Love Your Garden: Frances discusses trees for an overlooked plot
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During this week’s episode of Love your Garden, Alan Titchmarsh and his team visited Neverton, Dudley, in the West Midlands, where they transformed a “featureless” garden into a modern Mediterranean retreat. The revamped green space was inspired by Malta, which was a cherished holiday destination of James, his partner, Jo, and their four-year-old daughter, Laurie.
James, who is a care worker, joined the army at 16 as part of the parachute regiment.
At the age of 18, he lost three of his best friends to a suicide bomber while the unit were out on patrol.
He later developed post-traumatic stress disorder due to the traumatic incident.
While working in the care sector, he met his partner Jo, and the couple had a daughter, Laurie, who was born with Rett syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development.
Determined to create a green space which the whole family could enjoy together, Alan said: “We will make this into an absolute idyllic evocation of the Med in the Midlands.”
To gain inspiration for the design, Alan visited a suburban green space, which featured a range of ‘outdoor rooms’, which he said had an “undeniably holiday feel”.
Reflecting on why the Mediterranean is such a popular holiday destination, Alan said: “We go there to warm our bones, to enjoy the sunshine, and this sun trap here is wrapped around by plants that give you a Mediterranean feel.”
During the garden tour, Alan pointed out a Honey Spurge, Euphorbia mellifera.
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Although the semi-evergreen shrub is native to Madeira and the Canary Islands, he said: “It still makes this area feel like the Mediterranean.”
Later in the show, David Domoney advised viewers that they could save a considerable amount of money by choosing a younger plant, which is not as well established.
He said gardeners could buy a larger plant “that’s very big for instant impact”, or a much smaller one and save money.
He demonstrated the cost saving tip with a Brachyscome.
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A larger Brachyscome cost £23, compared to the same plant which was younger and less established, but priced at just £2.50. He said it was a “big difference”, while Alan added that gardeners would only have to wait a further two months to see the plant much more established. David also suggested gardeners could propogate plants from cuttings.
While crafting the garden’s new design, Alan said for gardens which have a rectangular shape, there was no need to “just work on squares and rectangles”.
“The trick,” he said, “is to kick the angle so that your lines run at an angle of 45 degrees from the house, that way not only is your eye diverted at a different direction, so are your footsteps.
“You’ll be encouraged to explore all these areas and make the most of all these different areas in the garden,” added Alan.
Creating areas with flat levels were essential for the couple’s young daughter, so Alan designed the garden so it was divided in two with a retaining wall to create a lower and upper area.
The new garden featured fragrant Mediterranean plants, with a range of potted plants.
There was also a water feature and seating area, “enclosed with lush greenery”.
Alan also incorporated Pencil Cyprus trees into the design, adding: “They really do give you that classic look.”
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