Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 1 A Stately Garden

Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 1 A Stately Garden

Alan Titchmarsh is back for this episode which is the first of Love Your GardenSeries 11 although they were not shown in number order. 

He starts the programme by saying 'this year Britain has fallen head over heels for gardening'.

So Alan is back and shocking our unsung heroes on their doorsteps and transforming their gardens as well as sharing tips and tricks for your own garden.

But series 11 is different they are transforming not one but two gardens with the help of new Love Your Garden Team member Danny Clarke

Alan is in a village near Taunton in Somerset to surprise Mel who works as a Manager at a Royal British Legion Care Home.

He is sneaking round her back garden to have a look and there she is in the garden hiding behind her hands screaming 'oh my gosh'.


Lorna Mel's Colleague says she makes such a difference to peoples lives, 'she's our rock' and she loved by all the residents.

Charmaine Mel's daughter says even though she works long hours she also got her Grandad to look after and make sure he is alright and does all his care needs.

Alan and Mel

Mel says her Dad is not well and his health has got worse over the last 6 years since her Mum sadly died and she breaks down and says he a proud man and tries to do things for himself.

Theodore Mel's Dad thinks she does far too much, but Mel thinks she does not do enough.


Lorna thinks it be nice to have something done for her as she always thinking of others.

The Garden
Alan says the garden has an interesting layout and a patio of triangles made up of slabs and gravel creating weird paths and shapes.

The Garden

Mel explains it was done 19 years ago and at the time she ran out of slabs hence the strange design.

The rest of the garden is made up of Lawn, a shed and a Barbecue area and a decking sitting area.

Alan asks her what her ideal garden would be and Mel would like more flowers and colour and a bit more designed.

The Garden

He then asks what difference it would make to have a new garden, and Mel says after working long hours she wants somewhere to relax.

Alan says you have a pretty exhausting job and Mel says the British Legion Care Home has 30 beds for ex Service Men and Women or dependants and they all have Dementia.

She says even though it is tiring its a very rewarding job and thats why she does it as well as loving the role.

The Garden

Alan wants to see what the view is like beyond the garden and he climbs up on the decking and declares she has the most glorious view behind the high fencing.

He says with the sloping fields its like a view from a Stately Home, a Capability Brown landscape so 'incapability Titchmarsh might have a go at doing something similar'.

So the new garden will include a borrowed view that she wont want to leave.

Alan surprises Mel again by declaring they are also going to makeover the Care Home garden too and give them somewhere nice to sit too.

Dunkirk Mews

It is the British Legion Centenary so it is an ideal way to celebrate with a new garden, now he just has to let the team know what he told Mel they were doing.

Design Concepts
Alan is visiting Bowood House in Wiltshire which is a Georgian Stately Home with the most glorious gardens and landscape.

Bowood House

The vista is stunning and the garden has Irish Yews planted in straight lines for structure but they have gone wonky being over 100 years old.

They flank the paths and borders giving symmetry to the garden.

A Parterre featuring the Yew columns and clipped hedge borders filled with tulips and central fountain is designed to be seen from the first floor of the house.

Bowood House

An idea he is going to use is a cutting garden in Mel's garden so she always has flowers.

The real delight in this garden is not the many statues, fountains or even planting but how it blends with the landscape beyond.

The garden top terrace is very formal and as you come down the levels it becomes less formal and right at the bottom its the countryside but its not completely natural.

The landscape was designed by the most well known landscape designer Lancelot Capability Brown.

Alan starts his design for Mel's garden and wonders how he can translate this garden into hers?

Bowood House

He will use the same principles in her garden but on a smaller scale when it comes to the content!

The first part will be a terrace with a view to the landscape beyond straight down the garden.

It will have a cutting garden for all seasons for Frances to do.

A Parterre and sitting area for David to work on.


Alan will work on the end of the garden and blending it into the landscape to borrow the view replacing the fence with a hedge.

Seating, paving, water features, Topiary and fruit beds are all added to the plan.

A Work in Progress
Alan calls in his troop of Contactors 'the flying barrows' and his Love Your Garden Team Members 'First Lieutenants' David Domoney and Frances Tophill.

David is demolishing the back fence with a hammer and welcomes in the lovely view, Frances is trying to help him take the posts out but they prove to be well stuck in the ground.

David and Frances

He now laying the paving in a Parterre inspired design and to create the pattern he is using the same slabs they are using on the patio but he is edging the design with some Pavers.

It will look its best from the upstairs windows and instead of the traditional plants they are using hard landscaping by just cutting the material to the design.

David is using a design hack to create a Sun dial for the corner of the garden and he has the Sundial top which is slate bought on line for approx £30.

Sundial top

It is the plinth that costs the most but you can easily make your own by creating a wooden frame and filling with concrete.

He has adding dowlings to each corner to make an indent on each corner for decorative effect.

It is going to take about 10 trug / bucket full, to fill it and he gives the mould a tap in between each to get rid of any trapped air.

David and Leigh

Now that it is full to the top he has cut a circular disc of wood that is the same size as the sundial to put in the top to create an indent.

David has his water feature and sculpture to add to the garden.

water feature

He has chosen a Vortex Sculpture which is more modern and this is not going on a plinth so it will be at a different height to the sundial and water feature.

David is planting some Rhododendrons and they do not have to be the huge varieties there are all sorts to suit all gardens if you have the right soil type.

He likes them just before they flower as he loves the expectation of the large flower heads to come.

David is taking the surround off his concrete plinth for the sundial, will it have worked?

Alan and Frances have come to watch, no pressure then and with a few taps the surround is off.

David Alan and Frances

All removed and looking good the last thing is to remove the wooden circle and replace with the sundial, it fits.

Only problem is as Alan points out you now have to move the heavy concrete plinth into Mel's part of the garden! Has David thought of that?

He has a trolley but Frances and Alan soon scarper but luckily help is at hand and it gets moved safely into position.

Frances is starting work on the cutting garden for Mel and the easiest way to grow flowers is to plant seeds.

She says they always come with very clear instructions on the packets and she started her sowing with a Orlaya which has delicate white flowers.


The rule is the bigger the seed the deeper it needs to be planted in the soil.

She plants half the tray with the Orlaya planting them half a centimetre deep and the other half of the tray she is planting Bells of Ireland which she plants the same as the other seeds.

She then covers them with a layer of compost, labels them and in a couple of weeks the seedlings should be up.


She has some ready for potting on and she has some trays with cells she fills with multi purpose compost.

Seedlings can easily be snapped off so you need to carefully use the plant label to ease it out from underneath and you never touch the stem just the leaf of the seedling.

This process is called pricking out and you make a hole with a pencil or finger in the cell and try to keep as much root as possible nice and straight to transplant it.


The seedlings she has are Cosmos which make good cutting flowers and the more you cut the more flowers you get.

You can get an instant cutting garden by buying established plants and flowers and even flowering bulbs like Tulips!

Frances is using succession planting which means planting things that will flower in different seasons and are long flowering.


She starts by planting Dahlias that grow from tubers and flower in the early Summer right up to the first frosts then you dig up and store the tubers over Winter.

In a small space you want as many different flower shapes, textures and a mix of Annuals, Perennials foliage and Bulbs.


Next she is planting Hellebores and this one is Credale which has a long stem so will look good in a vase.

Frances is making a decorative planter a lot cheaper than the Lead Planters at a Stately Home which can cost thousands of pounds but her fake one will be a lot cheaper to make.


She is using some cheap timber and some slate to get the effect of a lead planter.

The basic cube frame is made out of timber and she has slates that are about £1.20 each and she attaches them with Silicone Adhesive to each side.

For the bottom she has some thick, strong plywood with drainage hole drilled into it and then she attaches 4 little feet with the drill so it stands off the ground.


She now needs a stately plant for the Faux Lead Container and she has a Camellia and it will need regular feeding and watering to keep it happy in the container.

Alan is inspecting the plants which will be on a smaller scale than at Bowood House and he couldn't find any centuries old leaning Irish Yews.


Instead there are Box Orbs, Cones and hedging which will for the formal part of the garden.

For the countryside end the planting will get more relaxed it will be a native hedge made up of Sloe, Blackthorn, Hazel and Euonymus.

For the cutting garden they have a mixture of plants for all seasons.

Alan laying out the Topiary with the help of Frances and they start at the outside door where it is the most formal part of the garden. 


The Orbs and Cones of Box create the central avenue in the garden which leads right into the countryside.

Alan is working on the end of the garden with the glorious views of the Quantock Hills and he plans to turf  half of the mound of soil and the native hedge will go on the rest.


He has dug out a hedge and is placing the bushes for the hedge in place and the turf will grow and hopefully in time have native flowers.

The natural boundary will also keep out unwanted visitors like dogs and children a thorny hedge made of Hawthorn and Blackthorn will help a lot.

The best thing about using Blackthorn is its Autumn fruit the Sloe and if you are a fan of Sloes it is marvellous for flavouring some in for Sloe Gin.


There is a gap in the middle where the water feature is going so this will also act as a window to the view.

Every year we lose miles of native hedges so as gardeners we can do our bit by putting it back to help the wildlife.

Alan is planting up Mel's area of the garden and as she likes Purple he has chosen some purple and deep pink flowers with lots of fragrance.


She has 2 cats Rosie and Ruby and he has found Roses named Rosie and Ruby Wedding!

The other side is for her Dad and he loves gardening and he not so able now but loves Fruit.

Alan has got him a standard Gooseberry thats grown on a long stem and a Crabapple.

The Gooseberry is already in flower and the fruit forming flowers are just appearing and it is a red variety.

Alan has lined the water feature so it is in the centre of the path to make it the focal point to draw you down the garden.


Around the water feature he is planting Euonymus an evergreen variety called Emerald's Gaiety which makes good groundcover and if planted by a wall it will climb upwards.

Alan has invited Mel Son Jordan to help and he says 'its looking a bit different'!

He needs help with his Mum part of the garden and the placing of the plants and Alan asks him if she gets much time to relax with her vital job.

Jordan and Alan

Jordan says she doesn't and she gets that from Grandad who the same and Alan says the other side is for Grandad and the rest a family area.

Jordan says he was born 2 houses down but have lived in this house about 19 years and they love living there and the Village.

Alan is relying on Jordan to make sure his Mum does put her feet up in her own area every day.

Jordan thinks she going to be like him speechless at the transformation.

Alan is coordinating the final piece to come into the garden a massive Portland Stone table top, they get it through the gate, over the plants and in place on its central plinth.

With just a few final touches the Stately Garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal

Mel open your eyes


'Oh my god' 'God it's beautiful' Mel breaks down in tears 'Geez' 'I never imagined it could look like this'. 'I can't thank you enough'

finished garden

A stately home garden with views that go on and on.

Bespoke areas for the family

finished garden

Central path flanked by topiary leading to a water feature

finished garden

A Parterre style patio 

finished garden

Portland Stone dining table

Relaxing seating areas 

finished garden

Natural hedgerow 

Mel goes to sit on her side of the garden complete with gin at the ready!

Finished garden

Her Dad along with family and friends come into the garden for a look, Theodore is overwhelmed by the change and is looking all around and Mel tells them how incredibly Happy she is with the garden.

Grandpa in his area and says  'it's absolutely gorgeous and it's what my daughter is entitled to' 

Katie Rushworth is at the Dementia Unit of Royal British Legion Home.

The Garden
Katie is having a look around the garden and although its a functional garden it is not very inspiring or stately.

The Garden

There might be a bit of work involved to get this to look like a stately home garden.

There is a central path that leads to nowhere but there is a covered seating area and lots of benches but no view.

There is also a bird feeding station in the middle of the garden,

Design Concepts
Katie is visiting Daglingworth House in Cirencester which has a hidden mural.

Daglingworth House

She says they are really on trend at the moment and are now being used in the garden.

Katie is having trouble finding the hidden mural but does find some magnificent pleached hornbeam underplanted with Narcissus surrounding a still pond.

Daglingworth House

After finding an idea for mass planting she finds the mural in the wall surrounded by hedging.

The path leading up to it connects with the path in the mural and takes you beyond the wall into a new garden.


Katie takes a seats and starts on her plan for the care home garden in which she incorporates the Pleached trees and a mural!

A Work in Progress
The team of contractors, Katie Rushworth and local artist Jon Minshull have started work on the garden and mural.

Katie talks her ideas over with Jon for the mural and she wants a big sweeping traditional English landscape.

Jon Minshull and Katie

Then for the Centenary of the Royal British Legion some poppies to be added into the scene.

Bespoke murals cost hundreds of pounds so why not have a go yourself.

Jon has made an amazing job of the mural with a large lake and endless countryside around it and Katie has arrived just in time to help with the poppies.


Jon says they are simple to draw having just 4 petals and shows Katie how to not be to accurate but just make a suggestion of 4 petals with a hole in the middle for the black dot.

She quickly gets the hang on it and Jon suggestion is to work quickly as it comes out better that way.

Katie bringing in and placing the Pleached Crab Apple trees to line the avenue to her mural view.

Pleached Crab Apple trees

She has two each side and they are in full flower so look amazing but unfortunately when it comes to placing the first ones they discover underground cables so they cannot be sited there.

They solve this by planting behind the flower beds and using the Lavender plants to form an avenue.

The Pleached Crab Apples are not cheap at £500 each and you can buy young plants and train them yourself.

Katie is showing us how to Pleach a tree and she has a young Crab Apple which costs around £50.

Pleached Crab Apple trees

You fasten a horizontal cane to the upright cane and then you train the branches to become horizontal by tying them to the cane.

When tying plants to a cane it should be in a figure of eight so the stem never rubs on the cane as the string is in between.

Katie is planting up the garden and she want to keep it formal and she is mass planting Lavender and a 100 bright red Pelargoniums to mark the centenary.

She will then get blocks of colour which work really well together the red and purple.

As a special and final touch to the borders she is adding Poppies which are made of tin so will be in the garden all year round.

The Grand Reveal

Mel and the Care Home Staff come out and open your eyes

Mel and the Care Home Staff

'Oh my gosh' 'Oh look at that' 'I love that' 'Oh my' 'Aw' 'oh it's amazing' 'Fantastic it's fantastic' 'that is lovely'

finished garden

Mural to the landscape beyond.


Pleached tree avenues

Vibrant planting

Painted seating and poppies

They all flock into the garden, they love the Poppies and they know that the residents are going to love the garden and being out in it.


The episode was dedicated to the Memory of Theodore Winston Howell 1943 - 2021 who sadly died after the garden was completed but I am sure it will always be Grandpa's side of the garden.

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

Chris Pike
Leigh Pugh
Andrew Land
Sam Land
Wayne Perrey
Jason Williams

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