All Gardens Great & Small Season 1 Episode 1

All Gardens Great & Small Season 1 Episode 1

Miranda Hart introduces the programme All Gardens Great & Small with 'There's nothing more us Brits like than pottering around our gardens so my mother keeps telling me'! She then introduces her mother Dee Hart Dyke 'one of Britain's best amateur gardeners'.

Dee Hart Dyke and Miranda Hart

Miranda goes on to say that Dee assesses plants for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and is an expert on perennial plants and shrubs! Dee has also never left her garden for more than 4 days in a row.

For the past 27 years Dee has been a proud entrant in the 'little yellow book'. The National Garden Scheme (NGS) Handbook which contains all the gardens worthy of being included that are open to the public to raise money for charity.

The National Garden Scheme (NGS) Handbook

Sounds like a hard act to follow for beginner gardener Miranda!  

In All Gardens Great & Small, Dee will visit gardens up and down the country to visit gardens opening to the public, gardens big and small, garden fanatic owners of the green fingered variety and their many ups and downs. Not forgetting the British quintessential Afternoon Tea.

Whilst visiting this cream of open gardens, Dee will pick up tips along the way, get exclusive garden tours, and probably drink a lot of tea and eat endless scones (and more cream)!

Most challenging of all is to make a gardener out of a reluctant Miranda!

Dee is off to Kent and as a past assessor of gardens for the yellow book Dee knows all to well what people will expect from the garden. 

She says people travel to visit these gardens so standards do need to be kept up. Each garden needs to sustain 40 minutes of interest for the visitor.

Balmoral Cottage in Cranbrook, Kent

Balmoral Cottage in Cranbrook, Kent has an edge over other gardens, due to its stately home design. 

The entrance price at the time of the programme was £6 and the garden was open for 1 day a year only.

Dee declares the garden incredible but cant decide whether one of the many topiary animals is a dog or a cat! (CAT shouts Miranda in her commentary).

Next Chicken/squirrel is up for debate (I would say peacock).

Topiary Animals at Balmoral Cottage

Dee meets owner Charlotte Molesworth who has been shaping her topiary for 25 years.

Charlotte talks about the addiction of her topiary. It started when she got married to husband Don and they asked for Yew seedlings for wedding presents.

Using the yew as well as box that grew for cuttings this formed the structure of their stately garden.

Dee meets owner Charlotte Molesworth

Charlotte secret ingredient in her garden to keep it so healthy is Donkey Dung Compost! 
Sadly the Donkeys that once produced the dung for the garden have since died.

Dee mingles with the visitors, some visitor have even travelled as far as from Germany to visit and are sleeping in their car.

Dee Hart Dyke

Charlotte offers to show Dee the basics of topiary and they start with making a little bird.

Shears at the ready as well as more delicate tools they trim away at the bush.

The basic structure by the end has some shape but it could be a bird or squirrel?

Topiary animal

The visitor count for the day was 220 visitors and Dee has thoroughly enjoyed looking round  and appreciates the 33 years of hard work to make the garden.

Dee says 'gardening for many people is the perfect antidote to modern life, the sort of fast pace to life. 

You can't hurry nature, you can assist it but you cant hurry it and you have to work with the seasons and that gives a steady pace to your life in a funny kind of way'.

Charlotte and Don

Charlotte and Don have raised £1,331.30p. Well done and Miranda's last words 'It's a cat'!

Dee has a 3 acre partly walled garden at Hambledon House in Hambledon, Hampshire and has been in the yellow book for 27 years. 

Dee's secret according to Miranda is discipline, unruly plants are not tolerated!

Hambledon House in Hambledon, Hampshire

Dee states she likes to be in control of her garden, whilst deadheading an offending plant Helenium Sahin's Early Flowerer! 

Deadheading is very important to encourage continuous flowering until the first frosts. 

It easy to see what is dead and they need removing right to the bottom of the flower shoot, not just the head.


The garden has been part of their family life and Miranda especially liked the peace in the garden and found it relaxing. 

She used the garden parlent (talk) in sketches in shows at the village hall she put on so also found amusement in the garden as a child. (Still does by the amount of puns!)

Dee is pruning a Deutzia Pulchra which needs to be done immediately after flowering. Dee says she quite eccentric in her belief shrubs respond like humans do and will like a good pruning!

Dee thinks even Miranda's 30ft by 20ft garden in London could make it to the Yellow Book. Size is no barrier but Miranda cant even manage to keep a plant alive.

Miranda Hart's Garden

Dee says you hope your children are as keen a gardener, but sometimes it skips a generation to your grandchildren! 

Miranda believe gardening may pass down through the family but she has a 'Mutant Gardening Gene'.

Miranda would like Dee to transform her garden into an oasis but Dee has other plans … Namely Miranda has to do it!

Dee mission is to make Miranda into a gardener before the end of summer.

Dee Hart Dyke and Miranda Hart

Dee starts by looking at Miranda's existing plants and Miranda does not know what she has got. Plants and weeds all merge into one in Miranda's garden. 

Climbers are identified only because they climb! Dee declares them 'rampant' Cue for an innuendo! Trachelospermum 2nd cue! 

Variegated Ivy next which will need constant cutting back. Miranda spots Bluebells which Dee declares are Spanish and need to go.

Spanish bluebells

First job is to clear all the borders, pants and weeds identified to go and the Wisteria needs to be cut back as their are dead trails everywhere. 

Cue 3rd innuendo of a hefty fellow needed to deal with Rampant Miranda (and her garden).

A cup of tea in the garden is needed to recover from hearing about all the work that needs doing for the reluctant Miranda. 

Chatu Winchmore Hill, North London

New entrant to the yellow book, chartered accountant Chatu in her end terrace house in Winchmore Hill, North London. 

Her 24ft by 15ft garden is an urban sanctuary.

Chatu has layered her garden to get the cottage feel and has a huge silver birch towering over the garden. 

woodland perennials

Cornus Dogwood and Cercis Canadensis Forest Pansy at mid height, and under planted with woodland perennials.

There is loads crammed into this garden including the kitchen sinks that have been repurposed as small ponds. 

She wants it to look natural, like going for a country walk.

Sink Ponds

A flurry of activity is going on but one problem is a very sickly Hydrangea right by the entrance! 

Not the best first impression to make. It is suffering from Aphids, frost damage and Fungus. 

Other plants and shrubs are slow to burst into flower including her Muscadet Lily.

Muscadet Lily

Chatu is new to gardening and has attended an evening class and feels she has a lot to still learn. She hoping for sun to hurry up her blooms.

Dee is off to see a garden that's been open for over 20 years and has been awarded the NGS Golden trowel! 

The garden at Astley Towne House is in Astley, Worcestershire in the West Midlands.

Astley Towne House, Astley

Tim and Lesley Smith have lived there for 26 years and the inspiration for the garden lies in the very eclectic collections of Tim. 

From fine portraits to exotic nuts its full of curiosities and the gardens are the same. 

Tim Smith

Dee is excited to visit the 2 1/2 acre garden that Tim looks after himself. 

Tim leads Dee through a bamboo forest and she declares that it feels like she is abroad.

Tim said 26 years ago it was an overgrown garden with just the yew and beech trees still remaining today, everything else Tim has planted. 

Astley Towne House

Dee spots a huge Hosta that is loving the sandy soil.

Tim says the most important plant in the garden are his Trachycarpus Fortunei to give the jungle effect.

Builder Tim has created some follies around the garden including a safari lodge minus the Wildebeest but it does look down onto the Bananas! 

Astley Towne House

The nude figure joining them is not mentioned by Dee.

Tim's jungle look was created by using Japanese Oriental Golden Banana and Golden Bamboo and includes more follies including a woodland temple.

Stepping stones over the water

Stepping stones over the water then leads them to the next folly an underwater themed shell folly including Poseidon and a mermaid based on his mother-in-law.

underwater themed shell folly

Tim garden is open today for its 21st year and the garden has raised over £25,000 over the years for charity. 

Dee describes it as a wonderful tropical paradise. It requires huge dedication and is non stop work for Tim.

Time for some facts from Miranda: 12 million of us Brits regularly garden. 

We spend over £30,000 on our gardens over our lifetime (don't tell the missus) and 370,000 of our back gardens have made it into the Yellow book! (No chance)

Miranda Hart and Dee Hart Dyke

Dee pops back to Miranda's West London garden to see how she has been getting on, complete with plants. 

Miranda has done nothing, well except to pay someone to clear her weeds!

All that's left is a Bay tree root to come out! then the bed is ready for planting with the Fatsia Japonica Dee has brought. Miranda likes it as it looks exotic. 

Dee has also brought her a Convolvulus Cneorum and Heuchera 'Obsidian' to go into a pot because of Vine Weevil. 

Dee assures Miranda its been treated with Nematodes which seems to make it more hysterical! 

Watering heuchera

After describing how the Nematodes are activated with water to attack the Weevils Miranda now believes its all just been made up for the benefit of beginner gardeners!

Miranda dons the garden gloves and waters the Heuchera and then has a watering Rose explained to her.

She tips out the plant and teases out the roots under strict instructions.

Dee checks for Weevils, which Miranda likens to looking at someone's bottom for worms. 

Heuchera is planted and watered some more.   

Miranda Hart and Dee Hart Dyke

Miranda says she started to appreciate plants and their beauty and looking forward to having something she has created. 

Dee is off again on her travels this time to visit Julian Clary, who she describes as 'jolly naughty'.

Julian offers her a cup of tea and a chocolate finger (and we are off)! 

Julian Clary and Dee Hart Dyke

Julian takes Dee into the garden which she describes as glorious. 

The house was once home to Noel Coward who from 1920-1950 threw huge parties in the garden. 

Julian has restored the garden with help of his gardener, over the last 8 years.

Julian shows Dee his Peonies and describes the process of bursting into life as quite sexual.

Julian Clary and Dee Hart Dyke

Julian doesn't like working in the garden but enjoys the garden.

Julian grandfather had a beautiful garden in Norfolk and asks Dee about her start in gardening.

As a child she was given packets of seeds and recalls the excitement of growing them.

Julian Clary and Dee Hart Dyke

Julian says he is a recluse and she lucky to be here and this is the other side of his life, the private side.

Julian says to tell Miranda they are joining a nunnery together and will be free, free from it all.

Then off into the house for a sing along with Dee playing on Noel Cowards Piano. No doubt chocolate fingers will follow shortly!!

Dee Hart Dyke Playing the piano

šŸŽµ Don't put your Daughter on the stage Mrs WorthingtonšŸŽµ

Dee returns to Chatu and her North London Garden, who is busy baking cakes way into the night.  

Chatu baking cakes

Chatu also has plants to label even after an accident with a bamboo cane in the eye! 

This is done by torchlight in the garden and I hope her sponge hasn't burnt!

The big day at Winchmore Hill has arrived and she is doing the last minute jobs to be ready for the opening. 

Winchmore Hill

Dee arrives early to give her support and to tour the garden. 

Dee says the small countryside inspired garden is amazing and the flowers Chatu was hoping for, have burst into life.

The Hydrangea problem has been solved by growing a Rhodochiton next to it, allowing it to climb up it. 

Chatu garden

Chatu opens her doors and is pleased to see a lot of visitors. Dee chats to the visitors and mingles in the confined space, all admiring her interesting collection of plants. 

The visitor total was 215 and £891.00 raised for Charity. Well done to Chatu.

Dee thanks her for a lovely afternoon and heads home.

Dee says the garden that has stood out the most in this programme is Astley Town House and loves the jungle planting and the quirky buildings.

Gardening is a leveller a shared passion and brings people together.

Dee Brings Miranda a present

he programme ends with Dee bringing Miranda a present, her dodgy Topiary bird / cat / squirrel! Miranda pretends to be thrilled.

All photographs copyright of Channel 4

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