Amateur Gardening has exposed a shocking waste of BBC Licence Fee-payers’ money by revealing exclusive pictures of Greenacre, the abandoned BBC Gardeners’ World Garden.

Corporation chiefs pulled the plug on the two-and-a-half year-old TV garden just before Christmas when they moved Gardeners’ World to Monty Don’s estate in Herefordshire in a bid to revive viewing figures.

Greenacre is in a sorry state (copyright IPC Media Ltd)

Greenacre was created in 2008 on a disused playing field between Birmingham University and Winterbourne Botanic Garden. But it has been left in a sorry state after the coldest winter in 30 years.

Many of the model gardens created by presenters Toby Buckland, Alys Fowler and Joe Swift are looking run-down.

The garden’s vast wooden-framed greenhouse lays empty. The only sign of life in Toby’s veg garden in front of the iconic potting shed (home to the hated what’s-hot-and-what’s-not board) is a hungry magpie.

An exotic garden, planted by Toby, appears to contain just one dead palm tree while nearby trial beds lay empty. Timber and bird nesting boxes have been spotted in wheelbarrows.

The giant greenhouse is empty (copyright IPC Media)

Campaign director at The TaxPayers’ Alliance, Emma Boon, said: “This is absolutely shocking. It flies in the face of what Gardeners’ World should be about. To see these plants, trees and shrubs, which will not have come cheap, being left to die is an unacceptable waste of public money.”

Emma added: “The BBC is not immune to the wider crisis in public finances and it should be transparent about how Licence Fee-payers’ money is spent.”

AG’s pictures are likely to make difficult viewing for columnist Toby, who recently wrote of his pride in “nurturing Greenacre from a field into somewhere with soul”. Toby has just released a BBC book called Flowers, which is based on plants grown at Greenacre.

Greenacre’s trial beds are bare (copyright IPC Media Ltd)

The BBC has repeatedly refused to say how much of Licence Fee-payers’ cash it spent on Greenacre.

Last month the BBC said it planned to “recycle as much of the garden as possible.”

The Beeb previously described Greenacre as “a living set for Gardeners’ World where costs were in line with other programmes of that sort”.

Viewers on web forums have called for the site to be opened to the public, or turned over to allotments for local people.

To see exclusive pictures of abandoned Greenacre, don’t miss AG this week

  • Robert Bowers

    Wish the Beeb would put Toby back there on a friday it was much better than the rubbish at Monty’s Garden. Toby and Joe made a good team

  • Karen

    We are currently viewing this segment of Gardeners World on our screens at the moment in New Zealand ( I know we are at the bottom of the world, so we are way behind the times)and it looks like a wonderful garden. I have recently taken out a subscription to Amateur Gardening and was extremely disappointed to read that Greenacres has gone to rack and ruin. I agree that it should be made into allotments, especially as more and more people are interested in growing vegetables instead of paying the horrific prices in the shops.

  • Barry

    I absolutely agree with Sadie’s comments. Miss Toby and Alyss’ GW very much.

  • Sadie

    This is so sad to see. I really loved watching Toby bring back some of the spirit of Geoff Hamilton with his practical gardening demonstrations and tips and down to earth attitude. Much tho’ I like Monty Don, I feel the new show should be called ‘Monty’s Garden’ or something like that as it is not really what Gardeners World is about and I feel this show should have been given it’s own slot so that we could keep Gardeners world and Toby at Greenacre. The sad demise of Greenacre is a tragedy and I feel very sad to see the way it has been abandoned. This is a great big black mark on gardening on tv as far as I am concerned.

  • Danny

    Just watch, it will become a Tesco Extra

  • Jon

    @Ros, what do we expect the BBC to do wit it?

    Something, anything that keeps it maintained, even if its handing it over to an allotment society. To just let it rot like that is a betrayal of the whole ethos of what Gardeners World is supposed to be about.

  • Kate

    Wrong. This is not a tv stage it is a garden WE payed for through our License Fee and has now been left to rot. I for one loved watching Tony at Greenacres every week and looked forward to seeing the gardensa mature. What a waste and so sad to see

  • Ros

    Excuse me for pointing out the blindingly obvious but it is no longer in use as a TV garden what exactly do you expect them to do with it?
    The griping, supposed fans of gardeners world, FORCED this closure and profligate waste by hysterically demanding a) the return of Monty Don and b) that is MUST be hosted in some presenters garden.
    Perhaps Emma thinks the BBC should continue to pour money down the drain? or perhaps to have it stripped bare and all sold off on eBay?
    Sensationalist headlines and reporting are so exhausting, something constructive would have been so much more interesting!