Peter’s finds his green fingers as new hobby takes root

Peter MacQueen and his dad Graham hunt for seaweed near Easdale.

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Former Oban man Peter MacQueen has discovered his green fingers during lockdown and a series centred on his gardening exploits will be broadcast in the new year.

Gàrradh Phàdruig/Peter’s Garden will start on January 4 (8.30pm) on BBC Alba, followed by five weekly episodes.

Now living in Glasgow, Peter, son of Graham MacQueen of MacQueen Bros Ltd, attended Rockfield Primary School and Oban High School, and studied Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the University of Aberdeen.

His first job in the media was as a presenter on Dè a-nis?, a children’s magazine show which ran for 21 years, before he took a position behind the camera as a director and producer.

Gàrradh Phàdruig is his first foray back onto the screen and came about because his back garden was an ’embarrassing mess’.

Taking up the story Peter told us: ‘In January this year I decided that I was going to do something about it but little did I know that lockdown was coming, which meant that I had a lot more free time for gardening than I otherwise would have had.

‘Like many people around the country – gardening was a very welcome pursuit in the time of Covid.’

Peter’s dad, his Seanair, also called Peter, and Granny Sadie were all keen gardeners, and episode one documents a visit to Oban when Peter’s dad takes them out in his boat to collect seaweed on the shore near Easdale to use to improve the soil.

Gàrradh Phàdruig, follows Peter’s progress as he sets about transforming his back garden in the heart of Glasgow from a messy, neglected disaster zone to productive – and aesthetically pleasing – outdoor space.

Filming across the growing season Peter learns about garden design, construction, planting, integrating ornamental areas with food producing beds, best practices and shared know-how from the wider green-fingered community.  There will be a few visitors calling in to help Peter with bigger jobs and catch the craic over a cup of tea by the potting shed – everyone is welcome to give a helping hand.

With a little help from his friends, including Seòras, the West Highland Terrier,  Peter carries out a makeover on his steep, south facing garden and transforms it into his own wee bit of Eden.

‘Westies love to get their paws dirty,’ said Peter, who admitted that the experience had been truly life changing.

‘If I can do it, then so can anyone,’ he added.

‘Having a garden that you enjoy spending time in is better than having an extra room in your house.

‘There is something equally elitist and penny pinching about harvesting your own food that makes the back garden a hipster’s paradise.’