There we were happily watching Gardener’s World one Friday night in March without a care in the world. We had our wedding to look forward to in October, plans for a summer holiday brewing, even the garden was looking green again after a miserable winter.
Before I knew it Glenn had emailed a TV researcher following a brief announcement at the end of the programme, calling for anyone interested in taking part in a garden makeover show to contact them. At this point we had been in our house less than six months. We had started redecorating and every now and then went out to peer over the edge of the garden into an abyss. We had talked about what we could to do make the garden useable but hadn’t come up with much. Obviously we knew the garden was a challenge when we bought the house and we were pretty sure the lack of level ground would be manageable, somehow.
Within a couple of days we heard from the researcher who wanted to chat to us both on the phone about our garden and us. All fine, no problems. Then a couple of days later, another call. Could she come over to do a test piece, was that ok? At this point we started to waver. What were we getting into? Were we really able to be on TV and do the garden? Could we meet the deadline? After all, we had a wedding to plan, jobs to go to, family commitments, life in general.
The more we talked about it the more we realised what an opportunity it was because this was no ordinary garden make over programme. We would be working with the lovely Monty Don who would come to our house and help us. How could we refuse! To add to the glamour we had set ourselves a target of having some flowers from the garden at our wedding, even if it was just a few dried seed heads on the table. It would be October after all.
Test interview done, in the rain. Sent back to the BBC for approval. We hadn’t realised we had to be vetted by the beeb but thankfully we did not offend them with our mannerisms or appearance and within four weeks Monty Don was standing in our garden. It was as easy as that.
Our garden was made up of the following; a steep slope running away from the house in two directions. A stone wall half way down the slope running along the width. A narrow bed at the bottom with shrubs and a row of daffodils. A small stepping stone path which ended suddenly and a compost heap in the corner.
Both Glenn and I had owned gardens before. We knew what plants we liked and the look we wanted. Luckily for us, Glenn is a master of planning and problem solving. He is methodical and practical with a wealth of experience and so even though he had started the ball rolling (into the unknown) with this project I had every confidence it would go smoothly.
We drew up our plans, set our budget, thought about planting, did some research, cleaned the house, tidied the garden, baked a cake and carefully planned what to wear. We didn’t want to clash with Monty’s trademark blue linen. With just a few days left before our first day of filming we were already in a state of high excitement and just a moderate amount of anxiety. What would he be like? How would we react? What on earth had we done? Because there was probably no going back now.
Next time on Sowing, Growing and Cups of Tea; A Bolt From the Blue (linen)