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Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Klein

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Carol Klein Carol Klein | 17:05 UK time, Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Carol Klein in her garden at Glebe Cottage


Over the past few years, the idea of making a TV series about the garden here at Glebe Cottage has taken up more and more of my day-dreaming. No longer - now it's become a reality.

We have just finished the last programme in this six-part series where you can join me, (I hope you will) in my garden and travel through the year with me as I introduce you not only to different parts of my garden but also to what happens there at different times of the year.

Each programme will devote itself to a two-month period, where I extol and occasionally become exasperated with what happens during that time.

You'll see what I'm up to; follow each activity through all its stages, seed will germinate, be pricked out and potted on then planted out into the garden. You'll see these plants burgeon and eventually yield their own seed. The cycle continues.

We've filmed almost every week of the year so what you'll see really shows what's happened here throughout the last twelve months. And when a day has been earmarked for filming that's it. If it pours down, hard luck, but at least you see it as it really happens.

It is beautiful though, from the frosted wastes of January and February through to summer's gorgeousness and the gentle slide into glowing golden autumn and beyond. None of the programme is scripted, so what I say is what I feel.

We have gone with the flow and allowed the garden to be the main character - just an acknowledgement of what really happens.

The garden gives us so much material that it's impossible to use everything. It's all first rate stuff but physically it just can't all be fitted in. We filmed pulmonarias in February, talked about their importance to bees for an early nectar boost and discussed how vital it is to ensure that early insects can find succour in our gardens.

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Carol's husband Neil with the newly arrived honey bees

Carol's husband Neil with the newly arrived honey bees

Later we filmed our new hive and our honey-bees arriving and traced their progress through the summer and saw preparations for ensuring their successful sojourn through the winter. It's been so cold that Neil, my husband has been wrapping the new top-bar hive in insulation through the last few days and unwrapping it when it has become unexpectedly warm. Hope all is well inside will let you know later. The bees were doing brilliantly well but cold weather is always daunting for a bee-keeper, especially a novice one.

Hope you enjoy the series, it's new and different and hugely exciting. All the team would love to hear what you think. Do post your questions and comments below and I'll be back at the beginning of January with some answers and some more clips from the programme.

The 6-part series features lapsed-time photography which brings a real sense of time and the passing of the seasons in Carol's garden.

Specially shot sequences condense months of borders and plants flourishing in a few seconds. An acer passes from bare winter bones through to its beautiful full fiery red, a lily flowers and areas of Carol's garden change within seconds.

Life in a Cottage Garden with Carol Klein begins on Friday 7th January at 20:30 on BBC Two


  • Comment number 1.

    Look forward very much to seeing your garden..
    I just know I shall enjoy it.......

  • Comment number 2.

    The garden science programme was good too, hope your Lobelia tupa makes it through all this cold weather?

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Carol in her own garden & her own series! I've said elsewhere that she should have her own programme or be allowed to present "Gardener's World".

    I enjoyed her Science in the Garden programme, though I felt at times she was following a script & asking "leading" questions to which she knew the answers & had talked about them at other times when we have seen her on TV. Nevertheless, it didn't distract from the programme.

    Looking forward to January 7th!

  • Comment number 4.

    Will there be any way that this series will be available for purchase? It is an extreme disappointment to me that I can't access the clips or view it online from Canada! I did see the grow your own series and absolutely love, love it!

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm very excited about this programme and can't wait to see Carol with her no nonsense, honest, caring and informed manner. The idea of time lapse photography and seeing the same part of the garden change over the entire year is so welcome to me. The last time I saw Carol present a programme from her garden, the filming was exasperatingly "artistic" and you could never get a good view of the garden!
    I was interested to hear in Carol's interview on Woman's Hour recently that she was an art teacher in the past. I wonder if Carol could be the future messiah of peoples' art on TV, following in the footsteps of Channel 4's great, lamented "Watercolour Challenge" There is an enormous synergy between gardening and painting in this country, the two hobbies often complementing each other. There are potentially huge audiences waiting hungrily for programmes about painting, particularly watercolour painting. A combination with gardens would double the audience. BBC take note please!

  • Comment number 6.

    I am looking forward to the programme.

    The question I would like to ask Carol (hoping that it has not been asked before) is, "What are the gardening challenges that you are still waiting to accomplish?"

  • Comment number 7.

    I was interested in you having the decision whether to cut down a tree or not - how about a lovely tree sculpture that can last for at least 25 years. I work with What do you think?

  • Comment number 8.

    Thank you, Carol, for a gardening programme presented by a gardener to gardeners without dumbing down. Using terms such as heel, division and lateral is a breath of fresh air and I can't be the only gardener to have felt like cheering. Looking forward to the rest of the series. Only 6 weeks? I may have to get up a petition!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Great programme - thanks Carol. Does anyone know the breed of dog that was playing with the blue tarp - looked like a teddy bear - and was gorgeous!

  • Comment number 10.

    I would also like to know the breed of dog that was in tonights programme. What a sweetie. Great show Carol,cant wait to get back in the garden,what an inspiration!

  • Comment number 11.

    Brilliant programme Carol, my husband and myself can't wait to get started in the garden. Looking forward to next weeks programme. Carol what is the breed of dog you have, they're so cute ? :)

  • Comment number 12.

    I loved the first episode tonight, and have reviewed it on my blog Well done great to see a real gardening programme.

  • Comment number 13.

    Really enjoyed the programme tonight. So good to see a professional gardener in their own garden and to witness all the love and dedication and hard work put into it. A nice common sense approach throughout and bravo for getting away with climbing up that ladder without ropes and hard hats!
    Loved the shots showing the same beds in winter and summer and the hedge laying...wonderful!

  • Comment number 14.

    Delightful programme last night - thank you so much. Even on this cold, wet morning in East Yorkshire, you have inspired me to venture out into the garden and MAKE A START! By coincidence our daughter and son-in-law have just yesterday got a Border Terrier puppy - who looks very similar to yours.....? All good wishes for this Cottage Garden series, Friday evenings have a treat in store once again.

  • Comment number 15.

    Congratulations Carol and team for finally making a wonderfully informative yet watchable programme . As a professional gardener , it was great to see and learn from an expert actually getting her hands dirty and thoroughly enjoying the process . Carol , your love for your garden and enthusiasm is infectious , you are a great asset and a brilliant gardener . Looking forward to the rest of the series .

  • Comment number 16.

    Great to see a gardening programme again. I have been living in a tropical country for a few years, missing the BBC and most of all the gardening progammes.
    When you talked about the seasons, the death turning into live again, that was what I missed so dearly. The garden was allways the same, for a moment the flowers were gone, a few days later back again. Missing the seasons a whole lot. Now back in a cold country, seeing your great show, can't wait to get stuck in the garden again!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    This is the best gardening programme that has been on for ages. Made me go out into my garden this morning and start all the clearing up after the wet winter. I do hope Carol will have some significant slots in the new Gardeners World programme as this new series of her own is so short.

  • Comment number 18.

    I would also like to know the breed of dog on this programme!

  • Comment number 19.

    enjoyed last nights program; where did u get the excellent ladder for tree pruning????
    also i am so pleased that gardeners world will be returning to its old format. the new presenters were fine but the content & viewing of the garden were poor. 30 mins is far too short to cover all weekly developments in the garden,discuss new ideas & have a few minutes for some comradeship!
    looking forward to the new series;

  • Comment number 20.

    Wondered if the puppy is a border/fox terrier cross? Soooooo cute, and didn't detract from the gardening one bit, just made it more 'real'.

  • Comment number 21.

    I loved the new programme, an absolute inspiration to someone like me who is trying to create a cottage garden, on an acre plot.
    You are a real gardener, tatty jacket, grubby hands.....I resonate with this. Thank you for being out there, thank you for being so 'normal'

    Also love your little dog. Is it a patterdale terrier? I have one, and they are just so gorgeous......

  • Comment number 22.

    It was a real pleasure to watch your show last night and to listen and learn about real gardening, not just about what to buy at the garden centre. I can't wait to get out there and try all the things that you show us - or at least some of them. Thank you Carol.

  • Comment number 23.

    I really enjoyed watching Carol Klein on her programme, it made me want to go out there and get the spade out, Welcome back Carol, we look forward to watching what you have in store for us.

  • Comment number 24.

    hi loved your show,could you please let me know the breed of your dog,many thanks .

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi everyone

    Thanks for all your comments so far. Carol's going to be back on this blog later in the week so keep you questions coming for her - she's looking forward to answering them :-)


  • Comment number 26.

    Loved the programme, you have motivated so many people to get out and take a close look at their gardens instead of just looking out of the window wistfully waiting for spring to arrive. I think you are just fabulous Carol!

    Loved the dogs too and we have been debating what breed they are on another gardening forum, we know they are terriers but which? Welsh, Lakeland,wire haired Fox, Border or a combination of all? ;)


  • Comment number 27.

    I loved the programme - I watched it Sunday on the iplayer and got out and did a bit of tidying up - great theropy in the lovely winter sunshine.

    Question: Do you have any help in the garden? and do you open for visitors?

  • Comment number 28.

    Hi Just like to say how very much I enjoyed the programme, I think even more than Geoff Hamilton! who was my favourite - shows my age but never mind. I have been clearing up my Veg patch recently and when digging come across clusters of what look a bit like blow fly maggots??? I have been feeding them to my chickens! but occurred to me they could be good for the garden?? Can you tell me what they might be? Many thanks will be watching again this week - cant wait

  • Comment number 29.

    Lovely programme, Carol, thanks. Really looking forward to seeing the whole year. I was so happy when I found out that it was a series, not just a one-off!

  • Comment number 30.

    Brilliant programme Carol, gardening for garderners and everyone else too. No one could fail to be enthused by this programme. I reveiwed it on my blog
    Well done, can't wait for the next installment.Kathy Doyle

  • Comment number 31.

    At last a programme with a 'real' gardener/plantswoman and a real garden with crumbly walls, less than manicured, but just like I like to see a garden, with a great shed and some brilliant plants and lots of techniques to show us. An inspiration to me and so lets see more of this kind of programme please.
    Brilliant! Thank you Carol!

  • Comment number 32.

    Thankyou. What a wonderful programme. Just what we've been waiting for. Engaging, inspirational and refreshing. Brilliant.

  • Comment number 33.

    I would just like to add my praise and thanks too to Carol for her programme. I hadn't realised how dumbed down gardening programmes had got in the past year or so, it was SO nice to have a real garden, real gardener, and to be talked to as if I had at least half a braincell and knew a bit about gardening. I too garden on a slope, so its encouraging to see how others deal with the opportunities this gives us. Thank you.

  • Comment number 34.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the first episode - a REAL gardening programme. Very much look forward to the rest of Carol's series.

  • Comment number 35.

    what a brilliant programme! It is so lovely to see a real garden, dead leaves,bare earth in winter,and mud. Just like we all have. Thank you Carol for sharing your great garden with us.Looking forwad to seeing tonights programme when my other half goes off to bed and leaves me in peace to watch my recording!LOL

  • Comment number 36.

    What a joy to watch you work Carol - a woman after my own heart! It is such an ispiration for a woman of similar years to be so active and enthusiastic about the wonderful world of gardening. May you have many more years ahead! A fantastic programme and I will watch them all.
    Like so many others, I would love to know the breed of dogs you have. I think they are probably Border Terriers?

  • Comment number 37.

    I would like to say I enjoyed the first two of Carol Kleins Life in a cottage garden programmes, enormously. So informative and inspiring and made you feel you wanted to get out into your own garden immediately. An avid gardenener myself, I think this is the best gardening programme for many a year. I have re-watched them on i.player with a note book and pencil too! Gardeners world is a tired and dull programme in comparison and Carol Klein makes you feel as though you can achieve anything. More, more, more like this please.

  • Comment number 38.

    Programme 2 was just as good as the first! High point for me were the primroses growing on the bank in the lane...not part of Carol's garden I know but it put the garden in context wonderfully. Made me think of the idea of combining gardening and painting once again as I mentioned in my first post (No.5).

    What an inspiration the programme is and so enhanced by Carol's no nonsense attitude coupled with her enthusiasm and obvious love for nature and need to nurture her garden. Great Friday night entertainment!

  • Comment number 39.

    Carol, I agree with everyone else that this is the best gardening programme that I have seen for a long time. The beauty of seeing the garden in winter transformed into the bounty of summer is wonderful. I particularly loved the tulips - one of my favourite bulbs. I don't have much success keeping them from year to year - do you have any tips? Keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 40.

    I so much agree with almost everything that has been written above. The chaps on the Gardener's World team are fine for creating the structure of a garden and growing flowers and vegetables (and, yes, large ones), but if you want the sheer love and "it" of it all, Carol's your man. Lovely.

  • Comment number 41.

    Episode two, just as good. Also wanted to say the recent garden science prog' was also absolutely brilliant. Agree with virtually everything above. Lets hope Monty can also bring back the magic of GW!

  • Comment number 42.

    Absolutely fabulous programme, I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying it, the filming is wonderful and having just moved to a thatched cottage with a packed cottage garden you have given me the confidence to get stuck in!!!!!!!!!!!!! more please......

  • Comment number 43.

    Carol,I can't wait for Friday to come round so I can see your garden in its next stage and the half an hour just never seems long enough. Your garden is just so pretty and I love the potting shed where I could see myself pottering around; I have to make do with the window sill instead!

    You make your own lovely compost but I do not have space in my garden to have a compost heap so can you please advise me Carol on what to put in my soil to feed it?

  • Comment number 44.

    Can we make sure that the camera person gives us no more shots down Carol's top please...aesthetics!

  • Comment number 45.

    enjoying your cottage garden programe very much. also would very much like to know the breed of your dogs.dont think they are border terriors as i have a border and a cross border lakeland although very simlar they are not the same.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi Carol - Really loved your series. But please let us know about your dogs? What breed are they - Huge debates amongst our dog walking Community. How nice to see them and your cat as an integral part of your home and garden - Thank-you

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi DJathome

    Carol answered lots of questions about her garden in another blog post, including telling us about her dogs.

    You can find that post here:


  • Comment number 48.

    congratulations to Carol and the Beeb for a really entertaining,informative and non-patronising series, the accompanying book is just as good too, just one complaint, 1/2 hour programme not long enough. How about a second series?

  • Comment number 49.

    Congratulations Carol and the team this is a wonderful programme, what gardening should be about, not done by a committee. Carol shows us what can be done on a bleak winter’s day, and if you’re wrapped up it’s just as much fun, and you get to see those first shoots which show Springs around the corner. Carol is so full of enthusiasm, it makes you want to be there doing it too.
    Perhaps Gardeners World should be taking note; it seems to have lost its way last year.
    And I agree 1/2 hour, far too short, it doesn’t have to be all about gardening, taking time to see the results and the view is just as important, and it’s relaxing!
    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

  • Comment number 50.

    Thanks Carol - at last a real gardener on our screens; clever, informative, knowledgeable, passionate - what more could we want.

  • Comment number 51.

    Purple with envy at those gigantic glorious Hakonechloa grasses. We've never managed to get one to outgrow its pot! PLEASE TELL US WHAT VARIETY are so successful.

  • Comment number 52.

    Will there be a DVD of the series available to buy. & when will it come out. I really enjoyed the series & want to keep on watching it but it isn't downloadable on iplayer & it expires so soon.
    Come on when will the DVD be available to buy

  • Comment number 53.

    I have so enjoyed Life in a Cottage Garden and would love my freind in Canada to see the Video's so can I buy them ???

  • Comment number 54.

    Where and what tree did you plant on top of the car you buried.

  • Comment number 55.

    Watched Life in a Cottage Garden on catch up. Thoroughly enjoyed it, more please.

  • Comment number 56.

    This has been a brilliant series, it's great to see the garden transform through the seasons and gives us all hope! I hope there will be another series.

  • Comment number 57.

    Will programme be on DVD

  • Comment number 58.

    Dear Carol I am delighted to see you have bounced back after the trouble you had concerning your plot .I am an admirer here in Dublin and I enjoy keeping up with your various gardening activies on tv and in magazines. I am a 74 yr old gardener and my son is writing this on his pc. I am not sure the best way to contact you so I thought I'd post my message here. Wishing you all the best Yours sincerely Georgina.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hi Carol, I love to watch you and learn from you about gardening, you make it very interesting and whenever I watch you, or any gardening programme it dosnt take long to get in the garden and have a mooch. Im in every day as it is, I hope we all get more gardening topics on the box and dont get any cancelled programmes due to sport interuptions as we sometimes do.I especially love to watch yourself in your own garden giving us all your tips and knowledge, keep it up and take care,xx


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