The Wild Gardener 26 November 2021: Friday on BBC Two

Series 1 Episode 2 of 2 – Wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns home on a very personal project – to turn his old childhood garden into a haven for native wildlife. After 30 years of filming the world’s most iconic creatures, Colin heads back to Ireland, to a garden he spent his childhood summers spraying and mowing into a perfect lawn. But now he wants to transform his old playground into a sanctuary for the native plants and animals now struggling to survive on these islands, and inspire viewers to do the same.

This episode takes us through Colin’s second year when he begins to reap the rewards of his labours. Working through the winter, Colin reflects on his journey so far and plans the busy spring and summer months ahead. With most of the heavy lifting done, Colin will now use a gentle hand to maintain the garden as he tries to lure back as many wild creatures as possible. Early on, he is treated to a great surprise as a creature he has not spotted here for over 40 years makes a remarkable return – the elusive red squirrel. He takes this as a good omen for the year ahead – he must be doing something right!

As we move through the seasons, more and more creatures arrive, some more welcome than others. A small herd of deer begin to make nightly visits to feast on young trees and Colin reluctantly serves them an eviction notice. Early Spring sees temperatures rising and the ponds bursting with life. Clouds of insects take to the wing and after some nocturnal visitors, frog spawn appears as if by magic. The native meadow comes into its own, attracting over a dozen different kind of butterflies and clouds of aerial predators.

Colin meets with Prof Dave Goulson at his own wild patch in East Sussex to chat about his work on bumblebees and his crazy dream for the British countryside. He visits a tiny wild corner of central London that 70 years ago was just rubble from buildings bombed in the Blitz, and is now home to over 450 native species of plants and animals. Wild spaces like this are rare anywhere, let alone in central London. As Colin’s second year draws to a close, he reflects on the urgent need for everyone to make space for nature. With our natural world being pushed closer and closer to the brink, every single patch counts, big or small.

About The Wild Gardener

Wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson returns home to Ireland on a personal quest to transform his old childhood garden into a haven for native wildlife.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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