THEY have been gardening together for decades.

Green-fingered Eleanor Waterhouse and Kate Bennett met more than 30 years ago when they were both pregnant with their first children.

Over the years their friendship blossomed, and they can often be found planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables in Kate’s garden in Morestead.

But now the best friends are putting their gardening skill to the test on national television.

The two 63-year-olds from Winchester are going head-to-head with 16 other gardeners on new BBC Two show The Big Allotment Challenge, hosted by Fern Britton, which started last night.

Eleanor, a retired university lecturer and Kate, who recently retired as a teacher at Shakespeare Infant School, Eastleigh, face challenges including growing vegetables and making jams and chutneys from their produce.

Eleanor, a grandmother-of-one from Elm Road, Fulflood, said: “I’m really looking forward to watching Jonathan Moseley, the flower chap showing us how we should have done the flower arrangement challenge.”

Each week judges will decide who leaves based on their performances.