Alan Titchmarsh, eat your heart out!
Coronation Street actress Connie Hyde, better known as Gina Seddon, has revealed her secret hobby away from the cobbles – growing her own veggies!
The 49 year old says it’s the perfect way to unwind from her scenes, which can be tiring due to her character’s bi-polar disorder; a mental health condition that sometimes causes Gina to be hyper-active.
Asked how she switches off away from filming, Connie says she occasionally indulges in a glass of wine and enjoys yoga – but her green-fingered pursuit is particularly therapeutic.
“I have an allotment, and I’m a big gardener,” she reveals. “I grow vegetables – I’m not interested in flowers because you can’t eat them!”
“I’m growing some garlic at the moment and also some onions because they like the frost. And I’ve done purple sprouts. I did purple beans last year and when you boil them, they go green, which is a bit rubbish, so I presume the sprouts will do the same.
“But they’re lovely when you see them on their stalk. That’s usually my Christmas present to everyone – a dirty old sprout!”
The star says that that she sometimes brings her vegetables in for other cast members to enjoy, especially when she has a bumper crop.
“I did that with my courgettes, because you get a glut,” she says. “Some people appreciate it and others don’t!”
And she adds that she thinks it would be brilliant for her Weatherfield alter-ego to get an allotment, too, believing it would do Gina the world of good.
“That would be a great idea; I think it’s incredible for mental health,” she says.
Connie isn’t the only soap star keen on gardening. Real life Emmerdale couple Zoe Henry and Jeff Hordley, who play Rhona Goskirk and Cain Dingle on the soap, also have an allotment. The couple got green fingered when Jeff was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and was advised to avoid processed food.
Says Jeff: “I’m very good at growing vegetables. I grow broccoli, cucumbers, cabbages, kale, beetroot, rhubarb and onions – all sorts.
“Zoe and me, it’s our kind of downtime. It’s great fun.”
Jeff and Zoe pic: David Fisher/BAFTA/REX/Shutterstock