Top positive review
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Three distinctly different opportunities to enjoy the enthusiasm and expertise of Geoff Hamilton.
on 14 October 2014
Warm, informed and with attention to relevant detail, interesting and enthusiastic, professional and concise, these are all qualities required by an expert broadcaster. Geoff Hamilton had them all and more, and he was also a consummate gardener; he is much missed.
In this collection of three of his Gardeners World series the Amazon blurb is to the point. Each is quite different from the other two, and yet they are linked by Geoff's clear professional delivery and warm enthusiasm. Technically speaking all are in old-fashioned 4:3 standard definition and mostly mono sound, and some compression artefacts are sometimes visible from squeezing three hours of video onto each DVD.
My favourite is the earliest series about the Ornamental Kitchen Garden which was obviously filmed for at least three years, yet broadcast over just six weeks around October 1990. The whole of it is linked together with a seamless script that uses great planning and forethought to neatly illustrate how each particular part of the garden was designed, created, and grown through to maturity. The garden is a typical size for behind an average detached house, and so the ideas are feasible, and Geoff shows us how to do it without fuss or drama, while keeping it all simple and economical. It is not quite the same as the VHS we recorded at the time, but there is nothing significantly different except for the DVD generally having better picture quality.
The pair of Cottage Gardens, for a Gentleman and an Artisan, are each slightly smaller and more detailed, such as might be found behind a semi, and make the most of the space. When I visited Barnsdale a few years ago with our Garden Club I was surprised to see how small they are in real life, crowded with the planting and features, when compared with how they appear on the screen. Where these come into their own is the imagination in the structures and choice of planting, and the ability to maintain a good show of colour for such a long time, while still being practical and economical.
The Paradise Gardens approach the topic from yet another angle, and again there are several fresh ideas combined with his usual sound advice and good practice making it interesting from start to finish. But this is my least favourite part of the collection.
In a nostalgic way I think that with their excellent structure these more traditional programmes, despite being made a couple of decades ago, compare very favourably with the more hi-tech modern gardening programmes.
May I suggest you ignore the slightly lower definition (mostly on the earliest DVD) and smaller 4:3 picture, and just enjoy the brilliant gardening.