A television garden abandoned by the BBC after just two-and-a-half years on-screen has been given a new lease of life – as an urban veg-growing project.
Greenacre at Edgbaston in Birmingham was home to BBC2’s Gardeners’ World from 2008 to 2010, when AG’s Toby Buckland was at the helm.
The plot, created at huge cost to the Licence Fee-payer, was left to rot when the BBC re-instated Monty Don as presenter, upping sticks to Longmeadow, Monty’s grand Herefordshire estate.
A year-and-a-half ago, AG exposed the sorry state of Greenacre. Our pictures led newspapers to accuse the BBC of “horticultural vandalism” while the TaxPayers’ Alliance slammed the Beeb for wasting public money.
Now the land, owned by nearby King Edward’s School, has been taken over by staff at the adjoining Winterbourne House and Botanic Garden.
The Urban Veg Project started when 15 members of Birmingham’s Islamic community were invited to take up plots in the walled garden to grow veg.
Winterbourne’s Anna Williams said: “The first part of the project was a cultural exchange using urban food production as the connection.
“The next is about providing courses to fill a big knowledge gap; a barrier for many people to live healthy and active lives.”
Courses will be led by tutors including Alys Fowler, Toby’s co-presenter at Greenacre. One-day workshops plus longer courses will focus on topics such as allotment gardening, bee-keeping and fruit harvesting.
Anna summed-up: “Greenacre is not much altered. The greenhouse will be used for workshops and training, as will the potting shed and plots.”
Toby told AG he “applauded” what had been done to revive the former TV plot. He said: “I love community gardening projects and am pleased to see Greenacre put to good use.”