Gardening is one of life’s great pleasures. It offers bountiful wonders—flowers, grasses, fruits, vegetables, trees—that bring you closer to the natural world. It allows you to design private and public displays of infinite variety and for numerous purposes. And the best part: Learning how to grow the garden of your dreams is a skill that anyone can learn with relative ease.
Toby Buckland wants to bring back scent to our gardens, visiting a scented garden at Kenilworth Castle which was originally created to win the heart of a queen. He holds the country's first ever scented flower competition, and gets behind the science of scent when he meets a chemist and perfumer in the Cotswolds. Toby shares his passion for fragrance when he pots up an aromatic window box, and also shows how to grow scented flowers from seed.
Tom Hart Dyke wants to convince us all to grow tulips. He visits Spalding, which used to be the heart of tulip growing in the UK. He discovers the turbulent history of the broken tulip, which four hundred years ago brought an economy to its knees, and lends a hand to one of Britain's last large-scale commercial tulip growers in Norfolk.
James Wong wants to revive a plant which has fallen deeply out of garden fashion - the rhododendron. On his revival he visits the Lost Gardens of Heligan to see species of rhododendron which have been saved from the edge of extinction; he meets a scientist who is bringing Victorian species back from the dead; and attempts to win over the people of Truro with dwarf varieties suitable for any garden. Throughout the show James explains how we can grow rhododendrons even if we don't have the right soil conditions, gives his guide on how to recreate the magic of Himalayan planting at home and shares his tips on growing rhododendrons from cuttings.
Christine Walkden wants to revive a garage forecourt favourite - the carnation. On her revival she visits a specialist nursery who have been growing carnations for over 100 years; she heads to Gravetye Manor, the former home of the esteemed botanist, gardener and champion of naturalistic planting - William Robinson; and hits the streets in an attempt to bring back a forgotten tradition, the gentleman's buttonhole. Christine also shows how to recreate the drama of the Alps by planting up a container with her favourite alpine species and shares her tips on how to grow carnations from seed.
James Wong is convinced we should all be growing lilies in our gardens. He unearths the history of the lily, meets expert lily growers as they prepare for one of the country's biggest flower shows at Tatton Park and gets intimate with the insect associated with the decline of lily growing in the UK. James shows us his simple maintenance techniques to keep lilies performing year after year and carries out propagation by scaling to grow new plants from scratch.
Christine Walkden thinks woodland plants have been left in the shade in favour of sun loving, bigger, blousier flowers. She shows the people of Brentwood that the only way isn't Essex, as she converts them to the joys of bluebells. She also finds out that one of our favourite woodland flowers - the English bluebell - is under threat and she puts some common slug and snail deterrents to the test, on a specially constructed slug assault course. She then meets a couple in East London who have transformed their shady city garden into a woodland paradise.
Diarmuid Gavin wants us to rekindle our love for lavender. On his revival he learns about its popularity and decline, when he visits what was once one of the major lavender growing regions in the UK. He meets a fellow lavender enthusiast and breeder in Kent, who is on a mission to create the ultimate lavender, and he gets a taste for lavender's surprising culinary uses. Diarmuid shares his tips on how to grow the perfect lavender hedge and how to increase lavender stock in your garden by taking cuttings.
Alys Fowler wants to bring back an important part of our gardening heritage - the knot garden. On her revival she visits Hampton Court Palace to learn about one of the earliest knot gardens created, she helps out with a knot garden community restoration project in the Midlands and meets a man whose knot garden has turned into a real labour of love. Alys shows us how easy it is to create a contemporary take on a knot garden using herbs and other edible plants.
Rachel de Thame thinks that irises aren't getting the attention they deserve. On her revival, she uncovers one woman's mission to save a unique collection of heritage irises, and she gets creative with floral art using irises for inspiration. Throughout the show, she shares her tips on how to successfully grow and propagate irises, as well as demonstrating how to extend their season of interest.
Toby Buckland reveals there is so much more to grass than meets the eye. On his revival, he discovers the Victorians' passion for ornamental grasses with a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. He also attempts to rebrand grasses to deal with their complicated, tongue-twisting Latin names, which often put gardeners off, and meets a modern-day plant hunter who travels the world in search of unusual and exotic grasses. Toby also shares his design tips on how to make grasses the stars of the border and demonstrates how to contain bamboo and prevent it from running rampant in your garden.
Carol Klein reveals that she is daft about daffodils. On her revival, she uncovers the history of the UK daffodil industry on a visit to Cornwall's Tamar Valley, takes to the streets of Falmouth and paints the town yellow, and meets a specialist bulb merchant in Somerset. Carol shares her tips and advice on how easy it is to plant, grow and care for this wonderful spring flower.
Chris Beardshaw is on the blossom campaign trail. On his revival, he visits a man in the Scottish Borders who has restored a walled garden and created a living library of heritage fruit trees, takes to his bike on the blossom trail in Worcestershire and meets a woman in Edinburgh who has been campaigning to save the flowering cherry trees on her street from the chop. Chris gives his guide to the best blossoming trees and shrubs, shares his tips on how to plant a magnolia tree and shows us how a spot of pruning can keep blossom returning year after year.