Love Your Garden returns with some exciting new changes to ITV. What can viewers expect from the new series?
This series of Love Your Garden sets about creating gardens for people whose lives can be changed or improved by having their own tailor-made outdoor space. Health or unforeseen circumstances may have deprived them of a garden of their own, and we aim to put that right by creating for them the garden of their dreams.
In the programme you transform the outdoor spaces of some of Britain’s most deserving people into lifestyle-enhancing gardens – was this a rewarding process?
To see the reactions of people when they return home to find that their patch has been transformed is both rewarding and quite moving. I’ve always found that gardening offers me tremendous spiritual enrichment, as well as practical enjoyment, and to be able to hand that on to other people is a great delight.
In this series you’ll also be joined by a team for the first time – David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill. What has this been like?
We’ve all got on hugely well! We’re quite different, but then we bring different qualities and skills to the programme. David is the wheeler-dealer type in charge of the ‘hard’ landscaping and has a knack of being able to come up with unusual and inspiring ideas; Katie is a garden designer and gardener in her own right, with a wonderful Yorkshire accent and sense of humour to match, and Frances is a student at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens who has a wonderfully gentle approach to gardening. I think that between them they should appeal to all age-ranges! We all share a well-developed sense of humour and the ability to send each other up!
In Love Your Garden you aim to dispel the mystique surrounding gardening to encourage and inspire everyone to have a go. What tip you would give a novice gardener who’s keen to get stuck in for the first time?
Take time to look at your patch. Work out where the sun is at various times of day and find out what your soil is like and the plants that are likely to grow well in it. Make a list of the features you want or need and then on a piece of paper, juggle them around until they are in the places they will be most practical. You don’t need to be an art student, a rough sketch will do. Then take the job slowly – starting outside the kitchen window where you can see you are making a difference. (If you start at the far end of the garden you’ll come indoors and not be able to see the results of your labours. It’s disheartening that way.
How much personal time do you have for your own garden and what type of gardening do you enjoy the most?’
I potter in my garden every day that I am at home. There are few jobs I hate – I even love mowing the grass! It’s my way to unwind and feel a part of nature. I couldn’t do without it.
What is your most personal challenge in gardening?
Getting my garden right! The job is never finished, but that’s half the fun. Adding new features and re-doing those that have gone over the hill is all part and parcel of having a garden.
Who influenced you most towards gardening?
My grandfather, my mother and a teacher called Harry Rhodes at junior school. He saw I had an interest in gardening and encouraged me. I continue to be grateful for the fact that he took the trouble to give me confidence in myself.
Do you have any stories or anecdotes during filming that you can share with us?
Just that it’s great fun and I hope folk like what we do!