For this episode we transformed a garden in Southampton into a stylish and contemporary outdoor space for the Jordan family, who are still coming to terms with the loss of devoted mother and wife, Shelly-Ann. It was such an honour to be able to do this small thing for them during this difficult time.
This is the welcome return of Darren, our producer/director. We’ve worked with Darren on many other episodes in the past, but we hadn’t seen him in a while, and he’s come back to shoot a couple more episodes this year. He’s not too keen on getting in on the photography, but it’s lovely to see him back with his unique style and sense of humour.
Just about to get cement the cement coming in from the front garden to the back. You can see the operator about to put the pipework in, and Darren sneaking into the shot after pretending to be shy at the beginning.
We had to wait ages for the concrete truck to arrive. As you can see, there are no luxury seats or pillows on set. Darren and I took to a bit of paving and some blocks of wood. We were there waiting for about an hour and a half on a Friday night for it to arrive.
Darren can’t decide if he wants to be in or out of these photos. Frances is putting in one of the uprights in the background there.
The garden construction is really coming on now. You always get to a point about halfway through when you look around and there just seems to be so much to do that you can’t believe it will get done in time. A lot of people wonder how much of the drama is staged for television, but let me tell you, it is more hairy, exhilarating and terrifying behind the scenes than you will ever see on the television. It is always touch and go to get the job done.
Deliveries are always an interesting challenge. There is always an incredible amount of stuff coming in, and we never know where we will be and what kind of access we will have to the garden. Could be a main road, could be a back street, we may have to get everything through a tiny alley. Here you can see literally ton bags of material being dropped straight into the garden. There’s soil, there’s sand, there’s cement, there’s paving and furniture and summer houses – all coming in at the same time. It’s a huge operation.
Our make-up artist, Amy is such a cheery and sunny character who keeps us all smiling in the midst of our troubles. It’s a boiling hot day here and she is making sure we are all well coated in sun cream.
Frances knocking in the posts on the wonk. Perhaps slightly more wonky than Alan first intended…
I’m always blaming our soundman Lloyd when it rains, and I nicknamed him ‘Stormbringer’, because it always rains when he is on set. Here he is looking out at blue skies and a forecast in the region of 30 degrees Celsius. I think he’s trying to make a point…
Cheeky Frances sticking her head through another one of her perfect pallet palaces. I thought it looked fantastic. It’s amazing what you can do with these recycled pallets and Frances is a genius with that.
This is what most of my day looks like – looking into a camera. Wherever we are it’s not just about doing the difficult job that you’ve got to do, but it’s about presenting at the same time, which can be a real challenge when things are at their most hectic.
This is Dino, a professional scaffolder and a very handy man who helps us out on a lot of construction. But he’s such a cheery guy and he’s always making us smile.
Here is Lloyd and Rob, our sound- and camera-men, demonstrating the excessive heat and how uncomfortable it is… especially when you’re outside of the portaloo.
Katie here showing off her muscles with the barrow. It’s incredible how much stuff we end up carting in and out of the garden, and some days it feels like all you are doing is pushing a wheelbarrow.
Anthony from Berry Landscapes is in charge of the contractors there. Lovely guy and a real professional.
And this is Duncan who has a company called Rockwood. They build bespoke outdoor buildings, and I’m sure you agree that they look absolutely stunning on the show. Everybody loved him on this shoot because his building would give us a bit of shade to cool down in the heat!
Here is Alan putting the hammock into position. I think the blue works really well on the panels behind. We had to put so much water down on that new lawn to keep it alive with these temperatures.
And this is me looking completely exhausted, as the heat had just sapped all of the energy out of me.
And here we have the reveal of the garden, just before we’ve popped the cork on the champagne. What a wonderful family; it was such a pleasure to create something beautiful to help them relax and enjoy themselves during this difficult period of their lives.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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