Beechgrove Garden – A TV Gem

The problem with being a passionate gardener is those who are not just don’t understand.

I have gardened for over 40 years, not professionally, strictly at an amateur level. I learn by mistakes and watching gardening programs, of which there are many, but some more than others capture my enthusiasm. The one that stands out above all, for me from a personal point of view, is BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden.

It usually airs on Sunday morning, and it’s a ritual for lots of us, who with a morning cup of tea or coffee, switch on the TV and sit down to watch Beechgrove.

What is so special about Beechgrove Garden? It is not a ‘magazine’ type gardening program flitting from one unconnected topic to another. It may be filmed in Aberdeen Scotland, which is about 580 miles from me on the south coast of England and growing times are a wee later, but that doesn’t matter. It is horticulture on a simple scale, and it doesn’t try to be smart. The presenters are experienced gardeners with a humorous, very knowledgeable, unpretentious and gentle way about them.

First aired in 1978 it hasn’t lost any of its charms. The presenters may have changed over time, but several are stalwarts. At the age of 84, Jim McColl has just retired from the program after 40 years and is known for his “every day is a school day” catchphrase. His wealth of knowledge has been invaluable, and he will be missed. The other presenters are just as knowledgeable including the latest presenter Brian Cunningham, head gardener at Scone Palace. Watching Beechgrove Garden is akin to standing next to a wily old gardener, listening and watching. What better way to learn?

Life evolves, but horticulture doesn’t change that much. We still sow seeds, and they grow how they did hundreds of years ago.

The question has been posed as to how to make the program move with the times. In my opinion, and it transpires many others think the same, it doesn’t need to change, short of plugging no plastic pots and peat-free compost, it is fine as it is.

In their infinite wisdom, BBC Scotland has taken Beechgrove Gardens off air until 25 July. I am not sure why, possibly because the decision makers have failed to recognise the value of this program and probably, although I don’t know, because they might not be gardeners, so happy to cast it aside.

Gardening is an age-old occupation, and we need programs like Beechgrove Garden for help and advice we can use in our gardens. BBC Scotland, please bring back Beechgrove Garden very soon as it will be sorely missed by many.


  1. I couldn’t agree more, I will really miss the useful info I get from it.
    I’m in the south of England but Beechgrove Garden is a very welcome tv programme on BBC2 on a Sunday morning – although apparently not now until the end of July. Bad move BBC Scotland.

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