Isn’t it amazing how a gardener never stops learning? Each week, each day even, there’s a new discovery – a plant you’ve never heard of, a way to grow something you’ve never tried. There are so many plants, so many knowledgeable gardeners, and so little time!
When I started the Get Gardening YouTube channel, I was mostly preoccupied with capturing the knowledge of the two best gardeners I know – Alan Gray, who’s 32 acre paradise at East Ruston Old Vicarage is truly one of the best gardens I have ever visited, and Ian Roofe – Alan’s right-hand man.
We set about sharing their methods for dividing plants, taking cuttings, collecting seed, whilst also getting distracted by all the beautiful things growing in the garden and making plant profiles about them as well. The years ticked by, the audience grew, but it became increasingly difficult to film regularly as life and careers moved us geographically further apart.
And then the pandemic arrived. It offered people more time in their gardens, but it denied me the chance to spend time with Alan, who by now had become not only my gardening guru, but best friend. Tentatively we decided to start a podcast, though neither of us knew exactly how that was done! Selfishly, it was mainly so we could sit down and talk about plants every week with our gardening friends, at a time when we couldn’t see them in person.
We called it Talking Dirty because we have never taken ourselves seriously, but really it could just have easily been called For The Love of Plants because that is exactly what it is. A place for plant appreciation and adoration, including a feature called FLOMO, which captures that sense of longing you get for a plant you’ve seen and want to grow, but haven’t got yet. I don’t know about you, but as a gardener with a tiny plot, I live my life in a perpetual state of FLOMO. So it’s very much a feature from the heart!
We embarked on our podcasting adventure, by inviting along the gardeners we’d known for years – designers like Tamara Bridge, and Brigitte Girling of the magical Moss and Stone Floral Design. But quickly I realised we may be able to use the podcast as a vehicle to chat to gardeners we hadn’t seen for years, and some we’d never even met. It turns out that if you ask people to chat about the plants they love for an hour, most will find the time!
So over the past ten months we’ve caught up with a wonderful array of people, from Bunny Guinness to Charles Dowding, Jimi Blake, Ben Preston, Mike Clifford, Matt Pottage – each bringing Show and Tell for viewers of the video version to enjoy, and above all letting the plants sit centre stage.
Sometimes the snoop factor is particularly high, like when Matt (Curator, RHS Garden Wisley) took us on an impromtu walk around his house, touring the various plants within and without. And we’ve even taken Talking Dirty on Tour to the garden of dear friend Richard Hobbs, who has the National Collection of Muscari, alongside many other treasures – from Scillas to Pulsatillas, Tulips, Trilliums and Erythroniums.
With my head down, doing all the emails and editing that goes on behind the scenes, it took me a while to realise that the podcast was a continuation of our original endeavours – capturing horticultural knowledge and sharing it. This time it was less about the practical art of gardening – though there are certainly plenty of growing tips in the various episodes of Talking Dirty – and more about shining a spotlight on amazing plants that people may not grow, but almost certainly will want to.
For me, it’s astonishing to think how many plants I’ve learned about in the last year; my wishlist is at least ten times longer than it was! It’s a shame I can’t retain them all in my brain, though we’ve taken to producing plant lists for the episodes so at least I can consult our own Twitter and Instagram if I can’t remember a name!
I’ve even been lucky enough to receive surprise packages from guests and listeners. Mike Clifford (Mike’s Rare Plants) sent me some lovely Crocosmia corms for instance, which I’m nurturing at the moment. And, as I write this, I can see some other treasures sprouting into life on the patio – cuttings which arrived swaddled in damp paper from Scotland.
And the truly exciting thing is how many more plants there are to discover and to grow. That wish list just keeps on getting longer. And only one thing is for certain – I’m going to need a bigger garden!
So why not join us and Get Gardening – we’ll show you exactly how to conquer your patch…from grown your own, to flowers; top tips for sowing, propagating and harvesting; to how to save money and how to be green.