Wild About Your Garden Episode 2 Three Badgers and a Baby

Wild About Your Garden Episode 2 Three Badgers and a Baby

Wild About Your Garden is introduced by Nick Knowles and he tells us that in Great Britain, people's gardens covers more area, then all the nature reserves.

Every garden could be made into a wildlife haven, have a look at your own garden, is it welcoming for wildlife?

This programme is to transform peoples gardens to make them welcoming for our natural wildlife.

The Wild About your Garden Team includes Award Winning Garden Designer Chris Beardshaw, Wildlife expert Ellie Harrison and Presenter Nick Knowles.

This week they are in Bristol  at the home of Mark and Fiona who have their first child on the way.

Nick Mark and Fiona

Mark and Fiona take the team on a tour of the garden they have only recently moved into. 

The couple tell Nick they have been concentrating on the internal decoration  because they have a baby due very soon and to do the garden too has been overwhelming.                                                                                  

The Garden
The plot is 18ft long and is very overgrown with nothing done to maintain the garden for several years.

Chris and Ellie

Chris and Ellie take a look around and spot several established shrubs and in this unkempt state it actually is a very good wildlife haven.

One of the reasons they bought the house was for the big garden as its very large and away from the road, you can lose yourself in it.

The garden will be great for their children to be in and to learn about nature.

Garden before

Chris and Ellie have found evidence of Badgers visiting the garden when they found some foot prints in the ashes of a bonfire.

Mark has been speaking to the neighbours about the diverse woodland wildlife that comes into the area.

Chris says Badgers are a nightmare for gardeners as they will destroy everything you put in.

Garden before

Nick tells the couple to stay away from the back garden and for Fiona to put her feet up and relax.

Elli tells Nick she wants a garden that encourages Badgers to come in to but Chris is still not happy with this as they will destroy his planting ideas.

Garden before

Chris also points out this may damage the neighbours garden too as they are keen vegetable and fruit growers.

This garden is not going to be straightforward with Ellie and Chris disagreeing over what the garden needs.

Wildlife Visit
Ellie takes Mark and Fiona into the woodlands behind their house and straight away she finds a Badgers footprint in the mud and there is also a dog print to compare the size too.

Next she finds a Badger run, a path that they will use regularly and after climbing down the bank Ellie finds evidence that she has found the Sett.


She thinks its an outlying sett and Badger setts are protected by law and cannot be removed so she needs to think about how to get them to come in the garden and not move in unless the couple want that.

Ellie returns with the couple and they meet Nick and discuss the topic of Badgers and TB and faeces and how some people believe the Badgers need culling.

Visit to the Neighbours
Nick speaks to the neighbours about the Badgers and if they mind that they are going to be encouraged into the next door garden.


They do not mind at all and in fact they feed them every night with just leftover meal scraps.

Garden Plan
The Team sit down to start a plan for the garden and the couple want a traditional garden but also somewhere for the wildlife to be in.

Chris wants to add a gated mound to the garden as a barrier to divide the 2 gardens and also to add an orchard of apples, plums, pears etc for them to harvest but also for the wildlife to eat the wind fallen ones.


He draws in a huge horn shaped pond which takes up all the garden so he adds stepping stones to get through it.

Nick questions the safety of the pond with them just about to have their first child?  Chris says the mound and gate will keep them in the main garden but the pond will be very shallow for most of it but will need supervising.

The soil from the pond will be at at bottom of garden to create mounds for possible Badger Setts.

They have just 3 days and Chris estimates the pond will take 1-2 weeks alone to construct! All Nick and Ellie can do is laugh.

Work commences
The Landscapers arrive to start clearing the garden which is very long and narrow and straight away there is a problem with the Rotovator

The big diggers arrive and get to work moving the soil and the lawn is being lifted and at the end of the garden they have found some old fruit trees that will stay and be pruned.

Ellie has called in Adrian Howard who is an authority on building Badger Setts to help with the one they are making at the bottom of the garden

Adrian Howard

They are using big plastic pipes and these will lead to chambers and the size sett they are making will accommodate 6 Badgers.

It has 3 entrances and several chambers they have also left the ends open so the Badger can make more themselves.


Now the hard part it is going to take at least 200 wheelbarrow full of soil to cover it.

Start of Day 2 and they are off to an early start and Chris is marking out his huge pond but Nick thinks its a anti badger moat!

The pond is very nearly the whole width of the garden and in comes the heavy machinery to dig and move all the soil.


All the soil that is dug out is being used to cover the man made badger set.

Chris explains to Nick the different depths of the pond and at the sides will be beach areas gently sloping into the water.

Not only is the Sanctuary a haven for Badgers but also for the Harvest mice which are now quite rare, so they are working to increase the numbers.

Chris is working on the mound that separates the nature from the formal area and on to he is constructing a living willow divide by weaving the willow to a frame.

Willow fence

Chris convinces Nick the willow needs whipping for increased flexibility, so Nick whips away.

Ellie back with footage of the baby Badgers hoping Chris will soften to liking Badgers, but he still does not want them on his lawn.

She tells them them about the Harvest Mice project and asks Nick to recruit some helpers.

The last job of the day is to line the pond with fleece then rubber pond liner, once finished it cannot be walked on.

lining pond

They send the lightest member of the team into the centre of the pond to get rid of the creases.

Day 3 and with the ponding taking a week to fill the Fire Brigade come to their rescue to fill it up quickly.

fire brigade

The water will have chlorine in it but will be fine in a few days, the best water to use is spring water followed by rain water to fill your ponds.

It is ok to add the plants and once they are added the pond will come alive.

Next project is to construct a wooden hide and Chris is making it with some huge logs, Nick not impressed.

The inside of the hide is sunk down and it will have a grass roof so it will blend in and the view will be across the pond when sat inside it.

It will all be finished today says a confident Chris.

Chris has now moved onto the Orchard part of the garden and they are laying turf  and marking out for the trees.


He has Damsons Cherries and Greengages on one side that is more shaded, on the sunny side they have Apples and Pears all on dwarf root stock, so they do not get too big.

They will only grow to 3 - 4 metres so perfect for the size of the garden.

At the bottom of the garden it is all a bit wilder and he is planting a 'Brewers' Hedge called this because it produces everything you need to produce a brew or fruit from.

It includes Hazel nut, wild Apples & Pears, Sloe, Blackthorn and loads of other bare root hedging.

The final day starts with all the projects finished now comes the hard part of planting 1,000s of plants and they are all arriving on site.

No sign of Nick or Ellie yet so Chris puts up the Owl box and everyone else is slacking and eating breakfast.

Nick arrives on site and is impressed with the progress, Ellie arrives so its all hands to the deck to get it planted up.

Nick and Chris

They have a lot of herbaceous perennials for colour, texture and seasonal flowers throughout the year as well as flowering and fruit trees like Crab Apple.

Nick likes the twisted Hazel and asks Chris about it and it was originally found in a hedgerow in Gloucestershire by a vicar and the twist are just a genetic defect.

Ellie inspecting the man made Badger burrow and she hoping it is soon populated so the family can watch it from the hide.

Next to it is an area thats been left untouched which is great for wildlife.

The pond is great for wildlife but any size of water is and a pond in a bucket all helps with creating habitats for wildlife.

As their child grows the hide will be a great place to learn about and watch the local wildlife.


Chris is planting up the pond and they are using natural and aquatic planting in and around the pond.

The pond relies on less glamour plants to sustain it like Canadian Pond weed that you buy in bunches and floats in the water.

It produces so much Oxygen into the water and is a vital part of a healthy pond.


The gate is fitted to separate the 2 areas and keep the baby safely in their part of the garden.

Ellie found a legless Lizard and is showing them off to Nick.

Wildlife  visit
Ellie takes Mark and Fiona to Secret World in East Somerset which was founded by Pauline Kidner to look after injured and sick animals to return to the wild

baby badger

In her kitchen, she shows them some 11 week old baby badger cubs, they grow slowly and do not pen their eyes until they are 5 weeks old. and are kept under ground until they are weaned.

If they rescue a newborn  cub they need feeding every hour but these ones are now on 4 x a day feeding.

There are 50,000 Badgers killed on the road every year and we all need to be extra careful and look out.

Nature Visit
Chris takes Nick to visit an amazing Water feature which looks like its been here for years but it has  only been constructed a few years ago and the pond is man made.

nick and chris

The plants surrounding it are all fast growing, so when planting just use a few plants, do not cram them in as they will quickly spread.

Neighbours Pond
Ellie takes Mark and Fiona to a neighbours pond and she has a plan to give their pond a good start by taking some water and wildlife from their neighbours pond.

There will be microscopic life in the water as well as larvae but they do not want any fish as they will not survive in a new pond.

Ellie uses a trug to scoop out some water which she then empties in the new pond.

Visit to Antenatal Group!
Ellie and Nick meet with Mark and Fiona  Antenatal Group to ask them a favour and they have brought along the Harvest Mice.

Harvest mice

Unusual but after showing them how cute they are and in the tank is 2 females and 1 male who will have several litters of up to 7 mice over the Summer.

They then ask who will volunteer to have a tank, they manage to get rid of 2 out of the 3 with the last one being a possibility for a work space.

Final  touches and the garden is complete

Grand Reveal open your Eyes

Mark and Fiona

Mark and Fiona response is 'Oh my god' 'It is not our garden'

Nick takes them on a tour of their new garden and they meet up with the team in the hide.

finished garden

They discuss the garden and how it looks so much bigger and that is because it is in sections.

They install the wildlife cameras and await the outcome.

4 Months Later....
The foliage has grown so much and the garden is full of life.

4 months later

The team meet Mark are amazed by the transformation and it is all looking amazing and there is already apples growing in the orchard.

4 months later

The pond looks very established and very clear.

Fiona baby Amy

In the hide they meet Fiona and baby Amy who is loving being out in the garden.

Wildlife Camera Reveal


They look at the footage including recordings of Mark and see a greater spotted Woodpecker, a young fox family that have been in the sett.


Then they spot a Badger family by the sett and them investigating it, all of them are so happy with what has been visiting the garden.


Fiona reports there has been no Badger damage which Ellie teases Chris about and he takes credit for the pond and mound blocking them in.

The family are loving the garden and have found it so relaxing having the wildlife in the garden.

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All Photographs are Copyright of BBC.com

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