Love Your Wildlife Garden

Love Your Wildlife Garden

Alan Titchmarsh tells us there are millions of ways to transform a garden as he introduces us to this weeks Love Your Garden Themed Special 2020.

In this series Alan is sharing his secrets to his favourite styles of gardens and the twist the Love Your Garden Team have put on each garden they have transformed.

In this week episode it is Wildlife Gardens and they are creating 3 different Wildlife Wonderlands.

David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Love Your Garden Team of David DomoneyKatie Rushworth and Frances Tophill and the teams of contractors all feature in these condensed garden transformations.

Alan says there is nothing more relaxing than hearing wildlife buzzing and chirping in your own back garden, whether in the countryside or the town.

He visits a garden tucked away behind a terraced house in Harpenden, Hertfordshire which looks like a nicely designed garden but its a wildlife haven.
wildlife haven.

Every part of the garden has been designed with nature in mind, there is a pond with sloping sides, perfect for frogs, hedgehogs and insects.

The garden's flowers are also mostly single flowers which the pollinators love as they are full of nectar and pollen.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alliums and ornamental thistles are good plants to have. 

If you get the garden right it will be alive with the sound of birds, bees and frogs.

Harri's Wildlife Garden
First shown as  Love Your Garden Series 10 episode 1, Alan Titchmarsh and the team visit Harri's family in Hull, East Yorkshire.

Since this episode was first aired, Harrison Torr sadly passed away in March 2020, my thoughts are with his family at the tragic loss of this truly inspirational young man aged just 16 years old. ❤

Alan arrives on the doorstep and the door is opened by Erica Torr who is left speechless by his arrival.

Alan Titchmarsh Erica Torr

The 'strange man on her doorstep' makes his way into the living room to meet an equally surprised Harri.

17 months ago Harri was tragically diagnosed with Osteosarcoma or Bone Cancer at just 15 years old and his Consultant Bob informed them Harri leg was not savable.

Following the amputation and treatment they were given the good news it had gone, and Harri had rung the 'all clear' bell and the family had been out to celebrate.

Unfortunately just 2 weeks later, scans revealed the cancer had in fact spread and 3 more operations were to follow to remove tumours from his lungs.

Erica just knew that he was 'not going to make it' and this was confirmed by the Consultant and it was terminal.

Alan Titchmarsh Erica Torr Harrison Torr

An emotional Alan speaks about how remarkable Harri is to come to terms with this diagnosis.

A tearful Erica speaks of how proud she is of Harri and how she couldn't cope without him.

When he is in hospital for treatment he helps other children and teenagers going through the same as him.

Sally Morrison, Ward nurse, talks about how inspirational and amazing Harri has been at helping others.

The top of Harri bucket list is a garden!

They have a big, square garden which includes a special bench made by Harri with his uncle and cousin.

Harri bench

Harri loves plants, a place for nature and a pond with frogs.

So the garden is to be for Harri, His mum, dogs, cats and wildlife, a place to be together but also to be alone when things get tough.

Garden before

Alan Trusty team arrive as well as the Landscapers to start this garden makeover.

Alan wells up as he says 'he is amazing' and remind him of himself at 15 as they share the same love of nature and wildlife.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan wants a garden not only for wildlife but also somewhere nice to enjoy it.

They are putting in lots of insect attracting plants to be viewed from a boardwalk down the garden and over the pond.

Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Katie has started work on her pond but the heavy clay soil means a digger is needed, but even that gets clogged up with clay!

Alan says a well designed pond is a great environment for wildlife and he visits a garden in Abergavenny Monmouthshire South Wales has a favourite pond.
Alan Titchmarsh

It can be tricky to get a pond just right, if you build one too big they take over and too small they are of no use to wildlife.

The pond in this garden blends in with the surrounding plants and borders.

There are 3 things to consider when designing a pond.
1. Location, don't put it in the corner under trees the leaves will make it stagnant, put it in the open.

2. Size, make it as big as you can, small ponds go green a lot quicker and allow for sloping edges for the wildlife to get in and out.

3. Planting, in the water you need oxygenating plants, floating plants for shade, Marginals for wildlife to hide in and on the banks bog plants to surround the pond.

Back in the garden, Katie lines the pond with sand to protect the Butyl rubber liner which she smooths out the creases and fills with water.

She says its at the ugly stage so patience and vision is needed.

Alan is creating a wall water feature for more wildlife he is placing 2 letterbox water cascades for water to cascade down into a reservoir below, which is then pumped back round.

Alan Titchmarsh

The wall is then tiled to hide the pipes and grouted.

At the bottom covering the reservoirs are different sized pebbles with pockets of planting of Irises to create a dry river bed effect for wildlife to drink from.

Katie is bridging the pond to Harri's shed using the same composite decking in a tapered zig zag design right over the pond.

To make the pond a wildlife haven she is adding pebbles and rocks to disguise the liner and create a beach entrance to the pond.

Katie Rushworth

Next the plants are added with the pond needing at least a third to a half coverage. 

She adds water spearmint, Club Brush to help oxygenate and Marsh Marigold for their yellow buttercup flowers.

David rushes over with something very important for Katie's Pond!

Its first inhabitant, a frog, ready to check out its new pad!


Alan is also giving the pet Gecko a new mini tropical paradise Vivarium with the help of Harri.

Frances is adding trees to the overlooked boundary to offer not only screening but for birds and pollinators.

She is planting a Crab-Apple Malus, a cherry Prunus and a Rowan, all members of the same family which are all great for wildlife.


Behind the pond Katie is planting a mini woodland of Birch trees to create dappled shade over the pond and shelter for birds.

Alan is planting up the area around his patio next to a bench seat with dense planting to create a retreat.

He is using Dogwood, Lavender, Rosemary and Sarcococca, the Christmas Box.

Dogwood, Lavender, Rosemary and Sarcococca, the Christmas Box

Final job is to give Harri seat a facelift before it is moved to next to the pond. 

David is giving it a quick paint wash and is impressed with the bench, Harri has made himself!

Finally the garden is finished.

The Grand Reveal

Harri and Erica open your eyes

Erica Torr Harrison Torr

'Wow' 'it doesn't look like our home' 'Gorgeous' ' It looks like someone else's garden' 'it's magic'.

The garden is now a mini nature reserve.

Finished garden

A boardwalk surrounded by planting.

Finished garden

A pond filled with plants.

Trees line the borders.

Finished garden

Lush planting for pollinators and a water feature.

Harri talks about the massive difference this is going to make to them, a kind of escape area, where he can be somewhere else.

Alan Titchmarsh  Harrison Torr

An emotional Alan says 'you're very welcome'.

Phillip's Wildlife Garden for his Family
Alan is in Durham to visit a family who have recently had a tragic bereavement.

Sam Hunter opens the door and shrieks not sure if at Alan being there or its the cameras she says she doesn't like.

Alan Titchmarsh Sam Hunter

Alan gets invited in to meet sons Josh and Ethan.

In 2008 Sam husband Phillip was diagnosed with Skin Cancer at the age of just 34 years old.

Stephanie Hunter, Phillip's sister talks about how devastating the diagnosis was.

Phillip Sam Ethan Josh Hunter

Sadly Phillip did not beat the disease and died just 6 weeks before this programme was first recorded.

Sam is now raising their 2 sons Ethan and Josh alone.

Alan speaks to Sam about the diagnosis and she says what a massive shock it was and at first they didn't tell the boys too much detail as they are only young.

She wanted them to have one last Christmas without this knowledge but then they talked to them and Ethan asked if his dad would be alive still for his birthday.

Garden before

Sam wells up and breaks down as she says she knew he wouldn't be...

It was Phillip's dream to have a family Wildlife garden so Alan and his team are going to do this for the family.

Garden before

The garden although quite small, Sam wants somewhere peaceful where they can relax and spend as much time outside as possible.

Ethan loves bugs and insects.

Sam says having the garden will mean they will  be able to come out into the garden and remember Phillip and all be together as a family.

The plot is 6 metre by 4 metre and Alan Love your Garden team and Landscape team are going to have their work cut out with this garden.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

One of the reasons they moved to this house is because there is a nature reserve at the end of the garden which is a real bonus.

Alan wants as much wildlife from the reserve to come into the garden except rabbits and to transform this families life with the garden.

Garden before

Alan starts by getting the back fence taken down to make the garden feel bigger by bringing the views and wildlife in.

He has gained permission to trim the hedgerow on the reserve to get a nice view of the nature reserve.

Alan Titchmarsh

They are building stone raised beds filled with plants to attract nature into the garden and leaving a lot of the hedgerow too.

They need to create lots of different areas for food as well as shelter.

Katie is making a pond that is suitable for a small garden using a pot.

Katie Rushworth

She has covered the drainage hole with bathroom sealant and a large stone so it is water tight.

First in the new pond is a dwarf Waterlily, next is a marginal plant, an Iris and she is also dropping in some oxygenators.

Stones are then added to form a step out of the pond in case any wildlife fall in and become trapped.


Katie adds a water treatment to the pond water before adding it and the pond will be placed in a sunny spot for the wildlife to find.

Alan visits the wildlife reserve at the end of the garden with Josh and Ethan to learn more about their love of nature.

nature reserve

Ethan says the wildlife reserve is full of animals like birds and squirrels and he wants animals to visit his new garden as well as somewhere for the family to relax and enjoy them.

To encourage the wildlife Alan says they should make some houses and they head off to do that.

They start with a bug hotel and drill into some wood and have bits to add like rolled up corrugated cardboard.

Alan Titchmarsh

Bugs are already in the hotel and they add bits of bamboo canes and leaves and old bricks.

By the back hedge there is now a new hideaway just for the boys to enjoy and study the wildlife outside and in.

Whatever the weather now the hedge has been trimmed they have a lovely view over the nature reserve and its lake.

David has been constructing some giant sized raised beds and soon they will be ready for planting up.

David Domoney

Big beds need lots of soil and once its all filled and levelled out it is time for the plants

It is to be filled with wildlife friendly plants and the raised bed makes it easier to get them planted.

They want the border to merge into the hedge so Alan adds Lupins to the back then Pervoskia as pollinators love it.

flower bed

Katie huge delivery has arrived and she wondering who going to carry it in to the garden and who going to plant it!

They manage to man handle the 100+ year old Olive tree into the back garden and takes pride of place and he cover the base with pebbles.

A few finishing touches and the garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal

Sam open your eyes

Sam open your eyes

'Oh my god' 'I can't breath' 'Ethan going to go crazy' 'hey both will' 'oh my word' 'fabulous' 

Lush wildlife attracting planted borders

Finished garden

A mini pond

Finished garden

A hangout to watch and learn about the wildlife

Finished garden

A bug hotel and boxes to encourage the birds and wildlife

Finished garden

A hot tub and Louvre style fence overlooking the wildlife reserve

Josh and Ethan see the garden for the first time

'Oh thats good' 'The garden seems so much bigger than it was' 'it doesn't look like our garden'.

Finished garden

The boys are straight away looking for the wildlife from their hangout they are hoping are going to move into their new wildlife haven.

Our biggest Wildlife Garden 
The final Garden is at Keech Hospice near Luton and Nurse Juliet Benson and her colleagues contacted the Love Your Garden team for help.

Keech Hospice Juliet Benson

The Hospice provides respite and care for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and has been doing this for over 20 years.

Alan arrives and gate crashes their weekly meeting much to everyone shock, he even gets applauded.

Keech Hospice

Nurse Juliet is quickly singled out and is brought blushing to the front of the room.

She says how she works in the Palliative Care Centre as a Nurse where patients come in for the day.

Juliet also looks after the little garden outside the Hospice with the help of her husband.

Alan asks if they would like it if they made them a larger garden that encouraged wildlife and butterflies and bees?

Alan Titchmarsh Juliet Benson

The whole room yells 'yes' and gives him another clap and he hasn't even done it yet!

Having an outside retreat will hugely benefit the Hospice and Alan takes a look outside accompanied by Nurse Juliet and Jack and his mum.

Garden before

Alan talks to George Thomas who was attending the Hospice and who has sadly died since this programme was made.

Rape FieldGeorge Thomas

He tells how watching the Rape crop grow in the nearby fields, the colour, brightness, warmth and smell of it he has absorbed it all as he has not much longer to live.

Alan is Joined by his Love Your Garden Team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill as well as the landscape team to help create this very special garden.

Alan tells them what a special place Keech Hospice is and how he wants an amazing modern wildlife garden for them to look out on and too enjoy.

love your garden team

In come the diggers to start transforming into the biggest wildlife garden the team have ever done.

It is going to feature Giant ponds, Full size mature trees, hedgerows and loads of wildlife friendly plants.

They start with the flower beds that are made out of Gabions filled with cobbles and stones making them a giant bug hotel too.

David Domoney

David is busy filling them up and tells us how they will attract a variety of different insects including 'the crunchies' Centipedes, Earwigs and Millipedes.

To the top layer of the Gabions he is adding logs and pine cones that will break down to provide food as well as hiding places.

David says you can use anything to fill it up as long as gaps are left for the insects, he is using tiles and wine bottles as an example.

Next the soil is added to the huge raised bed and David has found a little friend an Earwig!

Katie is ready with the plants for the bed that will provide food as well as shelter all year round.

Porcupine Grass

She starts off in the centre with Porcupine Grass which grows to 1.2 metres and the hollow stems in the winter can be used by insects to hibernate.

She is using lots of blue and purple flowering plants as the bees love them.

The last plants she puts in are Lamiums as they are full of nectar and late flowering Deschampsia.

mature trees

They are creating an instant bird habitat by using mature trees but they take some lifting and a digger is needed to move and plant them.

They are planting Sorbus or Rowan tree, a British native and Katie said that last year she had some rare Waxwings come to her garden to feast on the berries.

Alan and Katie get their waders on ready to plant out the large pond but Frances has forgot hers and just has some yellow wellies.

Alan Titchmarsh Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill

With Frances staying in the shallows, Alan and Katie wade into the pond and start placing the plants.

There are all sorts of pond plants from Watercress to yellow flowered Ranunculus.

Katie says she loves that pond plants are so different and shows a Carya Grey eye that has lovely seed heads and cotton grass.

Katie Rushworth

Alan tells us that marginal plants are vital for wildlife as they shelter in them and reproduce by laying eggs.

Irises, reeds and rushes have Damsel flies laying their eggs on the bases underwater and when hatched they climb up the leaves out of the water and fly away.

Alan Titchmarsh Katie Rushworth

With the theme for Jaws playing Katie lets lose a swimming fish toy and Alan tells her off saying no fish for 2 months until the pond settles.

The instant Hedgerow is planted next in a trench, which includes 10 different species to provide food and shelter.

Frances has a Hawthorn that is great for butterflies and bees when it flowers and then has fruit which is good for the birds.

David who is a bee keeper has got together some volunteers to help him put up some bug hotels and homes for solitary bees.

Bug hotel

Next its bird boxes and bird tables.

For those patients that are too poorly to come out David is adding cameras so they can monitor and watch the wildlife from indoors.

They add the finishing touches to this huge wildlife garden and its ready to reveal.

The grand Reveal
Open your eyes

Alan Titchmarsh grand reveal

'Wow' 'Oh' 'oh my god' 'that's gorgeous' 'not expecting that at all' 'oh this is going to get well used' 'oh yes the kids will love it'.

Raised beds filled with wildlife attracting flowers and homes for insects.

Finished garden

Hedgerows and trees.

Finished garden

The huge pond with seating areas.

Finished garden

As staff, family and service users spill out into the garden, all smiling and amazed at their new wildlife haven.

Alan says over the coming months the wildlife will move into the garden.


The Champagne corks pop as Alan proposes a toast to Keech Hospice and its wildlife garden.

This programme was dedicated to the memory of Harrison Torr and George Thomas and all the other patients at Keech Hospice that are no longer with us.

All photos Copyright of

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