Love Your City Garden

Love Your City 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.

Alan says 80% of us live in Cities with overlooked and noisy back gardens and yards, often with limited space.

Using clever tips and tricks any garden can become your own bit of Paradise and this episode he is showing us a Cottage Garden in Salford, a Family Garden in Manchester and Caribbean Style Garden in Nottingham.

David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

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

Alan says it might seem daunting to create the perfect garden in the City, all you need is some imagination.

The Churchill Arms a pub in Kensington, West London, the Landlord, Jerry O'Brian covers the outside of the pub in hanging baskets and plants.

The Churchill Arms

Alan meets Jerry and tells him he is astonished! Jerry says how the pub used to be bare when he took it over and thought he had to have a basket and some flowers.

It is a bit more than a basket of flowers! Jerry said every year, he added more, so now there is 50 window boxes and 44 hanging baskets.

The Churchill Arms

Jerry fills his planters with classic plants like Pelargoniums and Petunias so there is colour for the whole of the Summer.

Alan goes up a ladder to see the irrigation system he has installed.

Next is a 5 x 10 metre backyard in Bristol that a positive jungle of plants.

Jungle garden

The canopy is created using tall Palms and Tree Ferns. This helps screen off the noise and gives them privacy having such a tall canopy.

In a smaller garden down the road it has trellis, palms and balustrades are used to divide it in to small rooms that make the space feel very grand.

At a roof top garden they have managed to fit in not only flowers but fruit and vegetables all packed in and Katie went to visit in Series 10 Episode 2.

Roof top garden

Wendy the owner of the garden shows her round and she has added height to the garden with Pergolas and trellis to make use of every available space.

Katie says there is so much greenery within the garden you wouldn't know it was a balcony and she loves the trellis idea with the beans growing on it.

Roof top garden

Wendy also says it makes the plants at eye level so can see them even better.

She also adds being a small space also makes it intimate.

Caribbean Style Garden
Alan is in Lenton, Nottingham to surprise 36 year old, Foster Mum, Fiona Kirlew, who screams at the sight of him on her doorstep.

Alan Titchmarsh Fiona Kirlew

After calming down he goes in for a cuppa and to meet her husband Carl plus their 2 children Ashton and Kaya.

They have also cared for over 40 Foster Children who are vulnerable teenagers.

Former Foster Child, Marlon Boothe says she never asks for anything from them other than 'you don't fail yourself'.

Fiona Kirlew and family

Fiona's mum, Rose Kirlew, was a Foster Carer for 30 years and she inspired her as Rose says she grew up seeing her mum fostering and how rewarding it is.

Alan goes out in the garden with Fiona and straight away he is sliding on the slippery decking and gets his first look at the small unloved back yard.

Fiona Kirlew Rose Kirlew Alan Titchmarsh

He asks how important this garden is? Fiona says how important it is for the Foster Children as its space they can be free in.

Alan asks what her dream would be for the garden and she replies that 'if I had one little space just where the kids could chill she would be so happy'.

Garden beforeGarden before

All she wants for herself is a nice deckchair.

'Bring me back to Jamaica'!

The love Your Garden Team and Contractors arrive to start the garden transformation and set to work clearing the small garden.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan says he bets Fiona has more family than all of them together as she has her own 2 children plus 2 teenage Foster children and keeps in touch with all her 40 Foster children = big family!

How are they going to accommodate them all in such a small garden?

So the garden is to be a bit of a Jamaican Oasis but also be suitable for everyone.

Katie starts with the problem of the garden being over looked by attaching battens of wood to the top of the wall.

Katie Rushworth

The garden is to be broken up into rooms/zones using vertical timber boards so that you don't see all of the small garden at once.

To further define the different areas the boards are painted different bright colours but leaving one side of the wood natural and varnished.

Frances is constructing somewhere for the teenagers to hangout, a covered garden shelter in a private spot in the garden.

Frances Tophill

She has angled the roof and this is covered in corrugated steel and has guttering to the empty into the flower beds.

There is not much space in the garden for flower beds so David is using vertical planters attached to the wall.

He has bought a planting system made out of recycled plastic that has pockets for the plants and matting that goes straight into the  reservoirs for the water.

David Domoney

The end of the reservoirs are transparent so you can see when they need watering and as the water matting takes it straight to the roots this will keep the plants watered.

They are planting the living wall with ferns, Bergenias and Geranium Macrorrhizum.

The chill out room for Fiona Alan is adding a hammock and as there are no trees he adds some post that he concretes in to hang it from.

Katie Rushworth

The posts need to be very sturdy due to the tension of the hammock and Katie takes it for a test swing and does not want to get off!

In the border by the screening they are using architectural plants and tall climbers.

Alan and Katie are planting an evergreen Clematis, Early Sensation, and this is planted deeply as they can be susceptible to Clematis Wilt.

Clematis Early Sensation

They are also planting a Nandina Domestica, the Heavenly Bamboo of Japan which is not really a Bamboo but has lovely flower spikes and keeps in leaf all winter. It is not hardy but it is  sheltered where they are planting it.

Katie is planting a Carex which looks lovely next to it.

Frances is adding some plants to the Teenagers Chill-Out Room and she is planting Tropical, colourful plants like Geums, Day Lily or Hemerocallis which are indestructible and has new flowers every day.

Frances Tophill

She is also adding the Pink seaside flower, Thrift.

Just the finishing touches and the garden is completed.

The Grand Reveal

Fiona open your eyes

Fiona Kirlew

'Oh .... my giddy' 'feels like i'm at my Dad's house in Jamaica' 'oh my god' 'thank you'  

The garden is now a Jamaican escape from the City

Finished garden

A Teenage Chill-Out Zone

Finished garden

Family dining area

Finished garden

Fiona very own chill out hammock

Seating area

A living wall and lush colorful planting

Finished garden

Carl, Rose their Children and Foster Children see the garden for the first time and are amazed at the transformation.

Finished garden

Lots of hugs for Alan as more of 'the family' flood into the garden with huge smiles all round.

Cottage Garden
Alan is at a house in Manchester that shows just what can be achieved and it looks like your in a country cottage, not in the middle of the city.

Garden Designer Ann Britt has created a rural romantic garden and Alan is surprised to find this sort of garden when Ann gives him a tour.

Alan Titchmarsh Ann Britt

Ann says its their sanctuary and a mish mash of lots of scented plants that attract the insects and something of interest to see everywhere you look.

The water feature helps to disguise the sound of the City and arches covered in climbers create height and a barrier.

The Pergola takes your eye up in stages to the tree and brings scented plants to eye and nose level.

Ann Britt garden

Different coloured and textured plants have been used and this has made the space seem bigger and more exciting.

Having lots of plants crammed in is the key to Cottage Gardens with the hard landscaping like the paths providing structure.

Alan is off to Salford to surprise 2 identical twins Rita and Betty Mills, Rita had a fall a few months ago and Betty has had to look after as she has become housebound.

Alan Titchmarsh Betty Mills

A surprised Betty opens the door to find Alan Titchmarsh on her door step and quickly invites him in to meet Rita.

Rita is equally surprised to have Alan in their living room.

Alan Titchmarsh Rita Mills

'Double trouble' says Betty who were born and bred in Salford and are now 87 years old and have spent their lives fundraising for the community.

Friend, Jean Wadeson, says they believe they are here to help others and would give you their last penny.

Over the years they have raised tens of thousands of pounds.

Canon Anthony McBride, Former Dean of Salford Cathedral

Canon Anthony McBride, Former Dean of Salford Cathedral says what special people they are they are 'two in a million'.

They show Alan their 'garden' thats not really a garden as its completely slabbed over with a (grave) bed in the middle and an ugly garage wall.

Garden before

Alan says its 'horrible' and the twins agree and they are so happy when Alan says he is going to do a garden for them.

The Love Your Garden Team arrive as well as the contractors to start transforming this ugly garden into a beautiful cottage garden.

David starts work to cover the pebble dashed ugly garage wall with  no maintenance wood effect composite cladding.

David Domoney

Katie is also painting the fence in the same light colour to brighten it up Alan not sure of the colour but he is over ruled.

Next is a Pergola which will create height but without blocking views of the small garden, there is some debate to where it should be positioned. 

David Domoney Katie Rushworth

So Alan asks for it to be widened then it will be perfect, more work for David!

Frances has come up with an idea to help cancel out the traffic noise in the garden by making a water feature.

She has a fibre glass planter that fits in with the garden and she is adding a wooden support to it to have a pump water spout which will cascade water into the base.

Frances Tophill

She is spraying the pump black and the planter costing about £100 is cheaper than a bought water feature but a old tin bath or second hand container would also work.

To stop the garden appearing over filled they are using just a few varieties of plants for the planting scheme.

Katie Rushworth

Keeping to a simple colour scheme Katie is planting different forms of flowers to add interest like Scabious, Iris and Polemonium. 

To add height and Privacy to a garden Alan is planting some carefully selected trees like a weeping silver leafed pear that doesn't have much fruit but have beautiful silver foliage.

Alan Titchmarsh

Trees you should not plant in a small garden are Sycamore, Weeping Willow or Poplar as they get massive.

The final touches are made to the garden and it is completed.

The Grand Reveal

Rita and Betty open your eyes

Rita and Betty Mills

The dull concrete garden is now a vibrant cottage garden

'oh my god' in unison 'I don't believe it' 'oh i don't believe it' 'it's absolutely wonderful' 'oh i can't ....' 'are we in our house?' 

Soft coloured cladding to the garage and house

Finished garden

Light coloured paving

Cottage style planting

Finished garden

Pergola and Gazebo

Seating area

Finished garden

Kisses and hugs for Alan as their dream garden has come true.

A Family Garden
Having a small City garden when you have a family can be a challenge to fit everything in.

Alan is visiting a contemporary garden that has managed just that in this L shaped garden with areas for the children, entertaining and sunbathing.

Family garden

To do this successfully the areas need to be in the right place, be the right size and all link together.

The Dining area feels like an outdoor room as it enclosed with raised beds with cream rendered walls and a row of lovely Portuguese Laurel trees.

There is a strip of lawn for the children's play area as well as a sunny spot for sunbathing.

Alan is in Manchester to surprise a family who lives have been turned upside down after the birth of their fourth child.

Alan is at the Hospital to surprise Midwife, Lesley Chan, whose Colleagues have nominated her for a garden makeover.

Alan Titchmarsh Lesley Chan

Lesley is surprised during a meeting and after the initial shock declares she loves Alan.

Alan says he been told the garden is a state and Lesley says she wishes she had put some lippy on!

Lesley and Husband Darren already has 3 girls when Amelie was born with CHARGE Syndrome that has left her deaf, visually impaired and she has poor balance.

Lesley says all she needs is love and wants kisses and cuddles which is humbling.

Darren and Lesley Chan

Lesley works full time so Darren is a stay at home dad after giving up his career and beloved Rugby to care for Amelie.

She says Darren is an 'absolute hero' giving up everything he loved for his daughter.

So the garden they once all enjoyed has fallen into disrepair.

Before garden Alan Titchmarsh Darren and Lesley Chan

Lesley and Darren show Alan round the garden which is small and contains a dilapidated deck and lawn.

They explain because of the different levels, the garden is not suitable for Amelie and there are too many hazards.

With 6 of them in the house, they could do with the extra space, the garden would bring the family.

The Love Your Garden Team arrive with the Contractors to make this safe, family garden they can all enjoy again.

Alan Titchmarsh David Domoney Katie Rushworth Frances Tophill

Alan asks the team if they have all been on a diet to squeeze them all in the small garden.

In the small space he wants a dining area, a seating area and a play area, mission impossible!

David has started on the hard landscaping and is laying a patio. He says you have to make sure it slopes away so the rain water runs off into a border or a drain.

David Domoney

They are using a light coloured paving and David tests the run off by tipping some water onto the slabs.

They have managed to find room for a garden building right in the corner and has electricity, David demonstrates it also has windows by walking into one!

Katie has started planting a bed and has chosen a Viburnum called Popcorn. She is planting this to soften the garden building.

Katie Rushworth

She says every plant has a best side so she is undoing the ties on the plant to make sure it is at the front.

The border is in partial shade so all the plants need to be happy in these conditions like Christmas Box that is evergreen, flowers in January and smells amazing.

She is also planting a Fatsia Japonica which she is planting next to the window, very jungly.

Alan says a problem with City gardens is how close you are to the neighbours so he is planting Bamboo to form a screen.

It is best to use clump forming Bamboo so it doesn't spread to far and takes about 5 years to mature.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan is planting his at 1 metre intervals so that it already provides some privacy and he says the canes give a translucent effect and a sense of distance.

The variety he is planting is Red Panda, that starts off red before turning green and a way to keep them looking good is to clean up the stems but snipping off the lower side shoots.

Alan has an idea to add some height in the garden using the families old trampoline.

David Domoney

David is up-cycling it by using the steel outer hoops and he is drilling them and attaching them to each other to make a frame in the garden.

A bespoke arch can cost thousands but this is a very cost effective alternative and David gives it a coat of paint.

The low maintenance artificial lawn is being laid which will only need some sand put on it occasionally and a brush.

The arch is put up and secured into place and the finishing touches added to the garden.

The Grand Reveal

Lesley and Darren open your eyes

Alan Titchmarsh Darren and Lesley Chan

'Oh my god' 'no way' 'WOW' 'oh my god' 'that is incredible' 'oh, my god. It's just....' 'it's just.... stunning'.

Finished garden

The family garden is complete and an oasis for them all to enjoy

Family dining area

Finished garden

Garden room

Finished garden

Play area

Finished garden

Sunbathing and relaxing area

Finished garden

Tears flow when they see the water feature engraved with the words ' God gives special children to special mum's and dads'.

The girls see the garden for the first time, hugs, smiles and tears all round.

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