So I’m going to talk about a UK TV program that’s so popular, it’s a national treasure. A national treasure means someone or something of which a country is very proud. Perhaps the presenters of this TV program have in the past been national treasures in their own right.
Now I know many of our listeners might worry that they cannot see the program in question, but the internet has changed all that. I’ve embedded a clip of the program from YouTube in the article. So if you're interested, you can watch from anywhere in the world.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
⭐ Greek proverb
As with all of our listening practice, we need you to focus on what you are hearing. You need to pick out any phrases, idioms or vocabulary you don’t understand and look them up. We provide a transcript with every English audio lesson to help you do this.
When you’ve listened to the audio and you are happy, and you comprehend most of what you are hearing. You then need to schedule a time when you will comeback to listen to the audio again. This spaced repetition listening is what will encourage your brain to store what it hears in longer term memory.
It’s during this repeat listening, where you are not struggling to understand the content, where you will work on English fluency. You will also improve your pronunciation and speed of your English language recall. It’s the important work needed to achieve English fluency.
Treasure Enthusiasm Struggling Accomplished Programme Preparation Soothing
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Hi there and welcome to this latest episode of the Adept English podcast. We are coming to you from what’s been a chilly, but sunny UK. However, as May starts, we’re warming up! What a difference it makes to be able to drink your cup of tea or coffee outside in the sunshine.
Those of you who have been listening to our podcasts for a while are familiar with my love of plants and gardening. Last year, when we were locked down in the pandemic, when we were not allowed to leave our homes, many of us who had gardens were extremely grateful to have them. And if you remember, people started growing all kinds of fruit and vegetables from seeds, taken from what they’d bought from the supermarket and eaten.
I was no exception – because I couldn’t get out to buy tomato plants, like I usually do. So instead I grew tomato plants from seeds – from a tomato in my sandwich! And it worked really well. I’m now growing the 2nd generation of tomato plants – from seeds from last year’s tomatoes. They were ‘good croppers’ – which means that there were a lot of tomatoes on there.
So gardening and gardens are a particular passion of mine. And we do gardens really well in the UK. It’s fairly green here most of the year, because we have a temperate climate and there is usually enough rainfall, even in the summer months to keep things green. And if it goes below freezing point, 0C, then it’s not usually for very long – temperatures don’t get much below -7C, unless you’re very far north in the UK, like Scotland perhaps.
So it’s good for gardens and flowers. And for growing many types of fruit and vegetables too. One of my little projects for this coming summer, when it’s uncertain whether we’ll be able to travel out of the country – I’m planning to visit as many UK gardens as I can. I’ve already got several lined up in my head – and people to visit them with. I’m looking forward to that.
But connected with gardening, one of my great pleasures, for many years – but especially during the lockdown – has been my favourite BBC TV programme ‘Gardeners World’. If you like gardening or if you’re interested in growing plants, perhaps house plants, then if you’ve never seen ‘Gardeners’ World’, you are missing a treat! It’s a very well-known and long-running TV programme in the UK.
I don’t watch TV, or not live TV very much – and in fact, I watch ‘Gardeners’ World’ on BBC iPlayer usually. Just a punctuation point – notice the apostrophe at the end of ‘Gardeners’’? Well, the apostrophe is after the final S, not in front of it, because there are more than one...or there is more than one gardener. And in actual fact, there are rather a lot of gardeners – viewing figures for Gardeners’ World have always been high, but they’ve risen a great deal over the last year. They were nearly 4 million last year for a single episode – 4 millions views!
Even my two daughters, who may stretch to have some enthusiasm for keeping houseplants, but who don’t do any gardening at all – well, they still love watching Gardeners’ World. I think that it is what’s known as ‘aesthetically pleasing’ – the gardens shown on Gardeners’ World are beautiful and inspiring. And the other element that people love are the presenters – particularly the main presenter – Monty Don.
Life begins the day you start a garden.
⭐ Chinese proverb
Monty Don is a 65 year old man, and a very experienced gardener. But he’s also a very soothing and relaxing presence, like a very nice uncle perhaps. He’s patient and has a great passion for gardening. And although he’s got a very big garden and is very accomplished at gardening, he’s always very interested and encouraging to people who know nothing about gardening, who’re just starting out. Monty Don has the sort of soothing voice which you might want to use for a Sat Nav in your car. I’m sure with Monty directing you, it would take away some of the stress of driving!
A photograph of a Mid section of woman holding sapling in garden. In todays soothing English listening practice lesson.
So Gardeners’ World is a long running series – ‘a BBC institution’ in its own right, perhaps we’d say. The programme has been going since 1968 – and obviously has had a number of different presenters in that time, including Percy Thrower, Geoff Hamilton and Alan Titchmarsh. But I think that Gardeners’ World is more popular than ever, in part because people like Monty Don so much.
There are other presenters too – and we have a lot of discussions in our house, about which ones are annoying, which ones make us laugh and which ones we like. And one of the elements of the programme which we particularly enjoyed was the adjustments last year, for the lockdown. There was obviously a discussion at the BBC about whether Gardeners’ World would continue, because it’s shot only a couple of weeks before it goes out. And it was decided thankfully that the mental well-being of the nation depended to some extent on Gardeners’ World continuing to run.
So in Monty’s garden, an elaborate system of tracks was set up – so that the cameras could be controlled remotely, without the need for anyone but Monty Don there. And if fact the camera operators apparently work from temporary buildings on Monty’s driveway, so as not to go against ‘social distancing’ rules.
The other element of the programme which changed last year because of the pandemic – viewers were invited to send in videos of their gardens and the plants that they were growing. And 100s of people did – many from the UK and many from other parts of the world too. Apart from Monty, this is the part of Gardeners’ World which we enjoy most – it’s really interesting to see other people, presenting their own gardens. Many children made videos and we were introduced to all kinds of people, some with large gardens, some with just a balcony full of plants and some with just a windowsill full of houseplants.
It was also quite emotional on the programme too, because Monty’s dog, Nigel, who is...or has been very much part of the programme, died. Monty has two other dogs – one called Nelly and one called Patty.
If you’re outside of the UK and you’ve never seen this programme, but you have even just a passing interest in flowers, plants, growing things and gardening, then give it a go. I’ve included a link at the end of the transcript for this podcast, which details how to access BBC iPlayer if you’re not in the UK. And the reason for my enthusiasm about it now?
Well, this programme only runs for the UK gardening season – so March to October. So I’ve been waiting for it to start again – so that I can be inspired to get out there and tend my garden.
So there you are – a suggestion of something to watch, in English so that you can continue to expand your English language learning. I imagine that you’ll be able to switch on subtitles as well if you need them – that means you’ll be able to have the words underneath, as you watch.
And if you find that all of this is a bit difficult and the podcasts are hard for you to understand, then don’t forget to have a look at our course, The 500 Most Common Words in English, so that you can make sure that you know the basic English vocabulary really well. This course is also useful preparation for speaking English – knowing the most common 500 words really well ensures that you’re able to start speaking and you have enough words to make yourself understood.
So don’t forget – check out the courses and podcast bundles on our website at adeptenglish.com. And check out Gardeners’ World.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.