Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Backyard TV – at my place!

What an interesting day! TV crew here all day filming segments in my backyard. The first one goes to air on Friday night, 6.30pm on Channel Nine, as part of the regular 'Burke's Backyard' gardening segment that's within the 'A Current Affair' TV show on Friday nights. Lots of the other segments they filmed here will appear in coming weeks, so they tell me. They ended up doing several different stories, as the show's presenter, Don Burke, found all sorts of things to repair, plant, repot or just generally talk about here.

Here they are hard at work in Amateur Land, Don, cameraman, 'soundo' and the producer discussing how to do the next segment (on my poppy patch, in this case).

And here's me (right) with the star of the show, Don Burke (left), in what can only be described as a pretty good happy snap starring two bearded, middle-aged Aussie blokes. Now, Don and I aren't strangers by any means. I've been working for him for the last 11 years as a magazine sub-editor, but this is the very first time he has ever come round to my place. And having Australia's most famous gardener visit your garden is like having the headmaster over for dinner when you're a schoolkid. Not relaxing! But it seems I passed inspection, although my secateurs are blunt and I could definitely do better in that department. But I got a Gold Star for general neatness (perhaps I overdid the 'tart up' with the new mulch, etc yesterday afternoon?), received an excellent composting tip, and have promised to move my potted pineapple into a warmer spot.

It was a combination of nerve-wracking anticipation and good fun (plus relief) to have a really expert gardener check out things here at home. Don and I have a great working relationship, and I've learned so much from him over the years. As well as working on his magazine, editing all the text and writing some articles when it is deemed safe for me to do so, and even contributing a few photos, I've lent a hand with the creation of a variety of gardening books and I also have a regular weekend radio spot (for Aussie blog readers, it's on 2UE mornings, 6am-8am, syndicated nationally) where I talk about growing food plants and toss in a recipe or two for good measure. Here's a link to the podcasts for the radio show. I'm on every second Saturday, mostly (the last one was Saturday 25th July, talking about cumquats (if you check out the podcast it's just a bit before the half-way mark in the program), and the next one will be on Saturday August 8).

However, until today I've never had anything to do with the TV side of things, and watching a TV crew work is really fascinating. Very professional but also quite relaxed. They curse the noise from passing planes, trucks and motorbikes, saying in the middle of a take "bugger, stop, let's do it again" (and that happens a lot here in inner-city Marrickville, which is close to airports, shops and transport, as they say. And sometimes they say worse words than bugger, too!). But the whole team works really hard, head down, tail up, as they say. All day long: 9am start, until sunset.

PS: a couple of friends have asked me over the last year, knowing what I do for a living, why I call my blog 'Garden Amateur', when I work on gardening magazines and books and do a regular radio spot on gardening/cooking.

Well, for one thing I don't have any formal gardening qualifications and I'm no expert at all, and don't pretend to be. Out in my garden I keep on making lots of mistakes and don't know the names of zillions of plants, or how to grow them, either. I only blog about what I know, and that's not a lot.

But the real reason for the 'amateur' name is that I do all my gardening for the sheer love of it, not for any other reason. And I also love the old 19th-century idea of the 'amateur' scientist: the person who, without formal qualifications, devotes so much of his/her time to pursuing knowledge about something for love, certainly not for profit or fame. That's why I garden. I do it for love, not for any other reason. And I blog about it for the same reason, too. So there you go, that's me, in case you were wondering.


prue said...

very cool!!!

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Yes amateur as the opposite of professional ... but by virtue of doing gardening for far too long, you has to be considered a professional.. even if everything is done for sheer love... haha.

~ bangchik

denisy said...

O seu jardim e´ muito bonito
e´um amador amado por mim que o visito quase todo dia .PARABENS

ethereal01 said...

Love your blog!

Do we get to hear what Don Burke's composting tip for you was??

I also have a tumbler compost bin and can't wait to harvest lovely black compost like yours! How essential is adding the dolomite lime?

Jamie said...

Thanks for your comments (and Denisy, I hope I was right to choose Portuguese to English for my online translator!).

Ethereal01: Don suggested I prop the tumbler bin to be side-on at rest, to make it easier to spin. When tumbler bins get full you need a fair bit of muscle to get it all spinning sometimes if the bins are upright, as all the weight is down at one end.

And yes, the dolomite lime is great for my compost, as it balances out the acidity of all the fruit and vegie scraps. However, I find that adding the dry sugar cane mulch to balance out the wetness of the fruit and vegie scraps is probably the most important thing with composting. If you don't have mulch to spare, dry newspaper does the trick too, I have been told.

However, don't just add dolomite to compost – use it everywhere in the garden. It's ideal for preparing vegie beds prior to planting too, to bring up the soil pH to normal (adding fertiliser tends to acidify soil over time, so the dolomite balances things out).

And dolomite is precisely what plants such as magnolias, figs, olives, lavenders and others from limestone soil regions need in acid soil areas such as Sydney and much of the rest of Australia. It's only in alkaline (ie, limestone) soil areas such as Adelaide and Perth that you don't need to add the lime or dolomite.

LC said...

I am a bit behind here - crazy PhD am reading back through my favorite blogs. Great to read about your garden on telly. It also confirmed my hunch that you a writer of some kind as your blog is just so very fantastic!(my guesses were journo, academic, not spot on...but close). I have downloaded your podcast and am looking forward to listening.

Cheers and well done!