programmes  —  Wild Gardens  —  Wetland

Wetland – Lisa Stephens and Scott Sharkey, from Bridgewater, want to make their garden go wild. Mike invites them to spend a day with him on the Somerset Levels so they can get some inspiration. They visit a National Nature Reserve at Shapwick where they go otter spotting. This lovely animal is now making a welcome return to Wetland areas.

We also witness one of the finest wildlife spectacles in the world as one million starlings gather to roost in the reed beds on winter evenings. Starling numbers are swelled in winter by European birds. In fact, the UK population is seriously under threat and we can help them in our gardens. They like to nest communally so if they can put up two or more starling boxes and provide a safe place for them to nest they will appreciate it. Britain has lost 66% of the population since the 1970′s.

We also visit the Somerset Levels to see the plants we might grow, like yellow flag iris and willow which has been there for centuries. Willow or ‘withies’ are grown commercially and harvested to make baskets and hurdle fencing. Lisa and Scott like the idea of a ‘living willow’ in their garden. They visit the Coates family in Stoke St.Gregory where they purchase living willow rods to make a fence. They also visit two local gardens which are ‘wildlife friendly’ and see how to encourage frogs, newts and dragonflies and even make space for toads.

Our horticultural advisor, Charmaine Hawkins, helps these novice gardeners to create a bog garden in Bridgewater.

With thanks to

Natural England
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Pat Hill-Cottingham
Philip Radford

Mike Dilger

Clive North

Camera assistant
Ben Crossley

Wildlife Camera
Graham Hatherley

Gary Moore

Fred Tay

Title Music
Tim Baker

Original Music
Rob Harrington

Horticultural Advisor
Charmaine Hawkins

Production Manager
Lea Aldridge

Production Co-ordinator
Hanna Saastamoinen

Rob Harrington

Dubbing Editor
Ben Wood

Dubbing Mixer
Neil Hipkiss

Online Editor
Tim Bolt

Executive Producer for ITV
James Garrett

Produced and Directed by
Sarah Pitt

© Mallinson Sadler Productions 2008