Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 8 Secret Fairy Tale Garden

Love Your Garden Series 11 Episode 8 Secret Fairy Tale Garden

 Alan Titchmarsh is back for the final episode of Love Your GardenSeries 11

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 Wakefield on a freezing day to see the person that has nominated today's garden makeover, she is just 11 years old and called Lottie and she has wrote to Alan about her 9 year old friend Amelia.

Alan and Lottie

He knocks on Lottie front door and a shocked Lottie opens it and Alan has the letter she wrote to him.

Lottie says it is about her friend Amelia and that she wants her to have a nice garden.

Alan goes in to meet mum Cathy who has known Amelia family for 6 years and Lottie reads out the letter which says her friend has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair.

Alan Cathy and Lottie

She says how funny Amelia is and good at making her laugh but is often unwell and stays at home so a nice garden would be good for her as she loves being outside.

Mum Cathy explains the girls met when Amelia came for a brief time to Lottie's School and they became friends.

Amelia and Mum Shabnam live round the corner so they all head off to surprise them.

Shabnam and Alan

Lottie rings the doorbell and a shocked Shabnam opens the door and she doesn't know what to say so Alan tells her that Lottie has contacted them to do a garden for them.

They all go in the house and she introduces Alan to Amelia who is all smiles to see them.

Lottie says that when she first met Amelia it was her big smile that made her think she was amazing and she was someone she wanted to be friends with.

Shabnam says that Amelia

Mum Shabnam says that Amelia had a bad birth in which the umbilical cord was around her neck 5 times, her organs had failed and she was not breathing.

They resuscitated her 5 times but she was a fighter and because of the birth she developed Cerebral Palsy which effect her brain and her functions so needs 24 hour care.

Farzana Javed

Farzana Javed says Shabnam is an amazing Mum who whole life is caring for Amelia and she is such a brave and wonderful woman and the garden will make a huge difference to their lives.

The Garden
Alan has a look at the garden and the first thing that strikes him is the ramp and sitting area that goes no where!

The Garden

Shabnam says they are constantly in Hospital so haven't got round to doing the garden and when at home she gets no time away as Amelia will not settle with anyone else at night etc.

Amelia loves swings and being outdoors, loves flowers and sensory things as well as somewhere to just sit and relax in.

The Garden

Alan asks would she like somewhere to relax and Shabnam says her priority is Amelia but Alan says he plans somewhere for them both in the garden to relax and enjoy.

He plans some fairy tale magic for the garden.

Design Concepts
Alan is in a village just outside Leeds to visit York Gate, a 1 acre secret garden full of ideas for him.

York Gate

The garden is divided into smaller gardens, all like children's books and Alan says you need to change the mood when you go from garden to garden.

He has come from the Kitchen produce garden to a tropical paradise garden full of Succulents.

York Gate

As Amelia cannot travel far having different gardens will be good to bring the world to her instead.

In one area there are giant hedges giving an Alice in Wonderland feel and another has a curved path and Giant Tree Ferns.

It is the planting that really gives it the atmosphere and the right plant combination is just magical.

York Gate

The garden has lots of topiary hedges which makes it feel enclosed and very secret as views are hidden and this makes you want to explore.

They have trained Conifers along walls and have high hedges but you can train any shrubs or trees too.

York Gate

The garden also has structures as a feature and one is a ruin that looks very fairy tale and follies can add fun to the garden.

Alan is going to use the idea of a folly in Amelia's garden will make it very fairy tale.

Alan starts on his plans for a magical hidden garden and he want a garden they can travel but not go very far.


A curving wheelchair friendly path leading to an Alice in Wonderland lawn with Lollipop trees for Frances to create.

A seating area for Shabnam with a water feature next to a play area for Amelia for Danny to do.

Alan will do the Folly that will go across the garden and a sensory planting area.


A magical fairy tale garden. 

A Work in Progress
The contractors and Love Your Garden team members Frances Tophill and Danny Clarke  have started work on the area to be made over.

Frances tells us there are different ways to design a garden, on paper it may look lovely but you have to also see it in the garden to see if it fits and works!

She want the 3 zones to be very distinct and she is starting by measuring out the first circular area which is the play area for Danny to do.

She puts a metal rod with string attached in the middle of the space so when you go round with a spray marker you will have a perfect circle to the size you want.

The access path goes through the middle and there is a second lawn area which Frances is getting the contractors to carry the large trees round for.


She has 5 Lollipop Laurel Trees and she placing them around the edge of another circle.

Now comes the hard part the planting of them as they need a big wide hole, but one that is not too deep.

They need to be planted at the same level as in the pot and she is mixing some soil with compost to re fill the hole.

Once planted trees need a good watering regime to get established for the first year and you should not let them fully dry out.

Dolls house bird feeder

Frances has an idea for a magical touch to the garden to attract wildlife into the garden, to watch and interact with nature.

She has a dolls house which she plans to turn into a very special bird feeder.

Katie starts but carefully removing some of the windows and leaving some as there will be birds of all difference sizes using it.

Dolls house bird feeder

Next job is to give it a coat of colourful paint.

Frances is at the bottom of the ramp which is the starting point for Amelia's journey through the garden and she is sorting out the planting that will draw you into it.


She is using evergreens and perennials to make a screen and it already has the Pom Pom Laurels the other side.

She is planting some Skimmia which is a female one which will have bright red berries and this will help with the screening.


The other plants are Herbaceous so will die back in the Winter and come up in the Spring.

These include a Verbena which is a perennial which will self seed and grow to 6 foot and she also planting an Erigeron Karvinskianus that they have used throughout the garden.

Danny is working on the access path for Amelia which it is crucial to get right and they are using big slabs from the ramp access.

Danny next big challenge is to build the A frame swing for Amelia and Alan is teasing him about not needing instructions.


Amelia loves swings so she must have one in her new garden and Danny says his play area will have a circular lawn with the swing in it.

Danny lays on the dramatics for Alan saying it was a nightmare to put together and next they need to get it into the garden.

He then plans to disguise it to fit in more with the theme rather than stark metal poles.


He has a huge Honeysuckle that he plants next to one of the swing legs and ties it to the pole.

He has chosen it for its long flowering season from Spring until Autumn and it is also Evergreen.

On another of the poles he is planting a Kiwi plant and this too will climb all over the structure and to make sure it flowers it needs a gentle prune in Winter.


Danny next job is to create the water feature at the edge of the play area and he is using locally mined stone so it blends in.

water feature

Once he has built the brickwork he uses a soft brush to brush away the loose cement and adds the water reservoir.

Alan plans to add more statuesque trees to the garden and they are being stored in the next door neighbours garden and it already looks fairy tale going into it.


The row of Blue Spruces remind Alan of Narnia but for the centrepiece of the garden he has a Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Tree.

Alan going to see how the focal point of his design is coming along and it is the magnificent folly.


It has arched windows and is like sleeping beauty's castle with the windows and pillars and Cotswold stone.

You pass through an archway and this ties in all parts of the garden and gives a romantic fairy tale atmosphere to it.

You can purchase Follies in kit form to fit whatever space you have from a simple arch to a gothic castle.


They have Quoins on the corner chunky bits of stone and Alan has a broken bit to put on to give it the ruined look as well as adding a lump of Cotswold stone in front.

Alan now ready for his Spruce forest and calls over the fence for the Contractors to bring the Blue Spruces round.


He wants the boundary to be all green and living and the garage sticks out like a sore thumb at the moment.

The pebble-dashed garage needs to remain for much needed storage so Alan is going to screen it from the garden.


He is going to plant the Blue Spruces in gradually decreasing heights in the bed near the garage and with a Clematis on the corner of the garage it will disappear.

He starts having them placed into position and he plants them quite close together so they interweave.

Alan is now concentrating on the heart of the garden which is the Folly with the arched windows and gothic arch entrance needs blending into the garden.

Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Tree

He starts with his statement tree at the entrance which is the Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar Tree and once he happy with the position Danny digs the hole for him.

The next step is planting up the beds around the Folly and he has a white flowering Jasmine to put in the corner to scramble all over the structure.


He needs to get the balance right between the foliage and the amount of brickwork on show to get it to look natural.

When the flowers all open on the Jasmine, the smell is going to be wonderful.

Alan next job is to add some sensory planting for Amelia and he has some tactile plants called Artemisia Powis Castle which is related to Wormwood so is very aromatic too.


He is also planting an Elaeagnus Quicksilver as well as Lavender and a Stipa Tenuissima grass.

There is also Verbena, Catmint and Elephant ears with evergreen foliage and throughout the year there will plants in the border.

The funky furniture has arrived and it is a very large day bed to get into the garden and they manage to squeeze it through the arch!

Alan has asked Lottie to add a personal touch to the garden who asked Alan to do a garden for them.

Lottie and Alan

He has asked her to help make some fairy doors / portals which they have made out of timber and are adding shells, stones and fabric to decorate them.

Alan shows her how to cut up lolly sticks to make a door by gluing them all together.

Fairy doors

He asks her what makes gardens so special and Lottie says it the outside noises of the birds and trees that makes you happy.

Alan leaves Lottie to finish off the doors.

With a few finishing touches the garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal
Shabnam and Amelia open your eyes

Shabnam and Amelia

Huge gasp which even makes Amelia jump! 'WOW' 'Amelia...!' 'Oh my god' 'they did it, really' 'look at Amelia's garden' 'It's amazing' 

Finished garden
A fairy tale enchanted garden

Smooth wheelchair friendly pathways

Finished garden


Play area with swing

Finished garden

Water feature

Seating area

Finished garden

Picnic lawn

Sensory Planting

Finished garden

Bird feeder

Alan shows a totally overwhelmed Shabnam the garden, the picnic lawn and the sensory smells and fairy doors and bird feeder.

Amelia is straight into the swing, as Shabnam says 'it is going to make a magnificent difference' she cannot thank them enough for the huge difference it will make.

Shabnam Lottie and Amelia

Lottie arrives and is as equally shocked by the transformation as family arrive to share in the joy the new garden will bring to the family.

Katie Rushworth is in Swansea to meet Lesley-Anne who runs a Tea & Company group in her garden for anyone that is on their own and would enjoy the company.

Katie and Lesley-Anne

Lesley-Anne for the last few years has devoted her garden as well as her time to provide this facility for local people to get together to stop them being so isolated.

Myra Williams says they meet old friends and make new ones because of Lesley-Anne which is comforting.

Tea & Company group

John Davies says he has a family but they are busy working so it is somewhere nice to pop in for a coffee and to meet friends.

The Garden 
Katie says it is a lovely garden to have a cup of tea in except the very end of the garden which is on a lower level and is just concrete and gravel.

The Garden

The rest of the garden is very neat except this end which has become neglected.

Lesley-Anne uses the garden to have people round who are living alone for a chat and company.

Katie asks what she would like in the garden and she would like it restored to a seating area.

So it is to be a secret secluded garden and Lesley-Anne is delighted with that.

Design Concepts
Katie is in Bristol to visit a super modern garden with lots of clean crisp lines for her inspiration.

The garden

The garden has a huge lawn but its a hidden seating area that Katie is there to see.

The seating area is sunken into the ground so that is lower than the lawn which makes it feel very private.

It has deep seats you can sink into and the space has a timber floor that makes it different from the rest of the garden.

The garden

In the middle it has a modern firepit and is a lovely and practical focal point.

The area has some bold planting with huge Bamboo plants at the back and grasses.

Katie starts drawing her plan for Lesley-Anne sunken area and she plans a smaller L shaped seating area.


Wood effect flooring and a fire pit are also in the design and some plant screening from the rest of the garden.

A Work in Progress
The contractors and Love Your Garden team member Katie Rushworth have started work on the area to be made over.

Katie is adding white cladding to the boundary fence and is also painting the sleepers to be used in the seating area white too.

boundary fence

She is using an exterior wood paint to get a crisp white modern feel as well as make the wood last longer.

Katie holds up an Azalea against the white so you can see how bright the green looks next to it.

Katie is working on the sunken seating and the area needs to be level first and they are using the concrete base that was already there.

sunken seating

She is making it out of sleepers which she is interlocking at the corners to give it extra strength before screwing it together with big washer screws.

Next the seat is secured into place but at the last minute Katie has an idea!!

Now the L shaped seat is in place she wants to make a planter in the corner to put in a lovely Apple tree!

It is not just the change to the seat but also the concrete underneath that will need breaking up, the contractor not happy but goes along with her last minute change of plan.


The new flooring and path is being laid and they have some lovely Pavers which will have gravel in between them.

For the seating area they have used porcelain tiles which is a wood effect and it will be hard wearing, anti slip and maintenance free.

Katie is now making a new border on the top lawn to make it a secret garden which it is not at the moment as it is vey exposed.

new border

She is going to screen it with plants and she is using a turf cutter spade to cut out the border.

She starts with a very large Camellia which flowers in early Spring are evergreen and can have red, pink or white flowers.

new border

In the new planter in the seating area she is planting a Crab Apple tree it will not only add some shade but also make you feel like your in a woodland.

They will grow whatever way your garden faces and are not fussy and will flower in early Spring with lovely Autumn colour and you can make Jelly out of the fruit.

Crab Apple tree

If you do not want to use the fruit the wildlife love them.

They are adding the gravel and have put in a fire pit in the centre which is a lovely focal point as well as keeping them warm in the evening.

With a few finishing touches the garden is complete.

The Grand Reveal
Lesley-Anne open your eyes


'Oh, my goodness me!' 'Whoa!' 'I can't believe it' 'What a transformation' 'It is stunning' 'I love the fire' 

Finished garden

Stylish and secluded seating area

Finished garden

Bespoke seating with tree planter

Finished garden


Finished garden

Lush screens of planting

Lesley-Anne takes a seat in her new area and is quickly joined by Partner Keith and the Tea & Company group members.

They are all impressed at how much they have got into a small space with this stunning transformation.

All Photographs are Copyright of


Landscape Team

Jason Williams

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