Real Gardens: Episode 1

Real Gardens: Episode 1

Ann-Marie Powell - Stockport, Mike & Alison, back garden

In the outskirts of Stockport lives Mike Woodall a TV Engineer in a 3 bed semi, bought a year ago. 

With plans to redesign both the interior and garden over the summer.

 His fiancĂ©e Alison Buckley a Chef, who will move in after they are married next year both have lots of work to do in their 125ft overgrown garden.

Mike & Alison

They want a practical garden, suitable for Children in the future, a vegetable patch, herb garden and lots of colour.

The couple are both new to gardening but are keen, and with the help of Ann-Marie Powell  to personalise the garden for them.

Ann-marie Mike & Alison

The garden is a typical boring back garden, with lawn broken up by a central concrete path and a few flower beds, it also has some large trees blocking the lovely views beyond and the light. 

Behind the trees in a separate area is an old pond and some very boggy ground but the couple have plans for an entertainment area with decking here.


Ann-Marie gets planning, the boring lawn and path has to go and she likes the wild area at the end and wants to create a boardwalk over the bog and add some bog plants with running water.

Ann-marie Mike & Alison

First the trees need to go, underneath it is growing vigorously is Crocosmia x Crocosmiiflora Montbretia which they decide to reduce and keep. 

Using a pruning saw, bow saw and ropes to guide the tree to fall in the right place the tree is finally felled.


Leaving them with the job of clearing the old compost bins and rubbish at the end of the garden Ann-Marie leaves them to it until her next visit.

Monty Don - Norfolk, Bryony Martin & 4 children, Front Garden

The Jacklin  family live in a old farmhouse set in 3 acres in Norfolk, they moved there 5 years ago from London where they had a small garden.

Bryony has already drawn up plans for the garden. She lives her husband Martin who used to be a professional musician and their 3 children. Martin was attacked at their London home and as a result has been left severely disabled.


Bryony shows Monty Don around her garden, she has a collection of several unheated second hand greenhouse, frequented by her chickens. 

She is growing all the plants for the huge flower beds she has created in the vast lawn area.

Bryony  and Monty

Next to a huge pond is some boggy ground where she is hoping to create a bog garden to mirror the pond.


Monty discusses the plan to improve the view from Martins bedroom window. 

There are 2 lawns divided by a circular gravel drive at the front of the house. The plan is to remove some of the drive and join up the 2 beds. 

Bryony has drawn the plans already, there just the work to do, but not all of it by the end of the day, as Bryony hoped!


Helped by Bryony's son Christopher they start work shifting the gravel and kerbstones. 

Bryony removes all the self seeded plants and under the gravel is a layer of hoggin that will need lifting and the soil improving with mushroom compost.

Bryony  and Monty

Monty discusses the merits of digging your own soil as opposed to the no dig method, he believes this is the only way to really get to know your garden soil conditions. 

They plant Crambe Cordifolia Bryony dug up earlier after washing it to remove the ground elder.

Monty leaves them to finish the digging until his next visit.

Carol Klein - Felixstowe Suffolk, Diana, Plantaholics Garden

Diana Harold lives in the suburbs of Felixstowe, she has 3 grown up children and has lived in his present home for 5 years which is by the sea.

Diana Harold

Her garden was overgrown and she has had a battle to keep it cleared  but after retiring as a teacher at the local school, she now has more time for the garden.

Diana garden is on all 4 sides of her home and she needs help to control the garden and to find homes for the many plants she keeps buying.


Carol Klein is shown around by Diana and she can see the problems straight away in the woodland area. 

It is a jungle of plants that needs a walkway and Diana needs to decide what plants have to go. Her Aucuba Japonica (spotted Laurel) is to get pruned right back. 

A beautiful clump of summer Snowflakes Leucojum Aestivum needs dividing and separating, even though it is in flower it needs moving whilst in 'the green'. 

After splitting it up into separate bulbs it is planted in the woodland area. They plant the bulbs quite deep as it needs the damp and a mulch needs to be added.

Diana and Carol

The vegetable patch is next, which so far has proved to be less than successful. Diana seems to be late planting everything so needs to catch up. 

Indoors they sow cabbage seeds into trays which will be thinned out later. They fill a tray with water and soak the tray in it before putting on a cool, bright windowsill.

Monty Talks about Cowslips 


If you dig them up carefully and pot them and keep them in a cool place until Autumn. They will then be ready to plant out and will flower next year.

All Photographs are copyright of Channel 4

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