Love Your Garden Series 12 Episode 8 Greenford

Love Your Garden Series 12 Episode 8 Greenford

Alan Titchmarsh welcomes us to Love Your Garden and the final one of Series 12 episode 8

Alan says how he is lucky to meet all sorts of people and he finds people who devote their lives into helping others the most inspirational.

With his team they want to thank these people by giving them their dream garden.

Gardens rejuvenate you and offer tranquillity when you have had a hard day and they are bringing tired gardens back to life.

love your garden team

So this year Alan and his team David DomoneyKatie RushworthFrances Tophill and Danny Clarke are going to surprise some inspirational people and give them breath taking gardens to transform their lives.

New Member of the Team for 2023 and debuting in this episode is Master Craftsman Bruce Kenneth.

They will also share the secrets of how they do this, giving us good ideas to transform the chosen garden as well as in our own gardens.

'Welcome to Love Your Garden'.

Alan is in Greenford West London to meet Sybil who with her husband Harold have for years been fostering children and taking in Refugees.

Sadly, a few months ago Harold died suddenly, Leaving Sybil at a loss with the garden that they both loved spending time in.

Sybil and Alan

Alan rings the bell and a shocked Sybil answers, he tells her he is here to give the garden some TLC and Sybil thinks she dreaming.

Dionne, Sybil Daughter describes her mum as caring and loving and puts other people first and this shows in her work life too.


Sybil and Harold fostered children including refugees aged from babies until teenagers.

Lisa Snell, Sybil friend, says for fostering you need to be a certain type of person to nurture the children and she is good at that.

Sybil and Harold had been married 30 years and they were soul mates and had made many happy memories in their garden together.

Sybil and harold

Harold loved to Barbecue whenever it was sunny and invited friends and family round.

Tragically just 6 months ago 55 year old Harold had a Pulmonary Embolism whilst at work and sadly did not recover.

Everyone was devastated by his sudden passing  and the family are finding it very hard without him.

As Sybil is still grieving she finds it hard to even think about the garden and managing it so it would be lovely if it was all done for her and somewhere to reflect and remember Harold.

The Garden
Sybil tells Alan, Harold was the green fingered one, and did most of the gardening, she tried to do it but its not the same.

The garden before

The garden has been loved and already has lots of plants in it and he spots a raised bed, some Roses, Magnolia and a little Cherry Tree.

Alan asks Sybil what she wants in the garden and she wants an area for the adults to sit and relax to remember Harold and also a safe place for children to play and have room to have parties again.

With rain coming Alan tells Sybil him and his colleagues will get her the garden of her dreams.

Garden before

At the moment Alan feels the garden is a place of sadness and he wants to make a new garden to remember happy times in.

They will keep Harold memory by keeping the plants he nurtured and that they all spent time with enjoying the garden.

Design Concepts
Alan is visiting a garden in Surrey which is perfect for any occasion as it has something for everyone.

Garden visit

It has quiet areas, social spaces, wildlife area and play areas.

Sybil garden gets the full sun so can be filled with bright flowers and in this garden they have an open sided Gazebo which is shaded and great for all weather entertaining.

There a seating area near the water and he will add a quiet seat in a relaxing part of the garden for her to remember Harold.

Alan drawing plans

Alan starts his plan Sybil has always loved gardening but she become detached from it so he wants her to love it again.

It is a large long garden that he wants to add rooms to and break up.

Katie will do the entertaining area, a dramatic centrepiece to the garden with bold colours, maybe a water feature.


Frances will make a forest School for the Foster Children to get children enjoying being in nature

Alan area at the back will be very tranquil with trees and a bench to sit and remember Harold

Garden Visit
Danny Clarke is visiting a garden in the Barbican Conservatory in London which was built in the 1960s - 1970s in the Barbican estate that also has 2,000 homes.

Danny and Marta

Hidden behind the Arts Centre is a garden in a 23,000 square foot greenhouse has 1.500 varieties of plants some as old as 40 years.

This is managed by Head Gardener Marta who Danny meets with and tells her it is stunning.

The garden makes him feel he in another world and the plants disguise the rigid shape of the structure of the building.

The green foliage is very calming but there are also bursts of colour and as they go into a different part it contains even more flowering plants due to the extra light.


There are Citrus plants that need a lot of lights as well as flowering plants.

Plants are good for our Mental Health and if you propagate plants it can keep the costs down of having lots of plant and it is also easy to do.

You can do this by taking a cutting from a plant that is not in flower and then shorten the stem to 2 - 3 inches and put it in a small pot of soil then water.


Plants are very important to mental wellbeing and health as being surrounded by them is very calming.

This is also having the same effect on Danny as he walks about and this is what they want for Sybil's garden a place to relax and reflect in.

A Work in Progress
Alan team of Contractors and Landscapers arrive along with Love Your Garden Team members Katie RushworthFrances Tophill and Master Craftsman making his Debut Bruce Kenneth

Katie has already got her garden building up and is painting it as Sybil loves to entertain in the garden and inside it is going to be very bright colours and maybe a bespoke bar!


The back wall is painted a very vibrant blue and outside the hard landscaping of a fireplace is taking shape.

Katie is panicking as her fireplace is to be clad in Aubergine Steel but it has not turned up yet and is already a day late and she plans to plant the top of it so plants tumble down.


Katie has asked Bruce to come help her make a Artisan Juice Bar for the Summer House and he is using scaffolding boards and leftover wood.

He has a nice design in the wooden at the front and he wants to sue the same on the top of the bar so he has marked out correlating lines on the edge.

He is making a groove using a router and has a piece of wood clamped to act as a guide on the top.

Katie aubergine steel casing for the fireplace has arrived and it is huge and very heavy but worse of all they have to lift it up and over the brick structure and it needs to fit perfectly, it doesn't!


Some adjustments are needed, some brick removed and reduced in size, some chipping away in places and some grinding.

The next attempt to get it on the structure is 3 people inside the metal structure forcing it downwards using a bit of wood and a hammer.

At last after a lot of banging and pushing the metal cladding to the fireplace is down.


Katie Bar that Bruce has been making is now complete and she asks Alan and Frances to help them get it into the Summer House.

The Juice Bar will form the centrepiece of the Summer House .

Katie is filling a border with colour and she is using vibrant colours and she uses orange with purple to create a happy mood and be invigorated.


She is using a favourite plant Geum Totally Tangerine which comes back every year and flowers for about 7 months, next to this a bright purple Salvia with a lime Euphorbia and dark Canna.

The next job is to plant the top of the fireplace and she is going to use lots of Alpines so they will trail over the edges.

She got a purple Aubrieta, Silene with its white star like flowers and these will add interest to the top of the fireplace.


Katie planting  flowering Jasmine around her archway which is evergreen as well as being heavily scented.

Frances is at the far end of the garden making a wildlife area for the children to enjoy so she wants to add a pond and stumpery.


She gets to work digging it and a wildlife pond needs lots of different areas to attract different wildlife, a deep area for Newts and shallow area for plants.

She is adding a fleece liner underneath a rubber liner to construct the pond but first she has to smooth out the sides making sure not too steep for the wildlife.

Frances is also checking and removing sharp stones, rubble and any glass that may damage the liner.

Frances and Katie

Next is a layer of sand before the fleece and liner and then she trims the liner leaving a big overhang to trim again when filled.

The pond is mostly finished and she is filling up the area starting with a Stumpery which provide a habitat for Fungus and Insects.

Once the plants are added it will be an ideal spot for the children to explore and some of the flat logs can also be used as small benches for them.


Next she is adding Ferns some are Evergreen and some Deciduous so there will be a mixture of habitats for insects.

Frances is in the pond adding some plants that will help encourage the wildlife Sybil wants in the garden.

A wildlife pond needs plants at different levels, oxygenating plants at the bottom, marginal plants round the edges and the pond is multi-level to provide habitats.

The ideal coverage of plants should be a third of the pond size and a good marginal plant is Iris Versicolor as this is good for Dragonfly Nymphs.

Children need to be supervised around any pond or water in the garden.

Bruce is making a bench for Sybil to sit on in memory of Harold using some Oak and he loves working with it.

He has smoothed the planks and he using the Cortisone Timber that they use to make Whiskey barrels from so it will look good.

Bruce and Alan

Harold favourite saying was 'Don't worry' from 'Don't worry, be happy' and Alan asks him to engrave this motto onto the bench.

Bruce is adding some dowels to the side of the bench so he can secure the back to them and first he adds some glue to the hole.

This bench is going to give her somewhere to sit and admire the whole garden from.

Bruce is in the final stage of the bench and he has engraved 'Don't Worry' into the back rest of the bench.


Alan tries it out and the back is angled perfectly for a comfortable sit and the final thing he is going to do is give it 2 coats of wood oil for protection.

Alan is working on the area Sybil wanted to sit in and relax and remember Harold and he is adding trees that have been trained on a parasol frame.


It is a Liquidambar or Sweetgum its common name from North America and they will need trimming each year to keep them in their trained state.

The area is then covered with a membrane and then topped with gravel to keep it weed free so it is low maintenance for Sybil.

Sybil garden is quite large and already had a lot of plants in it and Alan has cleared the area leaving several of the plants including a Akebia, Chocolate Vine that is climbing nicely on a Stump.


It was in a pot and Alan going to build the earth up around the exposed root ball so not to disturb the plant too much this will also give the roots lots more room to spread.

Alan is setting up a water feature with a relaxing sound of water flowing to Sybil's seating area in the hope she finds the sound relaxing.

At the bottom of the water feature he is planting some Hart's-Tongue and Shield Ferns and they will do well in the shade.


Alan transplanting some of there plants and its tricky as they are in full leaf and the Magnolia has been in water all night and they will plant it and keep it watered and hope it will be ok,

Sometimes when you have moved them they miss a year of flowering but it has good roots so that should help it settle in.

They have tried to keep as many plants they had as they mean so much.

Alan is adding a living wall to the fence in the relaxation area and it is a low maintenance planting system that comes in a kit form.


He plans to use foliage plants in pots as the area is shady so Ivy, Heuchera and Ferns will all be happy there.

They have water reservoirs in each pot so this will keep it low maintenance and the plants will hang down and disguise the pots.

What the Garden means to her
Sybil is a Childminder as well as Foster Carer so children are very important to her.

Daughter Dionne said it was like having new brothers or sisters at home and Sybil just cared about everyone.

Frances meets Sybil for a chat about the new garden and what she loves about caring for children?

Sybil and frances

Sybil says its very fulfilling helping others and she helps the child develop properly and reach their full potential.

Sybil says how outdoor play is so important as a learning platform, they learn about nature, where things come from, how they are a part of the world.

With the finishing touches done the garden is finished.

The Grand Reveal


Sybil open your eyes
'OH!' Sybil bursts into tears 'Oh my god' 'I never imagined' 'Am I in the right place?'
'My God that's amazing' 'It's my own little paradise on Earth'.

The garden now a tranquil and relaxing space to remember Harold in.

finished garden

Vibrant entertainment area with fireplace

Finished garden

Summer House with Juice Bar

Finished garden

Relaxation area with bespoke bench in memory of Harold

Finished garden

Water Feature

Finished garden

Wildlife area with pond

Alan takes Sybil on a tour of the garden and we have more tears when Sybil sees the bench in Harold Memory with his favourite saying 'Don't Worry' engraved on it.

Josh and Dionne come in to see the garden before the rest of her friends and family flood in to get the party started and on into the night.......

All photographs are copyright of


Landscape Team

Jason Williams

Tim Weller

James Dale

Harry Devlin

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