a blast from the past

my wife was tidying out some old paperwork that  had been gathering dust for several years when she came across a book called Mr Smiths gardening book that accompanies his BBC television series ‘Mr smith’s gardening programme’

the book written by Geoffrey smith and Arthur Billitt both well known garden presenters in there day for those of us that remember them

according to the book it was published in 1974,to 1979 it appears there  more  books published around that time including Mr Smiths vegetable garden  Mr Smiths flower garden  Mr Smiths fruit garden Mr Smiths propagates plants

does  any G/C  remember Geoffrey  smith or Arthur Billitt from the past including there TV Garden programs


17 Responses

  1. cilla says:

    I do remember them Roly but I didn’t really start watching garden programmes until Percy Thrower and then, of course. the late great Geoff Hamilton who I was lucky enough to meet as Barnsdale is only an hour away. If I remember rightly, didn’t they wear suits in those early garden programmes?

  2. gertie says:

    Likewise Roly … and too busy raising babies at that time to watch a lot of TV :lol: ;-) :rose:

  3. dandlyon says:

    I knew Arthur Billet at Clacks farm Ombersley, just North of Worcester., my grand parents who owned a fruit and veg shop, during the fruit season would have a Sunday afternoon run out in the old Comma van to buy baskets of fruit from him.. I loved going there and if the weather was nice he would give a tour of the orchards and we could collect a basket of eggs to sell.. Very welcome during the early 40s when eggs were rationed.
    We picked a hitch hiker up on our way home one Sunday afternoon, behind the front seats of the van was a side of bacon from Clacks farm, “Black Market”. As we went along he was chatting to granddad and happen to mention he worked for the Ministry Of Food. Never knew Grand father to be so quiet :lol: his old pipe was glowing from all the puffing. A big sigh of relief when the hitch hiker got out a few miles further on, and Grandfather vowed to never pick up another hiker

    • VegVamp says:

      That is priceless Tony. :lol: :lol: :lol: :good: There was a serious amount of food came over the border from the South here during the war, especially in the west, where you could walk across the border in some towns. Long skirts and coats were very popular with women, plenty of room for hiding stuff. ;-)

  4. gertie says:

    Tony … what a story! :lol: Brilliant :good: :rose:

  5. dandlyon says:

    Remember Mr Digwell in the Daily Mirror ? 1947- 1988. There’s a Mr Digwell seed company that do sell some of the old favourite vegetables

  6. Yewbarrow says:

    Love it Tony, knew of Geoffrey Smith and we still use Arthur Billets book on fruit and pruning. My village had cCanadian Troops stationed there during the last war and my parents along with other people let the soldiers use their houses for when off duty and apparently Mum and Dad would often come home from work and find a whole canadian cheddar cheese placed in the outside loo, sacks of sugar and meat, as one of the soldiers was the officers chef and it was his way of saying thankyou for the hospitality – thank goodness no-one said anything, my parents might has been put in prison and I might not be here

  7. roly says:

    there was a gardening program I think on ITV with maybe Arthur Billet and Cyril Fletcher in the afternoon some years ago and I believe it was from a garden in Aston Birmingham someone’s bound to correct me if I’m wrong because a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then

    lucky you wasn’t wearing a min skirt or hiding a keg of ale Vegvamp :lol: :lol:

  8. karenp says:

    Did make me chuckle Tony on hearing your granddads dilemma, from the stories my mum and dad told me I think most people ended up with these extra treats from time to time ;-)

  9. dandlyon says:

    Roly some thing I used to go and watch being filmed when I had a day off during the summer. Gardening Time from Kings Heath park in Birmingham. Featured Bob Price and Cyril Fletcher, the theme was the horticulturist and the keen amateur. Could get there in those days in 20 minutes in my car, the same journey now takes around 45 minutes.. Bob Price died and Cyril went on to other things the new presenters were Arthur Billitt and Howard Drury. Howard did present a few episodes with Cyril Fletcher., then Cyril was replaced by Arthur. All these gardeners were a hard act to follow, and I do not think the garden presenters to day can match them.

  10. Allan says:

    Is Arthur Billet the one who presented the Victorian kitchen garden,If it is ,What a wealth of knowledge he had .Along with Geoff Hamilton. They have to be my favourite presenters ,Of all time. Mind I did like one lady presenter on the Alan Titchmarsh show but only for her Tips

  11. roly says:

    Victorian gardens yep very good gardening prog it amazed me the time spent on the garden the days seemed longer then putting veg on the table many months of the year including the fruit table using traditional methods

    all done by hand not a rotorvator in site from seed to harvest plenty of labour available which probably declined after WW1 such a wealth of garden history looking back in time I have to say we did visited a few walled gardens last year but not on the scale of the Victorian gardens

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