Robert Hall explains how getting out into the garden can help us to exercise, get out into the open air, enjoy time with nature and to help keep our minds occupied during these overwhelming Covid-19 times.
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
With such changeable weather recently with a heat wave following by rain, David Coton is looking forward to summer finally arriving and a chance to get out into the garden, here are some of the jobs he'll be tackling during July.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, sound advice and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2020 but during the current government restrictions don't be surprised to see repeats filling gaps in a depleted schedule and other programmes adopting a different format..
At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our newly re-opened Garden Centre in Birmingham. Plant the bedding out in borders and containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.