Love Your Garden Series 9 Episode 7 A Healing Family Garden

Love Your Garden Series 9  Episode 7   A Healing Family Garden

In Love Your Garden Series 9 episode 7, Alan Titchmarsh is in Pontypool South Wales to surprise a family. 

Mum Karran Garlick is not in but as Alan rings the doorbell he is hoping Dad Chris Garlick and the children are in.

The door is opened by 6 year old Mairwen, who led Alan to meet and surprise her Dad Chris. 

Mairwen opens the door

Mum Chris is a Chiropractor and Chris before his devastating illness was a Physiotherapist and Sports Masseuse.

A shocked Chris is out in the garden along with daughter Molly and son Daniel. 

They face time a very surprised Karran at work so she can join in the special surprise Alan has in store for the family.

a Facetime call to Karran

Chris tells Alan that 2 years ago he was busy doing up the family home and he was feeling a bit fluey. 

Karran was doing a return to nursing practise and had recently done a course on Sepsis and recognised the signs. 

Chris had already gone into septic shock fighting off Bacterial Meningitis and his organs were shutting down. 

The doctors had to put Chris in a coma for 2 weeks and Karran was told to say her goodbyes.

Alan speaks to Chris in the garden

Because of the Meningitis his body had diverted the blood from his peripheral limbs which meant the only option if he was to survive was to have his hands and feet amputated. 

Thinking of his wife and family and his life, his 4 limbs were removed in July 2017.

With a positive attitude Chris, was not going to let this devastating disability hold him back.

Jason Preece, Junior Charge Nurse at Morriston Hospital talks about how inspirational Chris is and the courage he has to carry on fighting and his work to raise awareness.

To raise awareness of Sepsis and its symptoms Chris gives talks to the community and Medical Professionals.

Chris gives talks to the community and Medical Professionals.

Friend Rachael Buttweiler talks about how Chris now struggles to spend any time outside with the family and needs Karran or a care to help him access the garden.

Vanessa Browning, Chris's Sister talks how therapeutic it will be for him to be outside and hear the birds sing and get some fresh air and mostly to just  play with his children.

Chris talks about how hard it has been for the children, they will cling to him and they don't want him to go back to hospital.

Alan and Chris both get emotional when Chris says how tough that is for them all.

The Garden

Karran and Chris Garden

Chris wants somewhere the children can play and use, they have a huge garden and they are not able to use it.

Alan states he 'has never seen anything as daunting as this'.

The garden is very big, overgrown and full of rubbish its a mountain of a task to get it all done!

The garden is full of rubbish

Alan asks about access for Chris and his wheelchair as they are by a very busy road. 

The problems he has with access has made Chris a prisoner in the tiny bit of garden he can access. 

He really wants to get out in the garden and he stuck on his tiny patio like 'Billy no mates'.

Access to the property

Alan is spurred on by this and he promises he will get this garden done, however many obstacles there are.

As the family are packed off, the large Landscaping teams arrive as well as Alan Titchmarsh team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and  Frances Tophill all looking a bit daunted by the scale of the work needed.

David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and  Frances Tophill arrive

This will be their most difficult garden ever and the plot is huge measuring a quarter of an acre. 

It also has lots of level changes rising over 7 metres from bottom to top and it all needs to be accessible by Chris's wheelchair!

Davids job is to tackle the accessibility in this jungle of a garden. 

To access the garden it means crossing the busy road so a new safe access from a quiet back alley is needed.

The children play area is also on David's list.

Katies job is to extend the patio for a dining and entertaining area. Also to quieten the noise from the road

Frances job is to do an area just for Chris, a retreat for healing.

Alans job is to link all the areas together, a hub right in the middle of the garden where everyone can meet.

A digger is needed for the garden

A magic wand is not needed but maybe a machete! 

Everything in the garden except the mature trees are to go, so in come the local rugby team the Dragons to help!

A Work in Progress

has discovered an old bricked up gateway into the garden under a laurel bush. 

Bushes cleared and the wall sledgehammered down, they have a new access.

David uses a sledge hammer to break down the wall

David is building his play area around a giant Norway Maple and is using rustic tree trunks to build the tree house around the tree and  not touching it. 

It also has a rope walkway.

David building a tree house

The access sloping path is nearly 30 metres long from the new access, to the house. 

To retain the soil at the side he is making a wall with sleepers placed vertically and sloping in size.

Around the play area David plants Bamboo, Phormiums and Cordylines. 

The totem pole

Garry Turler a Chainsaw Artist is making a 10ft Totem Pole for the play area  and the children are painting their faces on it!

For the play area Alan has got 3 huge palm trees including a Chusan Palm Trachycarpus that need craning over the garden and manhandled into the garden! 

a Palm tree is laid

The lawn is then laid around them. 

A self binding gravel path is then laid.

Frances is working on the middle section of the garden and is building a retreat for Chris. 

The building is painted black and because it is a large building will hopefully block some traffic noise. 

The building looks like a shepherds hut and will have planting pockets in front of it.

Chris retreat is built

Frances is hollowing out some small tree stumps to make a stubbery. 

She fills them with native ferns for a woodland theme.

Frances plants tubs of Lavender

Frances wants the area to be nurturing for Chris and be for his general well-being. 

She is planting some tubs with plants and herbs including a Lavender called Tiara, Catmint, Lemon Balm, Sage and Rosemary. 

She also plants a Rose 'Mortimer Sackler'.

Physiotherapy area in the building

Inside the garden building, a physiotherapy area complete with treatment table completes the retreat.

Katie is working on the large deck by the house is starting to take shape and will include a water feature, of water coming out of a water blade to disguise some road noise. 

Water feature bench

The water feature also doubles as a bench using shot blasted sleepers making a 50cm height bench / water feature.

 Behind it will be a beech hedge.

Plants along the sloped path

Katie is planting the bed that runs down the side of the sloped path to her decking area. 

She wants it to look natural and compliment Alan's bed. 

She plants Geum in clusters, Anthriscus, grasses and blue Salvia are added in natural looking drifts.  

Geum, Anthriscus, grasses and blue Salvia

A long table and bench seating finishes off the dining area.

Alan is working in the hub area and has created a retaining wall of vertically placed sleepers, which will form the back of a seating area. 

Sleepers along the back of the seating area

At the back is a sloped planting area. Alan plans a mini woodland to help the soil from slipping down. 

He plants a mixture of  trees, including Silver Birch, Maple and a Hawthorn 'Crimson Cloud'. 

Next they make some terracing with Logs from the site to plant behind. 

Alan plants a hedge using the evergreen Griselinia.

Seating area

The seat is formed using vertical sleepers arching the curve of the retaining sleepers and wooden seat supported on bits of wood attached to the back.

Planting directly behind the seating area is some shrubs and perennials including nearest to the seat, Catmint, Hebes and Heuchera. 

Shrubs and perennials are planted

Further up the slope he plants a Scotch Burnet Rose.

Alan finishes off his Hub seating area with a firepit made out of the stone found in the garden. He then places a Corten Steel fire bowl in the centre a metre from the seat.

Alan heads off for inspiration to Nant Y Bedd a Welsh hillside garden in the Brecon Beacons, Black mountains.

a Welsh hillside garden in Nant Y Bedd

40 years ago the owners were faced with the challenge of making the steep hillsides, ravine like valleys and mature trees into a garden. 

They have had fun in the garden building rope bridges and working with the landscape.

The sloping garden at Nant Y Bedd

They have used the slopes, starting with the big trees at the top and using the gradient to its full advantage, planting in decreasing heights. 

At the bottom the design is more formal made up of small shallow terraces filled with cottage plants that are natural.

The pond at Nant Y Bedd

The buildings even merge into the landscape as they are planted black and aged. The further from the house the wilder it gets.

Alan spots a treehouse that blends into the tree!

David visits novice gardener Shona Beats who wants to create a fun play area with a budget of £20.

a bamboo teepee is created

She has a plan for a tepee and a fairy garden. 

Using bamboo canes to form the frame and Nasturtiums to grow quickly to cover it.

6 Weeks ago Father in law Nigel and daughter Mila, sowed some sweet peas and they are added to the tepee poles.

Fairy garden

Grandad Nigel job is the fairy garden and using a oak barrel and plant pot. 

 He fills it with dirt and fairy furniture and plants the garden has been transformed on a budget!

Mila loves the teepee

The fairy garden is a success and Mila loves it.

What the garden means to Chris and his family

Alan meets with Chris and Karran at a local pub to talk about Chris prognosis.

Chris says he has a few ongoing problems with his legs from pushing himself so hard.

Chris talks about his illness

Alan talks about before his illness Chris was like any healthy mid 40s husband/father and in just 6 weeks after his diagnosis he was told he would be a quadruple amputee.

Chris talks about how the doctor told him he was going to lose all 4 limbs. 

Karran with tears welling up recalls how they looked at each other and Chris said 'Don't let them take my feet, I will never walk on sand again'.

Karran talks about Chris illness

The tears flow from them all as Chris remembers that awful day and how tough it was.

Alan says you had to find a way through this for your wife and family.

Chris said he felt dreadful for putting his children through this.

Karran says how this has changed their whole attitude to life and just how short it is. 

You need to live every day as much as you can.

Alan talks to the couple

Alan asks what difference is the garden going to make for Chris.

Chris says for the children to have something to do in the garden will help them all. 

Chris has Post Traumatic Stress and has good and bad days and tries not to let it effect family life. 

The garden will heal him just being outside with the fresh air and birds tweeting. Also some space for him to be alone.

Whole team photo

The Grand Reveal

Chris can now access every part of his garden, including a new safe entrance into the garden.

Chris and Karran Open Your Eyes

The garden is revealed to Chris and Karran

Gasp 'Oh my goodness' 'Oh wow' from Karran. 

Chris is initially speechless and teary.

Chris and Karran's new garden

Karran still the only one talking 'oh look at the colours' 'look at that... oh my god' 'look at all this area for you' 

Chris finally manages to speak 'I don't believe it' 'that's incredible' 

As Chris makes he way into an area of the garden he has never been before.

Chris and Karran's new dining area

He cant believe its the same garden.

Alan tells them that 53 people were in the garden helping this afternoon.

Chris new garden cabin

Chris easily negotiates the sloping path and sees his cabin and treatment table.

He breaks down. Then upwards to the children's play area and he spots the palm tree and totem pole.

Childrens play area

Fresh air and the fire and hugs all round and of course more tears.

The children run in to cries of 'oh my gosh' which quickly turning to cries of delight at their play area and garden!

A Local choir sings in the garden

As friends, family and the whole community flood in, a the local choir fill the garden with song, as champagne corks pop, laughter replacing tears, in this healing family garden! 

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