What has 18 legs and is the biggest pest in the garden?
Answer - a camera crew.
The Beechgrove Garden is a television garden designed specifically to be seen on telly which, frustratingly for our gardeners, has artificial weekly deadlines to meet that sometimes have little to do with the garden’s own timetable.
The garden is one big green studio. It’s designed to be accessible for cameras into all areas. Fence panels are on hinges that can easily come out to allow access and views in and out of individual gardens, windows are removable from greenhouses and the potting shed to make it easier for the cameras to see in. There is power to every part of the garden for the lights and the paths are wide enough and smooth enough to take all the camera paraphernalia; steadicam, dollies, cranes, tracks and jib arms.
You will often see the presenters in the potting shed. This building has been specially designed with cameras in mind and yet it is also a fully functioning potting shed. It has extra wide windows that open all the way out and then fasten there so the cameras can be outside the shed looking in and the presenters work on a rubberised bench at a height that the cameras can see the action as clearly and as closely as possible.
The biggest challenge for the crew in the garden is that more than half of the programme is recorded from the garden in just one day’s filming, come rain, snow, sleet, wind or less usually, shine.
It is, however, a huge privilege and pleasure to be part of the crew in the garden. To revel in the beauty of the garden and to see it through its successes and sometimes failures. To learn from the presenters and gardeners every week (as Jim would say, 'Every day is a school day') and to enjoy the produce and sometimes, just sometimes, have lunch outside in that beautiful garden.
For a true sneaky peak, check out The Beechgrove Garden: Behind the Scenes.