GardenSite were once again pleased to support the Boldmere Community Festival which took place on 18 November, with the Christmas Lights switched on by Alan Gardner, well known for his appearances as TV's Autistic Gardener.
Sutton Coldfield resident Alan Gardner has the perfect job to fit his name, he's a gardener. Alan is also autistic and this has a telling effect on how he imagines the gardens that he designs, here Nathan James Dodd reviews his series garden makeover shows.
Adopting a rather different image to most gardeners we see on TV, Alan Gardner has pink hair, tattoos and paints his fingernails. But he also has medals from the Chelsea Flower Show including a silver to vouch for his horticultural skills.
Helping him to makeover the gardens in the series of four programmes are five other autists who have problems with communication and social interaction. Autism will affect all of them throughout their lives with the result that they hear, feel and perceive the world in a much different way to other people.
They are all keen gardeners, in the group are Philip who is particularly interested in exotic plants, Charles grows vegetables, Victoria loves colour, Thomas craves precision, while James is a walking plant encyclopaedia.
Alan sees mathematical formulae everywhere in the garden, visualises everything in great detail and uses patterns to create outstanding gardens. He galvanises the team, organising them to make the most of their potential.
In the first episode an unloved garden in Derbyshire is transformed to the delight of initially sceptical owners. Lilac railway sleepers are draped in netting, an insect hotel and turf giant installed, not forgetting a vibrant planting scheme.
The next three programmes focus on London gardens which need to be transformed on schedule and to budget, making a small garden appear much larger, tackling a 95ft jungle and then, battling against adverse weather conditions.
1.3m viewers tuned into to the first of the Channel 4 series and saw that autism which, due to flawed interaction skills makes teamwork difficult, can be channelled into gardening to create some wonderful results.
For more information on autism go to www.autism.org.uk
Sometimes only the best will do. And if you are looking for the best domestic shed on the UK market it will probably be branded with the Biohort name and logo.
There's little doubt that the sight and sound of flowing water brings another dimension to a garden. Self-contained water features can be stunning focal points or discreet ornamentation. They add animation to a garden, kindling visual and aural interest in areas that have previously lacked a spark.
Elite Greenhouses have always been at the forefront of new design combined with an unrivalled user-friendly experience and the Edge has got it all.
With warmer weather and Easter coming along soon, the garden centre is getting increasingly busy with customers stocking up on bedding plants to fill planters, borders and hanging baskets with colour that will last all summer. There are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.