Happy Chappy!

14 May

Yes, l am a happy chappy because the book l won on ebay was delivered yesterday. Not just any book mind but an original 1945 copy of Middleton’s All The Year Round Gardening Guide.

This is the book that Arum Press published a few years ago under the title of ‘Dig On For Victory’. I had seen a picture of the book but didn’t think l would ever find a copy so thank you ebay! I have been using the Dig for Victory book for my weekly updates on what to do in your garden but now l will be able to refer to the original book as well, not that there is any difference but l love to pick an old book up like this and imagine who else had read it all those years ago. It is not a well worn copy so l doubt it has been used on a daily basis fro reference but it is still 66 years old!

It has a different introduction to the Aurum Press copy and l think is much better, more personal, and as this was written in 1945 it could well have been his last work. In his introduction he talks of ‘my sincere hope that we shall soon be digging for a lasting peace’. I am unsure as to the exact date he died in 1945 but l do hope he did see peace before he went.

I love the last paragraph, ‘Step on the spade rather than the accelerator, and you will reach the end of the journey quicker’.


It is full of wonderful adverts ranging from Dettol, Cuprinol, Carters Seeds, Dobbies Seeds, Fisons, Unwins and Qualcast all of which are still going strong today. But l’m not sure about Carters Seeds. Were they the seeds that Woolworths used to stock? Or was it Bees?

On the back page is a Boots the Chemist advert advertising Compost, Insecticides etc all ‘approved and recommended by Mr C. H. Middleton Horticultural Consultant to Boots the Chemist’. This man got about what with working for the BBC on radio and television, writing books and making films he really was the first celebrity gardener.

On that note, there has been an awful lot of debate on who is the best person to front Gardeners World. Firstly, l think it is a shame there is only one gardening programme on the TV, especially when you see so many Home programmes, antiques, relocations, etc. So who is my favourite, well, l love Monty. He is down to earth, energetic, and just gets on with the matter in hand. Toby and Alys were just awful. No wonder the viewing figures plummeted. Carole Klein is nice but l wish she would stop laughing when she is talking!

Who is your favourite TV gardening celeb?


Posted by on May 14, 2011 in May, Mr Middleton


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7 responses to “Happy Chappy!

  1. greg becker

    May 14, 2011 at 10:43

    I absolutely agree about gardeners world and there not being enough variety. There is a huge gap that
    could be filled with all kinds of interesting things – like ‘Mr Middleton’s Gardening Guide’, I’m not joking! it would make a great regular slot on an alternative gardeners world.

    • trevorhunt

      May 14, 2011 at 10:57

      What a great idea Greg! I would love to see that on TV. I keep saying his advice is still quite relevant today as it was then, apart from the use of certain chemicals, of course! Now, question is, who could we find to host it? Alan Titchmarsh perhaps?

  2. Rachael

    May 14, 2011 at 13:42

    I have always been very fond of Alan Titchmarsh. I agree, there should be more gardening programmes, especially those devoted to veg growing, perhaps even smallholding and self-sufficiency type stuff, it is definitely a growth area (if you’ll pardon the pun). There have been a few series here and there but they come and they go, never to be seen or heard of again…

  3. trevorhunt

    May 14, 2011 at 15:48

    Interesting point Rachael. Maybe the big TV companies should carry out a survey in some of the garden journals to see what the people want on their screens. I would suggest something simple but informative, concentrating on the art of growing your own food. Lets face it, more people are growing vegetables than they are flowers so it would make sense. Maybe we should get a petition going and send it to BBC, C4 & Co?

  4. Janet/Plantaliscious

    May 14, 2011 at 16:56

    There should certainly be more gardening programmes, for different aspects of gardening and different types of gardeners. Interesting as to why not – maybe we’re just not vocal enough? I’m a huge Carol Klein fan, and actually rather like her mad enthusiasm, and Monty is always watchable, though he occasionally comes across as a little elitist. I liked Alys, and thought she brought a refreshingly different perspective, and didn’t actually mind Toby either, I think it was more the format that was wrong. I’ve not much time for Rachel de Thane, she seems to be just a pretty face who likes Roses. I’d like to see another series of Landscape Man, and why isn’t James Alexander-Sinclair on TV more? He’s probably too sensible to bother… Love the Middleton book excerpts, so evocative of a completely different age.

    • trevorhunt

      May 15, 2011 at 08:54

      The more l think about it the more l feel we should get onto the big TV companies and demand more gardening coverage. I am sure we all feel the same. It is inevitable that we like or dislike certain presenters on the TV and even on the radio, and what we expect to see on Gardeners World. Some people think Monty is great, love the fact that it is filmed in his garden etc etc. Others can’t stand the man, hate his garden and the ‘Long Borders’, and would love to see a different format. There must be hundreds of thousands of people the length and breadth of the country tending to their vegetable plots right now and the TV companies are missing out on a massive opportunity by not covering this area.
      In a lot of ways l suppose it is why l decided to write this blog. It is how l would like to see vegetable growing covered; by a wise, experienced person overseeing our weekly tasks in a friendly, pleasant and humorous way. Mr Middleton, to me, fits that criteria.

      Just on another note, l have had the misfortune of coming across one or two other blogs on here where the authors feel at liberty to rant on in their ‘gardening’ blogs in the most foul way about most other things and a bit of gardening. If l wanted to read this type of thing l certainly would not be looking at gardening blogs for it! Hence, l am offended when l see this. Gardening is a beautiful, peaceful, all absorbing hobby and does not deserve to be treated in this fashion. I know, l have the option of not looking at these blogs, and l have chosen not to, but nonetheless it is uncalled for and in my opinion if they want to spout off about how f*****g boring gardening is , then don’t do it and certainly don’t blog about it or use a gardening platform to use every expletive in the book to view their political views! Sorry, rant over! Have a lovely, peaceful day in your garden.

  5. Janet/Plantaliscious

    May 15, 2011 at 15:58

    Yes, why isn’t there at least one programme dedicated to veg and fruit growing, particularly as yet again sales of seed for edibles has outstripped demand for floral seed? As to the obnoxious blogs, I am fortunate enough to have “missed” these. In blogging as in life, I suppose, there are plenty of obnoxious oiks out there. I’m all for a bit of lively debate, but not when it gets all ranty and obscene.


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