Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 2

Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 2

In this 
episode 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.


May

May

Christine is in the garden and says that Spring is 3 weeks late but she busy getting out her bamboo canes as she too is late at getting her Tomatoes in the ground.

She slides a cane into the ground and says 'I love planting' she finds it peaceful and before she puts in her Tomatoes she sprinkles water retaining gel into the hole.

The word is there is going to be a drought so this will help as the gel swells up and can hold 5 times as much water.

water retaining gel

She then puts the Tomato plant in and she not tried the gel before so she will see if it helps.

When she in her vegetable garden it takes her back to her Allotment, as a kid growing things and she says her growing things now is all about those early happy memories.

The old blokes used to walk into her plots and watch her and then correct her if doing it wrong and she was so proud of her allotment and that she was just a kid.

vegetable garden

At the end of the day when she had finished and shut the gate she would look back and think 'I've done that'.

She still gets the sense of achievement and pride with her vegetable plot at growing stuff.


Christine going away for work for a few days so Reg has come round for his instructions on how to look after everything.

Reg

She opens the door and exchange hello's and Reg comes in to get his first set of instructions about feeding Tara, Christine's beloved dog.

Christine already prepared everything to show him and she got her tablets ready and biscuits and the leads ready for their walks which they both enjoy.

The house plants and outside plants are all ok and watered and Christine takes him outside to show him how the garden is looking.

Runners

'Look at your Runners' cries Reg as Christine shows off as Reg has not even done his yet but they do not take long to come up!

He says you got loads to do here with all her plants she got growing, Reg reckons she does not have time to go away and leave all these.

Christine has to go and she thanks Reg for all he does for Tara, but she knows Tara is happy with Reg.


Christine

Christine off to the West Country to a Garden Centre to talk about Tomatoes, which is a favourite topic if you had not noticed!

When she driving along the country roads she loves spotting exciting things especially the flowers in the hedgerows.

She comes across an area with banks of flowers and she spots Valerians, Green Alexanders, gorse and Catchfly Silene.

'Oooh oooh oooh' she cries as she slams on the brakes and rushes out of the car after spotting and having a sniff, it is a Three-Cornered Holly.

Christine

She has not seen this plant for years so is very chuffed, she used to think it was Wild Garlic so hence the sniff because they are both white and similar.

Just passing by you would not know what it was so you have to have a closer look to get it right and she so pleased she did.

She heads off again but would be happy spotting plants in the wild all day!


Christine arrives for the Tomato Weekend Festival and she loves being in the garden centre amongst the plants giving people advice.

Relish samples

'Chat, taste and eat' is on the agenda and she heads straight for the Relish samples.

Cracker in hand she spreads the first relish of the weekend and declares it needs Wensleydale Cheese and Port but alas no Cheese and Port Festival or she would never want to leave!

She is torn between 2 pickles to buy and she has a menu prepared in her mind for all the favourites she has chosen.

Tomatoes start from a very tiny seed to grow into a massive plant with loads more fruit and then is turned into these amazing relishes as well as loads of other things.

Tomato plant

She also says they are full of vitamin C and also supposedly are Aphrodisiacs as they are also known as Love Apples but she has eaten loads and never felt the effect.


Christine is busy mingling with the customers, getting them to try relish and helping them choose the right Tomato plant for the right situation.

She is busy showing another customer how to take the side-shoots off.

sexual parts of a Vinca

Now she has something Magic to share and it involves the sexual parts of a Vinca or Periwinkle which apparently the Olympic torch was based on!


Christine is now on her way back home and cannot wait to get back to her home and garden although she enjoys meeting people.

She misses her garden and also the peace and privacy she finds in the garden when she is away.

When she shuts the front door she in her own little bit of heaven amongst her plant friends


Christine is taking Reg round some of her Tomato plants to thank him for looking after Tara when she was away.

Reg's pots

They swap hellos and she admires Reg's pots and how good they are looking, the Sweet Peas she gave him are doing very well better than her ones.

Reg teases her that is because he is a better gardener and they laugh.

Christine and Reg

He takes her to the Greenhouse for a Tomato inspection and they are looking fantastic and in a few weeks will have Tomatoes on them.

Christine notices it needs weeding in the Greenhouse and Reg chuckles that 'she don't give up'!

Reg asks what to do about his Magnolia as it has gotten too tall in his garden and Christine says she can reduce the size for him, although he says the more you cut the more they grow.

Magnolia

Christine compares it to his Plum tree, that she says, he also did not prune properly!

She cannot do it today as she is off to Yorkshire on a job so they say their goodbyes.


Christine is off to Kirklees Light Railway (now Whistlestop Valley) where she is hoping to create a corridor of wild flowers along the 3 and a half mile trackside.

Christine and Ian

She is walking along the line with Ian the Chief Engineer to take soil samples, she will then later test them to see which plants will grow best there.

The track is a haven for insects, birds, wildlife and wildflowers as there are no people along the track to interfere with them.

There is just the train on the track and that is not disturbing what is going on at the trackside.

English Bluebells

Christine finds some proper English Bluebells as a lot are now hybrids in the woods and you can tell as the English ones as they are one sided, so she is very pleased with that find.


To start with Christine is going to focus on the end of the line where they are meeting Graham so he can tell her what is planned for there.

She apologises for being waylaid but she got carried away looking at the plants and has kept him waiting.

end of the line

Graham says they are creating an attraction at this end with a play area, Picnic site and a bouncy castle so the rest is for Christine to sort out.

She taking a strip the other side of the track as well as adding some plants dotted along the track to add some colour.

He asks her what sort of flowers is she going to use and she says wild flowers only or anything else will spoil it.


The train arrives and Christine and her soil samples go back to the main station so she can carry out her tests.

She starts by putting soil into her test tube and this is where the magic of Science takes place and this simple test will tell her all she needs to know about the soil.

soil

She is testing the PH value of the soil to see whether it is Acid, Alkaline or Neutral so she knows what plants will do well in the soil type.

She gives it a good shake once the liquid that tests it is added and lets it settle and you can get a small test kit from your Garden Centre you can do at home.

She then adds a few drops of the final chemical and depending what colour it turns it will tell her the soil type.

Christine

She got 1 test that is bright green and another that is yellow and she pleased they are telling her 2 very different things and where certain plants will not grow.

Christine now knows what plants she needs to buy that will thrive in the soil conditions.

Out of the 10 test she took most of them says that the soil is Neutral and the other ones were slightly acidic.


Christine is now off shopping and even better she is spending someone else's money and she even borrowed their car to get all of the 1,000 plants she needs in.

Nursery

She at
Mires Beck Wildflower Nursery in Yorkshire where the plants grown are under strict conservation rules so they are native to the area.

She meets an old friend who works there and she shows her the wish list for wild flowers for the railway.

Campanula Latifolia

All the plants are grown in peat free compost and she shows her a Campanula Latifolia or Giant Bellflower that likes damp woods and hedge banks so that will be perfect for the wet rocky ravine area.

Christine spots some Prunellas which used to be used as a wound dressing and a lot of wild flowers have anti septic properties, these ones have purple flowers.

Christine

Next on the order list is Tufted Vetch, Vicia Cracca and she manages to get most of the plants she wants and there are trolley loads to fit in!

Christine now wonders if she can fit them all in and she gets into the boot to arrange them as they slide the many tray filled boxes in the boot.

plants

Luckily she can stack a lot of the boxes and a lot of juggling is taking place as she starts filling the front of the car too.

Finally it is all in and she just hopes none of it moves about as she slams the boot shut on the plants.


Christine heads back with a 1,000 plants rammed in the car and all the plants will need transplanting into their own pots out of the seed trays.

This is way too much for her to do on her own so she has called in some help!

planting up

The plan is with the help of the local children they will pot the plants up, take them home to grow on and bring them back when ready to plant out.

All the pots and compost is there and she even found a helper who is just 2 years old ready to pot some plants.

There are over 50 children there as well as the local WI group, plus the children's parents so a big turnout to help.

It is all very noisy and chaotic but 600 plants will be being taken home and looked after for her with all generations coming together to help.

planting up

Christine is hoping this will make Gardeners of the future and if just 1 of them then tries to grow more things she says that will be 'fantastic'.

With all these new plants she reckons in 5 years time it will look amazing and it all being kept local with the helpers and the plants.

Christine and everyone had a fantastic day as the plants head home to be looked after and then planted in her new green corridor on the Railway trackside.


Christine is back home in Harlow, Essex and she is off round to Reg's to prune his Magnolia which needs a good prune and Christine knows it will be done right if she does it!

Christine

She calls for Reg and then sees he is up the tree having a go himself 'what the hell do you think' she cries as he turns on the ladder, he in trouble again!

She tries to tell him that she told him to leave it but he wants to carry on but she wants him to just 'sit down and watch'.

Reg

Reg laughs he is always being told off by Christine as she points out the proper way to prune it is to find the buds.

She shows Reg just how ruthless with the pruning she needs to be to get it flowering and Reg says its a lot lighter now.

 Laughter fills the air as Christine declares 'you have not learnt the art of pruning' 'more of a crooner than a pruner' says Reg.

Reg and Christine

Reg sings as Christine saws the branches before making her a much needed cup of tea.

Better still Pat, his wife has made her one of her Apple pies and an excited Christine says lets have it now as per usual she cannot wait to start chomping.

A beaming Reg brings out the pie, a knife and some plates for the eager Christine.

Reg has got one indoors so Christine cuts a large slice for herself to have with her cuppa.

Reg and Christine

He says its a good exchange a pie for her help but she says Reg does far more for her than she does for him.

They declare that is what friends are for, to help each other and Reg is pleased with his pruned Magnolia.

They both agree that Reg is not skilled at pruning and that it is definitely a talent Christine has as the pair again burst into laughter.

Reg and Christine

Christine leaves Reg to clear up all the cuttings as she heads home with what is left of the Apple pie.


Christine says she always returns home from seeing Reg and feels happy as he is so lovely and people miss out on having a good neighbour for  companionship.

People should knock on their neighbours door, especially if they are new and make a friend in them as 'a stranger's a friend you've never met'. 


All photographs are copyright of BBC.com



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