Real Gardens Episode 5

Real Gardens  Episode 5

In this weeks Real Gardens episode 5 Ann-Marie Powell is in Stockport, to visit Mike & Alison.

With the UK having the wettest April on record we return to Mike & Alison back garden from Episode 1 & Episode 3

The engaged, young couple are not only transforming their house but also their back garden for when they move in, after their wedding next year.

Mike & Alison

In the last episode Ann-Marie Powell helped them weave raised vegetable bed from hazel sticks and left them to complete the second bed. 

Chef Alison has already planted up the first bed and they have completed the second bed on Ann-Marie return. 

Pleased with how they have turned out they have however rushed the planting and just dumped the compost, bag and all in the bed and added potatoes to grow!

weave raised vegetable bed

At the end of the garden it has become very boggy with the recent rain. Ann-Marie wants to build a boardwalk to get over the bog. 

Ann-Marie plan is to use large logs levelled off with scaffold boards cut in half for the boardwalk. Using 2 planks on each she plans to stagger the boardwalk down to the bottom of the garden.

First they plot out the route, Mike and his friend John arrive to lug the logs into their resting place. Using a tiny spirit level they build up the ground underneath to level the logs. 

Once all the logs are bedded in they add the scaffold board in pairs. The boards are no longer than 6ft for safety. 

Ann-Marie Powell

In front of the first log they build a log step with the bark facing for effect. they test 'jig' the planks for safety.

With the Bog planting scheme to think about Ann-Marie leaves them to dance away on their new boardwalk. (not under the Boardwalk hopefully!)


Monty Don is in Norfolk, to visit Bryony Martin & their 4 children

In Episode 4  Bryony Jacklin started work on her Roundel in her 3 acre plot. She does have some help from her 4 children, in between being the carer for Martin her husband who is a musician.


Monty Don returns and is amazed to see the Roundel completely dug out as well as the surrounding beds. Bryony has even added an extra ring.


Todays job is to spring clean the pond Bryony has created under a willow tree in the boggy part of the garden. 

She is tackling this early as there is a duck sitting on eggs and she wants to do it before the eggs hatch.

Whilst discussing whether rubber is a usual outfit of choice for Bryony they both 'Don' waders!

Monty Don and Bryony

Using rakes, they sieve out the weeds, leaving them on the side of the pond for the wildlife to crawl back in, before composting the weeds.

Monty Don and Bryony

Monty can not see the attraction of a pond and watching the wildlife in it and has certainly never grown a water lily whose root he thinks is a turd. But he does like young nymphs apparently! 

I hope the water cools him down...…

Bryony wishes the pond was bigger but when planning a garden on such a big scale she didn't take the final size into account.

Once the mud settles the pond will look a lot clearer. To add to the pond she has Norfolk Reed Phragmites Australis and Glyceria Aquatica Variegata to clean the water. 

pond plant

A Water Hawthorn Aponogeton Distachyos is added to float on the surface. 

To make them duck safe they pin the Norfolk Reed to the bank. The Glyceria they pin down in the water. 

They use a log to put the Water Hawthorn into the middle of the spring fed pond.

pond plant

In the bog garden the Marsh Marigold Caltha Palustris and Golden Groundsel Liquiaria Dentata Desdemona are all doing very well. 

Not doing so well is the Gunnera which has been trampled by the ducks and the frost has got to it. 

Bryony has covered it in straw and wire netting rather than fleece as its free.

Monty Don and Bryony

On Monty next visit it will be preparation for summer, a meadow and looking at grasses.

Carol Klein is in Felixstowe Suffolk, to visit Diana, who is a 'Plantaholic'.

Returning to Plantaholic Diana garden from Episode 1 and Episode 3. Diana is a retired teacher who loves spending time in the garden with her granddaughters.


Carol Klein returns to the seaside garden that surrounds Diana bungalow where on the last visit they created a woodland path which has proved to be a big hit with the grandchildren.

Since Carol last visit Diana has been busy making the paths in her vegetable patch aided by her son Conrad and daughter Becky. 

They have shifted hardcore and using brick edges  formed gravel paths. 

Diana garden

Carol and Diana start the deep beds by digging in lots of well rotted manure after first removing the top soil which they put back over the manure. They leave this to settle.

Carol Klein and Diana

They start on a previously manured bed, as they are deep beds they can plant a lot. Beetroot and carrot seedlings have done well and they transplant the beetroot in a clump. 

Patio carrots are short rooted so the manure wont make them fork. Carrot flies can be a problem if the carrots are bruised as they are attracted by the smell. 

Physical barriers like wood or special fleece can help deter them.


Next to be planted are the chitted Pentland Javelin potatoes. They dig an 8 inch trench and add more manure before planting the potatoes sprouting end up. 

They back fill the trench leaving them raised slightly. 

They add chives to the bed  edges as a natural deterrent along with French Marigolds Tagetes. 

The grandchildren help to get them all planted.


Carol leaves Diana and her granddaughter to race around the garden and woodland path.

Monty Don on weeds

Monty Don

If you are an organic gardener the best thing to use on weeds is a hoe. Monty uses a Dutch hoe which he keeps sharpening. A circle hoe is good for delicate plants.


All photographs are copyright of Channel 4

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