this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society

Christine WalkdenChristine Walkden

Christine Walkden, author, radio and TV broadcaster and gardener, entertained us in 2011 with a talk on ‘The Making of Christine’s Garden’ - Series 1 was shown on BBC2 in 2006 and was followed by Series 2 in 2007. We were given an insight into the characters who featured in the programmes and the demands of making her "down to earth" TV series. She originates from Rishton and started her horticultural training at Myerscough College (then the Lancashire College of Agriculture) where she gained her Ordinary National Diploma in Amenity Horticulture in 1978.

Christine started her talk by explaining the difficulties facing a young woman who wanted a career in horticulture in the 70's as jobs were far and few between. She told many amusing tales about her early years, including her aquisition of her first allotment at the age of ten, when she started growing vegetables and flowers which she sold to her school teachers and local residents. She was so successful with her parents' small front garden she eventually "aquired" several adjoining gardens which didn't leave her much time for her studies. Leaving school, she took a job with the local parks department which saw her attached to a nearby cemetary as a grave digger, working alongside two much older male colleagues. Horticulture had always been "in her blood" and she was just pleased to land any job which allowed her to get closer to the soil. From here she went on to complete her formal training and she very briefly touched on the interim years, before eventually going freelance, working as a Plantswoman and horticulturalist and starting her broadcasting career.

As you can imagine, for a woman of Christine's forthright nature and independant views, there were several amusing "episodes" along the way as a number of TV executives tried to change her style and image, but, true to her nature she stuck to her guns and who can blame her?

We had an entertaining evening with a very lively and enthusiastic speaker who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of horticulture. As you would expect from a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Gardener's Question Time, Christine handled our members' questions with aplomb. Christine donated signed copy of one of her books which was raffled and the evening was another ‘sell-out’.