Friday Hoydens: the Garden Makeover TV Brigade

Despite my misgivings about the whole lifestyle TV phenomenon and the renovation cult, as largely being driven by our good friend consumerism rather than any true aesthetic sense, I have to put in a good word for the women who dig holes on these shows, hoydens one and all. As a keen gardening hoyden myself, it’s an excellent thing to see.


How wonderful it is for women and especially girls to watch these shows and see strong women in comfortable and practical clothing (including the sensiblest of shoes) getting sweaty, dirty, digging holes, pushing lawnmowers, heaving heavy stuff and just generally performing practical concrete tasks with the payoff of a completed project at the end to be admired. So refreshing (even when the shows play up to standard gender roles in other ways).

So here’s to you all, you TV women who dig holes! I’ve only got time to dig up photos of my favourite two from Ground Force, but I know there’s more on other garden makeover shows, so Hoydenizens are invited to wax appreciative about your favourite TV gardening hoydens in comments.

Gardening hoyden

Charlie Dimmock, who is absolutely bonkers about gardening to the exclusion of most other hobbies (she does cook apparently, and do the odd charity driving challenge) and who doesn’t have a TV at home.

Gardening hoyden

Kirsty King from Ground Force: one of her main passions outside gardening is motorbikes, but she also enjoys squash, hockey, and horse riding. She is also a qualified ski instructor.

Categories: fun & hobbies, gender & feminism

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5 replies

  1. I appreciate the hoydenicity of the gardening amazons, but I do NOT like those shows. They all seem to think paving everything constitutes gardening. It doesn’t, and it’s environmentally disasterous. At least lawns absorb carbon.

  2. I’m thinking that the viability of lawns varies from place to place. Here in this drought, there’s no way to maintain a sizeable lawn without using way, way too much water, something paving doesn’t use at all. We’re slowly getting rid of the vast majority of our (brown) lawn and replacing it with drought-tolerant and native plants, mulch, and a herb/vegie garden (sucks water, but at least it’s productive). And yes, a little paving.

  3. For the shows based in the UK, there is the issue that through much of the country gardens get very boggy through the winter, and unless you’ve got some hard paths the garden will be unused. I suspect that thickly planted shrubberies amidst paving still absorb more O2 than just a grass lawn too.
    I only have one small patch of lawn around my clothesline. The rest of my garden is beds and a section of paving large enough to put a sizeable table setting on.
    The patch of lawn is annoying enough, and the trees/shrubs/annuals I have planted plenty enough, that I am seriously considering getting rid of that lawn altogether. I’m not worried about losing a great deal of carbon absorption thereby, percentage wise.

  4. Would like to find out where one can get an application form for a garden makeover by the team. Desperately need help – garden is almost 140 ft, I’ve cleared most of the rubbish, old sheds, etc., and now I’m exhausted in wondering where to start, what to do, and how to get this all done in a reasonable time. Some help would be great.

  5. @ Eugenia Lanni:
    All those garden makeover shows have official websites, Eugenia. I’m sure each website has the relevant application details.

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