle with)

So the BBC did their one point the Mayor grabbed me and together we tried to get into the back of the shot, but I thought I had escaped. Then with moments to go before I climbed on stage to start the event they interviewed me. I remembered what I wanted to say and my sound bite quotes and ran a good event. I thought nothing of it until 10:10 when I started getting texts as lo and behold there I was on the 10:00 news with my face popping up after the Archbishop of Canterbury! All very amusing and the first time I have made it to National TV.

The only other time I have been on tv was when I was ‘Clive in the garden’ on Fox Kids TV ‘Action Man Action Mission’ about 10 years ago. It was all a bit random as we had got a call the day before asking if we could supply a gardening expert to help at a school playground make over for ‘a tv thing’. Everyone else was busy and they ended up sending me, who was just a volunteer at the time. I arrived at this school and it all looked normal until I went into the staff room, there were all the usual grumpy gossiping smoking teachers but the other side was Action man having his makeup done.  It was very bizarre seeing to see this quite prissy/demanding straight guy throwing tantrums about make up. I know he was straight as he was going out with the actress who played Barbie!

It was all very amusing with action man roaming the playground making things right, before he ‘fought’ with an evil baddie. I was just doing a spot in the corner planting pots in the cold and rain with 4 very cold and unresponsive children. The worst bit being that they did about 3-4 takes so each time I planted the pot I had to empty it again.

So who knows if this is the beginning of my TV career! Please talk to my agent....
Arisaema tortuosa


  1. Stardom beckons! :) Enjoy the rainy Sunday, forced rest for most of us!

  2. Just found this link to you through the French Paradise Express blog. It’s good to be in contact with you. My Exotic Garden here in Norwich has now been open for the NGS for 21 years with its 22nd on July 31st this year. Keep up the good work – Will G

  3. Will you are exotic gardening royalty, I salute you!