Love Your Garden – Episode 2
Tuesday 2nd July 2013
In the second programme in the series Alan Titchmarsh and his team transform the garden of a young mother whose son requires round the clock care; putting some holiday sun into her uninspiring garden and bringing the beach to Cambridgeshire
Until five years ago the Sola family – mum Suzi and her two children Katiya and Isaac – were a happy active bunch who took frequent trips to Spain to visit family. But when Isaac was diagnosed with the debilitating condition ALD, their lives changed forever. Recently turned twelve, he is now largely confined to his bed or his wheelchair and Suzi has given up work to become his full time carer. With so much of her time spent in the house devoted to Isaac it’s no surprise that her garden has become neglected and foreign trips are a thing of the past.
ALD is a genetic condition, affecting mainly boys, where the body produces a fatty acid that accumulates in the nerve cells and damages the coating of the nerve fibres, called myelin. A rapid loss of motor functions follows, leading usually to death within two years. The story of one sufferer, Lorenzo Odone inspired the film Lorenzo’s Oil, which starred Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte.
Surprising the family with a visit, Alan sees for himself how the garden has become a no go area for both Isaac and Suzi. Having packed them off so his team can get to work, Alan is determined to transform their flat and barren space into a holiday themed oasis. But it will be no easy task. The garden is huge and Alan has a demanding design in mind. First, to gain further inspiration, he visits a garden in Chelmsford where the owner has recreated a Caribbean beach in his own backyard.
Back in Cambridge hard landscaping expert David Domoney replaces the rotten deck and puts in a sweeping resin bound path that will allow Isaac access to all areas of the new garden. Landscape gardener Katie Rushworth lays out two huge gravel beds which horticulturist Frances Tophill fills with Mediterranean themed plants. Alan wants the existing pergola to be a sanctuary for Suzi, so revitalises it with lush, shade giving greenery.
Having had a chat with Suzi at the hospice that provides vital support, Alan returns with a fresh challenge for the team – getting the new garden ready in time, and of a high enough standard, to throw a fund raising reveal for Suzi by inviting her friends and neighbours to visit. To find inspiration for the final elements to help pull that off David Domoney visits a nearby garden that’s bursting with bling worthy of Beverly Hills. He then installs a state of the art sound system, sail shade and outdoor pizza oven in Suzi’s new garden.
After a tireless struggle in blazing sunshine the team’s hard work is complete. But will Alan have succeeded in giving Suzi a garden that brings the holiday to her?