programmes  —  Wild Gardens  —  Coast

Coast – Mike meets local naturalist Roy Phillips who introduces him to the wild flowers of the dramatic West Cornish cliffs. They look at how these tough little plants have adapted to the extreme conditions by growing right to the ground and retaining moisture in their leaves.

These flowers colonise every surface, including old stone walls, known as cornish hedges and we’ll discuss how you can create a ‘living wall’ in your own garden. Some flowers that grow on the cliffs are even available nowadays in garden centres – like the pretty pink ‘thrift’ – known as Armeria.

But the cliffs are home to other species and we see cormorants and shags nesting on rocky outcrops and rearing their young on a diet of regurgitated fish.

It’s hard to think that anyone can garden successfully in these conditions but Mike finds a garden called ‘Eagles Nest’ perched atop granite boulders and 600 feet above sea level. It inspired one of Britain’s top artists, Patrick Heron. His daughter, Suzanna Heron, invites Mike to look around and tells us how she and her sister Katherine, who now have care of the garden, manage to grow tender, exotic plants in this windswept part of West Cornwall.

That’s one way to garden in cornwall and the other is in a sheltered valley. One of the most famous valley gardens in the County is ‘The Lost Gardens of Heligan’ and Mike discovers its wild side.

Peter Stafford is Managing Director of Heligan and wants to get everyone gardening for wildlife. He tells us how he plans to extend the interpretation of wildlife in the garden and invites mike to go moth trapping with them. We find a wide variety of moths including the Elephant Hawk Moth, the Buff tip and Poplar Hawk Moth. In the gardens we look at the flowers you can grow to attract them. We also talk to Head Gardener, Nicola Bradley, about how to garden without chemicals and so control pests without pesticides. We’ll take a peep into the private lives of the famous Barn Owls and other birds like blackbirds, swallows and sparrows – all living alongside the thousands of visitors who journey to Heligan each year.

With thanks to
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Estate of Patrick Heron
Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Eco-watch Wildlife Surveillance
Cornwall Gardens Trust

Mike Dilger

Clive North

Camera assistant
Ben Crossley

Wildlife Camera
Tim Shepherd

Alan Frew

Fred Tay

Title Music
Tim Baker

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