Well. Appearing on one of my favourite television programmes was never on my to-do list for 2015, but today that happened!
You can see this episode of Gardeners' World on BBC iPlayer
A few months ago I was contacted by one of the Gardeners’ World (GW) researchers, who had been given details of my website, unbeknownst to me, by a friend. The GW team really liked the fact that we rent a house with a very normal, average garden and that I’m able to attract enough wildlife to it to run a growing business (no pun intended!).
After emailing back and forth for a few days, the researcher came round for a cup of tea and a chat in the first instance - after all, he'd only seen my pictures on my website and had no idea of what the wider garden looked like. For two days before he arrived I was frantically deadheading and titivating to make the garden look as presentable as possible - it's a little on the wild side, which is how I like it, but at the same time, I wanted it to look its best! The researcher walked round the garden with me and filmed me talking about the plants and why I'd planted them, and what wildlife they attract, and also a little bit about my photography and why I do what I do. I guess you could say this was the interview stage!
Luckily, I passed, and in early July a film crew of four arrived at 7am to make the most of what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day. It was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into creating what would turn into a 5-6 minute piece; the director especially was incredibly creative and had a very clear vision of what she’d like the piece to be, the ‘story’ of it, if you will.
I’ve never done anything like this before, and am pretty much always the one behind the camera, let alone the one in front of one that is filming as well as taking photographs! But the team were so very encouraging and even with a microphone taped under my clothes for the whole day, it was such a fun and relaxed experience. I was sure to have the microphone removed when I needed a loo break though - apparently there have been some mishaps in the past..!
The wildlife didn’t disappoint either - we had plenty of bees, butterflies, hoverflies and birds making themselves known - I’m especially pleased that the little thrush that visits us most days wasn’t fazed at all by the presence of all these new people, and she stopped by quite a few times to get a few beakfuls of mealworms from the bird table.
As we waved goodbye to the crew at around 4pm, I felt exhilarated and exhausted in equal measure. I have a huge amount of respect for those people who do this particular work day in and day out - I don’t think you can really pick up on how much work goes into it from just watching a short film on a television programme. As well as all of the filming and subsequent editing, these guys travel all over the country to do this too - they drove all the way from Bristol to film our little garden, which is a good 5-6 hour round trip.
But I’m so very glad they did. I had so much fun, and I really hope you enjoyed watching the resulting film.
Even if I didn't get to meet Nigel... ;)
And if you'd like to hear more about my little 'Shortmeadow' and the wildlife it attracts, along with advice and tips on how you can do the same in your garden, you can find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.