Alan Titchmarsh was among a team of TV gardeners who visited Sheffield to create a commemorative garden for a children’s hospice.
The team from ITV1’s Love Your Garden called in at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in North Anston and spent two days transforming marshland into a tranquil haven for families to celebrate their children’s lives.
The riverbed-themed ‘memory garden’ was unveiled to parents of children from the hospice in emotional scenes to be aired in the final episode of the series at 8pm on Tuesday July 31.
Gardening guru Alan and co-presenters David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill were helped by 28 volunteers as they battled rain, wind and heaps of mud during makeover.
David said: “I can’t give too much away because I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the viewers, but we’ve created an area for families to spend special time together.”
“We hope to have created a place where families can enjoy reflective time together, much like the ethos of Bluebell Wood itself.”
The Love Your Garden series sees the green-fingered foursome pay visits to deserving people to turn their gardens into horticultural havens.
The Bluebell Wood makeover proved to be one of the most gruelling the team have filmed – but David says the families’ reaction made the work all worthwhile.
“Often we are just transforming an existing garden but this time we were working with an untouched greenfield site to create a garden from scratch,” he said.
“That created loads of issues and then we had constant rain that turned it into a complete mudbath. We were knee-deep in mud at times. It was emotional, particularly when it was revealed to the families after all the hard work.”
“The families have been amazing – really positive.”
Staff and volunteers from Bluebell Wood as well corporate volunteers also got their hands dirty as the team raced against time to finish the work ahead of its surprise unveiling.
Sandra Hind, volunteer coordinator at Bluebell Wood, said: “It was very hard work but everyone is proud to have been part of such a special thing.
“It was so nice these people came along and did this. It was an emotional time. Before the makeover the space was covered in wild grass and trees and was boggy, so the parents saw it like that and then saw it transformed into this place of beauty.
“It is now an attractive, tranquil place. It will be somewhere for parents to go and remember their child. It’s a place where families can celebrate their child, not mourn them.”