Wiltshire pair Ed and Alex are 'most competitive' in BBC's Big Allotment Challenge

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Alex Lomax and Ed Bond on their plot as they take part in the BBC's The Big Allotment Challenge Alex Lomax and Ed Bond on their plot as they take part in the BBC's The Big Allotment Challenge

A pair from Wiltshire have been labelled the most competitive of teams in the new BBC television show The Big Allotment Challenge, which is set to do for gardening what Bake Off did for cake making.

Teacher Ed Bond, 37, and his wife’s best friend’s father Alex Lomax, 68, had never gardened together before taking part in the show but they share a common love in organisation.

While other pairs jotted down their gardening plans on the backs of envelopes Ed and Alex used whiteboards.

They told the Daily Mail: “Why would you enter a competition and not want to win?

"We were competitive in an open way and if anyone asked us about our plans we'd generally tell them. And we helped another team out when they lost some seedlings.

"I'd say a few of the teams were probably even more competitive but with a more covert style.”

But they were emotional when they faced elimination and when friends in other teams were sent home.

Even these two had their teary-eyed moments, though.

"Erm yes, when we realised we were candidates for elimination and also when some of our friends went," says Alex.

The show which starts on Tuesday, April 15, at 8pm on BBC2 is a six-part series presented by Fern Britton. It was filmed during the growing season last summer at Mapledurham House in Oxfordshire.

They each had 15 weeks to work on their allotment for up to 30 hours a week in a bid to come up with prize-winning fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Most of the contestants spent their entire weekends there after a week doing their day job.

And not only did they have to be green-fingered - they also had to show culinary and flower-arranging skills.

Each week the contestants faced three challenges, ranging from showing off their radishes and making bouquets from flowers they've grown to coming up with delicious conserves made from their produce.

There expert judges were the Royal Horticultural Society's Jim Buttress, who looks at the quality of their produce, floral designer Jonathan Moseley, who gives the verdict on their flower arranging, and celebrity cook Thane Prince, who tastes their curds and jams.

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