Garden transformation show. The team transform a Manchester back garden into a time travel-themed dream space for Doctor Who fan Shirley.
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There are a few sites more satisfying than a beautiful garden.
But what do you do if your outdoor space isn't quite
so picture perfect and you're short on time?
Well, meet the Instant Gardener.
Danny Clarke is an expert at transforming gardens.
Here's my plan. I'm going to rejuvenate this garden.
Each time, our gardening guru will show you how to create
gorgeous garden makeovers.
That's the art of garden design, delegation.
Each transformation will be packed with brilliant ideas and tips.
It makes it easier to cut through.
To help you get to grips with your own outdoor space.
It doesn't feel unnatural, but take your time.
With his magical ideas...
These flowers will look like they're floating in amongst the grasses.
'..and advice on spending wisely on a budget.'
That's why Danny makes me bring a list!
Oh, my word! This is amazing.
'And because he's the Instant Gardener,
'everything you see will happen in just one day.'
Oh, my gosh!
That looks so much better.
This time we've come to Manchester, one of Britain's biggest
and most vibrant cities
with more than half a million residents.
Located in the northwest of England, Manchester has
a rich industrial heritage
and is the third most-visited city in the UK by overseas tourists.
The garden we're visiting today is slightly neglected
but its Manchester-based owners are fun loving
and want a space they can enjoy.
Let's help them make an instant improvement.
-You must be Shirley.
-I am. You must Helen.
-Good to meet you.
-Great to meet you.
-Come on in.
Charity worker and Doctor Who fan Shirley Proctor
and her husband, Kev, have recently downsized
from a house to a bungalow.
Shirley could no longer manage the stairs as she suffers from ME,
or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Joint pain, headaches and dizziness are just a few of its symptoms.
It took them years to get their previous garden just how
they wanted it, but with the progression of her illness
and her energy levels at an all-time low,
Shirley has decided there is only one thing for it,
to call in The Instant Gardener.
Shirley is unable to do any physical work, which means
she can't really do much in her garden.
In fact, she hasn't really made a start.
The old deck leading out of the house is a bit faded
and in need of a reviving
and the central lawn is tatty and neglected.
There is also a giant Leyland cypress
which Shirley can't stand.
It dominates the garden and creates deep and dry shade.
But the garden does have potential
and Danny is hoping to get some ideas from the owners themselves.
-Hello, Helen. How are you?
-Hiya, how are you?
-Good, thank you.
-So how long have you guys been in this house?
-Six months today.
And what was the motivation behind the move?
Cos you've been in your old place for nearly 30 years.
Yes, we had. It was Kev's idea and I got really cross
when he suggested we move to a bungalow,
but it was because I can't manage stairs any longer.
So once I'd calmed down...
-..we started looking
and then we found here and it was perfect for what we needed.
Have you been a keen gardener in the past?
I try. I can't do very much now because I get very tired.
You don't have the time.
No. I'm working full-time and I'm a local councillor
and I do lots of things in the community as well,
so I don't really have a lot of spare time.
So, a really manageable garden would actually be fantastic.
Forgive me for being nosy, but seeing through your window
over there, it looks like one of you is a bit of a painter.
Yeah, that's me.
So, would this sort of double up
as a bit of creative space for you maybe?
I have sat out on the decking and painted when it was warmer
last month, and that's just lovely to be able to do that.
And I can see there's a couple of TARDIS over there.
-You're Doctor Who fan clearly.
-I am. Kev humours me.
You are Doctor Who fan, you are clearly a very colourful character.
Would you like your personality to be reflected in the garden?
Yes, I would.
I've already said I'd like my shed to be a TARDIS
because that would just be so cool.
So what would you like to do with this space?
We want to make it more manageable really, I would say.
Easier to maintain. I think the lawn is not too fantastic.
It gets quite waterlogged, so maybe a change of the lawn will help us.
I hate the leylandii with a vengeance.
I think they should be made illegal.
But I now it's too much to do in one day.
It does give you good privacy though, doesn't it?
And it is quite private, isn't it?
I think we'd quite like to maintain that.
Danny, in the past you were always a little bit nervous about not
going too far in a garden
and kind of making sure somebody gets what they want.
I think you can go as far as you like with Shirley's garden.
-Can I do whatever I want here?
-OK. Are you sure about that?
Well, we have two provisos.
-I'll have to rip up plan A then.
Yes, OK. And no privet.
Beyond that I think you've got free rein.
-Bit of privacy, bit of fun and easy to get around.
Right. We're going to get out of your hair
-because you got a lot to get on with.
-I believe, Kev, we are offering you...
..like a sacrificial lamb to Danny as a bit of a grafter.
You just jump in here. OK, what are we doing?
Before you go...
..mustn't forget to give you this.
Because he doesn't like us to go off and have too much fun,
so we get sent with the shopping list to get one or two plants.
-We can manage that, I'm sure.
-Have fun, chaps.
-Have a good day.
-Don't work too hard.
Whilst Shirley and I set off on our research mission,
Danny has only ten hours and must bend space and time
to get this garden finished in a day.
But Dan's got a plan.
And this time he has got the theme in mind to personalise this space.
This garden is going to reflect the personality of its owner.
She has very geeky interests.
She is into Doctor Who and computer games,
so I plan to build a garden to reflect all this.
I'm going to paint a strip of that decking TARDIS blue
and it will make a nice little landing strip
just in case Dr Who wants to pay Shirley a visit.
That decking is raised, which is great,
so she has got a viewing point down onto the garden.
And when Shirley comes from her landing strip down these steps,
she's going to be in another world.
She's going to see these concentric circles.
The centre circle, which is made from slate, it's going to be a black hole.
Offset from the black hole it's going to be a hexagonal
arch which she can walk through
and disappear into another world.
Now, we've got to imagine what Doctor Who might see
while his travelling through time.
And I think the sort of things he would see would be primeval.
Plants that are timeless.
So they are the sort of things we're going to put in this garden.
So what we've got here...
it really is a conceptual garden.
Now, it's full of hidden meanings, so it's got planets,
it's got all sorts of interesting sort of mystical stuff going on.
And I think Shirley would really like that.
Well, let's hope she does get Danny's hidden meanings
or she may send him to another dimension...
if the weather doesn't do it first.
As usual, the instant garden team, AJ and Lou,
are ready and able to help with the task.
And Kev and family friend Stuart are on hand to help as well.
Fingers crossed there's enough muscle power to finish the job.
Time to get cracking.
-Hello, you must be Stuart.
-Hello. Yes, I'm Stuart.
-Good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-So you are the helping hand for the day.
That's great. Well, I reckon we should just make a start.
-OK, let's get on.
-Shall we do that?
-Great. Let's go.
The first thing we are going to do is to measure our centre circle
because we are going to have three concentric circles here.
-So AJ has got a trusted tape measure.
-We need a...
-And we need a centre point.
-Will one of these do?
-Roughly, I don't know where we're going to...
-I love you, Danny.
I know you do, AJ.
-And I love you too.
-Can I just borrow it for a minute though?
Yes, you can.
Right, now, Kev, you stay with me and can give me a hand with that.
-..perhaps you could do the decking for me.
As you can see, it's seen better days and it could do with the jet wash.
-So if you can crack on and do that, that would be great.
Whilst Stuart gets to work sprucing up the old decking,
it's time to mark out the circle that will represent a black hole
Can you just hold on to that for a minute?
Danny and AJ choose and mark the centre point of the circle
and attach a tape measure to it,
then, keeping the tape at a fixed length,
they mark the circumference with spray paint. Following it so far?
-That's it. Have you any idea what we're doing?
Nor do we. We haven't got a clue. We're just making it up as we...
We're just making it up as we go along.
-Do I need to give an explanation? Do you want an explanation?
This circle is going to be a hole.
So at this point, Shirley is going to disappear into a black hole
and go to another dimension. KEVIN LAUGHS
You shouldn't be laughing.
Why are you rubbing your hands together?
-You should have tears in your eyes.
-She will be coming back.
-We'll make sure she comes back.
So she's going to disappear into a hole.
She's also going to walk through a dimension, which is going to
be in the shape of a portal here,
which she steps through and then she goes off into another world.
Yeah, I think she'll absolutely love it.
Do you think she'll like it? Well, that's a relief.
Just one thing we haven't brought with us today is a lawnmower.
-Kevin, do you have one?
-I do. Yes.
Brilliant. Cos we need to cut the grass...
And the other thing we need to do is to edge this inner circle
-cos we need to dig it out.
So how about if I give you the task of mowing the lawn
and we'll take this centre circle out?
-That seems a good idea.
Come on, team, the clock is running.
How about less conceptualising and more constructing?
Mowing the lawn beforehand will make lifting
and taking away the unwanted turf a lot easier.
Danny has got the team working at warp speed now,
but there's a little problem of his own making which needs
dealing with before the team get bogged down.
Stuart's done lovely clean decking over there.
But the downside to that is this.
So we've got a flooded area here.
So I'm going to try and assist the drying out process.
And what I'll do is I'll just make holes in the lawn with my fork.
And just lift it.
What a lovely sound that is.
Like a sponge, a lawn is a natural soak away.
But if your lawn is extra soggy,
an ordinary garden fork can be used to increase the effect.
Either lift areas of turf to drain surface water or simply make
holes 15 centimetres deep all over
and fill these with horticultural sand.
Meanwhile, Shirley and I are seeking inspiration in a garden in Didsbury.
It has big shady trees like Shirley's
but this is also a garden full of ideas and meaning,
created by a gardener expressing his personality and interest
in a quirky way.
-Well, here we have...
-Look at that! That is gorgeous.
-Do you like it?
It's clever. I love driftwood. Absolutely love driftwood.
And that's really weathered wood.
I believe this is part of an old wheel that they have
turned into a sort of tiered bedding shelf.
-In this garden there are quite a lot of large trees...
-..offering a lot of shade, a bit like your garden.
I think it adds to the sort of mystery. How do you feel about it?
I think because the middle has got lots of sunlight on it
it works so that you've got the contrast between the two.
And then it's got... Oh, it's got a love seat.
-It's got really quirky stuff in here. I love it.
Very much like your garden, Shirley, this isn't a massive space
-but there is so much going on in here.
There is so much to see. I mean,
you kind of don't know where to look, do you?
Do you think you could learn to love your big trees if you could
make the most of the shade and what is underneath them?
Seeing the big trees here
with how they are, that's fantastic.
So, yes, because that works really well.
-Let's head down here...
-..because there is even more to see.
While Shirley and I explore this personalised paradise,
Danny is already two hours into today's garden journey.
And there is a big task lurking in the corner, the garden shed.
Danny has got an idea that should keep the job on theme and on time.
-How are you getting on?
All right, yeah, I'm just removing this branch which has kind of
been in the way, blocking the way through to the shed.
I think that's a great idea. I've been thinking,
I know that Shirley would like a TARDIS in the garden.
-She would, yes.
We use the blue paint that we were going to use on the decking
and also paint this shed.
So she'll have her TARDIS.
That would be fantastic.
If we've got time, we'll paint the whole shed.
-But we'll make a start on the front.
The only other thing I won't be able to do, unfortunately,
I won't be able to make the inside of that shed bigger.
All right? THEY LAUGH
You'd be a very clever man if you could.
Yeah, yeah. I'd be worth a lot of money if I could.
In the meantime, what we'll do, we'll go off and get some paint.
And once you finish that, you can make a start on the shed.
-Sounds a good plan.
-All right? So let's go and get it.
Sounds like a great plan.
A lick of paint will transform and freshen up anything.
Don't forget to use all-weather paint to protect it.
Time travel transport organised out back,
Danny's catching up with handyman AJ
who seems to be taking up a little space of his own out front.
He's working on Shirley's inter-dimensional portal,
or hexagon to you and me.
-How's it going?
-You know this hexagonal shape...
..this sort of portal shape, as you can see here
-marked off a couple of lines here.
Around here. Cut it all off and then we then sort of put it together
and sort of got a little bit of a hexagonal shape.
I now quite like the idea of having these sort of tails sticking up,
-sort of like fireworks at the moment or something like that.
So then, we're going to have to come back this way a bit
because most of this has got to go in the ground with cement around it.
-But actually, I'm glad you're here.
Cos I could actually get some proper sort of measurements.
Could you lie down there for me, please?
-You want me to lie down in the road?
-Come on, I'm serious, I'm serious.
You're all right.
You've got a sort of protection with the wood round you.
-Plant your bum.
-The things I have to do for the cause.
Ah, take your time, mate. Take your time.
So, ground level is going to be around about where your knees are.
OK, right then. Now we've got ground level,
can you just creep yourself up that way a little bit...
..and see if you hit your head...
I would say there's a good, what, 18 inches?
At the moment, you're about six inches off the ground.
-We know it is going to work then, don't we?
-So, we've got about two feet to spare.
-Are you happy with that?
-I'm very happy with that.
-OK, then. Well, you can carry on, then.
Can I carry on sleeping?
-Mate, I'm really enjoying this.
-Wake me up in about half an hour.
-OK, right then.
Quiet, please. Shh!
Joking aside, I think AJ has come up with a great idea there.
I like the idea of these overhanging sides to this hexagon.
I think it's going to look really great
and it's going to look really space-agey.
Danny had better use that portal to step back in time.
There's still a lot to do.
The next job is getting rid of a bit more turf,
so less lawn maintenance for Shirley.
Now to get the rest of the turf up.
And we've made a start nearer the inner circle.
We've taken that strip up.
I don't really want to do all this by hand
because it's quite laborious and energy sapping.
So, I'm going to use this trusty turf cutter. So, here we go.
Whilst Danny and the team get on with lawn lifting,
Shirley and I get the chance to question the gardener
who dreamed up this shady and unusual sanctuary in Didsbury -
musician Peter Clare.
Peter, talk us through your garden.
Well, when I arrived, it was flat and full of trees and a mess
and I had to take some trees out because it was nothing but trees.
I decided which ones I was going to leave and then
I sketched a plan with lots of paths and a circular lawn in the middle.
I feel like I'm in an aviary.
There are so many birds here and they're so loud.
Have you tried to attract birds?
My partner is animal mad. She just feeds them constantly.
Talk us through some of the many quirky features in this garden,
because the mangle just the tip of the iceberg, isn't it?
Well, we have an old shed that is made of an army ambulance
that my dad appeared with when I first moved in.
"I've got your shed, son."
THEY LAUGH And this thing appears.
It feels like you've got a lot in a relatively small space.
-Has that been quite a complicated plan?
One of the things I'm most pleased with is that
it doesn't look too busy, because I was very afraid that it would.
I think because the garden breaks up into sections
and there's quite large shrubs that divide it,
you get a sense of just entering another room rather than a garden.
And what about the level of maintenance?
Can Shirley have some of these exciting, interesting plants
without it being too much hard work?
Yes, I think she can.
One of the advantages of having a lot of trees, of course,
is that it keeps away weeds.
So, if you can get the ground to be covered in the kind of plants
that like living under trees,
then you won't have a great deal of weeding to do.
Looking at this garden, is there anything you're thinking,
"I'd like to try that,
"I'm going to think about doing that in the future"?
I love the idea of putting something in a garden
that you wouldn't expect to see in a garden
and then having stuff around it.
I think that's it - things that you wouldn't expect will work.
Walking down the high street, you stick your nose in a charity shop.
If there's something there that will fit a plant in that can be used,
-give it a go.
It's been really useful to visit a garden where shade is regarded
as an opportunity rather than a problem,
and which also reflects the owner's personality in a unique way.
Peter's garden has gone through an incredible transformation
to become the secluded idyll it is today.
It is clear from the outset, Peter worked with the feature trees
and shady areas in a positive way, using them to shape the garden
and set its style.
Be bold and delineate different spaces in your garden,
such as the separate lawn and pond areas that Peter has created.
This creates an illusion of greater size.
Use underplanting beneath trees to cover the ground.
This will keep weeds at bay and reduce maintenance.
Take a leaf out of Peter's book
and look out for interesting, quirky objects,
such as his old army ambulance.
Go hunting in charity shops, reclaim yards and car-boot sales.
Someone else's cast-off could be your garden treasure.
Keep an eye out for the National Gardens Scheme,
which lists hundreds of private gardens
that are sometimes open to the public,
so you can have a look around for yourself.
Meanwhile, back at Shirley's garden,
a difference of opinion has brought proceedings to a halt.
Have we not got any long silver?
-No, well, the thing is, the long silver is...
-Long John Silver.
..is harder to bend.
Well, I'll watch you, but a longer piece, you get a better curve on it,
-because you're not going to have so many to join.
With this, you can bend it.
Do you know what I mean? Like that.
-And a longer one, it's harder.
It's harder to get that bend all the way round.
Not in my world, not in my world.
-But yours... But carry on.
-I'll tell you what, shall we put it to the test?
-The loser buys the drinks...
-..this evening at the bar.
Cos you and I like a bit of competition, don't we?
-We do like a bit of competition.
-It keeps the blood flowing.
I hope I'm wrong, Danny, because I haven't been wrong yet.
-Do you know what? I hope I'M wrong.
Cos I just want to help you out.
Well, I'm trying to help you out.
Being totally impartial, I think it will be smoother
because where you're going to have the silver,
you've got more joints together and it's not going to be smoother.
-OK. The look.
-It's all in the look.
-I agree with the look, but I think...
-You know me,
-I'm all about the look.
-You're all about the look.
AJ, I would like to concede defeat.
I'll get him next time.
Well, if everything is going to take this long,
we're never going to get the job done!
He might have admitted defeat over the edging,
but Danny can't resist a little dig at AJ.
Just a little tip.
There's something I spotted AJ doing
is he was kneeling on the lawn.
When you kneel on the lawn like that,
what you're going to do is put indentations in it.
So, it's an idea either to squat like this.
Or even better, if your lawn is soggy...
..use a board to lean on.
And that way, you won't get little indentations.
And you wouldn't want that, would you?
Whilst Danny cracks on with the edging,
Kev and Stuart are busy painting the shed TARDIS blue.
Colour is a great way to refresh your space.
A lick of paint on a shed or deck is a cheap and simple way
to instantly transform your garden.
On the other side of the garden,
Lou is getting ready for replanting frenzy.
But she's come up against an immovable object.
-My plan is to find a pocket...
-..where there isn't concrete.
Ah, the dreaded block of concrete. Every garden's got one.
Because plants that grow in dry shade
are used to, you know, harsh conditions.
-So I think if I do that,
-then they will spread anyway as good ground cover.
-And they'll thrive.
-OK. Sounds like a great idea.
-So, I think that's only thing I can do.
-Great idea, yeah.
-And hopefully, we'll both find one or two pockets there.
Problem solved thanks to Lou. But now the team faces a real dilemma.
How does one place an inter-dimensional time portal
in one's back garden?
So, what I'm doing is having a look to see
where the focal point is going to be having walked through the arch,
because I need something to draw the eye.
And the focal point is going where that tree is.
So, I'm walking through it now
just to give it a little road test.
Our arch is here, so if I keep walking.
Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly.
Do you know what?
I think we've got it just about right here.
With that decision made and the day almost halfway through,
it is time for some hole digging....
..screwing, and hey presto.
-I need a little bit of help, mate.
-OK, just coming.
-This arch is ready.
-We need to make a little bit of a...
-A bit of room.
-OK. Let's move this out of the way.
This is the most exciting bit.
This is the bit I've been waiting for, this arch, cos I know that AJ
has made a great job of this and it's going to look absolutely fantastic.
-Right in the holes? Straight in the holes?
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
OK. Bit more.
Right, let's just put it down a sec.
Look at that. Doesn't that wonderful?
Do you know, it's bigger than I imagined it to be?
But that's great. It's fantastic.
-What do you think?
-I think it's great!
-Do you like it?
-Do you think Shirley will like it?
-I she'll love it.
Is it wacky enough for her?
I think it's pretty wacky and it's wacky enough for her, yeah.
Well done, Danny. The portal is in position,
but there's still loads to be done before Shirley returns.
Come on, guys. Time is flying.
As the team get to grips with their ground work,
I want to get further below the surface, too.
I take the chance to find out more about Shirley
and why it is she needs our help.
You and Kev have recently moved to a bungalow,
mainly motivated by the fact that your ME
-is quite difficult to deal with.
So, how bad has the ME got?
When we lived in the old house, some days it would take me
around two hours from waking up to getting downstairs.
I couldn't walk down the stairs because it was just too difficult,
so I'd slide down them on them on my bum.
Some days, I couldn't go to work. And...
..it's had a massive impact on my life.
How well understood is ME? Because it is chronic fatigue, isn't it?
I think people understand it more than they used to.
It used to be believed it was a psychological problem,
not a physical problem,
whereas now the research has shown it's more like
an autoimmune disease.
And I take stupid amount of drugs every day just to function.
-Clearly the ME has clipped your wings.
But you are a woman who has lots of interests and passions
and I've noticed lots of Doctor Who paraphernalia around your house.
Yeah. I've watched Doctor Who since it first came on.
I asked my mum recently, "What on earth were you doing
"letting such a small child watch Doctor Who?"
Cos I remember not just having a cushion,
but hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks came on.
I was so scared!
Shirley, there are so many different aspects to your personality.
I really hope that we can create a garden that has got
a bit of a reflection of that, that's got a bit of interest,
a bit of intrigue, because I think you more than deserve it.
-You deserve another playroom.
And speaking of Shirley's playground,
remember that black hole?
Danny and the team are getting on with
the new slate areas he's creating.
The next job is the membrane.
Which is going to stop the weeds coming through.
So, this allows moisture to go through,
but stops the light, which suppresses the weeds, stops weed growth.
Well, that job's a good 'un and things seemed to be going smoothly.
But don't count your chickens.
With time running out, Stuart has come up against a big problem
that might scupper Danny's plans.
Danny, all the slate's been brought round from the front now,
there's none left at the front, and all the bags have been emptied out.
-So, we are short of slate.
-We are short of slate.
Even with your ingui... What's the word?
-I'll tell you what I'll do,
I'll make that even more ingenious, all right?
I'm going to make this area even smaller.
So, if someone can go and get me another one of those black strips,
what we'll do is rake this back and we'll make it work.
-We'll rake it back?
-Yeah. If you can get me another black strip.
The Instant Gardener comes up with another instant solution.
Problem solved and the extra planting space created
is a bonus for Lou.
What we can do is put some more plants in here, Lou.
-Which will make you happy.
-Oh, Danny to the rescue, as usual.
But there isn't long left. Get a move on, team!
With things hotting up in the time travel garden,
Shirley and I have come to a local community garden centre in Hulme
equipped with Danny's shopping list,
which has just one specific item on it -
Very funny, Mr Clarke.
This garden centre was set up by a group of local residents
as part of the regeneration of this once rundown area.
At its heart is an ethos of recycling and sustainability.
We've come to meet one of the gardeners, Tim Knight,
who is a bit of a thyme lord himself.
-Nice to meet you.
-Good to see you. This is Shirley.
-Good to meet you, Tim.
We are after some thymes.
Well, you're in exactly the right spot
because we've got several different varieties just here.
-I didn't know there were so many varieties.
-Yeah, there's loads.
Some are more upright and have the deep gold foliage, like this,
that smells of lemon.
Then we've got these very low-growing, mat-forming ones.
Then there's one here that smells of pine
and you can put that in hot water and use it as an inhalant
if you've got colds and sore throats.
So, is the main attraction of thymes that they smell?
Yeah. And they're attractive in their own right
and they have little flowers which are loved by bees,
so they're really good wildlife plants as well.
But of course, yeah, you use them in cooking,
lots of medicinal uses as well.
I absolutely love the smell of this.
-It's a really nice smell.
-That's one of the nicest smells.
This is probably the strongest one, the common thyme,
and this is the one that is most commonly used for cooking.
-Would you like something in your garden
that you can use in the kitchen?
Oh, yeah. That'd be really good. Yeah.
Because I use herbs when cooking, so instant bouquet garni.
OK. Well, let's get a couple of those.
What else would you recommend?
Well, we've got this creeping thyme here,
which has really nice pink flowers.
This one can grow a mat on the floor and you can walk on that
and as you walk on it, it releases its scent.
Love the idea of walking on...walking on thyme.
Across the open space of Manchester,
Danny is also contemplating where Shirley's feet might tread.
But he's running out of time quickly.
Doesn't seem to be worrying him, though.
The effect here is...we're thinking about outer space, that's the idea.
So, Shirley walks down from the TARDIS's landing pad,
which is over there,
walks through this portal and she walks, disappears,
and suddenly she's in space.
And she's surrounded by these planets.
So, we've got the rockets here and we've got the planets here.
Here. And here.
Danny is using three types of plants for Shirley's interplanetary theme.
These round-pruned standard laurels and box balls represent planets,
and these pointy, upright yews suggest skyrockets.
These will be easy to look after.
Just a clip every so often so they can keep their shape.
And the same with this yew.
Just clip it every so often so it keeps its rocket-like shape.
Very, very easy to do.
I can imagine myself flying through there, flying through space,
and rockets whizzing past my head, planets all over the place.
Yeah, it really does look like a galaxy.
I think this really is going to work well.
Brilliant. But he is running out of time quickly.
He needs to get a move on now!
Back at the garden centre, Shirley and I
are still busy choosing more goodies for Shirley's garden.
I had a disastrous attempt at growing herbs couple of years ago.
They just died.
It's always good, when you buy a plant,
I always tell people look at where it comes from around the world.
These are Mediterranean, so they are used to being baked by hot sun
and in a very free-draining soil.
So if you just try to recreate that as much as you can
and then they should thrive, should be more than happy.
How well would these cope in a pot?
They're actually better in pots.
Because they're Mediterranean plants, the need really good, sharp drainage,
so often our ground is too wet.
So put them in a pot, mix a load of sand and grit in with the compost
and put them in a nice, sunny spot and they'll be more than happy.
So they are quite easy to look after, then, if they're hardy?
They're really tough. Yeah, they're really tough plants.
Got a bouquet of smells here.
-Oh, that's delish.
-Shirley, I'm going to get you some of these...
..peppermint chocolate herbs,
because it wouldn't be an instant garden
if we didn't go off-piste, would it?
Thyme lord Tim has given us some wonderful advice
about how to look after these little gardening gems.
You can also fill your garden with plants that have meaning
to personalise it and express yourself.
For example, thyme actually symbolises purity
and roses stand for eternal love.
It is well worth picking the brains of staff
and fellow gardeners for horticultural tips and ideas.
Advice is free and people love to share their experience.
And don't forget to look out for community projects like this one.
They are well worth supporting.
With our shopping trip over, it is time to make our way home,
and that can only mean one thing.
Round at Shirley's house,
Danny and the team have less than an hour to go.
Do you know what? I wish Doctor Who was around now
because he can make time stand still, can't he?
Or can't he even make time go backwards?
Because I think we could do with another, maybe, hour or so
just to get this job complete.
Anyway, better get going and see if I can make up some time.
Warp speed's needed, Danny.
You've still got the planting and the landing strip to finish.
-Kev, can you do us a favour?
-Could you paint that landing strip?
-If you can just do this strip here, from here to here.
-In a line.
And if you could, you know, obviously keep it as...
-And do the steps down?
-Yeah. But do that first. If we've got time, we'll do the steps.
-I will crack on with that.
The deck has already been washed and prepared,
so a stripe of all-weather blue paint and it should be good to go.
One of the big issues for Shirley was her hated Leyland cypress,
which dominates her garden.
But Danny has come up with
an on-theme plan to make use of the dry, shady space below it.
This part of the garden represents a very ancient time
and for that reason, I have picked these ferns
because they've been around
a hell of a long time
and they will tolerate dry shade.
Now, this tree sucks up all the moisture.
Many people think that you can't plant in the dry shade,
but these ferns will do the trick and they will be at home over there.
Many hands make light work,
so whilst I leave Shirley to take the weight off her feet,
I head back to the garden with an armful of thyme
to see if I can help Danny meet his deadline.
I'm so happy about this. Danny!
-Oh, my word!
-How are you?
-You have been so busy.
-We have been busy.
This is amazing.
So, you've painted that blue, which I'm really excited about.
Yeah. It's great.
I didn't want to bring her back here and there be no TARDIS.
I know that was a requirement of hers. She really wanted a TARDIS.
So we though we would paint it blue for her.
I love what you've done to the lawn. You've got rid of a lot of it.
-Yes, we have.
-What is this?
Well, this is a portal, a time portal.
So when Shirley walks through this,
she disappears into another dimension.
-These are her planets, OK?
-Here and here.
And these are her rockets.
Oh, I thought you just put them in in a quirky, unusual pattern.
No, that's kind of the symbolism behind what we're doing.
-I love that! There is a lot to look at.
-Yeah, there is, isn't there?
What is great is that your eyes bounce about, don't they?
-You don't know where to look next.
And I think if you can create that effect in a garden,
you're halfway there.
-I have brought the thyme. I get it now.
-OK, brilliant, yeah.
-I put it on the list, didn't I?
-So, you understand that.
-So, this is a Doctor Who themed garden.
-Totally reflecting her personality.
Interesting, it's different, it's quirky.
While your eyes are bouncing about,
I'm going to protect this mint from you cos it wasn't on your list.
-Get it over here and put it in a pot.
Do you know what? I hadn't even noticed it.
-Just as well.
Speed is of the essence now and it is time to get my thyme planted.
Right, this one is for the peppermint
that Shirley and I snuck onto our shopping list.
She likes it!
I think you should have whatever you like in your garden.
I tell you what, Helen, you're doing the right thing there
by putting the mint in a pot, cos the last thing we want to happen
is to put that in the ground and it runs riot throughout the garden.
Everybody keeps saying this about mint. Is it that bad?
If you put it in, it's going to take over?
It can take over your garden.
-I mean, have you ever seen it growing in cracks in pavements?
You see what I mean? It is a very invasive plant.
It is almost like a weed.
It smells better than a weed, though.
Yeah, it smells better than a weed,
but it can be classed as a weed because some people can spend years
trying to get rid of it out of their gardens.
So, if you want it, put it in a pot?
Put it in a pot and it's
-My thyme, however...
..which has got plenty of drainage
because I've mixed
what I'm putting it into...
-..is far from a weed.
That's absolutely fine.
As with other Mediterranean herbs,
combine horticultural sand with compost
to keep thyme thoroughly drained.
My thyme may be fine, but Danny's is nearly up
and he's got one more very special plant to launch.
He makes a slit in the membrane under the slate in the black hole
and pops the trunk in at a jaunty angle,
the kind of angle it naturally grows in.
The piece de resistance - this tree fern.
Dicksonia antarctica, my favourite plant.
And the reason I've chosen it, just look at these fronds.
They are just unfurling like gorillas' knuckles.
And they look like, when Shirley comes down these steps,
they're going to reach out and grab her.
They are also alien-looking and very ancient,
so they fit in with this theme.
Someone grab Danny, please. There is no time to lose
and it is all hands on deck for one final, magnificent push
as the team complete Shirley's time-travelling dream.
The moment has come to reveal the garden to Shirley.
But first, a big thanks to Kev and Stuart.
Kevin, Stuart, thanks very much for pitching in today.
We could not have done this without you.
So, here is my heartfelt gratitude.
-Cheers. Thanks a lot.
Stuart, you've earned a cup of tea
and you probably want to wipe the blue specks off your face.
Let's go inside. You two, brace yourself because I'll get Shirley.
Before, this garden was a neglected space with overgrown shrubs
and a worn-out patio.
The lawn was tired and shapeless and too much for its owner to cope with.
Beneath the trees was an overgrown, untended muddle of plants.
But in just one day, it has been entirely transformed
by Danny and his troops.
The lawn has been reduced and given shape and form
by using flexible edging and slate chippings,
which should give Shirley the low-maintenance garden she needs.
Shirley's quirky personality and love of Doctor Who
has also been reflected in Danny's design
by painting her shed TARDIS blue
and by creating her very own time portal
to walk through right at the centre of her garden.
And finally, the planting, chosen to enhance the time-traveller theme.
A selection of standard laurel, box balls and upright plants
represent planets and rockets,
and her large conifers are under-planted
with dry, shade-loving plants.
With its themes designed to reflect the passions of its owner,
Danny has striven to take this garden to another time and place,
all in the space of just one day.
But the moment of truth has arrived.
Will Shirley appreciate Danny's off-the-wall design?
It has been an exhausting day for Shirley, who needs to sit down
to take in the incredible transformation before her eyes.
OK. I think this is the moment, Shirley.
You have been very obedient and kept your eyes closed.
But now is the time to open them and take in your brand-new garden.
Oh, my goodness.
-Oh, I've got the...
-I've got slate. I love slate.
-You like slate?
-I love slate.
-Just as well. DANNY CHUCKLES
-Is that a tree fern?
-That's a tree fern.
SHE GASPS You like tree ferns?
-You know, that is my favourite plant.
-Is it really?
-Yeah, I love them.
But don't you think it kind of looks like
it's going to come out and grab you?
-And take you through...
Take you through that portal there, because that's what that is.
-That is a portal.
-That is awesome!
When you go through that, you go into another dimension. SHE LAUGHS
-So, this slate represents a black hole.
-All right? And that is a time portal.
-And see these plants here?
-These standard plants?
-They represent planets.
-There is a planet there, a planet there.
-And see those plants there, those yews?
They're rockets. SHE CHUCKLES
-Look at your shed.
-And there is your TARDIS over there.
Oh, that is awesome!
But also, look behind you. That is where...
That's a landing pad for the TARDIS. SHE LAUGHS
-That is brilliant.
So when you walk out from those doors, you walk down these steps,
you then disappear into this hole
and then you go into another dimension.
-Oh, that is fantastic.
-Do you like it?
-I love it.
And under the bane of your life - what WAS the bane of your life -
we've used ferns because they tolerate dry shade.
-They'll do well in this kind of garden, won't they?
How much work is Kev going to have to do?
It's going to be very low-maintenance.
All you need to do is cut the grass and just clip those planets...
-HE CHUCKLES ..once in awhile.
-Oh, that's OK.
Danny has really let his imagination run riot and in just ten hours,
has given this unique individual
a personalised and practical garden she can truly escape into.
It is a low-maintenance space, packed with interest and ideas
where she can truly imagine she is on another planet.
It is so nice to see such a big smile on that face.
And this face! That is a smile of relief. Good job, Danny.
You've done it. Another personalised transformation in just one day.
It is a playful garden for a playful lady.
Join us next time for another instant garden challenge.
The team transform a Manchester back garden into a time travel-themed dream space for Doctor Who fan Shirley.