Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 1

Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 1

In this first episode 1 of Christine's Garden Series 2 we meet Christine Walkden  at her home in Harlow Essex, who introduces us to the programme by saying "I love gardening - I do not like it - I eat it, sleep it, drink it, dream it".

Christine has been a gardener for over 35 years and her life is fantastic and she never wants to do anything but gardening and horticulture.

She says she lucky to earn a living doing this.

It has been a year since we were last at Christine's house and garden when she had clumsy camera men, lawnmower fires and crazy times in the garden.

We also met Reg the neighbour who is very deaf and brought us many a laugh at their antics together and we also met Tara Christine's elderly dog.

Christine ate her way through most of her garden during the series and shared her passion for growing her own vegetables.

This year it is a new series and new adventures for Christine's Garden.



Christine steps out her back door and she enjoys her morning walk around the garden, she smells the air and takes time to enjoy her garden.

It was light from 4.30am and the birds started their dawn chorus and it was the best so far this Spring.

Spring is her favourite time of year when everything is erupting into growth, the sap rising and the bright spring colours.


Things just seem to grow and change overnight it is all so fresh and new.

Christine thinks of her garden like a book with Spring being the beginning and every page is a different story of plants and their growth and what a good start it is.

Christine does not have a greenhouse so all her plants start life on the kitchen work surface and this year she is running late with her Tomatoes.

She has grown them from seeds and after 2 weeks they are ready for potting on.


It is exciting growing something from a tiny seed and then into plants who fruit she will 'chomp'.

Anybody can grow their own and its not as difficult or technical as people think and all she doing is giving them individual pots to grow into.

She find it amazing that people do not grow their own all you got to get is compost, a few pots and some seeds and you need a bit of time.

Christine always uses warm water after pricking plants out and another tip is do not use cold compost that been in your shed warm it up overnight in the greenhouse or kitchen.


Tomatoes need a good soaking when you have pricked them out. She then puts them on her sunny dining table thats out of action now until late May.

Plants take priority in her house and she will check on them tomorrow.

Christine going round to visit Reg who is now 77 and loves his garden too and they love their chats about gardening.


She calls for Reg and he comes down the garden and he tells her he was busy cutting the grass with a sickle as he has not got a mower.

She asks after his Tomatoes and they go for a look in his Greenhouse and straight away he is in trouble as they need side shooting!


Reg gives his usual chuckle and says they will grow just as big but Christine tells him they could be better without the side shoots.

She spots more plants and asks if he going into Tomato production and he just laughs.

They then go up the garden and she says its all looking good, his parsnips are up as well as Shallots, Onions and Carrots.

He gets another gentle telling off for the spacing of his carrots and although Christine says he has sowed thousands he got yet more to put in.

Reg's Garden

He kept down the weeds which they are both pleased with and she says him Sickling the grass is a lot for him to do.

She offers to have a go but the Sickle is very blunt but she soon hacking down the grass and although he doing well with his vegetable she likes to give him a hand when she can.

As neighbours they always help each other out, he walks Tara for her and she helps him in the garden.

Christine and Reg

Reg asks how much he got to pay her and all she wants is a cup of coffee, Reg chuckles and goes and puts the kettle on.

Christine says Reg always makes her smile and he so nice with never a bad word for anyone.

Christine's Job as a Horticulturist is not just about the gardening and occasionally it involves being invited to some interesting places like Kirklees Light Railway.

Kirklees Light Railway

They have 6 little steam trains and he wants help to develop the 5 miles of track and they want her advice as they do not even know what they want yet.

She is thinking wildflowers, trees and Foxgloves as well as opening up views and developing the railway station, so this is a very exciting project for her.

So exciting she 'puff puff' most of the way there giving her best steam train impression in the car.

The Kirklees Light Railway (now called Whistlestop Valley) at the time was just 3 1/2 miles long through the Yorkshire countryside and was once part of a British Rail Line that served the coal mine at Skelmanthorpe.

This line closed in 1983 and 10 years later it was opened up as a tourist attraction with mini steam trains.


Christine arrives at the station and get introduced to the engine which is called Badger who greets her with a whoosh of steam and smoke in the face.

The driver is called Colin and she shakes his hand and straight away is impressed with the engine 'oil, steam, muck' and he quickly noticed she is from the other side of the hills, a Lancashire Lass.

Christine says 'at least I'm a northerner' and they both laugh.

The owners have called her in to 'green up' along the side of the tracks so she has come to have a look and see for herself what the line is like, how she can improve the plant life and views.

She hops into one of the open carriages alongside Chief Engineer Ian and the owner David and his Son Graham who manages the railway.


The Guard blows the whistle and they 'chuff chuff' out of the station and she points out the 'hell of a slope' and some nice ferns as well as lots of mature trees.

There are a lot of Apple trees and 1 driver knows them all as he will stop the train to go 'scrump' some!

The side of the bank is mostly rock with lots of lovely Moss and she asks if the track volunteers are called 'Mountain Goats'!


They wave at some children as they pass under a bridge and although she can see lots of plants from the train she needs to stop and have a closer look.

They stop by some woods that has a lovely stone wall and straight away she spots the Celandines ad she gets all excited at spotting some Wood Anemones and they are the first ones she seen this year.

It is mostly Celandine with odd bits of Lords and Ladies and some Wild Soldier coming up and its at the start of the season with the soil just warming up.


It is a bit boggy in places and she tells Graham he 'sitting on a goldmine sunshine'.

This project is exciting as there is stuff already growing, enthusiastic people involved, it is amazing and Christine like a kid in a sweet shop.

She goes off to catch the train back or it will be a long walk for her and this time she goes in a closed carriage and her head is buzzing with ideas.


Christine would love the track to become interesting to nature lovers as well as gardeners and she needs to do a plan to make most of the existing flowers as well as adding new ones.

if they like her ideas she may get some work out of it.

When Christine is away working it is time away from Tara her trusty dog and she misses her as they been together for nearly 15 years and she is very special to her.


She was just 6 weeks old when she got her and she had been abandoned on a motorway and the rest of the litter had sadly got run over by the traffic but she ran to the verge and she rescued her from a kennel in Accrington 2 days later.

When they first met Tara bit her finger through the cage and Christine thought that it was great she was so plucky.

They are off for their special walk together and its a favourite time of the day to go off to their special place.


Christine thinks Spring is magical after the dark Winter and she walking through the magic of Spring around her with the sap rising and things bursting into life.

'Nature is frankly mind blowing'.

She goes on this walk every single day whatever the weather and it feels like she out in the countryside and she feels she belongs to it but doesn't know why.

She feels at total peace with the world and herself when out in nature and the scenery it is like a painting.

Christine is in the office which is the brain centre of her activities the only problem with her office is the windowsill is too high so she does not have a garden view without standing up.


Although if lower she never get any work done as would be watching the garden.

Today she is working on her plans for the railway line and she like the wild flowers she plants to be native to Yorkshire so she doing some research.

We are losing our native plants to invasive species from elsewhere so she spending a lot of time trying to source local plants.

Her idea is for a 5 mile corridor of Yorkshire native plants and hopes Graham and David share her passion.

Spring is one of Christine's busiest times and her work takes her all over the place doing lots of different things.

Today she is off to a Garden Centre in Staplehurst, Kent to do a hanging basket and container demonstration.

She finds these fun and she soon on her way to Kent.

Christine says there no place in the world thats more beautiful than England in May and in the future she would love to live in the countryside.

She stops the car to point out the Cow Parsley that she says is a funny plant as it shows you when to plant your Carrots!

You are supposed to sow them before or after it flowers to avoid the first lot of Carrot Root Fly.

Garden Centre

Christine arrives at the Garden Centre and she hoping there is a good turnout and she not disappointed by the room full of gardeners.

Lots of people struggle to produce a successful hanging basket usually because they try to do it on the cheap so she is going to show them the right way to do one.

She tells the audience everyone thinks of a hanging basket as a big ball of colour and she compares the cost of a meal out with money spent on a hanging basket and how to get £35 worth.


She uses moss that you can get from the Garden Centre or if careful with your money like Christine, she rakes it out of her lawn for nothing.

She then goes on to the advantages of using a water retaining gel or you can mince up old sponges through a mincing machine.

She starts with the trailing plants at the bottom , adding more moss to the sides and building them up around the plants.


She then adds the top plants after the middle is filled with compost.

She asks the audience how many have turned their hanging baskets ? A few said yes.

'Every week' says Christine as the audience look guilty of not ever doing that.


She has finished the basket and holds it up for everyone to see as the audience claps.

Christine heads off home to her own plants and everything has been growing loads during the last week.

It is now time to move her Tomatoes outside to start hardening them off for planting.

portable greenhouse

This will take 2-3 weeks and she starts by putting them in the small portable greenhouse and will close the door overnight in case of frosts.

They will then get more exposed to the cold outside but hopefully the weather will warm up.

The Tomato plants are not only for her but she plans to give Reg some so can compare what they are like.


There will be plenty of Tomatoes she hopes this year so they will eating them with everything, freezing them and making sauces.

Everywhere is covered with trays of plant seedling at this time of year, they are everywhere at various stages of growth.

The Camera Crew will be in trouble as the plants will be everywhere and it may be worse than last year with them crushing her Sweetcorn!

Christine says she is turned on by plants and not people and the plants make her tingle and people don't do that very often for her!

Plants are special and she hopes that she still gets the thrill of Spring right up to the day she dies.

The phone rings and it is good news from the Railway and she is chuffed they are going with her plans.

Christine is straight round to Reg's

Christine is straight round to Reg's to tell him the good news and she start in a fortnight.

He is pleased for her and says she gonna be famous, 'infamous' she says as they both laugh.

She then spots the Sweet Peas she gave Reg and they are looking good and Christine soon meddling with another plant showing him how to take off the old foliage.


They say there goodbyes leaving Reg wondering why he needs to screw his plants head off.

Christine is so happy about the Railway job and it looks like she going to have a very busy year.

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