Podcasts are everywhere. There's one about the unusual history of gnomes, one entirely about pens and even one dedicated to the underground (or rather, underwater) hobby known as 'aquascaping,' which is all about creating landscapes in home aquariums.
In 2019 7.1 million people were listening to podcasts in the UK which is the same as 1 in 8 people and an increase of 24% from 2018.
So what is so great about them? Co-producer of Candide's podcast Fresh from the Pod, Chris D'Agorne, who has racked up 33 days of podcast listening time over the past couple of years, has a few answers:
"With podcasts, you can have really niche content, and it allows people to go deep into a passion that they haven't had an opportunity to explore before.
"A lot of podcasts are just two people chatting, and you get to know someone over time."
With a hobby like gardening, an activity which people often do alone when they've got a bit of spare time, the podcast can also offer companionship throughout the day.
Immersing people in topical, entertaining content is, according to Articulate, a way to turn people into loyal community members.
The Growth of Fresh From the Pod
We've recently moved on from more short-form podcast pieces to producing more extended conversations between our presenter, Tamsin Westhrope, and exciting people in the gardening world and beyond.
It's this more in-depth, personal form of story-telling that researcher Paul Zak found in his 2015 study has a better chance of gripping the listener.
His team found that experiencing emotional tension when listening to a story causes people to produce a chemical called oxytocin which increases empathy.
Neurology aside, our listeners have increased tenfold as we've delved deeper into our guests' stories.
There's a part in Episode 4 where garden designer and nominee for 'Woman of the Year,' Ann-Marie Powell, talks about the lack of gender diversity in landscaping.
And in Episode 8, 84-year-old Sir Roy Strong talks about how events during his upbringing led to him embarking on an artistic career.
Why Did we Start a Podcast?
The podcast is, according to Lukasz Swiatek, a bridging medium that, "generates a sense of intimacy among listeners who are physically separated from each other, thus enabling boundaries of knowledge and context to be crossed."
Podcasts spark debate and conversation. If people learn something new and useful about gardening and share this with someone else, then we're using our skills and technology for good.
One of the real benefits of the podcast is how it brings all sorts of different people to Candide. With podcasts having such broad appeal, it's not always gardeners who initially start listening. It may just be the curious audio-lover looking for some new content to lose themselves in.
We also wanted to give a voice to gardeners and industry professionals so they could have the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with listeners.
Knowledge sharing is something we hugely value at Candide. We even have a whole team dedicated to it who are responsible for creating and sharing content for the community.
The Woman Behind the Waves
Our presenter, Tamsin, first became involved after meeting some of the Candide team at an event.
When asked what she enjoys most about the medium, she says, "it's more of an organic conversation, it's an unknown journey."
Despite the appeal of podcasts being a free-flowing conversation, she says she has learnt to "listen more than talk," which she finds allows people explore whichever avenues they choose to go down during the conversation.
Whilst chatting about the podcast to a well-known gardening TV presenter, it stuck in her mind when they told her how it is "wonderful that we can get our voice out there without going through traditional TV or Radio."
It's the honesty of the content that Tamsin thinks makes this podcast appeal to so many people: "It's good for people to know, yes anyone can garden but on occasion, it's quite challenging."