Seaford Gardener makes second appearance on BBC Gardeners’ World

Back in 2016 Geoff Stonebanks was extremely lucky to have had his garden in Bishopstone, Driftwood, filmed for BBC Gardeners’ World.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Fast forward seven years to April 2023, by which time his garden had taken on some significant changes to take account of his advancing years, dodgy knees, climate change and hosepipe bans.

Geoff decided to write personally to the series producer in Bristol and put his case forward! He explained to her that he had a very different garden, now aged 70, along with the impact of climate change he had been forced to completely rethink the garden and create a plot at the back that is much easier to maintain in old age, but much more importantly, more drought tolerant, to cope with our recent summer weather.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Geoff went on to say: “At the time of filming in 2016, I used to have over 300 containers throughout the garden, brimming with summer annuals and shrubs, which was extremely difficult to maintain through recent hosepipe bans and with a pair of knees that are going to need replacing at some point.”

Filming potting up cuttings.Filming potting up cuttings.
Filming potting up cuttings.

Geoff pointed out to the producer that in light of the way many gardeners seem to be moving to more drought tolerant designs and schemes, he wondered whether a revisit to see how he has achieved this at Driftwood might be considered. This, coupled with trying to make gardening a little easier the older one gets.

The series producer was so taken with what Geoff had submitted she immediately passed it to an assistant producer who followed it up and then got the film commissioned.

The filming date was set for August 23, 2023 and the evening before, the director/cameraman arrived and spent two hours filming areas of the garden before the sun went down. He was overwhelmed with the garden and despite having filmed many plots over the years, felt Driftwood was absolutely immaculate with nothing out of place at all, quite unique, in his view.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The day of filming lasted more than nine hours and was a lovely sunny day. The director picked out the best area for filming the interview and set up the area and the session got underway. The question and answer session lasted almost two hours. During the session, one of the team was listing all the plants and items in the garden that Geoff may have mentioned, so that they could later film “cut aways” of those items to edit into the final cut.

The crew in the garden.The crew in the garden.
The crew in the garden.

After lunch the team identified a number of tasks they could film Geoff undertaking. The final list was decided and they set about the task.

First up was a demonstration of taking cuttings from a fuchsia that Geoff’s father had bought his mother as a ruby wedding gift many years ago, Empress of Prussia. There were many shots taken of close ups, then cutting the stems, preparing, dipping in rooting powder and watering. The whole session took over 40 minutes to film.

Next up was some deadheading of the flower stems on phormiums in the gravel beds at the top of the garden, followed by flower deadheading of sweet peas and geraniums around the garden.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The third plant, the verbena, was in the beach garden at the front of the house and due to traffic noise it was decided that they would film the plant and then get Geoff to do a voice over segment in the back garden where it was much quieter to record.

The last session of filming involved Geoff walking through the garden with some shots from his open office window upstairs, some shots with Geoff’s rescue terrier Chester.

Of the overall experience on the day, Geoff said: “By 5pm everyone was a little jaded, me included but what a wonderful day. The crew had made the whole thing so easy to film and it was a complete joy from start to finish.

"The task ahead for them, with multiple video sequences and sound card data, plus Claire’s comprehensive notes taken throughout filming, was to edit over, probably, four hours of film, into an 8 or 9 minute film to be broadcast on the programme. I can’t wait until Friday!"

The film will be broadcast this week, at 8pm on BBC Gardeners’ World on Friday, March 22, and will be available to be seen as a repeat on Saturday, March 23 and available on iPlayer.

Related topics: