Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 5

Christine's Garden Series 2 Episode 5

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.


August

August

Christine is pleased with her garden even though there is a hosepipe ban and drought the garden is looking amazing.

This is all down to the hard work and preparation she put into the garden in Spring and this has helped the garden survive what the drought and Mother Nature has thrown at it.

She feeling happy with the garden and she has managed the heat which she hates and are now reaping the rewards.

The colour combinations have really worked out well, some were planned others by luck.

Cosmos

The frothy Cosmos next to little bells and the greenery all bouncing off each other as well as her Penstemon that has come out being the same colour hues as her Verbena.

Christine says it reminds her of champagne and gets over excited acting out the exploding bubbles.

She walks down the garden to where the colour palate is hot and fiery and now it is fireworks getting her over excited.

The other border was more gentle like it was caressing and hugging her in a romantic way.


Christine has been having fun with Reg the neighbour over who has grown the best vegetables especially when it comes to Tomatoes.

Tomatoes.

Now she is going to decide this once and for all and she has come up with an idea of how she can do this!

She is off round to see Reg to tell him she is challenging him to a showdown, at the local Horticultural Show!

She finds Reg digging his garden and he too wants a word with Christine.

He has heard that Christine is saying she has better Tomatoes than him, thats fighting talk Reg!

'Yours are bigger but mine are better' declares an excited Christine.

Reg and Christine

Reg says have you seen his ripe ones!!

Christine then throws down the challenge of them both entering the local show to decide once and for all.

They even shake hands and bet on it, a fiver for the winner.


Christine notices Reg's Shallots and she says put them in the show as well as his Onions which he shows her are hanging to dry in the shed.

Onions

They agree it be good to enter then, the she asks if he got anything else up the garden?

Reg said he has got Carrots and they both go up the garden to have a look.

He digs one up to see if they are any good underneath and Christine helps by giving it a pull and they pull up one good one and an ugly one!

Christine reckons its a contender for Ugliest Vegetable at the show.

Carrot

The good Carrot is very clean and Reg reckons he can find some even better ones amongst the rest of his crop.

Christine is off and pleased they found some entries and tells Reg not to eat them all.


Now she seen what Reg's vegetables are like she wants to check to see if hers are as good.

Squashes

Her vegetables are about 3 weeks behind his so she worried they wont be ready yet and looking at her Squashes they have powdery mildew and the Pumpkins have Red Spider Mite.

Christine thinks her Tomatoes will be ok to show and maybe some Carrots too but she has to check these.

Sweetcorn

The Sweetcorn is looking good but thats destined for her plate not the show.

On to her Courgettes, she is taking off the male flowers as she prefers all females, the males do nothing and she makes a comment about 'just like in life, really' and chuckles.


Christine says there are 2 types of Showers at the Shows, the really competitive one who strives for perfection and the 'loonies' like her and Reg who do it for fun.

She tucking into the Tomatoes again and hopes there be some for the show as they taste so good, maybe stop eating them then!

Tara

She even tries to get Tara to agree with her how good they are.

The Showers know exactly when to pick their exhibit and when she was a kid on her allotment some of them used to go and pick by torchlight at night.
'If you're growing for showing, it really is an art form'
Now she started on the Carrots and she digs one up and declares they are good and she reckons she has plenty to show as long as she does not scoff them.


Tara is barking with excitement as it is time for her walk before Christine goes to work as she says you can never spend too much time with your dog.

Christine

They are going on their special walk into the Essex countryside which is full of wildlife and she sees Kingfishers, wrens and Cormorants.

She feels lucky to have this on her doorstep just a few minutes walk away and they are just 30 miles from London.

The landscape changes all the time and the texture of the different plants and trees.

She finds Mother Nature incredible how it grows huge trees from tiny seeds and how it sustains itself.

Tara

Christine feels content and all her worries and tensions disappear when she out walking in the countryside.

It is a shame you cannot take that feeling back home with you but that would mean that the walk was not so special.


Now Tara is walked Christine is off to make her living and today she off to do a gardening job.

She is off again to help Mavis, an old friend who front garden had got overgrown and last time she cleared the garden and now she going back for the fun part, the planting.

Garden

Mavis says she has already got the plants ready as she been saving up in preparation with some having been in their pots for years so will be very happy to be finally planted.

She says there are not many but she thinks these will do the best in the front garden.

Christine asks if the side gate is open, she tries but it is stuck and takes some puffing and pulling to get it open.

Christine

Mavis says she never opened it so thats given Christine a work out as well as knocked her glasses off.

She starts moving the big plants like the Agapanthus first and she struggles with the big pot before placing it in position, Mavis moves a much smaller plant.

She enjoys planting and giving something back to people so they can enjoy their garden again.

Garden

Mavis goes and puts her feet up whilst Christine cracks on with the front garden.


Christine was just 10 years old when she started planting other peoples gardens for them and she not stopped since.

She calls it a privilege to plant for people as you are creating something they are going to get pleasure from for years to come.

The plant she has got out of its pot is very pot bound and the roots have been going round and round the pot for years.

Roots

She needs to break the spiral of roots otherwise once it is in the ground it will continue in this pattern and not grow outwards into the soil.

Some people are scared to do this but you need to slash the roots or the plant will still suffer.

The soil is bone dry but she will give them a good water afterwards.

Before long she has it all planted, watered and snipped into shape and after inspection by Mavis the garden is finished.

Christine

Mavis is pleased it is looking a lot tidier and Christine tells her to keep it well watered to settle in.

After a welcome cuppa she sweeps up the path and she happy she given Mavis back her garden and she happy with it.


Christine is out in the garden because tomorrow is Show day so she off to harvest her vegetables in preparation.

She is entering her Tomatoes plus Carrots exactly the same as her competition Reg but he is also entering his Onions and Shallots.

Pat

Reg's Wife Pat is entering one of her amazing Apple pies too.

Christine is looking for the perfectly shaped Tomato to harvest as well as a nice clean stalk.

Christine

Reg in his garden is also adding not over ripe or squashy.

Christine does not think her vegetables are prize winning as she hold up one of her Tomatoes.

Reg on the other hand knows his Tomatoes are better than hers and is feeling confident.

Reg

He now digging up lots of Carrots to ensure he finds some all the same size and shape and Christine is now doing the same.

Trouble is Christine has eaten all her big Carrots.


Reg had now moved on to admiring his own onions and he is off round to Christine's with them.

Christine Reg

Christine helps him pick his 3 best onions then they are going to get them prepared for the Show.

First they need to clean them and then trim them down and turn the tops down, then string them but they need to be done neatly.

She asks him what the prize is for a first for his Onions and Reg is hoping for a tenner at least.

Christine says that not a lot for all your hard work but first prize is actually just 50p and laughs.

Reg says he will take his onions back then and they both laugh.

onion

She trims the roots and snaps off the top and this needs to repeated 3 times and when done and sewed with string he kind of happy with them.

Then he sees the one Christine done and his has definitely gone wrong somewhere.

Reg is not so confident now and says they will come somewhere in their class, the bottom says Christine and there is still 9 Shallots to prepare.

Christine Reg

Reg says 'oh my God' and they both laugh.


It is the day of the show and Radio Essex it is the Bank Holiday Monday, there are Shows going on and is wishing all the competitors good luck, I think Christine will need it.

The sun is shining and the big day is here as Christine unloads all the Show entries from her boot with the help of Reg but Pat is busy hanging onto her pie.

Today is the day that the judges decide who grows the better vegetables and who is King of the Tomatoes, Christine or Reg?

Christine Reg and Pat

Christine registers the entries at the door for herself, Reg and Pat and get the entry cards.

There are loads of growers setting up in the room and it is something they have been growing for all year long and take very seriously.

The show is not just Fruit and Vegetables but there Flowers, Jams, Wine, Pickling and Baking.


Christine arranges her carrots and they both have a look at the competitions and both think theirs are better.

carrots

Reg says her are straighter than his but it will be up to the judges.

Christine helps Pat with her Pie and manages to knock a bit off it but it is put back on and is looking good.

Next she helping Reg arrange his Tomatoes to look their best and then its the Cherry ones which she manages to eat one of, thank goodness they brought more than they need.

pie

She hurries Reg up who busy looking at the other vegetables and he still got his Onions and Shallots to do.

She says if you come a bit later you do get to see most of the other Showers produce to compare.

The onions are laid out and next the Shallots, Reg spends more time comparing them than laying them out.


The Local Show is not just about competing it is a great day out for Family and Friends to enjoy.

Tea

Christine gets them all a cup of tea whilst they ae awaiting the Judges  and time seems to be dragging whilst they await the results.

Reg reckons he will win something and finally they announce that the Show is open so they can go and look at the results.


Christine, Reg and Pat excitedly make their way back in and they have come nowhere in the Carrots.

Christine beckons Reg over 'you did it' she says excitedly Reg has a Third for his onions, he is very pleased and he howls with laughter at his 20p prize money.

onions

Shallots he has won nothing but it is the Tomatoes next to look at.

A very excited Christine drags Reg round to the Tomatoes and he has won Third place for his but Christine has got nothing so she will eat them as a consolation prize.

Reg asks 'whose the best Tomatoes now then'? Christine still says 'mine' and they all laugh and she says her taste better even if his won third place.

Christine Reg and Pat

Reg has now won a total of 40p and demands a body guard to protect his winnings, they all laugh again.


But what about Pat's Apple Pie?

A very very excited Christine shouts 'Pat' as she grabs hold of her arm and drags her to the Pies.

Christine and Pat

First place and Pat is shocked but Christine said she always said how good they are.

Well done Pat as she gets a kiss off Christine and Pat is beaming with pride.

Pat won 50p so its a quid between them, nearly!


They all leave happy with the results. 2 Thirds and a First and rush to the car as a Storm is coming, they have a pie to eat, and Reg has to try and get his fiver off Christine.


All photographs are copyright of BBC.com




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