Front garden

Richard Jackson’s Customer Garden of the Year

5

One of the things I love most is meeting fellow gardeners and chatting to them about plants and gardens, our successes as well as the occasional disasters! A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a group of QVC gardeners ( Mandy, Sandra, Geoff, Jackie, Tim, Sarah and Nita) at a special filming day and it was great to talk to them about QVC products and swap gardening stories.
Then, last week, I was delighted to meet the winners of our QVC Gardener of the Year competition – Alex Redfern and Joe Shannon.

Front door and winners

Their garden was even better than I expected from the photo’s they’d sent in, it was absolutely stunning. Over the past five years, Alex and Joe have completely transformed the front and back garden of their house in Catford, South London. It’s been a huge task which, impressively, they’ve done all by themselves. The front garden alone was covered in crazy paving and they used a Kango, removed it together with the poor soil and replaced it with seven tonnes of topsoil. Cleverly, they also created a meandering wooden path to the front door, explaining that a straight path to the front door would mean that you miss half the plants.

Front garden

Front garden

I visited them on 20th September, a time of year when many gardens are looking tired, but their front garden wasn’t. It was a riot of colour and I especially loved the generous plantings of cosmos, marigolds and dahlias. As I was admiring it, a few passing neighbours stopped by and told us how much they loved the garden too! Alex and Joe’s back garden couldn’t be more different. They also created this from scratch but decided on a completely different theme.

Back garden - before

Back garden – before

Back garden - before

Back garden – before

They had grown tree ferns before, and decided to use these as key planting, as well as bamboos and palms, to create a tropical garden. The back garden is relatively narrow but long, and very cleverly, they’ve used wide steps (again using wooden sleepers), strategically placed pots of colourful plants (Begonia Firecracker) and plant covered fences to make it appear much wider. They’d also divided it into different sections so, as you walk towards the back, you discover different vistas and different areas.

Back garden - after

Back garden – after

Back garden - after

Back garden – after

Back garden - after

Back garden – after

Their patio, at the far end, in the sunniest spot of the garden, has a double purpose. In the summer, it’s for eating and entertaining, but in the early spring, the furniture is shifted to one side and they put up a couple of poly-tunnels which they use to grow over 3,000 plants from seed or plugs. It’s far more than they need for themselves, so they generously give around 2,000 of these to friends, neighbours and the gardening club at a local school.

Back garden - patio

Back garden – patio

Patio and poly-tunnel

Patio and poly-tunnel

The night before we arrived, Alex and Joe had won 1st place in the Best Back Garden as well as 1st place for Best Front Garden- Seasonal in the Ruxley in Bloom competition which has entries from most of Central and South East London, as well as part of Kent.

Awards

Awards

And this is the first year that they’ve used Flower Power! They hadn’t mentioned this in their application to QVC so it was a complete surprise (and delight) when I found out.

Front garden

Front garden

Their front garden takes a lot of maintenance but Joe, in particular, enjoys tending it and finds it especially therapeutic (even the dead-heading, and there’s lots of that needed when you grow cosmos!). Their back garden is much easier to look after, it’s where they relax and Alex told me ‘When the sun is out, it’s just like being in the tropics’. They’d recently bought their wood-fired hot tub and given half a chance our crew would have jumped in it after they’d finished filming.

Back garden - hot tub

Back garden – hot tub

Alex and Joe’s two gardens, the front ‘Cottage style’ and the back ‘Tropical style’, were an absolute joy to visit. To their great credit, they are the youngest gardeners ever to win our QVC Gardener of the Year competition. Anyone, at any age would have been proud to have created such superb gardens.

Richard

Until next time, take a look at our Garden department.

5 Comments

  1. Maureen Costello September 29, 2017 at 3:42 pm -  Reply

    Lovely gardens well done boy’s.

  2. Lapwing September 30, 2017 at 7:54 am -  Reply

    Wow, wow, wow, congratulations to the both of them. Both their front and back gardens are absolutely stunning. I would absolutely hate living next door to them though, as both our front & back gardens totally pale in comparison to theirs…!!

  3. Marlene Whitehead October 11, 2017 at 11:50 am -  Reply

    Beautiful a credit to you x

  4. Antoinette Browne October 14, 2017 at 9:49 am -  Reply

    Well done,credit to you both.

  5. Carol Redfern November 13, 2017 at 11:13 am -  Reply

    I have been lucky enough to enjoy a cocktail or 2 in this amazing sanctuary.

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