The AG team delivers its verdict on 2011’s gardening TV. Do you agree? Have your say at the end of this article:

BBC GARDENERS’ WORLD – reviewed by AG editor Tim Rumball

ANY GARDENING programme on telly is a good thing, and I like Monty Don, so I watch Gardeners’ World regularly.

He’s intelligent, thoughtful and enjoys growing crops and ornamental plants. Monty is self-taught (like most of us) and is clearly passionate about gardening.

But Monty is very middle class, while his large formal garden is aspiring upper class. And he lacks the sense of fun that many amateur gardeners (including me) would like to see in the UK’s leading TV gardening programme.

The focus of the series is Monty’s garden, so it’s about him and how he gardens.

Alan Titchmarsh managed to cross that boundary – his garden was less large and formal, and the information he delivered was focused in a small space, making people feel that the scale was more linked to their gardens.

Berryfields, the former Gardeners’ World garden in Warwickshire tended by Monty, failed because it was nobody’s garden.

You know what I’d like to see? BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time brought to life, in ordinary people’s gardens, on telly every week. Now that really would make addictive viewing.

LOVE YOUR GARDEN – Reviewed by editor’s PA Jenny Bagshaw

Alan Titchmarsh’s first gardening TV series on ITV delivered on every level.

Alan has a friendly-neighbour-chatting-over-the-garden-fence style that draws even the most cynical viewer in.

The series focused on a wide range of garden styles that catered for most people’s tastes.

Over the 12 episodes Alan covered everything from cottage-style gardens to exotic and formal plots.

The fact that each garden fell into the category of what we Brits have come to accept as ‘normal size’ rather than the sprawling estates of people like Monty Don made the series very watchable.

While the individual gardens were stunning and would have been at home at an RHS flower show, Alan brought them down to the ordinary garden lover’s level by offering practical tips and demonstrations on how to achieve the look.

Somehow, Mr T has managed to achieve iconic status without ever losing the common touch. I can’t wait for the second series in 2012.

GARDEN ER – reviewed by AG news editor Marc Rosenberg

If you want your fence painted pink, your lawn replaced by artificial turf, or a border stuffed with African marigolds – David Domoney is your man!

Whether the budget was £500 or £10,000, David created Marmite gardens: you either loved or loathed them (I fell into the latter category).

While the show was fast-paced, David and co-star Bonnie Davies lacked the on-screen chemistry that made Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy Walsh and Charlie Dimmock an overnight success in Ground Force.

I picked up a few tips and learnt how to turn a shed into a recording studio for a DJ. Handy! I also spotted that David cleverly used slabs from his own paving range in some makeovers.

But don’t forget that Channel 5’s audience is young and, in many cases, has little time for gardening.

Garden ER was aimed at people who craved an ‘outdoor room’.

So in that respect, the series was a triumph. David doesn’t care if critics dismiss his gardens as downmarket. Good for him.

LIFE IN A COTTAGE GARDEN – reviewed by AG gardening editor Kris Collins

The timing of Life in a Cottage Garden was perhaps the best thing about the series.

On our screens in the dark days of January, it meant that viewers could get their TV fix before the gardening season was underway.

Carol offered plenty of inspiration and ideas so that we could plan into our gardening year before it had even started.

As ever, Carol’s passion came across – as well as her fetish for horticultural grit: she seems to use it with everything. Just as Delia Smith could cause supermarkets to run out of an ingredient, I was left wondering if Carol would cause garden centres to run out of grit!

But one of the best aspects of the series was the brilliant time-lapse filming, which really showed Carol’s garden changing through the seasons.

BBC / RHS FLOWER SHOWS – reviewed by AG garden writer Michelle Wheeler

Whether it was Malvern, Chelsea, Hampton Court, Gardeners’ World Live or Tatton Park, the BBC’s coverage was in-depth and informative.

Chelsea set the standard and the BBC has developed a good format in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society.

The red button coverage and an app for smartphone users made the coverage even more accessible: I was able to look closer at more of the gardening tips and plant topics.

Joe Swift (right) was a familiar face and offered a light-hearted commentary that was underpinned by sound advice.

I reckon the BBC gave flower shows the right amount of airtime, although I hope next year there’s a greater focus on plants rather than celebrities. As a gardener I watch to learn about plants and horticulture.

THE BEECHGROVE GARDEN – reviewed by AG news editor Marc Rosenberg

What interest could The Beechgrove Garden have to me, a soft southerner, who until last winter believed that snow only fell ‘up north’? Well, quite a lot actually.

Having become frustrated by The Monty Don Show, sorry – I mean Gardeners’ World, I turned to the internet to find a garden series with a Geoff Hamilton-style of presentation. I warmed to Beechgrove lead presenter Jim McColl instantly.

I first saw Jim looking at a sickly tomato plant with bemusement, wondering if it was something he’d picked up “after a few drinks”. At last, a real gardener with personality and a proper sense of humour.

Whether it’s footage from the show’s base at Aberdeen, visits to allotments or gardens, the presenters are real gardeners and the series is full of Highland charm.

THE WONDER OF WEEDS – reviewed by AG editor Tim Rumball

CHRIS COLLINS has improved as a TV presenter. At first he irritated me, but I enjoyed The Wonder of Weeds.

The one-hour programme looked at our attitude to weeds. Chris talked to Bob Flowerdew and nature writer Richard Mabey – both had good words for weeds, but no-one could quite finger what weeds are. Chris moved on to invasive species introduced by gardeners. There were lots of ‘wow moments’: to clear Argyll of Rhododendron ponticum would cost £9million… or £50milion in 20 years time.

Chris also looked at the positive side of weeds, talking to herbalist Dee Atkinson who uses weeds in her remedies. He even explained how weeds are pioneer plants, colonising poor ground, thriving, dying and creating humus which allows other plant species to grow.

Chris sounded like he was reading from a script, but the show made it’s point – there’s a place for weeds in gardening.

HAVE YOUR SAY – we welcome comments from readers. All comments are moderated and may take up to 24 hours to appear on the website

  • Judith Bush

    Love Monty more my style Alan bless him is in far to much as good as he is

  • Gloria Capeling

    My all time gardening hero is Alan Titchmarsh.He makes everything easy and interesting.I have not watched Gardeners World since he left and I would never miss it.Cant wait to see him back on the tv giving us all his gardening tips.Love you Alan.

  • Tim

    I think last years series of GW was the best for a long time. Monty is a relaxed, enthusiastic, informative presenter who I certainly don’t think lacks ‘fun'(ed’s review). He creates plots within his own garden that could easily be scaled-down to the smallest surburban garden. I look forward to the next series from March.

  • mike

    i`m not sure how anyone could vote for the best of 2011 when all the people who we are voting for all totally different gardeners with different ideas. my favorite is carol klein but the don , titchy,swifty and all the othres give the best advice they can, which is great ,,, we all know “!its a wise fool who thinks he knows everything” … personality competition… carol gets it no probs.

  • Brenda

    Alan always has my vote ! I acknowledge that there are other presenters that I enjoy and respect but Alan has inspired me for years and apart from being very ‘watchable’ I find him very knowledgeable and able to transmit his passion for gardening and wildlife like no other !

  • mitch parsons

    Beechgrove,easy to watch good honest gardening programme with solid advice from presenters who enjoy working together on screen.GW lost its way. whats the deal with the pigs, an ideal opportunity to go into the subject and give sound advice on the welfare and management of the animals, interview someone from defra maybe, what do we get,nothing!except nice shots of two piglets. GW needs to get a grip,start again and stop aiming at the 30+ leave that to channel 4 or 5.GW Chelsea, enjoyable becoming more viewer interactive.

  • Colin Cheney

    Give me Monty Don and Gardeners World anytime. Monty Don and Carol Klein are by far the best.

  • Margaret

    Like BEECHGROVE very much also Geoff Hamilton, Toby Buckland and as I don,t have a stately home I like Carol Klein all who make gardening television relevant to me.

  • Gwyneth Thorpe

    Mr T is the man with my vote every time, I loved the Ground Force Programme and the gardeners involved, they’re all so hard working too bringing us tips and enjoyment to help us make the best of our own gardens, if I’m honest they all should get a vote for the work and help they give us each in their own field of gardening. thank you to all of you and a very Merry Christmas.

  • pauline fottles

    alan has away of talking to you personally.monty always seems a little shy im sure carol knows me personaly and joe is like the chap next door.

  • C J Smith

    Alan Titchmarsh, Carol Klein, Toby Buckland all good presenters but I’m still using my Percy Thrower, Arthur Billet and Geofrey Smith Gardening books. They never date and are simple to understand. So here’s a vote for the golden oldies.

  • janet clee

    I stopped watching gardeners World when
    Monty left,but I am back watching,Monty
    is the best.

  • pixie1nigel

    Unfortunately I have to say there is too much dumbing down for keen gardeners,Carol did steal the highlights for me though. Show coverage was generally superb.
    Good idea, GQT on telly! Not sure it will sell though.

  • Val Gascoigne

    I agree wholeheartedly with Sandy (above). Alan Titchmarsh is the ultimate gardening presenter. Having said that, I did enjoy GW with Toby Buckland, Joe Swift and Alys Fowler. I love Beechgrove, they impart useful hints and information for the amateur gardener like me.

  • Sandy Filer

    No one comes near Alan Titchmarsh in my eyes as the best presenter for his natural style although Carole Klien comes as very close second. I prefer Beechgrove above Gardners World and Ilive in Dor set. I enjoy the interaction, conversation and fun between the presenters sadly lacking now on GW