A wonderfully inspiring TV campain to
revive Britain’s gardens
Watch the 1-hour episodes by clicking on the individual headings
Charlie Dimmock campaigns to put ponds back in gardens. She finds out the importance of ponds for wildlife and takes the plunge in a new style of water gardening – the swimming pond. Charlie also finds out how a community in East Yorkshire has come together to breathe new life into their village pond. The lakes, small ponds and water features of Nottingham Trent University are the starting point for her revival, and Charlie gives her step-by-step guide to building a wildlife pond and bog garden, from the initial design stage, right through to planting up.
- Chris Beardshaw wants to return a Victorian curiosity, the stumpery, to our gardens. Similar to rock gardens but created from upturned tree stumps, logs and roots, stumperies were created to display the spoils of intrepid Victorian plant hunters. On his revival Chris discovers how fern fever swept the nation in the 19th century. He meets a man in North Wales who is as fascinated by ferns as he is and sets off on a woodland trail to see the stumpery as nature intended. Chris bases his campaign at the most famous stumpery in the country, created by HRH the Prince of Wales, in the grounds of Highgrove House. Throughout the show, he creates his own mini-stumpery using his favourite ferns to full effect and shows how to grow mushrooms on a log.
Diarmuid Gavin wants to use glasshouses to restore a sense of adventure, flair and excitement to gardens. On his campaign, he visits Wentworth Castle in Barnsley to help out with the final stages of the restoration of its elaborate Victorian glasshouse. He gives his guide to greenhouse buying and meets up with passionate allotmenteers in Nottingham, who have gone one better and designed and built their own remarkable greenhouses using recycled materials. Diarmuid gives his top greenhouse growing tips, gets to grips with hothouse flowers, and explores the wealth of temperate and tropical flora on display at the National Botanic Gardens in Wales.
- Matt James thinks that shrubs have been overlooked and ignored for too long. He wants gardeners to rediscover and appreciate the importance of this amazing group of plants. On his journey he visits a garden in Norfolk where shrubs are the stars of the show, and inspires a group of young gardeners at Flatford Mill in Suffolk to plant shrubs in their gardens to encourage wildlife. Matt gives his beginner’s guide to shrubs with the focus on colour, flower power and fragrance. Plus he shares his top pruning tips to help keep shrubs looking at their best year after year.
In this episode, plantswoman Carol Klein shares her infectious passion for a style of gardening that she thinks is in much need of a revival – the rock garden. She tracks its history from its pinnacle during the Victorian era, visits a community in Bolton who have pulled back their local rockery from neglect, and drops in on an old friend in the Midlands to find out more about this much-maligned gardening style. From her base at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Carol demonstrates tried and tested techniques for growing success, as she shows us how to plant up a trough with some of her treasured rock garden favourites and gives advice on the best alpine bulbs for containers.Also in this show, Toby Buckland is on the campaign trail for herb gardens. He discovers how useful herbs have been throughout history, learns that there was no such thing as a weed in Tudor times, meets a woman whose garden is overflowing with herbs we have forgotten, and talks to a botanist who grows plants to capitalise on their unique fragrances and essential oils. Toby also demonstrates how to harvest seeds and grow herbs, whether you have a garden or not, and how to make the most of herbs by storing them in clever and unusual ways..
In this show, Rachel de Thame investigates the decline of Britain’s cut flower industry. At New Covent Garden, she discovers that 90% of cut flowers sold in the UK are imported. She meets a man who has dedicated his life to growing sweet peas, and joins a florist who uses some surprising flowers in the wedding bouquets she creates. From her base at the cutting garden of Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, Rachel gives us her tips on how to grow, cut and arrange flowers.Also in the show, Joe Swift wants us all to plant trees in our gardens. He visits the magnificent elm trees of Brighton, which didn’t fall victim to the devastating Dutch elm disease as it ravaged Britain in the 1970s, and he marvels at the national collection of birch trees in Devon, the lifelong work of one man. Based at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Joe shows us some of his favourite trees for small gardens and also gives us his top tips on how to plant and prune trees..
As a passionate plantswoman, Carol Klein wants everyone to embrace one of the most iconic and quintessentially British styles of gardening – the cottage garden. She shares her years of experience with her ultimate guide to the best cottage garden plants, along with money-saving tips on how to grow favourite plants from scratch. In the Lake District, she visits the home of Beatrix Potter and a cottage garden which features in some of the most famous children’s books ever written. She also encourages the people of Nantwich to get gardening in the Great British Seed Swap.As a plant hunter, Tom Hart Dyke wants Britain to fall back in love with the house plant. He has a chilling encounter with an orchid he last saw when he was kidnapped in Columbia 13 years ago, discovers that house plants can have a positive impact on people’s well-being and productivity at work and shares tips on how to care for house plants and grow them from cuttings..
Rachel De Thame sharpens her shears to champion topiary, the great tradition of trimming and shaping plants. In her revival she charts the rise and fall of topiary from Elizabethan times to the present day, meets a topiary obsessed woman in Kent who has transformed her entire garden using amazing topiary creations and witnesses the hedge handiwork of a man in north London who is causing a buzz in the local neighbourhood with his living sculptures. Rachel shows that with a little know-how and confidence everyone can share in the sense of fun that topiary can bring to Britain’s gardens.
James Wong is up on the roof for his revival. He uncovers the hidden horticultural past of the capital’s rooftops, visits a woman who has moved her entire garden to her rooftop apartment and heads to Birmingham’s new city centre library with an innovative rooftop addition. James shares his tips and shows us that when it comes to roof gardens, containers are king and reveals the best plants that are ideally suited to a rooftop garden.
Monty Don is on the campaign trail for wild flowers. 98% of wild flower meadows have been lost since the first part of the twentieth century, a shocking statistic which he believes all gardeners can do something about. On his revival he tries his hand at making hay the old fashioned way in a coronation meadow, visits the largest biodiversity hotspot in the world – Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and shows how to grow wild flowers, even without a garden.
- Meanwhile, Joe Swift is determined to return the nation’s front gardens to their former glory. He bases his campaign at the award-winning Rockcliffe Avenue in Whitley Bay and shares his tips on how to transform front gardens in a few simple steps. He also discovers that greener streets reduce pollution and hits the road to get the message across in his Great British Plant Giveaway
Sarah Raven explores the relationship between the British and their lawns. She visits Worcester College, Oxford, to catch a glimpse of lawn perfection and the winner of Britain’s best lawn competition. She also discovers a radical new approach to growing lawns, with the world’s first ‘floral lawn’ – composed solely of flowering and foliage plants and not a blade of grass in sight. With the help of a family, she road-tests three different types of lawn – a wildflower meadow, traditional grass and fake grass – with surprising results. Basing her revival campaign at Polesden Lacey in Surrey, Sarah shows how to keep lawns in tip-top condition; how to inject a splash of seasonal colour into grass by naturalising bulbs; and also how to deal with those irritating bald patches in the lawn, which are the blight of every gardener.
- James Wong is determined for everyone to share in the sheer spectacle, thrill of innovation and sense of fun which tropical gardens can provide. Seen as unfashionable, expensive and too much hard work, tropical gardening has fallen by the wayside and James wants that to change. On his revival he meets like-minded tropical plant geeks, including one man who appears to have defied the laws of nature by creating a tropical paradise in his back garden in Norfolk. James gives his tips on how to care for and maintain tropical plants; explains which ones are best for sun and shade; and also reveals how to create a tropical look on a budget.
Chris Beardshaw wants everyone to plant herbaceous borders in their gardens. On his revival he visits a garden which is a true labour of love, originally designed by one of our most celebrated garden designers, Gertrude Jekyll. He meets a mother and daughter who are championing the must-have plant for any herbaceous border – the aster. Plus Chris tries to teach two non-gardening students the key design elements of this truly iconic British garden feature. Throughout the show he gives his ultimate design tips, shows how to get the best from borders and offers advice on how to deal with the gardeners’ enemy, the weed.
- Alys Fowler celebrates the glories of the kitchen garden. More than an allotment or a neglected veg patch at the bottom of the garden, she thinks the kitchen garden should be a place of great ornamental beauty that provides food all year round. As well as sharing her top tips and growing advice, she reveals the secrets of one of Britain’s oldest kitchen gardens, gets a taste for unusual edible plants that take your breath away, and finds out about the communities up and down the country who are turning unused spaces into super productive kitchen gardens.
Toby Buckland wants to put homegrown fruit back into Britain’s gardens. On his revival he meets a fruit tree conservationist who rescues species that are close to extinction, as well as a family in Kent whose passion for fruit has resulted in the creation of the largest collection of different fruit trees in the country. Toby gives his tips and advice on how easy it can be to plant and care for fruit trees. He shows how to cordon a pear tree, prune espaliered apple trees and the best ways to store the results of the autumn harvest.
- Christine Walkden gets behind the Victorian craze for ornamental bedding. On her campaign she meets the passionate people working hard to keep this gardening heritage alive. She discovers the innovations in plant breeding which are breathing new life into bedding and in Bournemouth she finds out how the council are encouraging the local people and visitors alike to develop a taste for ornamental bedding, with their edible displays. Throughout the show Christine shares her tips and advice – she shows how to create a portable carpet bed and how to grow one of the most popular bedding plants, the geranium, from cuttings.