This here little gardening blog completely failed to mention last week that Australia’s best loved gardening god retired from television. The blog also failed to mention anything about Peter Cundall’s final episdoe of Gardening Australia, primarily because its author was cooking dinner for her outlaws when it aired and the tv was on Scrapheap Challenge for father-son bonding time (uncle and cousins were highly entertained, auntie was less thrilled).
So other people have written marvellous things about Peter Cundall and his work first, and done it well, and I will add merely that (apparently like many of current young presenters on the show) I grew up watching Peter Cundall’s veggie garden taking over the Botanical Gardens in Hobart and thinking he’d make a pretty cool extra grandfather (I wouldn’t have trade either of my actual grandfathers). My mother is a keen gardener and has watched nearly every episode of Gardening Australia, I watched many of them with her while eating our Saturday evening meal before I left home. She may be their only committed viewer who is determinedly anti-compost heap*, who redesigned the garden and eliminated the veggie patch** and who was less than excited about being provided with free worm castings. I may never succeed in convincing my Mum to keep her own worm farm, or grow edibles beyond the basics***, but all those years of watching GA means I don’t have to explain what the hell it is I’m doing and look like the only person in the world who’s doing it. So perhaps GA deserves a medal for bridging the generation gap. Or at least for encouraging mother-daughter bonding over strawberry plants.
* she’s convinced there’ll be rats. I think there’ll be rats with or without the compost heap, they’re vermin, they’ll find something.
** I retaliated by planting my broccoli and red cabbages amongst the roses, she called me Cabbage Girl for a few months. She didn’t object to eating the bounty.
*** I think she’s slipping though. Last year she made cumquat marmalade from all the fruit on her (previously ornamental) cumquat, I can’t remember the last time she threatened to cut down the lemon tree, and she’s been debating whether to prune her plum tree for maximum fruit production or let it grow for less fruit and more screening. It may surprise you that I argued for screening, but two people don’t eat that many plums.