Presenter Helen Skelton, garden designer Danny Clarke and the team help an elderly gardener in Cumbria, whose pretty garden has been spoiled by building work.
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Beautiful gardens are one of Britain's most glorious sights.
But if your green space is more a mess than majestic,
making it over can be a daunting prospect,
especially if you're short on time and money.
Well, The Instant Gardner is here.
Danny Clarke is an expert at transforming gardens.
These are really bringing a smile to my face.
Each time, our gardening guru will be showing you how to create
gorgeous garden makeovers.
Doesn't that look great?
Each transformation will be packed with brilliant ideas
to help you get to grips with your own outdoor space.
Just continually deadhead
and you will keep getting that plant to flower.
-He'll be turning garden junk...
-Oh, look at that!
..into garden jewels.
It's going to be used as a planter,
and I think this is going to look absolutely terrific.
And showing you how to spend a small budget wisely.
-That's why Danny makes me bring a list!
Be it on shrubs or salvage.
Would you like that in your garden?
And because Danny is the Instant Gardner,
everything you see will happen in a single day.
Oh, thank you so much.
Today, we're in the Cumbrian hamlet of Ackenthwaite,
just outside Kendal.
Nestled on the edge of the Lake District,
the undulating hills and fertile valleys here
provide some of the best green views in the country.
But one local resident has been
enjoying a rather less pleasant view
out of her back window.
Her daughter Debbie got in touch to see if the Instant Gardener
can help her mum quite literally out of a hole.
Now, Debbie knows we're coming, her mum doesn't.
Let's go and surprise them.
-Hello, you must be Debbie.
-I am, yes.
Nice to meet you, Debbie. Come on out.
-So, you live here with your mum?
-That's right, yes.
She does not know that we're coming?
-No, she knows something's going on, but not what.
-Shall we go and find her?
'What's going on? I'm reading this paper.'
I'm sorry, Dorothy. I'm coming in with big muddy boots on.
My name's Helen.
We have come here to hopefully spring a nice surprise on you.
Well, I knew there was something happening!
74-year-old Dorothy is a keen gardener
and has lived in this house for 17 years.
After her father passed away, though,
her health began to deteriorate, and her daughter Debbie
and grandsons Nathan and Tim arranged to move in with her.
However, the building work required to make the bungalow
accessible for her and accommodate the whole family
has left her once-immaculate garden with a rather large blemish -
a six-metre long hole that's nearly a metre deep.
And neither she nor her family have a clue what to do with it.
I'm hoping maybe Danny does.
Luckily, he came to Cumbria a week ago when Debbie invited him
to check out what he'll be up against.
I'm here today to have a sneaky view at a garden,
cos it's always a good idea to have a look before we get started.
Well, it looks like a bomb's gone off, it looks like a crater.
Which is a bit of a shame
because the surrounding is absolutely gorgeous.
Now, just to look at this bit.
Whoever lives here certainly knows how to garden.
It's absolutely beautiful.
What a lovely view out there,
so they've got lovely borrowed scenery.
So, this crater has been left
after that extension has been built to the bungalow.
And it's quite deep.
I mean, I would say that's a good metre deep.
One of the things I like about this garden is its slopes,
which makes it a very interesting.
I kind of feel we need to run with it, work with it,
keep the interesting theme going.
As beautiful as this garden is, you know,
there's no way Dorothy can enjoy it.
Because she can't get from that hole that's down there
up onto this bit.
Another thing too is when they're indoors
and they're looking out, how can they enjoy this
if what's going down there is taking their eye?
Do you know what?
I think this is one of those jobs that really has got to involve AJ.
I'm going to have to break the news to him, so wish me luck.
Wow, I hope Danny isn't biting off more than he can chew this time.
Still, he's had seven days to mull things over
and today, he's come back to the Lake District to meet Dorothy.
-Now, I know you know Debbie.
-But you don't know the lady of the house.
This is Dorothy, who is a keen gardener.
-You've got a wonderful garden, good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Tell me about the garden then, Dorothy. Why is it in this state?
We wanted to make...enlarge the bungalow,
and they started to dig the foundations.
So, the diggers went 7ft down to put our big foundations on.
They had to clear this soil away and start digging and that.
And that, of course, it was in the way to go down.
Now this garden is a bit of a hazard for anybody,
-but your arthritis is quite intense, isn't it?
-Yes, very intense.
Some days I can do lots, some days I can't do anything,
some days I can do little.
So, how much of a worry is this garden?
It frightens me to death because she's always tinkering,
so just to get to the shed, we have to have an army...!
An army manoeuvre to get her down here, across there and...
But not just for your mum, for you as well.
-You can't enjoy it, can you?
-No, I hate it because the top...
We made some little pretend steps over there and the top one wobbles!
So, I have to get on the top, then get hold of the bench to get up!
It's a bit of an assault course for you, Dorothy, isn't it?
It is, yes, I won't be going to the Olympics.
Can you work with this space, Danny?
Yes, we can definitely work with this space.
It's going to be a bit of a challenge, but I think we can do it.
I guess the key thing is making it safe and making it usable, is it?
Yes, please. It would be lovely to have somewhere that we could all
-be together outside, wouldn't it?
-Yes, and sit, relax and sit.
Listen to the birds.
-How important is this garden to you, Dorothy?
-Keeps you going, doesn't it?
Besides my family and my dog, my garden and wildlife is my life.
Even when I was working, I always looked after the garden.
It's just everything.
Well, at the minute, it is literally a hazard.
A bombsite, it just looks like a bombsite, doesn't it?
But hopefully by the end of the day,
we will have a space that you can enjoy with your family.
-I've got a list for you.
We will go shopping. So, we're going for a shrub with a spring scent.
-We shall get out of your hair.
We'll go shopping, ladies, and let them crack on.
I never in my wildest dreams expected anything like this.
I now have to get my glad rags out for a day out!
So, while I take Dorothy and Debbie off for a much-needed escape
from their nightmare garden, let's hope Danny has a plan in mind
for dealing with this troublesome trench.
This garden today is all about this big crater,
and what we're going to do here is a sunken garden.
We're going to need to retain these sides here,
so we're going to use sleepers.
So, we'll put sleepers all around here with a step
leading up to the slopey
upper terrace over there.
For the surface - the surface has got to be nice and safe -
we're going to put slate down.
I'm going to make it more interesting,
I'm not going to have one colour.
I'm going to have the same material but in two different colours.
And I'm going to have one colour over here
and I'm going to have one colour over there.
Rather than one expanse, we're going to break it up.
There's going to be a gap between the sleepers and this bank here.
So, what I want to do is join this area up
with the top of the sleepers and blend the planting in.
So, the idea is to take some of the plants perhaps from Dorothy's garden
and bring them down to this area here.
So, that we kind of have a bit of unity going on.
I thought it might be a good idea to add some plants down below,
just to break that surface up.
There is one existing plant that's very important to the family
because they use it as a memorial to Dorothy's late father.
It's a Kilmarnock willow. And I think what might be a nice idea
to give the garden a bit of balance
is to replicate it just over there.
Now what we're going to do is make this area a nice, restful place
where Dorothy can contemplate with her family.
You know what would be a great idea?
To bring some scented plants into this space.
So, Danny plans to turn a horrible hole
into a delightful sunken garden
by shoring up the side walls with sleepers
and creating a patio using slate in contrasting colours.
He's going to add a new flower bed above the sleepers,
which will be easy for Dorothy to manage
because she won't need to bend down.
He's going to put in a Kilmarnock willow that will match
the one Dorothy planted in memory of her father.
And he's going to add scented plants
to the new lower layer of the garden.
This is one of the biggest challenges
I think I've ever taken on.
We want to turn this hole,
this crater into somewhere that's restful and peaceful.
And it's going to be a massive challenge.
With such a big job ahead, Danny and will need lots of help.
As ever, handyman AJ is ready on site to tackle all those sleepers,
along with Luke and Amyrose, who certainly won't be caught napping.
And getting stuck in to help out their grandmother
are Debbie's sons, Nathan and Tim.
-It's going to be a sunken garden.
-But we need to retain the walls all around.
-And what we're going to do is use sleepers.
And in the middle here, we're going to use an aggregate.
So, Nathan, I understand you're a bit of a whiz when it comes to DIY?
I did a little bit of here and there rendering, plastering.
A little bit of landscaping on the outside,
so what you see here.
Basically, I've done the damage and you're here to fix it!
-So, it was me, yeah, unfortunately.
-Actually, that fence was my handiwork.
-Oh, was it?
Oh, it's brilliant. No, brilliant, sorry. Fantastic!
Couldn't have done a better job myself.
We need to spread all this rubble that's here.
So, we need to level it all off.
So, perhaps two of us could do that while one of you can help AJ.
As you can see, it's very stony,
so I think it's going to be quite hard digging.
Now, the weather is going to close in on us.
I know we've only got maybe two hours at best of decent weather.
I think we really need to get moving.
-Let's do it, sounds good.
With those storm clouds brewing, it's a race against time
getting everywhere cleared,
so AJ can fit the retaining wall of wooden sleepers.
What we're doing here first, me and Nathan, we're digging the first
two holes here to get the posts in and get them set in the concrete,
so we can get the first row of sleepers up,
and then that will make it
easier for us to do then follow it off down both sides of here.
It's going to be hard, this is just solid stone all the way.
As you can see, it's just boulders.
Going to have to go about two foot, you need as much post
in the ground because, in theory, if you imagine my arm's the post,
you've got the sleepers up against here,
we've got all this soil here pushing here.
You need as much in the ground to counterbalance, to stop it moving.
Tim and I just spreading the rubble all around this surface,
and we've got to try and get it as level as possible.
It's heavy work, but the team are already making
a major difference to this real-life blot on the landscape.
But suddenly, the heavens open.
Ideal conditions for doing a job like this, I don't think.
In fact, it's hailstones, the sort of weather that could sink
Danny's sunken garden before it's even begun.
But it won't deter the Instant Gardener team.
We've just had a bit of a deluge.
It's eased off a bit now, but as a security, we've put this gazebo up.
We need to keep everything nice and dry.
Otherwise, we're just going to have a horrible mess.
But you know, we can't let that stop us because we want to get
this garden done for Dorothy, that is so important.
I really do not want to disappoint her.
I have every faith in you, Danny.
And I'm taking Dorothy and Debbie on an inspirational day out
that I'm sure won't disappoint.
Dorothy, I'm taking you to a garden that I think you're going to like,
I hope you're going to like it.
It's very grand.
Very fitting for yourself.
Oh, yes, thank you.
-Not sure about that!
Park House is a privately-owned
romantic manor house
that opens under the National Gardens Scheme.
It combines formal gardens with wonderful views
over the surrounding countryside.
And as it includes a sunken garden, it's got plenty of ideas to offer.
-I would love to say that this is my house. Sadly, it is not.
Come in here.
-And have a little look at this.
-Wow. Will you look at that?
A couple of times a year, these gardens are open to the public.
-It's just gorgeous, isn't it?
-What a beautiful situation.
The way the garden frames the view is really cleverly done, isn't it?
-The vista is stunning, isn't it?
And you see, they've incorporated
some beautiful modern sculpture in, and it fits.
-You wouldn't think it would fit, but it's...
And it's not over manicured, is it?
Because, you know, they've got the tulips
and the daffodils in the lawn.
-Could you see yourself in this garden, Dorothy?
-Oh, yes! SHE LAUGHS
-I think we'd be at home here.
Not too shabby for us, Dorothy.
Look at that!
We could get a good view for it over here, Dorothy.
-Wow, look all that.
-Look at that!
It's almost Elizabethan, isn't it? In the way it's laid out.
That is lovely, that fountain, isn't it?
-You've seen those two little frogs?
-King with crowns on their head.
I feel like this garden offers something for everyone.
-Formal water feature.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-It is beautiful.
It's made the most of the area
and the natural features of the area, hasn't it?
-Yes, it's beautiful.
-And brought it into the garden.
But they've managed to somehow keep it formal
and yet natural-looking and informal.
You could sit here and have a sort of nice morning coffee.
-You could sit down there and have an evening cocktail.
-It's very nice.
It's a garden you can play in, relax in, entertain in.
And the water...and the sound of the water is so relaxing, it's lovely.
I love it.
Is there anything here you'd like to copy for your garden?
I like the arbour, I like the idea of having somewhere quiet to go
and just to be on my own and read and have a cup of tea.
-Because I guess, for you, the garden really is an extra room?
Three generations living in one house,
it's important to have that, isn't it?
-Yeah, breakout space we call it, don't we?
Well, let's go meet the man who has worked tirelessly on this place.
Because it does take a lot of work.
-I'd like to congratulate him because it's wonderful.
-Yes, it must do.
While we go in search of the garden's creator,
back in Dorothy's own garden, it's still throwing it down.
But at least AJ has dug some little holes in that big 'un.
The post is going to go in there, going to concrete them in,
try and get them as level as...
I've asked Nathan to go and get another post,
and I'll put that on the ground just to try and get
both the flat edges together, so they're in line.
Which then means the sleepers will go up against them nice and flush.
Get them screwed in and then build it up. Easy as peasy.
-Apart from this weather.
Because the sleepers will need to withstand
the pressure from that huge weight of soil on the bank,
AJ needs to fix the posts so they lean back at a slight angle.
That way, they will counteract any subsidence.
AJ is busy over there putting in the retaining wall.
Now, the reason that's going to be the first wall that goes in
is because we want to run everything off of that.
So, once AJ has done that,
we'll know where to put the sleepers for this retaining wall
and that retaining wall over there
and we'll know where to dig the holes.
Get the sleepers in then, boys. Three to start with.
AJ fixes each sleeper to the post with diagonally-angled screws
from the top, so they won't be seen from the front when he's finished.
Then he'll screw in the top sleeper from the back of the post
to give it a nice clean finish.
We've just come to a section now and it's stopped raining.
Somebody is looking down on us.
Well, you deserve a break, boys.
But not before you finish the next retaining wall.
There we go, four holes. Start digging.
I must say, I wouldn't fancy digging through all those rocks.
Very proud of my chain gang here. Very proud indeed.
While AJ and the team carry on with their mammoth task,
Danny wants to take a close look at Dorothy's existing garden,
or what's left of it.
Tell you what, it's nice to have a break
from what's going on down there.
I must admit, I'm at a bit of a loose end.
So, I thought I'd just take a little walk around Dorothy's garden.
And just have a look and see what style of planting
and what plants she's got in here.
I mean, at a glance,
I can see it's all a typically English cottage garden.
She's got some aquilegia here, granny's bonnet.
And over here, she's got some roses.
So, really what I'm looking for at the moment is anything I can split.
Because I want to try and blend what's up here
into the garden down below.
So, I'm going to try and harmonise this garden.
Bring what's here down there,
and what I'm going to do is do a bit of splitting.
So, I'm looking for plants that I can split quite comfortably.
An example of that will be these foxgloves.
I think they're a bit crowded.
These ones are crowding this yew here,
so perhaps I could dig those out.
What I can see, which I absolutely love,
is this white flower down here, which is called hesperis.
It's absolutely beautiful.
There's a bit of white going on in the garden,
where everything else at the moment is blue or yellow.
So, it's nice to have an alternative colour.
So, what I'm going to do, I'm going to form a bed here.
Just along here, form a straight line, lift this turf,
put some lovely soil in there, turn it over.
And the plants I was going to put in there are going to come down here.
OK, Danny, good plan.
Now, you better get on with it
because half the day has already gone.
Back in the gorgeous and slightly less rain-washed
garden at Park House, I'm taking mum Dorothy and daughter Debbie
to meet the man who looks after it -
head gardener Nick Berry.
We're hoping for a few tips about how to minimise
the maintenance of a lush floral garden like this.
-Nick, sorry to interrupt.
-Hello, you like it?
-Hiya. You OK?
I'm a baker, so the currants, the rhubarb.
-Plenty of those, yes.
-Your orchards, apples, stewed pears.
-I would be in my element.
-Come and work with me!
-It feels like this garden has different sections.
Obviously, fruit and veg here, this is a bit more relaxed,
-then you've got the water feature, then the orchard.
How much time does it take to look after all of this?
Yeah, well, it's a difficult one
because you could easily spend full-time here all the time.
So, it's prioritising, making the groundwork,
using the right soil, the right excavations
so that the plants thrive.
So, if you want a garden that offers a lot,
but you don't want to work full-time on it, what's the key?
Don't be afraid of putting shrubs in. OK?
It gives you your structure, it gives you your shape.
It gives different seasons of interest,
whereas your herbaceous borders and your flowering plants
look beautiful for a month and then they go over.
The shrubs give you your shape and your depth.
Can you ever stop weeds?
Obviously, for minimalist gardens,
there's always weed suppressant membrane.
But for things like your flowering beds and stuff,
you can't really stop the weeds.
You just need to fill it as much as you possibly can with plants
to limit the amount of weed growth.
-I can't weed any more. So, that's the bugbear in the garden.
-Yeah, the raised beds here are marvellous.
-The raised beds for anyone with mobility problems...
That's what I would recommend.
Yeah, now there's so many hand tools
rather than the long backbreaking hoes.
If you've got your raised bed,
you can just plod along and just do it with that.
The main thing is don't let them flower and set seed.
-That's right, that's right.
-You know, that's your main thing.
Nick, you're doing an amazing job here, the garden is beautiful.
-Thank you very much.
Dorothy, I'm going to leave you here with Nick for five, ten minutes
because I think you could both use each other's expertise.
THEY LAUGH We'll go off to have a catch-up.
-Now, see you in a minute.
-We'll never get her back!
-No, she'll be there all afternoon.
If you fancy creating a cottage garden or even just a border,
remember these three tips from the Instant Gardener.
No space should go to waste in the traditional English border,
so you should pack your plants in.
That way, you'll crowd out the weeds
and only allow room for the cottage garden plants you want to display.
To get the natural look, avoid planting in rows.
Instead, think about grouping things together in drifts
to get a much more natural look to your garden.
And when they finish growing, let plants go to seed
and let those seeds grow where they fall.
Simply weed out the ones that don't seem to be in the right place.
The rain is still threatening to turn the space into a swimming pool
and there's only five hours left to finish the whole job.
But with two of the three timber walls in place,
the area is starting to look more like a sunken garden
than the perilous pit that was here earlier.
And now AJ wants to build some steps that will give Dorothy
proper access to the rest of her garden.
Hello, AJ. How's it going?
-Yeah? You look worn out.
-This is hard work, isn't it?
Yeah, we've got two sizes of sleepers in
and we've also cut off the posts.
So they're ready to be backfilled,
but I want to cut one of these in half to get the width of the step.
Do you fancy cutting some?
I wouldn't mind cutting one for you.
-Two, you want another two done?
I tell you what, I'd love to do that two for you
-cos I've just got the tool to do it.
If you're not experienced in using an electric chainsaw like Danny is,
then get your timber cut to length at the timber mill when you buy it.
There usually isn't an extra charge, but it does mean you have to be
very sure of your measurements when you put in your order.
Oh, steady, steady!
With the sleepers cut, Danny is keen to start his new bed.
Using a post offcut and his half-moon edger,
Danny can cut a clean straight line through the lawn.
Yeah, I'm happy with that.
Now, all we now need to do is dig out the turf.
Meanwhile, AJ is making progress on the steps.
Obviously, I've put this gravel down here,
because when you're making steps, you need to make it level.
So, we're starting off with three sleepers,
then we'll have two sleepers here
and one sleeper up here, and you'll walk off.
Then we're going to backfill all this and build it up
and then it should all be all nice and flush.
This pre-treated timber should last many years, so all AJ needs to do
is screw the sleepers in place so they won't slip.
And alongside them, Danny is digging more holes in the ground,
which will provide more opportunity for planting later on.
So, I'm digging a nice big hole,
going to fill it full of compost, and then I'm going to
put my plant in, just to give it the best possible start in life.
It's been raining solidly now for four hours.
But at least we're relatively dry.
And hopefully, on time to get the garden finished
before Dorothy gets back.
I love the positive attitude, Danny. You're certainly no drip.
Back at Park House, Debbie and I also have to take cover
while I take the chance to find out why she nominated her mum
for the Instant Gardener treatment.
Tell me about your wonderful mum.
She's just so full of energy and she's just always laughing
and everybody around the neighbourhood, you hear her coming
because you hear the stick and then you hear the laugh.
And then they go, "Oh, Dorothy's coming." She is just brilliant.
-Her mobility is not what it once was, though, is it?
-No, it's not.
That really... It's the thing...
It does get her down because it holds her back quite a lot.
How bad is the arthritis?
She's got it in all her joints now - in her neck, in her spine,
her hands, her feet.
She's just full of it, really.
But she had her knee replaced and that was meant to be
the first of a series of operations, but it didn't go to plan, did it?
No, and unfortunately, it didn't quite work as we wanted it to
and it's left her quite lame with that leg, really.
And that has really debilitated her.
But she carries on regardless.
It strikes me that your mum is quite a selfless woman.
-She brought you and your brother up.
-She's just been brilliant, really.
Once we were on our way and independent,
that's when she went off and found a career of her own.
And even then, she was always caring and always looking after people
and even though some of the things she encountered
were quite harrowing,
she always looked after the people that she was there so care for.
You know, they came first, always.
Even to her own detriment, really, but that's how she is.
That's how she is. And then, of course, the arthritis
became so bad that she had to retire.
Unfortunately, she was able to come up to Cumbria
and be with her dad for his last few years, which was lovely.
-And you have your two boys.
Who although they're grown up and doing their own thing,
you think it's very important to still provide a home for them?
-And look after your mum.
-And that's why you've ended up living together.
How is it going? Three generations in one house.
We've gelled really quite well, I think. In fact, amazingly so.
We're all surprised at how well it's gone.
-Nobody's killed anybody yet!
Because a big change for you, you've given up your own home...
-..to come and live with your mum.
Which I thought I would find really hard.
And it's not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
I'm really, really enjoying it
and I'm really lucky to be able to do what I'm doing.
-So, we need this garden to be safe, usable and multifunctional?
No pressure, Danny!
The biggest pressure Danny faces is time.
He's only got two and a half hours left to complete Dorothy's garden.
But with the sleepers and steps now well underway,
Danny wants to plant a Himalayan willow
in a planting pocket near the house.
This will complement the tree used by Dorothy and the family
as a memorial for her father.
So, this is the salix Kilmarnock.
It's the sister to your great-grandad's plant
It will take about seven years to get like that, to about that size.
-Your grandmother keeps it well and truly trimmed, doesn't she?
I can see that, she keeps it well and truly under control.
-So, she can do the same with this.
-So that eventually, it will look the same.
Where do you think is a best place for this salix to go.
My nan sits on that seat right there,
so to be able to look out of those windows
and see this would be brilliant.
So, if we put this central to the window,
it would be ideal, wouldn't it?
Yes, she'd be able to watch that grow, then.
With a position marked, Danny gets Nathan and Tim
to dig deep into the gravel.
They need to remove as much of the hard soil as possible
if the new tree's roots are going to be able to establish themselves.
All you've got to do is take out the pot.
Just position it, like that. Just put a bit of compost in the bottom.
Just a couple of handfuls in the bottom.
And...mix it in.
Bearing in mind that we've got some slate coming in,
-we've got two to three inches of slate coming in.
So, we want it to sit just slightly proud, like that.
So, if we just put another couple of handfuls of compost
in there, that would be good.
-And then we just pour the compost in round the side.
So you can do it, one of you holds that nice and upright.
-And then I'll leave you to it, lads.
-All right, brilliant.
-See you soon.
While Danny gets the other pockets planted...
Well done, lads, you're doing a grand job.
..the team at last gets a break when the rain finally stops.
Sunshine at last!
And AJ is feeling warm and bright about his steps, too.
After looking at the three steps here and there's still
a bit of a drop here, we decided... I thought I'd measure up
and see if another step would go in, and it is going to go in.
Also, not only is it going to go in there and make a fourth step,
I was a bit worried about the soil
being retained round the corner there,
so this is acting as two things.
Retaining the soil around the back of there
and also making it easier to step up here,
less for us to backfill here and everybody's got to be happy.
Oh, yes, we are radiantly happy,
especially now the sun is smiling on us.
With everything going well in the garden, Dorothy, Debbie and I
have now set off in search of more cottage garden gems.
Danny wants a shrub with a spring scent to excite
the senses in the sunken garden,
so we've come to a local nursery that should be able to help.
Luckily, Dorothy knows her plants and knows what she likes.
Easiest job ever. Let's hope so.
Right, here we are at a traditional growing nursery
very close to your house.
-I suspect you've been here before.
-Debbie, you go and enjoy a nice cup of tea.
Dorothy, you and I are going to have a look around the garden.
-See you in a bit.
-See you later.
What would you like in your garden, in terms of plants?
Well, I would love some shrubs.
As long as they weren't always low.
Right, crawling around having to get in...
No, I can't get down, I can't bend down or get down.
How important is smell to you?
Because Danny specifically asked for a shrub with a spring scent.
Something like a daphne?
-Daphne, yes, that would be beautiful.
-Well, let us go in search of a daphne.
Nurseries local to your garden will grow plants in similar soil
and climate conditions to your own,
which means they're likely to survive and thrive.
So, we found local nursery man Matthew Henry for more advice
on the right scented shrub for Dorothy's garden.
-Oh, it's beautiful. How lovely.
-Good to see you!
-Good to see you.
-This is Dorothy.
We are in search of some spring-scented shrubs.
-Do you have anything that fits the bill?
-We've got plenty, yes.
Do you want to rest here for a minute?
-We'll go see if we can find anything that piques your interest.
-Yes, thank you, Matthew.
-See you in a sec.
We leave Dorothy to take the weight off her knee
because this place is enormous!
-OK, so we've got the daphnes here.
Won't have much in scent today, but...
-But they will.
-They will do.
'When choosing new plants,
'especially if they're pricey larger shrubs or trees, it's always
'a good idea to get help from one of the nursery or garden centre team.
'They'll have the expertise to help you make the right choices
'for your soil and situation.
'And they might be able to suggest choices you haven't thought of,
'giving you fresh inspiration.'
And then we have this viburnum here.
Matthew, they look perfect. Is there anything else you'd recommend?
-We've got a camellia over here.
-OK, does it smell good?
-It does when it comes out.
-Let's get a camellia.
-How do you know which is a good one to pick?
-Oh, lots of buds on.
-Perfect. Matthew, thank you for your help.
-That's all right.
'Matthew and I wheel our haul off to Dorothy
'so she can give them the once-over
'and, hopefully, her seal of approval.'
Meanwhile back at the garden and with less than two hours to go,
Danny needs to get that new border behind the sleepers planted up,
but he seems to have that covered.
While they're planting those up,
I'm going to get the rest of the plants from Dorothy's garden.
So, I'm just going to dig up a few. And I thought, you know,
I could start with these foxgloves over here.
The thing with moving plants,
try and get the whole of the root out.
I'm going to lift this up and try and get most of it out.
And, as you can see...
There, I've got all of it, including the root.
So, get it in the ground straightaway,
and then that's going to give it
the best possible chance to start growing again.
I've just found these bluebells.
Now this is a great time to divide them
cos they're just going over.
And that way, they won't know that they're going to be moved.
So, all I'm going to do here is just dig up a clump, like this.
And there we are, we've got a clump.
Now out of this clump, we've now got four or five plants.
So, that means you've got more bang for your buck.
And talking of saving money, AJ has used all the offcuts
from the sleepers to make another set of steps.
Now that's what I call an added extra.
Here are the offcuts of the sleepers, I thought I'd just make
a nice little step for Dorothy to be able to get down into the garden.
Hope she likes it.
The planting is now in full swing,
but Danny's got a camellia he wants to pot up.
Luckily, I'm still at the nursery
with Dorothy and a trolley full of shrubs.
-I have found some plants that I think you're going to like.
I found some daphne and some other bits and bobs.
Is there anything else you need?
There is something else I could do with apart from the daphne.
Now, I'd like a pot
because I've got a lovely camellia I'd like to plant up.
-No problem, Danny, I will get that for you.
-With some ericaceous soil.
OK, no worries.
-Speak to you soon.
..that is looking for a pot and some soil.
I can do that.
First though, I wanted to show Dorothy the gorgeous shrub
Matthew has helped me pick out for her.
-OK, Dorothy, cast your eye over these.
Matthew has picked these because they all have strong scents.
Why do you need scented plants in your garden?
Well, in the winter, cos there's not a lot of insects around,
the fragrance of the plants brings them in,
-so they can help pollinate it.
And then you can enjoy the scent every time you walk outside.
-So good for the garden, good for us?
-Yes, and good for the insects.
And some of these are winter flowering, aren't they?
Yeah, they are.
The daphnes, mainly. Eternal fragrance.
So it's very slow-growing,
but the scent on it is beautiful.
Once they get well-established,
you'll get loads of flowers on them, you'll have scent all winter.
-So, if you have flowering plants
in your garden in the winter,
you're more likely to attract wildlife in the winter?
-Yeah, you are.
-Is that important?
That's important, very important, especially the birds.
Well, Matthew, these are brilliant, thank you so much for your help.
-Let's take these to the till, then.
-Thank you, Matthew. Thank you.
-Any time, my pleasure.
Brilliant, Matthew, thank you! Well, these look brill.
They do, they do.
While Dorothy joins Debbie for a well earned cuppa,
I raced back to the garden in the sweetest smelling car ever.
With under an hour to go and the clock ticking,
AJ has fitted a wooden edging to the floor of the sunken garden
to separate the two different coloured slates Danny's chosen.
Meanwhile, the man himself has a few more lovely shrubs
to include in the new border.
Now, I've chosen this lovely sarcococca.
It's absolutely wonderful
and the reason I've chosen it is because it gives you flower
in the winter
and it's also got a wonderful scent.
Now, there aren't many plants that flower in the winter,
but this is one of them.
So, I'm going to place this over there in a seating position,
and that's going to be great
because it's going to be at nose level for Dorothy.
So, when she comes out here in the winter,
she can smell the lovely scent.
Now, this camellia here, when Dorothy comes out
with her cup of tea,
she might have made it from the leaf from this plant
because this is also known as the tea plant.
This has a lovely
yellowy white flour.
This camellia is going to go in the pot
because it needs ericaceous soil,
and Helen's bringing that back for me a bit later on.
Now, this gorgeous, brightly coloured pittosporum,
it's absolutely wonderful.
And this has got a gorgeous honey scent.
And now, this can grow to be quite large,
but you can keep it trimmed.
And that's what I would do.
I mean, I'm looking at Dorothy's style of gardening,
and she tends to keep everything nice and neat and small.
I just cut them with a pair of secateurs like this
and keep it nicely trimmed and in shape.
Just half an hour to go now and our rain cover can come on down at last.
But there's still loads to do,
so it seems like a good moment for me to wade in and lend a hand.
The long-awaited daphne that Danny requires, and the pot he requested.
It's nearly dark, so I hope this is nearly done.
Oh, my goodness!
-Hello, Helen. All right?
-Ah, this is incredible!
-Is that my daphne?
Yes, here's your daphne, here's your pot.
-Danny, this looks amazing.
-You like it?
Amazing, I'm really excited, I think she's going to love this.
What can I do to kind of help us over the final...?
Well, perhaps plant that pot up for me.
I get stuck in with potting up that precious camellia
with a special acid-enriched compost Danny asked me to bring.
There are lots of popular garden shrubs that depend on acid,
also known as ericaceous, soil conditions.
Check the labels when you buy new shrubs.
They will always tell you if it's on acid lover.
And if it is,
just add a good helping of ericaceous compost to the pot
or dig some into the border.
Here's hoping this camellia will grow strong
and flower well for Dorothy.
There you go, is that all right?
That looks lovely, you've done a grand job.
With everything planted,
it's now a frantic dash to get all the slate down and level.
But wait, is that a specialist tool I see before me?
This rake, they call it a landscape rake.
If you turn it the other way round, you can use it to level off.
That is not the two-way landscaping rake, is it?
That's the two-way landscaping rake.
-So, you can use it on one side or the other.
-Let's have it!
I mean, AJ can't do it with his rake,
-but you can do it with this one.
'Sometimes it's like working with the Chuckle Bros.'
AJ, we do need to do one thing - move that seat down to here.
-Can you give us a hand?
'As a finishing touch,
'we're repositioning Dorothy's old stone bench.
'And bend your knees.'
Think you might need to move it over a bit more. Where are you going?
-This one'll go here.
-Oh, over the two? OK.
-Over the two, yeah.
'Oh, come on, team, make your mind up.'
How's your arms?
Bit longer now?
'And with the bench finally at rest in its new home, our work is done.
'But what will Dorothy and Debbie think?'
At the start of the day, Dorothy's garden was a disaster area.
The massive crater just outside her backdoor was as hideous
as it was hazardous.
But in a few daylight hours,
Danny and the team have turned it into a beautiful, tranquil
and relaxing sunken garden, filled with scented plants.
That treacherous threatening bank has been shored up
with sturdy sleepers to give it a natural and inviting structure.
The previously isolated upper area of the garden has now been linked
with wide wooden steps.
And there are new planting beds filled with highly fragrant
cottage garden plants, which give continuity to a much-loved space.
The rough uneven ground that was filled with old bricks and rubble
is now a level patio covered in contrasting coloured slate.
And Danny has added several planting pockets,
including one for a young
that matches the one
Dorothy planted for her father.
All in all, it's one of the most amazing transformations
Danny's ever made.
But what will Dorothy make of it all?
Now, step out here.
Come on. Come out, come out.
Enjoy it. DOROTHY GASPS
'And it seems that for once,
'this normally chatty lady is lost for words.'
Oh, that is beautiful!
You star, that's beautiful.
Gosh, you've worked so hard!
You should thank your sons cos they were brilliant.
And they're a real credit to you. Fantastic.
-Very, very proud of them.
-So you should be.
-I love it!
-How different is it?
I never thought you would do it so like this.
We've seen a sunken garden today and we've commented on it so much.
And we've cut our own sunken garden.
And look, raised beds for you so you can reach them.
Yes, I can reach all round and I can reach them as well.
-You wanted some raised beds.
-That's for the rest of the garden.
-My favourite, I love pittosporum.
There's three there, so there's two of one variety.
-And Grandad's tree still.
-And Grandad's tree's there.
-You've seen this one here?
-That replicates that one over there.
-It's the same tree.
It'll probably take about six years to get it to that size.
-That's right, as that's six.
-That's six years old?
Well, there you go.
It been a wonderful day. You've treated us well.
And we've had some fun, even if the weather wasn't well.
We've worked really hard. Oh, you're making me upset now!
Have a look around your garden.
You're a joy to be around, Dorothy. Enjoy your garden.
-Thank you very much, pet.
-You're a total joy.
-Go and have a little explore.
-We will do.
Every now and again in this job, you meet amazing people
who need a little bit of a helping hand
and a point in the right direction.
It was a crater this morning.
Now it is a superb sunken garden for all the family to enjoy
for years to come.
Presenter Helen Skelton, garden designer Danny Clarke and the team help an elderly gardener in Cumbria, whose pretty garden has been spoiled by building work, turning a big hole into a lovely surprise.