Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 3

Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 3

In this episode 3 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.



Christine says it is the first week of Summer and there is a hosepipe ban so she is sitting on the side of the bath ladling her 5.30 am bath water into a bucket.

She carries 2 buckets down the stairs and says even with a hosepipe ban you have to keep watering the plants somehow to keep them alive so bathwater it is.


Lots of gardeners throughout the country will be doing this and its normal for gardeners to do this for their plants.

Christine loves her own garden but to pay the bills she has to work in other peoples, so she has her day job to go to, after popping round to Reg's house, her neighbour.

Reg is away for a few days so she keeping an eye on his Greenhouse and Tomatoes and she straight away has found some ripe ones to taste!

She says they are earlier and bigger than hers but will not taste as good as she pops the first one in her mouth.


She squirts Tomato juice everywhere then  states they are not as good as hers. 

She goes to his water butt and fills the watering can and as neighbours they always share and help each other out.

If you didn't have someone to look after the garden she would be worried about it when she was away.


She inspects the plants she gave him and she thinks they are not being fed as her ones are more advanced outside and his are in the greenhouse, so should be better.

Reg started his plants about 6 weeks earlier than Christine, so she will be telling him off when he gets back about her plants and feed!

Christine now on her way to help out an old friend Mavis who she has done jobs for, one and off for years.

Her front garden is now overgrown and the Wisteria is trying to take over the house.


She knocks at the door and Mavis lets her in to start work in her bedroom!

Mavis unlocks the window for Christine to get at the over grown Wisteria thats actually grown its way inside the bedroom window.

Christine says she would leave it and train it into the bedroom but Mavis wants it to go and stay outside where it belongs.

She says its needs controlling because of the telegraph pole  and wire outside and Mavis secures the window with a stick to make it safe to work out of.


Christine reckons she the only one in the country with her own indoor Wisteria but Mavis reckons there will be more as they are rampant plants.
She asks Mavis to hang on to her feet as she leans out the window backwards to start pruning it back.

Mavis reckons she prunes it, but not hard enough says Christine.

Christine then goes down to start om the small front garden that has overgrown and leaves Mavis to finish the pruning.

It was 20 years ago Christine first came to this garden and it used to shine out on the busy road and it is a shame to see it overgrown and neglected.

She starts pruning and cutting out the shrubs and she knows under all this there are some nice plants.

Mavis's back garden is overflowing so they will take some from there for the front.

Christine checks up on Mavis to make sure she doing the pruning safely.


Some of the plants look like they are dead but Christine shows us by scraping the skin off the shrub we can see its green and alive it was grey it would be time to remove it.

Mavis has always enjoyed her plants and used to do the gardening with her Husband Walter so its been hard for her since he died and the garden got too much.


Walter has been gone for 2 years and the garden has gone down hill ever since, Christine says a persons garden reflects their personality, feelings and emotions.

So this garden was planted up and looked after by the couple so as Walter has now gone the soul of the garden has too.

A lot of the gardens Christine manages for people she has been doing for 20 years, so they like friends and the work is hard but also very satisfying.

Mavis is pleased with how the front garden is looking and she now has the path back between the borders.


Christine reminds her that the plan was to clear out some of the back garden plants to put in the front.

Mavis has other ideas and thinks she can use it as an excuse to buy yet more plants.

Christine thinks this will mean by next year it will be overgrown yet again as they head inside for a cuppa.

Christine is back home and out in her own garden and the garden needs watering again but with the hosepipe ban it is now hard work.

She thinks she come up with the solution which means she can use her hosepipe without breaking the ban by siphoning off her bath water through it.

She uses some string to pull the hose into the bathroom and into the bath, held down by a brick then goes back downstairs and sucks hard on the end of the hose.


This is not as easy as it sounds and after several hard sucks and gurgling it spurts out and into the watering can.

It is not easy to control and she quickly watering her plants as best she can and saves carrying it all down the stairs.

Christine already thinking about preparing her garden for the next season of Summer as they are nearly at the end of Spring.

It is now time to strip the borders of old and died back plants and she enjoys cleaning it out and getting it all ready for new plants to come.

She does not dig them all up as some plants are Perennials so they will come back next year and all they need is a trim back.


Christine finds a lost tool but alas she is still looking for a elusive lost trowel.

She digging up the weed Ground Elder which she chops off the top for composting but not the roots as it will just get into the ground and grow again.

You cannot beat homemade compost and if you do not make your own you are throwing away so much goodness you can pout back into the soil.

Now the clearing out had finished comes the fun part putting in the 100s of plants she has raised from seed.


Christine has nurtured her seedlings and now it is time to plant them in the borders and she starting with Nicotiana, Cosmos, Penstemons and Verbenas.

In this bed she is planting 200 plants and  due to the drought she is adding some water retaining gel to the bottom of the planting holes.

This is hot work and Christine is sweating as she gives herself a wipe down with a hankie, 'no water shortage with me' she says.


She does not have a master planting plan she just places them and plays about with the plants until it looks right.

It looks a bit barren at the moment but over the next 6-8 weeks the plants will grow and spread and cover the bed.


Christine has to finishes work to the sound of thunder and some much needed rain starts to fall which has given her a very welcome surprise as rain was not expected.

Although she chuffed at the rain and not having to use her bath water she did not finish the bed in time.

Christine is at Kirklees Light Railway (now Whistlestop Valley) where in April she was asked to start a project to the 3 1/2 mile track to add some local wildflowers to add interest and nature back to the trackside.


This is her third visit and this one is going to be the most exciting one as Christine and her volunteers sing their way down the track aboard the train.

In the last episode the local children were given seedling to look after and grow on and the plants and the children are all onboard.

These plants are to be planted at the end of the line and today is the day that they all get planted.

They reach the end of the line and get off the train and the 60+ children and adults help get the plants off the train as Christine does her best to organise things.

Christine is arranging the plants as the children get them off the train and its hard work to get them all arrange by where they need to be planted.


She has some back-up to help with the organised chaos to show her little helpers how to get the plants out of the pots and planted correctly.

The children are all very keen which Christine thinks is pure magic and she enjoying watching them plant.

They are planting there own bit of Yorkshire and she says they just wait until it is all in flower.

wild flowers

The final job is a good watering in of the newly planted area and she says its so important to hang on to the individuality of a Counties wild plants by ensuring they are there for the future.
'What's Yorkshire without Yorkshire Puddings? What's Yorkshire without Yorkshire Flowers?'



The train whistle blows signalling its time to return to the  main station as all the work is complete and the tired and happy volunteers get back on the train.

From bare earth to Wildflower haven Christine is very happy with todays work as she too gets on the train homewards bound.

These children may return in 10-15 years and the valleys will be full of the wildflowers they helped to grow and this is the hope for tomorrow.

Christine is back home listening to BBC Radio Essex and thunderstorms are forecast again but for the moment the sun is out as she looks out the window to her front garden.


She got 39 bags of compost coming this morning and it is late as she thought it would have been delivered by now.

Her and Tara head to the back garden as have the last Peas to pick and they need clearing ready for the French Beans to go in.

She is making sure every pod is picked as she pulls the plant out of the ground as they are too good to miss any, several are chomped as she picks as usual.

Reg her Neighbour has popped round to see her and she tells him she taking up her Peas ready for the French Beans to go in.

Christine reg

Reg asks where Tara got too and she hiding amongst the Tomato plants and Reg calls her over.

Christine starts boasting how her Runner Beans are way ahead of Reg's although Reg's and her other Neighbour Louise's Tomatoes are better than hers.

Reg admires her Carrots and she says how many Mange Tout Peas she has has and everything is doing well.


They accuse each other of copying about the Sweet Peas that are flowering away.

Reg takes Tara for a short walk and will walk her for longer later on this afternoon.

They say there goodbyes as Reg walks off with a happy Tara.

The compost delivery has finally arrived and she gets them to carry it all the way up the back garden and stacked in piles of 5.

compost delivery

With 3 delivery men they soon make light work of all the carrying and then Christine carries it back down the garden to where she wants it.

Christine is using all the compost on the beds to cover them during the drought and last night it had a good water of 2 bathfuls so the compost can trap some moisture under it.

It is hard work as well as being hot and you can use other things as a mulch like bark, gravel, grass cuttings and straw.


Her plan is to cover the whole garden but she made a good start with this bed.

The good thing about using compost or Organic matter is that it will also feed the plants as it breaks down as well as keep the moisture in.

She has finished for the day and now wants the predicted rain storm to add more water to it.

It would be perfect if it rained all afternoon as wet then mulch then wet is as perfect as it gets.

On cue it starts to thunder and she does a quick rain dance and comes in, but what about Reg and Tara.


Rain is the gardeners friend and the garden is drinking up all the rain and it looks magic covered in it.

The show ends and we have no idea if Reg and Tara made it back in time!

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