Monday 12 November 2007

Radio questions

It has been a busy radio week for me - Gardening Plus (the new name for Down to Earth, which is now three hours long) on BBC Essex and the Thursday phone-in and Dougan Does Gardening on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
Along with the usual "How do I kill this or that bug, disease or weed?" (rose blackspot is still a major concern for gardeners, even at this time of year) and "Why is this plant dying?", I've had some questions that may give some credence to changing climate.
Listeners have asked about looking after outdoor mimosas, lemons, olives, palms and even prickly pears - and this is the UK! The latter question came from a listener in Cambridge who had even managed to eat a few of her own prickly pears from a plant she had brought back from the Canary Islands earlier in the year. This was followed by a listener in London, who originally comes from South Africa, pointing out how they're basically a weed in that country because they propagate themselves so easily; chance would be a fine thing!
And, of course, there are always those willing to admit to the biggest of faux pas!; planting a monkey puzzle tree right outside the house in the front garden, planting a willow right next to a drain and someone even admitted to planting and growing pampas grass - the shame of it!!!

Friday 2 November 2007

All systems go at RHS Online

Speaking of the day job (see last blog) it's all systems go on RHS Online - the RHS website. We've been working on some new areas of the site and updating others.

There's Passion for Plants, which ties in with the BBC TV programme A Passion for Plants shown on Friday evenings; Garden Explorers, which is a new membership category for families; Campaign for School Gardening, which is aimed at schools, teachers and pupils to encourage them to go gardening; a new Britain in Bloom section; plus the tickets pages for all RHS flower shows in 2008, including Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace.

We're also looking at new sections for launch towards the end of December - Gardening in a Changing Climate and Wildlife Gardening/The garden as an ecosystem - all topical and relevant stuff for gardeners.

Our Grow your own VEG campaign this year has been very successful and we're looking at a refresh for 2008.

One important function of RHS Online is saving other RHS departments time and money. So I've been creating downloadable versions of past exam papers for the Qualifications Department. This will save them the aggro of having to print them out and post them in the snail mail.

And not forgetting the fabulous new Glasshouse (that's posh for greenhouse!) at RHS Garden Wisley.

All very exciting, interesting and enjoyable stuff - but now there's just no time to think!