Episode 4 The Instant Gardener


Episode 4

Garden transformation show. Lydia and Aydin from Northamptonshire need a low-allergen garden so that their son Mavi, afflicted by severe allergies, can play outside safely.


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Transcript


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There are few sights more satisfying than a beautiful garden.

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But what do you do if your outdoor space isn't quite

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so picture perfect and you are short on time?

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Well, meet the Instant Gardener.

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Ta-da!

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Danny Clarke is an expert at transforming gardens.

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Here is my plan. I'm going to rejuvenate this garden.

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Each time our gardening guru will show you how to create

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gorgeous garden makeovers.

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That's the art of garden design. Delegation.

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Each transformation will be packed with brilliant ideas and tips...

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It makes it easier to cut through.

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..to help you get to grips with your own outdoor space.

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It does feel unnatural but take your time.

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With his magical ideas...

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These flowers will look like they are floating in amongst the grasses.

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'..and advice on spending wisely on a budget...'

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That's why Danny makes me bring a list. OK.

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Oh, my word! This is amazing.

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'..and because he's the Instant Gardener,

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'everything you see will happen in just one day.'

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Oh, my gosh! That looks so much better.

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Today we have come to Northampton, right in the heart of England.

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A few miles outside the town is the sleepy parish of Earls Barton.

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A lovely slice of traditional village life,

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with a history dating back to the Saxon times.

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Among the ancient monuments,

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thatched roofs and sandstone cottages

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are well-kept country gardens, displayed proudly on every corner.

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This peaceful neighbourhood is the perfect place to

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bring up a young family.

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We are here to meet a dedicated mum of two

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who is desperate for a gorgeous garden

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in which her kids can play out.

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But not just any old garden will do.

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DOORBELL RINGS

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-Hello.

-BOTH: Hello.

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-You must be Lydia.

-Hello, yes.

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-And Aydin.

-Hello.

-Lovely to meet you.

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-Let's have a look at this garden then.

-Come on in.

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Lydia Guclu and her husband Aydin, who grew up in Turkey,

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are the proud parents of two lively boys, Finlay and Mavi.

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Younger son Mavi suffers terribly from hay fever

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so severe that just playing outside can cause uncontrollable

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sneezing and other allergic reactions

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that leave his skin cracked and bleeding.

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All too often, this has kept the whole family inside.

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But mum Lydia is desperate for her boys to get out into the

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fresh air much more.

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So she has called in the Instant Gardener to see if he can

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create a garden Mavi can play in without aggravating his allergies.

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At the moment, the garden mainly consists of a large, tired lawn

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splattered with dead patches and weeds,

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serving mainly as a safe area for the boys' trampoline.

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Turf alone can be a problem for Mavi's allergies,

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so this is a bit of a no-no.

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Near the house there is an uninspiring

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and slightly grubby patio, which is the only seating area

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for the family to socialise in and from which they can view the garden.

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At the end of the garden is an impressive box hedge

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which hasn't seen a pair of shears for a good few years.

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As box can cause hay fever, this could be an issue.

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Other than this, there is barely a plant anywhere.

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Apart from a few forlorn bulbs

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and weeds standing like soldiers around the boundary.

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Let's hope Danny has got a few ideas to help all the family

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enjoy their garden without sneezing or scratching.

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It's a great space. Hey, Danny!

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-Hello, Helen.

-Busy already?

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-Very busy.

-That's what we like to see.

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Tell me about the house first

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because you've only been here a short amount of time, haven't you?

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Yeah, we moved in in October, six months ago.

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It was a refurb project,

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so we have refurbed all of it, haven't we, indoors?

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-Yes.

-But we ran out of money.

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So the garden had to wait.

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So you haven't done anything to the garden yet?

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Short of a bit of grass cutting and a little bit of digging,

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that's about it.

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How good is that for you, then, Danny? Cos this is a blank canvas.

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That's ideal. We've got the freedom to do what we want.

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So no digging out loads of bits and bobs that are going to get in

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your way, you can just get to work.

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Just get to work, crack on and get it constructed.

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What would you like to see?

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I think we just want it to be really family friendly.

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I think it needs to be family friendly more than anything else.

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Cos we don't... I don't really have a vision, to be honest with you.

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-Otherwise it wouldn't look like that.

-We like to eat out here.

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We like to spend time in the garden as a family.

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Your family has some quite specific needs, doesn't it?

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In particular, Mavi, our youngest, he's six years old,

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he has got a lot of allergies. He has the usual hay fever but he's

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also got a dust mite allergy, a nut allergy, things like that.

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But when he comes out here and rolls around and romps

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around on the grass, his eyes water.

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He'll do probably about 100 sneezes over and over and over again.

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It wears him out.

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It sounds like Mavi's allergies are quite extreme.

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Is there such a thing as a low-allergen garden

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-in which he can play?

-Absolutely. Most definitely.

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And that's what we are going to attempt to create.

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We are giving you a big challenge.

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And not to put the pressure on, Danny,

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but a six-year-old's playing out time is at stake here.

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Yeah, that's right. It's no problem. We will get it done.

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-I trust you.

-I've got a little book for you.

-Thank you.

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If I can hand that to you, that's full of low-allergen plants.

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If you can go and get that for me, we will see you later.

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-Let's go shopping, Lydia.

-Come on, Aydin. Let's get going.

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We are splitting up Mum and Dad for the day.

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Lydia is coming with me

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whilst Aydin is going to become part of Danny's team...

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along with handyman AJ

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and horticulturalist Lou.

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Time for Danny to get started. So, what's the plan, Dan?

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The family want a low-allergen garden.

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And at the moment, they've got a garden that is full of weeds.

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So the one thing we can do that will make a big difference is to

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reduce the turf, the amount of turf that is in the garden.

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What we are going to do is have three concentric circles.

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We are going to have a large lawn circle here.

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We are going to have a circular gravel area

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interlocking into the circular lawn.

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And at the back, we are going to have a circular play area.

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Around the first circle I'm just going to have a normal crisp edge.

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But for the other two circles, the gravel circle

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and the child's play area, I'm going

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to edge it in my lovely flexible friend,

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which is the aluminium edging.

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The bits that aren't circled, that's where the plants are going to be.

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By doing that, we are bringing the plants into the garden.

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They are not going to be stuck round the edges.

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The most exciting part of this garden is this lovely box hedge.

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And look at the condition of it. Absolutely wonderful.

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It could do with a trim. It's been neglected for some time.

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But I'm not going to trim it at the moment

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because it is the wrong time of year.

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You really want to be trimming it after the last frost.

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We've got a patio here so that's fine.

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Once it's been cleaned and de-weeded,

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it's going to really look absolutely fine.

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There is a hell of a lot to do in this garden.

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The clock is really ticking. So we had better get going.

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Too right, Danny. We've got just eight hours to get all of this done.

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And the weather is looking changeable

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so there is no time to waste.

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Danny's first job is to mark out those circles.

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Ably assisted by man of the house Aydin and his trusty handyman AJ.

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His toolkit consists of a ball of twine, some marker paint

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and a stick to position in the very middle of the circle.

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-Aydin, this is my central point.

-Yep.

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For the first circle. If you roll that out for me. Keep going.

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Keep going. Keep going.

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-Just sweep this round like this.

-OK.

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As you can see, we are getting a nice, perfect circle. There we are.

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The duo have clearly and cleanly marked out the first circle.

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Now onto the second.

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And then the third.

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This time, Aydin is going to give it a go.

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I'm just going to go round in circles, that's about it.

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Go round in circles, yeah.

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Slowly, slowly. Don't go quickly.

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I can't move as quickly as you.

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-Is that's all right or...?

-Yeah, absolutely fine.

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The only worry for me

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is that I might be stuck in this position permanently now.

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-DANNY LAUGHS

-Whoa!

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-Low and slow.

-Yep.

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That's it, that's it.

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Whilst Danny, AJ and Aydin run rings around each other,

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I've whisked Lydia off for a visit to Kelmarsh Hall.

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A local stately home, built in the 1730s

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and famed for its gardens.

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We've come here because I've learned there is someone who can help us

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research the type of plants that will be safe to

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choose for the family's new low-allergen garden.

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This is Kelmarsh Hall, Lydia. What do you make of it?

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It's beautiful. It's lovely.

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It certainly is stunning.

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Dating back to the 18th century, the gardens at Kelmarsh are listed

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as Grade II star by English Heritage.

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Which means they are gardens of national significance.

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It's clear that a lot of love and care goes into keeping them

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looking spectacular.

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-You look a little bit scared.

-Lot of maintenance, isn't it?

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-THEY LAUGH

-There is a lot of maintenance.

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Don't worry, we are

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not going to create something as extensive as this.

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But we can learn a lot about low-allergen plants.

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Let's go meet Sam.

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I've arranged to meet Sam Bailey

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who is the junior gardener here.

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Sam's grandmother also has a lot of allergies.

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So he has made it a bit of a personal mission

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to know what is safe

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and what can really aggravate.

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So, the perfect person to give Lydia some advice.

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-Hello, Sam.

-Hi.

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-Good to see you.

-Good to see you.

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-Sorry to interrupt. This is Lydia.

-Hiya.

-Pleased to meet you.

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-Are you all right?

-Sam, take us through the basics.

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What is the difference between a low-allergen

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-and a high-allergen plant?

-It all comes down to the pollen.

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It comes down to the size of the pollen, and how it is dispersed.

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We have this oak tree here. The pollen is spread by the wind.

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Then here we have a tulip,

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which is pollinated by insects.

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The difference being, the pollen is quite heavy

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and the flowers are blousy.

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So the pollen isn't airborne for long.

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Whereas with this oak tree, the pollen is quite small

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and when it is blowing in the wind

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it aggravates the immune system.

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Presumably Mavi's hay fever

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and allergies are going to be triggered more by airborne pollen.

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That's because it's small

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and it's more likely to get into the nasal passage.

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-Is that surprising news to you?

-It is.

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I didn't think I would be able to have a flowery garden cos

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I would have thought the pollen that you can see would have been worse.

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Have you ever had a flowery garden?

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No, never had a flowery garden.

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Go for your big blousy flowers.

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I like big blousy flowers.

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Well, you are in luck. Sam says you can have them.

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Excellent.

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At the minute, Lydia's garden has quite a lot of lawn.

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How much of a problem is that for someone with allergies?

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It can be a bit of a problem.

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Because lawn can gather dust and it can gather pollen from other plants.

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And also, when the lawn flowers, grass is wind pollinated

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so the pollen is likely to cause allergies.

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If you have a lawn, I would recommend cutting it once a week.

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-I never knew that.

-There you go, you can see that to Aydin now.

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You've got to get out there and cut it.

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-You have some of that kind of hedge, some box hedge in your garden.

-Yeah.

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What about that? Is that going to cause many problems for Mavi?

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Box is pollinated by insects but it does produce a lot of pollen

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if you brush past it.

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The trick is to keep it well maintained.

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If you cut it when you are meant to, you don't have these flowers.

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Whilst Lydia and I carry on with our research,

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back at the house a secret weapon has just arrived.

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In the shape of Lydia's mum, Mel.

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-Hiya.

-Hello, Mel.

-Hiya, how are you doing?

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-Hello.

-Hello.

-This is Danny.

-How are you?

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-I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

-Good to meet you.

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She's into a bit of gardening herself.

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-Are you into gardening yourself?

-Yeah.

-Really?

-Yeah.

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-I've got just the job for you, then.

-Lovely.

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If you could just jet-wash this patio for me

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it would be great.

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Pressure washing is one of the quickest

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and easiest ways to bring a patio back to life.

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Just look how much grime it clears away with, frankly, minimal effort.

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You can rent a pressure washer from your local hire shop

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for between £25 and £65 a day.

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Depending on what size you choose.

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I'm impressed.

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It's keeping her quiet for a while, isn't it?

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-Yeah.

-Which can't be such a bad thing.

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-Oh, no, that's...

-HE LAUGHS

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Teasing someone in charge of a pressure washer?

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Dangerous move, Danny.

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Go and do some work.

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She's pointing that at us, we should go and do some work.

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Otherwise it might go off. Come on, let's get going.

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Joking aside, pressure washers can be dangerous,

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so should never be aimed at other people.

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Meanwhile, back at Kelmarsh Hall, Lydia and I are picking Sam's

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brains about the kind of plants he recommends for allergy sufferers.

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Would these be good in the garden for someone like Mavi?

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Yep. Lamprocapnos. It's got very colourful flowers.

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The stamen is hidden inside this flower.

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So it's very unlikely the pollen is going to come out.

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Because the stamen is hidden, that's another hypoallergenic plant?

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Yeah, yeah.

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What else would be good in the garden for Lydia to look at

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and less likely perhaps to aggravate Mavi's allergies?

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You can have cherries with lovely double flowers

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and apple blossom because the pollen is heavier.

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Again, that's really surprised me

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cos I'd have thought cherry blossom and apple blossom,

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with them being so colourful and flowery and showy,

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they would be a nightmare for hay fever sufferers. But no.

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Similar to cut flowers. We have some roses just here.

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It's a bit early for the rose here be in bloom

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but these are ones that you've got for us.

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Yeah, yeah. Just to show you.

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The flowers are double

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so the pollen will struggle to get out of there anyway.

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The pollen is quite heavy and it's less likely to be airborne for long.

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-Thank you very much, Sam.

-You are welcome.

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-Thank you.

-Can we...?

-Of course you can.

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I thought he'd never ask. Thanks.

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Sam clearly knows his stuff when it comes to low-allergen planting

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and how to maintain your garden.

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If you or a member of your family suffer from allergies,

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here are some tips to take away from Sam's brilliant advice.

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A lawn can give off a lot of pollen and collect dust.

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But you can reduce this by mowing the lawn regularly.

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Ideally, once a week.

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Remember, big, blousy flowers

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don't automatically mean that their

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pollen is going to be problematic.

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Plants pollinated by insects have heavier pollen

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that remains with the flower head until it is collected.

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It's the plants whose pollen is airborne that you need to

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avoid too much contact with.

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Airborne pollen is smaller and lighter

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and more likely to be breathed in.

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Ask at your local garden centre for help identifying the different

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types of plants.

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Alternatively, lists of plants suitable for specific

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allergies can be found in an internet search.

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Back at the house, with two hours already used up,

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Danny and Aydin's next job is to remove the excess turf.

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We've hired a turf cutter for the day,

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which will take up the bulk of it.

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But the edges will need to be done by hand.

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The way to do that is...

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Just do that. Nice straight line down.

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-OK.

-But keep this as upright as possible.

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-And we will try and do a nice neat edge following the line.

-OK.

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Because there is such a big area, we are going to use this turf cutter.

0:16:030:16:07

-OK.

-That is going to be AJ's job.

-Yeah.

0:16:070:16:09

-While we carry on with the edging.

-OK.

-OK?

0:16:090:16:12

First time.

0:16:160:16:17

But Danny has noticed some discoloured patches of lawn

0:16:200:16:23

that are inside the circle they do want to keep.

0:16:230:16:26

Aydin, what has happened here, mate?

0:16:280:16:30

What's happened with these patches, do you know? Any idea?

0:16:300:16:33

-Lydia had the great idea of using weedkiller.

-Right.

0:16:330:16:36

-And she killed the grass.

-OK, it's not the end of the world.

0:16:360:16:39

I mean, it doesn't look brilliant, as you know. As you can see.

0:16:390:16:43

What we are going to do, we are going to save a few bits of turf

0:16:430:16:46

and we are going to do a repair job within that circle.

0:16:460:16:49

-Yeah, that's a good idea.

-So all is not lost.

0:16:490:16:51

-Cos I'm a big fan of reusing stuff.

-Recycling.

-Yeah, recycling staff.

0:16:510:16:55

Recycling grass... That's...first I've heard of it.

0:16:550:16:58

THEY LAUGH

0:16:580:17:00

Can you crack on and do something?

0:17:000:17:02

-I will.

-You know?

0:17:020:17:03

It's all great having these little white circles

0:17:030:17:05

-but we need to dig them out.

-We need to crack on.

0:17:050:17:08

Get working otherwise this garden is never going to get done.

0:17:080:17:12

You do need to crack on! Less hugging and more working.

0:17:120:17:15

Reducing the size of the garden's lawn will lessen its capacity to

0:17:150:17:19

aggravate Mavi's allergies.

0:17:190:17:22

But Danny's plan will reduce the turf without compromising

0:17:220:17:25

the children's safe play area.

0:17:250:17:28

With six hours left, let's see how they are getting on.

0:17:280:17:31

Aydin, now the turf has been lifted

0:17:310:17:33

we've got to mark out the circles, re-mark them.

0:17:330:17:36

-OK?

-OK.

0:17:360:17:37

With all the excess turf now lifted,

0:17:370:17:40

the circles are marked out for the final time.

0:17:400:17:44

This bit is where the shingle is going to go.

0:17:440:17:46

And that is the kiddies play area.

0:17:460:17:48

I'm amazed at the amount of work we have got through.

0:17:480:17:51

And I would like to think that we are ahead of schedule.

0:17:510:17:55

But this could be famous last words.

0:17:550:17:57

I like your confidence, Danny, but probably best not to speak too soon.

0:17:570:18:01

The next stage of the transformation is to line the circles with

0:18:020:18:06

this fabulously bendy edging.

0:18:060:18:08

This is lawn edging, aluminium lawn edging.

0:18:080:18:12

What it does, it retains the shape of the lawn.

0:18:120:18:14

But it also will contain the gravel that's here,

0:18:140:18:17

so it works on both counts.

0:18:170:18:19

And we will also use it to contain the rubber chippings

0:18:190:18:23

that will go in the kiddies area.

0:18:230:18:25

Anyway, I've got a bone to pick with you.

0:18:250:18:27

-Aydin.

-All right?

-Why is your name spelt with an A?

0:18:270:18:31

If it's 'Eyeden'? That doesn't make sense. Come on, clever clogs.

0:18:310:18:34

Come on.

0:18:340:18:36

Answer that one.

0:18:360:18:38

It's because it's Turkish.

0:18:380:18:40

Good answer.

0:18:410:18:43

Won me over.

0:18:430:18:44

THEY LAUGH

0:18:440:18:46

While the boys bicker over vowel sounds in the garden,

0:18:460:18:50

I'm taking the time to chat to Lydia about how her youngest son's

0:18:500:18:54

allergies have affected not just him but the whole family.

0:18:540:18:59

So, Lydia, tell me about Mavi's allergies

0:19:000:19:03

because we are not just talking about a few sneezes here, are we?

0:19:030:19:06

No. No, it started off as what I thought was dry skin. Eczema.

0:19:060:19:13

And it just escalated.

0:19:130:19:16

You know, when you have a baby and they have that peely skin

0:19:160:19:19

when they are first-born, it just went from there.

0:19:190:19:23

We tried all these creams and lotions

0:19:230:19:25

and it just seemed to be getting worse as he got older.

0:19:250:19:27

How bad was it?

0:19:270:19:29

At the worst, it was at the point where in the morning

0:19:290:19:32

he would wake up and stretch and it would just crack,

0:19:320:19:35

his arms would crack, his legs would crack and it would bleed.

0:19:350:19:40

He'd wake up in the night sometimes crying that he was sore.

0:19:400:19:45

Day in, day out, it's quite debilitating, isn't it?

0:19:450:19:48

As long as his medication is maintained

0:19:480:19:50

so he has various amounts of antihistamine

0:19:500:19:53

and medication throughout the day,

0:19:530:19:55

and he has three lots of creams applied to him throughout the day.

0:19:550:19:59

As long as that is maintained and nothing is missed,

0:19:590:20:02

at the moment, everything is really tight.

0:20:020:20:05

What difference would a nice garden in which Mavi

0:20:050:20:08

and Finlay can play out together make to your family?

0:20:080:20:12

The whole outdoor living, you know,

0:20:120:20:14

I don't want my boys to grow up on computers and stuck indoors.

0:20:140:20:19

I want them to be outside.

0:20:190:20:20

A low-allergen garden could freely provide a space for your family

0:20:200:20:24

and maybe give you a bit of family time perhaps?

0:20:240:20:27

Yeah, we've never had it.

0:20:270:20:29

We have our dinners outside, we have our barbecue outside,

0:20:290:20:32

but as soon as that's over, we're in.

0:20:320:20:34

Fingers crossed.

0:20:340:20:35

It's clear Mavi's condition has really affected the whole family.

0:20:360:20:40

So this garden is going to be key to giving them

0:20:400:20:43

some special time together.

0:20:430:20:46

Back at the garden, Danny, along with Lydia's mum, Mel,

0:20:460:20:49

are dealing with the section of lawn that has been damaged by weedkiller.

0:20:490:20:53

One of the things that I have noticed is that your daughter,

0:20:530:20:57

I think, believes in scorched earth policy.

0:20:570:20:59

-She doesn't like the weeds.

-She doesn't like weeds. OK then.

0:20:590:21:02

Earlier on, as you know, we lifted the turf with the turf cutter.

0:21:020:21:06

-Mm-hm.

-And we've left some rolls to one side in anticipation of

0:21:060:21:10

repairing this lawn.

0:21:100:21:12

What I'm going to do is

0:21:120:21:14

roll out a piece to cover the area.

0:21:140:21:16

Doesn't have to be exact.

0:21:160:21:17

Just cut down like this. You don't have to go down too far.

0:21:170:21:22

It doesn't have to be exactly square or anything like that.

0:21:220:21:25

Just take away the residue.

0:21:250:21:28

And you'll see that if I tip that,

0:21:290:21:31

that's the shape of what I'm going to put in its place.

0:21:310:21:34

So we now need to dig this out.

0:21:340:21:36

Like this.

0:21:370:21:39

A bit out. If we go down too far

0:21:390:21:41

it's not the end of the world.

0:21:410:21:43

We can always build it up again.

0:21:430:21:45

Then you'll see. We will do a little dummy run.

0:21:450:21:47

And that should fit in beautifully there.

0:21:470:21:50

And just...

0:21:500:21:51

Pat it down.

0:21:530:21:54

One repaired piece of lawn.

0:21:550:21:57

Yeah, excellent.

0:21:570:21:58

But there is a problem,

0:21:580:22:00

Danny has noticed quite a few dandelions hiding amongst the turf.

0:22:000:22:03

These are the really bad news for Mavi's allergies.

0:22:030:22:07

The dandelion things that are floating about in the air,

0:22:070:22:10

they just bring it... His eyes come up first.

0:22:100:22:13

They swell and then they stream.

0:22:130:22:15

Rolling on the grass isn't a good one either.

0:22:150:22:17

But Weedkiller Danny has a tried and tested tip for removing

0:22:170:22:22

dandelions and other weeds from your lawn.

0:22:220:22:25

It's useful to know whether you have allergies or not.

0:22:250:22:28

As you can see, we've got some dandelion here.

0:22:280:22:31

These weeds are high in airborne pollen.

0:22:310:22:34

Like flowers, flowers have pollen. Weeds have pollen.

0:22:340:22:37

These are perennial weeds which means they come back year after year.

0:22:370:22:40

To stop them coming back, we need to dig up the roots as well.

0:22:400:22:43

If we leave a fraction of the root in there, those weeds will regrow.

0:22:430:22:47

-Mm-hm.

-The way I would do this would be to get a fork...

0:22:470:22:50

Just dig down, like this. As far as you can go.

0:22:500:22:53

Then just gently lift the turf, like this.

0:22:530:22:58

Then in fact you are going to lift out the whole thing.

0:22:590:23:02

There it is.

0:23:020:23:04

And just free it.

0:23:050:23:07

It doesn't matter if you make a mess of the turf.

0:23:110:23:14

Cos it will fit back in.

0:23:140:23:17

-Like this. And just stamp it down. And away you go.

-OK.

0:23:170:23:21

Only another million to do.

0:23:210:23:23

Meanwhile, AJ and Aydin are getting stuck in creating a trench

0:23:230:23:27

to sink that lovely bendy aluminium edging into.

0:23:270:23:31

Step on it, guys. Only four hours left, you know.

0:23:310:23:34

All right, the trenches. We've made the circle of the edging here.

0:23:340:23:38

We are just digging so it will go down into the ground slightly.

0:23:380:23:42

It will give a bit of stability as well as the pegs.

0:23:420:23:45

But then we can also get the height once again

0:23:450:23:47

so it's not too high to be a tripping hazard.

0:23:470:23:50

Do you need this side deeper than that side?

0:23:500:23:52

Cos it's quite high, isn't it?

0:23:520:23:54

Do you needed it levelled out a little?

0:23:540:23:55

Do you know what, we can then just dig a little bit lower on

0:23:550:23:58

certain areas, maybe raise it there just to get it as level as possible.

0:23:580:24:02

The trench here is not being dug for some reason.

0:24:020:24:07

THEY LAUGH

0:24:070:24:09

This is a great way to recycle, isn't it, Mel?

0:24:110:24:14

-Definitely.

-So we waste as little as possible.

0:24:140:24:17

There is no magic science to it. If you just keep a rhythm going.

0:24:170:24:22

Then it doesn't seem like work, does it?

0:24:220:24:24

Gardening shouldn't be work. It should be fun.

0:24:240:24:27

-It should be fun.

-Yeah.

0:24:270:24:29

It's fun, isn't it, Aydin?

0:24:290:24:31

I love it(!)

0:24:310:24:32

Yeah? You enjoying it?

0:24:320:24:33

-Yeah, awesome(!)

-I thought you were.

-Yeah.

0:24:330:24:36

Patience is definitely a virtue.

0:24:360:24:38

Meanwhile, Lydia and I have arrived at a local garden centre to

0:24:390:24:43

work through the shopping list Danny gave us earlier.

0:24:430:24:46

It's an Instant Gardener rule that you should always go shopping

0:24:460:24:50

equipped with a list.

0:24:500:24:52

Over £5 billion a year are spent in garden centres,

0:24:520:24:55

and it's wise to know what you want before you walk in the door

0:24:550:24:59

so you don't waste money on plants

0:24:590:25:01

that aren't suitable for your garden.

0:25:010:25:03

Danny has asked us for some specific low-allergen plants.

0:25:030:25:06

Not that we've got a clue what any of them are.

0:25:060:25:10

Right, Lydia, what is on our list?

0:25:100:25:12

We are looking for...

0:25:120:25:13

Campanula?

0:25:180:25:19

How do you feel about the kind of colours and flowers?

0:25:190:25:21

Is this the kind of scene you would like to see in your garden?

0:25:210:25:24

Yeah, it's lovely. It's really nice. I wouldn't have touched them before.

0:25:240:25:27

Why do you say it like that?

0:25:270:25:29

"Oh, it's lovely." Because you would feel guilty about having them?

0:25:290:25:32

Yeah, because I just think the pollen is bad for Mavi.

0:25:320:25:34

But you can have flowering plants in your garden without causing him

0:25:340:25:38

-too much distress.

-Yeah.

0:25:380:25:40

Let's have a look for those.

0:25:400:25:42

-Hello, guys.

-Hello!

0:25:420:25:44

Yes, we do need some help.

0:25:440:25:46

We are after some plants that would sit well in a low-allergen

0:25:460:25:49

garden because Lydia's son has some quite severe allergies.

0:25:490:25:53

-Just down here we have a Campanula.

-Which is on our list.

-OK.

0:25:530:25:56

-Which have bell-shaped flowers.

-Right.

-And heavy pollen.

0:25:560:25:59

So that's going to be flowery as well once it all grows?

0:25:590:26:02

Very flowery. They also come in blue, there is pink and there is white.

0:26:020:26:06

It says on there, "Perfect for pollinators."

0:26:060:26:08

So that backs up the point, doesn't it, that this isn't airborne pollen?

0:26:080:26:11

That's correct, yes.

0:26:110:26:12

It's slightly heavier pollen for the bees to go and collect.

0:26:120:26:15

-OK, brilliant. Let's have one of those.

-Yeah.

0:26:150:26:17

As long as Mavi is not rolling around in it.

0:26:170:26:20

We have foxglove, Digitalis.

0:26:200:26:23

This one is primrose carousel. Also with the bell-shaped flowers.

0:26:230:26:27

This one I would certainly recommend to you.

0:26:270:26:29

-That looks gorgeous.

-That looks really lovely.

0:26:290:26:32

Have a look at the double rose.

0:26:320:26:34

OK? As you can see again, we've got this little signature on there.

0:26:340:26:37

"Good for honeybees." So we have a heavier pollen inside the flower.

0:26:370:26:41

And the pollen is just hidden inside there as well, so it's not airborne.

0:26:410:26:45

It's not floating around in the atmosphere.

0:26:450:26:47

-OK, let's definitely have one of those then.

-Yeah.

0:26:470:26:49

I feel like you've been let at the chocolate box for the first

0:26:490:26:52

time ever because would you have ever dared put these

0:26:520:26:55

kind of plants in your garden before?

0:26:550:26:57

No. Definitely not. I would have gone all green.

0:26:570:27:00

Presumably Mavi can put them in himself, can't he?

0:27:000:27:03

These aren't going to cause him much problem?

0:27:030:27:05

Absolutely. And why not?

0:27:050:27:06

The rose, clearly you'd be careful because of the spikes,

0:27:060:27:09

I wouldn't recommend he do that one, but the other two,

0:27:090:27:12

-the Campanula and Digitalis, for sure.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:27:120:27:15

Absolutely.

0:27:150:27:16

I couldn't imagine my children not doing this

0:27:160:27:19

because they love gardening.

0:27:190:27:20

And it would be nice for Mavi to be able to do the same.

0:27:200:27:23

It's lovely how when you talk about your children and the garden,

0:27:230:27:26

-a big smile comes on your face.

-Yeah.

0:27:260:27:28

-Yeah.

-Do you want that?

-I'd love that. I'd love to do that.

0:27:280:27:31

Mavi has just done a little sunflower on the windowsill,

0:27:310:27:34

he doesn't... He wouldn't be planting.

0:27:340:27:37

He might be from now on.

0:27:370:27:38

Yeah, that would be lovely.

0:27:380:27:40

While Lydia dreams of a whole new garden

0:27:400:27:43

experience for Mavi, Danny's taking stock of what's still left to do.

0:27:430:27:48

Only three hours left, Mr Clarke. You need to get a wriggle on.

0:27:480:27:52

We've still got to do the kiddies area.

0:27:520:27:55

That's the circular area over there.

0:27:550:27:56

And we've got to put the membrane down

0:27:560:27:59

and then put the material on top.

0:27:590:28:00

And we've still got this area in the centre,

0:28:000:28:03

the circular area in the centre to do.

0:28:030:28:05

Which is going to be gravelled.

0:28:050:28:07

As you know, this area is another seating area. It's a patio area.

0:28:070:28:10

And I'm going to do the favourite bit, get on with the planting.

0:28:100:28:13

And the first thing that is going to go in are three trees.

0:28:130:28:17

-Do you want us to do that now?

-Yeah, lay it down.

0:28:170:28:20

But the first challenge is simply getting them in the garden.

0:28:200:28:24

Just to put down. Oh, my word!

0:28:240:28:26

Don't mind me, boys.

0:28:260:28:27

In your own time.

0:28:270:28:29

Yeah, that's it.

0:28:300:28:31

That's it. Just here. That's it. It's lovely.

0:28:340:28:37

Where do you want this one then?

0:28:370:28:39

Don't overdo it, mate.

0:28:410:28:43

That's what I like to see. People at work.

0:28:430:28:46

That the art of garden design, delegation.

0:28:460:28:49

What's AJ got left to do, I wonder. Well, we've got...

0:28:490:28:52

HE LAUGHS

0:28:520:28:54

Oh, sorry.

0:28:540:28:56

Before the gravel and the rubber chippings can go down, there is

0:28:560:28:59

one crucial job left to do.

0:28:590:29:02

Putting down a layer of membrane

0:29:020:29:04

which acts as yet another

0:29:040:29:05

layer of defence.

0:29:050:29:07

The great thing about this membrane

0:29:070:29:10

is that it is full of tiny perforations

0:29:100:29:13

which allow the water to come through and stop the weeds coming up.

0:29:130:29:17

As the ground covering for the kids' play area,

0:29:170:29:20

Danny has chosen these rubber chippings.

0:29:200:29:23

A great choice for a low-allergen garden.

0:29:230:29:26

And with the weather looking iffy,

0:29:260:29:28

it's really time to get those spread.

0:29:280:29:30

-Now we've got these lovely blue chippings.

-Yeah.

0:29:300:29:33

And what's great about these, these are good for you and your children

0:29:330:29:37

because, unlike bark chips, these have got no fungal spores in it.

0:29:370:29:41

They are made from recycled forklift tyres.

0:29:410:29:44

The reason they use forklift tyres is

0:29:440:29:47

because they haven't got bits of metal in the rubber.

0:29:470:29:50

-Why are they blue?

-Why?

-Yeah.

-What do you mean, "Why are they blue?"

0:29:500:29:53

I mean, how... I mean, rubber is normally black, right?

0:29:530:29:56

They've coloured it.

0:29:560:29:57

It was probably black but they have coloured it.

0:29:570:29:59

-I see, OK. It's not just blue...

-Just for you.

0:29:590:30:02

-GIGGLING:

-Just for me?

0:30:020:30:03

Just for you.

0:30:030:30:04

You can just rip it and pour it out? Is that what you do?

0:30:040:30:07

What's really good about this rubber stuff is that when they land on

0:30:070:30:11

this, it's going to be a lot better than hard soil or even grass really.

0:30:110:30:16

He's going to do wrestling on it anyway, so he will love it.

0:30:160:30:20

These rubber chippings not only look good, they feel good too.

0:30:210:30:25

Back at the garden centre,

0:30:260:30:28

Mike has got even more suggestions for the kinds of plants anyone

0:30:280:30:32

with allergies might want to consider for their garden.

0:30:320:30:35

Remember, it's always worth asking members of staff

0:30:350:30:39

or even your fellow customers for advice.

0:30:390:30:41

You can never get enough gardening tips.

0:30:410:30:44

-We have some begonias.

-Right.

-OK.

0:30:450:30:49

You can see inside there...nice heavy pollen.

0:30:490:30:52

OK?

0:30:520:30:54

And we have some geraniums, which are ideal for the garden.

0:30:540:30:57

As you can see,

0:30:590:31:01

there's an array of plants that you can use

0:31:010:31:04

in the garden with Mavi that are low-allergen.

0:31:040:31:08

We have got two big pots as well that we need to fill.

0:31:080:31:11

Is there anything that you would recommend to give a little

0:31:110:31:14

bit of structure?

0:31:140:31:15

-We'd also look at Cordyline.

-OK.

0:31:150:31:17

-Ah.

-Let's put the Cordyline in.

0:31:170:31:20

That's nice.

0:31:200:31:21

-Thank you for your help, Mike.

-You are most welcome.

0:31:230:31:25

-OK, let's take these to the checkout.

-Thank you.

0:31:250:31:27

-And your reassurance.

-Yeah. Thanks.

0:31:270:31:30

We have everything on Danny's list,

0:31:330:31:35

plus a couple of Cordylines for Lydia's planters

0:31:350:31:38

on her new sparkly patio.

0:31:380:31:40

Back in the garden, it's time to start planting up and Danny

0:31:410:31:44

and plantswoman Lou, as always, have a plan to stick to.

0:31:440:31:49

Lou and I are putting the big plants in position.

0:31:510:31:53

It's always best to put the big plants in first.

0:31:530:31:56

And then work downwards with the medium-sized plants

0:31:560:32:00

and under planting with the smaller ones.

0:32:000:32:02

If you can get that right, they give you height.

0:32:020:32:05

So if you get those right,

0:32:050:32:07

then everything else will naturally follow.

0:32:070:32:10

Shall I start placing things where I think and then we can...

0:32:100:32:14

-Yeah, and I'll start digging holes for these.

-Right.

-How's that?

0:32:140:32:17

-OK, that's a plan.

-Great idea.

0:32:170:32:19

I've got this beautiful Amelanchier here.

0:32:220:32:24

This Amelanchier likes full sun or half sun.

0:32:240:32:28

And it flowers April-May time.

0:32:280:32:31

I'm going to dig a hole nearly twice the size of the root ball.

0:32:310:32:35

The common sort of thinking, or used to be, to dig a circular hole.

0:32:350:32:39

But I'm going to dig a square hole.

0:32:390:32:41

The reason being, I don't want the roots to keep going round

0:32:410:32:44

and round and round. I want them to find their own way.

0:32:440:32:47

Come on, Danny, it's time to get down and dirty.

0:32:480:32:51

This soil has been really well-prepared.

0:32:540:32:57

Which makes it a lot easier to dig.

0:32:570:32:59

I don't go to the gym. I don't need to. This is my gym.

0:32:590:33:02

This is my gym and this is my office. And I'm with wonderful people.

0:33:020:33:07

How good is that?

0:33:070:33:08

I would suggest you keep it well watered for the first three or

0:33:140:33:18

four years of its life. It's very, very important.

0:33:180:33:21

But once you do that, it will find its own way.

0:33:210:33:24

Its roots will go out and look after itself.

0:33:240:33:26

There is a little bit of compost in the pot.

0:33:310:33:34

I'm going to use this to mixed in with the soil that was in the hole.

0:33:340:33:38

Just turn the compost into the soil like this.

0:33:380:33:41

An absolutely beautiful tree and it flowers April-May time.

0:33:470:33:50

My pants are falling down.

0:33:540:33:55

HE CHUCKLES

0:33:570:33:59

One tree down, two to go.

0:34:000:34:03

This tree is an Acer palmatum.

0:34:030:34:06

Absolutely gorgeous.

0:34:060:34:08

At this time of year, it's this kind of lovely green.

0:34:080:34:12

But this will turn red in the autumn.

0:34:120:34:16

Very, very showy tree. Absolutely gorgeous.

0:34:160:34:19

The most important thing with this

0:34:190:34:20

though is to put it in a fairly sheltered area.

0:34:200:34:23

But it should be absolutely fine by this fence.

0:34:230:34:25

But what I would do is keep an eye on it.

0:34:250:34:28

If it does struggle for any reason, um, it might be an idea to move it.

0:34:280:34:33

Now, being green fingered is all about observation.

0:34:330:34:37

Walk around your garden at regular intervals,

0:34:370:34:40

look and see how your plants are doing.

0:34:400:34:42

If they are starting to wilt a bit,

0:34:420:34:45

it will either be they need water or they'll need feeding.

0:34:450:34:48

Bit like human beings.

0:34:480:34:50

Look at your plants. Try and develop a relationship with them.

0:34:500:34:53

Cos they will tell you what they need.

0:34:530:34:55

Does anyone know the time?

0:34:590:35:01

I think we are doing absolutely fine.

0:35:010:35:03

Doesn't get dark till midnight, does it?

0:35:030:35:05

You know, I doubt Lydia and the boys will be awake at midnight.

0:35:050:35:09

We really need to get this garden finished pronto.

0:35:090:35:12

Hopefully an extra pair of hands will help.

0:35:120:35:16

Oh, my word! This is a different place!

0:35:160:35:18

-Danny!

-Hello, Helen.

0:35:180:35:21

-You have been busy!

-We have been busy.

0:35:210:35:23

-I have been busy shopping.

-Let me take those from you.

-As always.

0:35:230:35:26

Do you know what, I thought these might look quite nice in the pots.

0:35:260:35:29

-Yep.

-And it is a bit of a nod to the Mediterranean

0:35:290:35:33

because of Aydin's heritage.

0:35:330:35:34

Absolutely. Yeah, we've got a few nods to the Mediterranean

0:35:340:35:38

-going on today.

-Oh, good!

0:35:380:35:39

-I'll crack on with these.

-OK.

0:35:390:35:42

There you go. Better get cracking. Got loads of work to do.

0:35:420:35:45

But my efforts are nothing compared to Danny's incredible

0:35:460:35:49

choice of plants.

0:35:490:35:51

Helped, of course, by horticulturalist Lou.

0:35:510:35:54

She is getting really excited.

0:35:540:35:56

-Look!

-Oh, yeah. It's absolutely... Look at this.

0:35:560:35:59

Look at the way this purple Heuchera...

0:35:590:36:01

Look at the way it picks up on the purple edge.

0:36:010:36:03

What a great combination.

0:36:030:36:05

I think it's fantastic.

0:36:050:36:06

Of course, when you've got these sorts of shapes you need that

0:36:060:36:09

-sort of punctuation to fill the corner, don't you?

-Sure.

0:36:090:36:12

Yeah, it's great. And I love the colours.

0:36:120:36:14

The way this colour, this purple

0:36:140:36:17

picks up on the purple edge of this leaf.

0:36:170:36:20

Isn't that fantastic? And also the blue.

0:36:200:36:22

-Look how it stands out against the blue rubber chippings.

-Beautiful.

0:36:220:36:25

I think it's absolutely perfect.

0:36:250:36:27

The other name for Phormium is New Zealand flax.

0:36:270:36:30

These come in two different varieties.

0:36:300:36:33

You get the softer leafed one

0:36:330:36:34

and the more spiky, more rigid one.

0:36:340:36:37

The reason we've got a soft-leafed phormium round this play area -

0:36:370:36:41

if you have a spiky one it's not going to be very child friendly.

0:36:410:36:44

So we felt this would be a better choice.

0:36:440:36:46

Now, you've got to be very careful

0:36:460:36:48

because you could be kneeling down in the garden

0:36:480:36:51

and you can easily poke yourself in the eye with one of these.

0:36:510:36:54

So it's best to have a softer one.

0:36:540:36:55

It's all hands on deck.

0:36:570:36:59

AJ gives the rubber chips a thorough raking to break up any lumps

0:36:590:37:03

while Lou and Mel are cracking on with all that planting.

0:37:030:37:07

But there is a long way to go. And I'm doing my bit to help.

0:37:070:37:11

OK, I've run out of compost.

0:37:110:37:13

So do not...tell Lou or Danny.

0:37:130:37:18

Because I'm not supposed to do this.

0:37:180:37:20

Helped. Done it.

0:37:280:37:29

Well, sometimes needs must.

0:37:310:37:33

With the other planting and landscaping still unfinished,

0:37:330:37:36

the moment comes to crown the new play area with the boys' trampoline.

0:37:360:37:41

Centralise it.

0:37:410:37:43

I love this stuff, Danny. This is so perfect.

0:37:430:37:46

It's great, isn't it? Absolutely brilliant.

0:37:460:37:48

And what's great about it though, no spores.

0:37:480:37:51

So kids can roll around in it and it's ideal for a low-allergen garden.

0:37:510:37:55

Lydia was joking that Mavi likes to roll around in the garden.

0:37:550:37:58

-He can roll around in this.

-Yeah, definitely, to his heart's content.

0:37:580:38:02

Mavi is going to absolutely love it.

0:38:020:38:04

And so is Lydia when she sees some of the plants Danny has chosen.

0:38:040:38:08

What have we got here?

0:38:090:38:11

We've got a Brunnera here. This, again, is a low-allergen plant.

0:38:110:38:15

Look at those lovely blue delicate flowers.

0:38:150:38:18

I think Lydia was worried that she was going to put

0:38:180:38:22

things in the garden that would then cause Mavi loads of problems.

0:38:220:38:25

And she was worried that she would have to have a boring garden.

0:38:250:38:28

Cos she didn't think she could have flowers.

0:38:280:38:30

Yeah, it's just goes to show, you don't need to have a boring garden.

0:38:300:38:33

You can find plants to suit any situation.

0:38:330:38:36

There are so many different varieties out there.

0:38:360:38:38

She talks so much about Mavi and his needs,

0:38:380:38:41

and obviously his allergies are quite severe, but I suspect

0:38:410:38:44

this would be really nice for Lydia to have a place to relax and enjoy.

0:38:440:38:48

Exactly.

0:38:480:38:49

There is only ten minutes left before Lydia gets home.

0:38:520:38:55

One last push, team!

0:38:550:38:57

The foxglove can go here.

0:39:010:39:04

-I love that!

-Yeah, it's going to go here.

0:39:040:39:07

Is it difficult to look after?

0:39:070:39:10

What, foxgloves? No. They are easy.

0:39:100:39:12

I tell you what, they are great for bees. You know the little flower?

0:39:120:39:15

-Yeah.

-Nice landing pad for the bees.

0:39:150:39:17

And that comes back to what we were saying about them -

0:39:170:39:21

-no airborne pollen.

-Exactly.

0:39:210:39:23

How are you feeling? Are you worried that she's going to like it?

0:39:230:39:26

Well, as a garden designer, you are always worried

0:39:260:39:29

if people are going to like it or not. That's a natural reaction.

0:39:290:39:32

You want people to like your work. So fingers crossed she will like it.

0:39:320:39:36

There's not much time for those nerves to kick him

0:39:360:39:38

because they are going to be here in five minutes.

0:39:380:39:40

Right, I'll get that Campanula in.

0:39:400:39:42

As Aydin mops up the mud that's been trodden under the patio

0:39:440:39:47

since its first jet wash, there is

0:39:470:39:49

just time for the final touches before Lydia's return.

0:39:490:39:52

Ah...

0:39:580:39:59

Oh, lovely.

0:40:010:40:03

Before, the garden had little more to offer than a bare,

0:40:050:40:09

plain lawn dotted with scars and infested with dandelions and weeds.

0:40:090:40:14

The odd plant stood forlornly around the edges.

0:40:140:40:18

And a grubby patio provided the only space for family time together.

0:40:180:40:23

But in a few daylight hours, Danny has transformed it.

0:40:240:40:28

First of all, he has reduced the lawn which, mended and de-weeded,

0:40:290:40:33

provides the first circular area

0:40:330:40:36

of this exciting contemporary design.

0:40:360:40:39

In the middle is a gravel circle,

0:40:400:40:42

intended as a second sitting area.

0:40:420:40:44

And at the end of the garden is the kids' play circle,

0:40:460:40:49

colourful and with no danger of aggravating allergens.

0:40:490:40:53

The patio has been cleaned and refreshed.

0:40:540:40:57

The perfect outdoor dining area.

0:40:570:40:59

But the piece de resistance must be Danny's fabulous planting,

0:41:000:41:05

creating a beautiful and colourful sanctuary,

0:41:050:41:08

made all the more special by knowing it's full of low-allergen plants

0:41:080:41:12

that Mavi and his mum can enjoy worry-free.

0:41:120:41:16

The unloved barren space has been transformed into an exciting

0:41:180:41:22

and elegantly-designed paradise.

0:41:220:41:25

Where reduced risk of pollen has meant no reduction

0:41:250:41:28

in style and beauty.

0:41:280:41:31

What an amazing difference in just one day. Danny, I salute you.

0:41:310:41:36

But now for the moment of truth.

0:41:360:41:39

What will Lydia and the boys make of all the hard work?

0:41:390:41:43

Here we go. This is your new garden.

0:41:450:41:49

Oh, my God! Look at it! Whoa.

0:41:510:41:55

-What do you think?

-Oh, my gosh!

-It's amazing.

0:41:550:41:58

Look at the blue under the trampoline, boys!

0:41:580:42:01

Is that a good "amazing?"

0:42:010:42:03

-Yes.

-Oh, my gosh!

0:42:030:42:05

Oh, my gosh! It looks so different.

0:42:050:42:09

Lydia, all of the plants here are low-allergen

0:42:090:42:13

so they are not going to aggravate Mavi's allergies.

0:42:130:42:16

You can come out here, you can play out here, you can

0:42:160:42:19

use your patio, you can have some family time.

0:42:190:42:22

You can be out here for ages now, Finlay.

0:42:220:42:24

Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!

0:42:240:42:26

Look at it!

0:42:260:42:27

Mavi, look at your trampoline! It's got a blue... Oh, my gosh!

0:42:270:42:31

Look at all the plants!

0:42:310:42:32

Oh, my gosh! It looks so different.

0:42:340:42:38

And it looks like Mavi for one can't wait any longer to try it out.

0:42:380:42:42

That's just brilliant!

0:42:420:42:44

You were a little bit worried about having so many flowers and plants

0:42:440:42:49

in the garden because you didn't want it to cause problems for Mavi.

0:42:490:42:52

-No.

-He's clearly very happy already.

-Yeah.

0:42:520:42:55

But rest assured, these plants are not going to cause him

0:42:550:42:57

-any problems, are they?

-No. They are all low-allergen plants.

0:42:570:43:00

-Oh, my gosh!

-Low in pollen so they won't be a problem for the kids.

0:43:000:43:05

-Thank you. Thank you so much.

-That's OK. My pleasure.

0:43:050:43:08

I don't know your brother that well. Is that a sign that he's happy?

0:43:080:43:11

-Yes.

-Do you want to go and join him?

0:43:110:43:13

-OK.

-Go on. Go on.

0:43:130:43:15

Oh, my gosh! That's so lovely. Look at it.

0:43:150:43:18

-Thank you so much.

-It's an absolute pleasure.

-Thank you.

0:43:180:43:21

-Absolute pleasure.

-It's lovely.

0:43:210:43:25

That's lovely!

0:43:270:43:28

Look at it. Look at all the plants.

0:43:280:43:31

They are so nice.

0:43:310:43:33

You wanted a space for your family. I think they seem quite happy.

0:43:330:43:37

-LAUGHING:

-Yeah.

0:43:370:43:39

-Yeah.

-You did really well.

-Thank you. You too.

-Cheers.

0:43:390:43:43

-Thank you so much, everybody.

-Congratulations.

0:43:430:43:46

I hope you enjoy this new family space.

0:43:460:43:49

-This is your new instant garden.

-Thank you.

0:43:490:43:52

Come on, go and have a look.

0:43:520:43:54

It has certainly got the boys' seal of approval.

0:43:540:43:57

Danny and the team have created a play-safe,

0:43:580:44:01

sneeze-free instant garden

0:44:010:44:03

packed with gorgeous low-allergen plants that will get the boys

0:44:030:44:07

away from their computers

0:44:070:44:09

and allow the whole family to spend a lot more time outside together.

0:44:090:44:14

Lydia and Aydin from Northamptonshire are desperate for a low-allergen garden so that their younger son Mavi, afflicted by severe allergies, can play outside safely.


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