Gardening Time 1981–95
When juniors school finished for lunch I would go to my grandmothers house for food. Usually fish fingers, peas, carrots and either chips or mash. While eating the TV was always on. First it was ‘Let’s Pretend’ then at 12:30pm ‘The Sullivans’ but on Thursdays (I think) there was a gardening programme called ‘Gardening Time’.
The presenters I remember watching were Howard Drury and Geoff Amos. It was simply filmed but effective at getting the information across in a fun and informative way. Towards the end of the programme both presenters would be in the shed studio with a bench in front of them on which was some gardening task whether sowing seeds or taking cuttings. Howard Drury was the young gardener whereas Geoff Amos was in his elder years and it was great fun to watch these two taking and something friendly arguing over how to do a certain task but always with a smile.
Each week they would inform us that Fact Sheets were available if you send in a stamped addressed envelope to the show. I did this on many occasions and it’s here that I formed my foundation of gardening knowledge.
I’ve looked throughout YouTube for a copy of the show but nothing seems to have been uploaded, but I did find the theme music for the show…
While searching I found another clip, not with Geoff Amos but the previous presenter Arthur Billett and Howard Drury…
Before appearing over on the BBC as part of the Esther Rantzen’s That’s Life team, Cyril Fletcher was a presenter on Gardening Time. I couldn’t find video but located this audio recording of a Gardening Time show with Cyril…
When I joined my local gardening society a few years later I took on the role of Publicity Officer. My task was to generate more coverage of our summer and spring shows in newspapers and local radio but I had bigger ambitions. I wrote to Gardening Time and was pleased when Geoff and Howard mentioned it on the show one week along with the gift I had sent them. It was around 2ft tall of a knitted doll in the likeness of Geoff made by the local cancer care group.
The following Sunday our show doors swung open and in walked Geoff Amos and Howard Drury along with Howard’s son and wife. They spent all afternoon with us and Geoff loved the cakes that were available. As the prizes were being presented towards the end of the show Howard and Geoff jumped up onto the stage and gave a speech about how wonderful it was to see so many top exhibits. As they left I presented them with a bird table made by one of the members along with a large box of cakes for their journey home. “They’ll be eaten by the time we get to the car” said Geoff with a cheeky smile. Great times.
Gardening Time was filmed at Kings Heath Park, Birmingham.