Alan Gardner We all loved watching the new Channel 4 series The Autistic Gardener which features our very own pink haired cultural ambassador, Alan Gardner. In this series we see Alan travelling to the US for the very first time in his life to find inspiration for gardens back in the UK. Alan uses his considerable conceptual skills to completely transform the mundane or unruly gardens of four paying clients and the results are truly amazing.

This week we caught up with Alan to ask him a few questions about his new series and to find out what the future holds for The Autistic Gardener.

Q1. In the new series you make your first trip to the US. What was the most challenging part of your trip?

Answer: Although it was my very first transatlantic flight, I didn’t find the airport and most of the journey challenging at all because I was well prepared for it. What did make me anxious was the descent. As we neared our destination I could see cars and trucks zooming along on the freeways. They looked very different to the British vehicles and motorways I’m used to, in fact, it looked like a film set. So it was because the scene was unfamiliar and unexpected that I found it difficult to cope with.
Q2. You visited some stunning gardens on your travels. What was your favourite?

Answer:  In episode two I visited a garden designed by the amazing landscape architect Ken Smith. Ken faced an enormous challenge because he was presented with a garden that he wasn’t allowed to alter significantly. His introduction of the sweeping red hand rail, which leads the viewer’s eye gently through the space, is what we call a ‘conceptual intervention’ and it’s superb. What viewers weren’t able to see in this episode is that at night it’s lit up and the effect is amazing.

Q3. You met some of the US’ leading garden designers. Who was the most inspirational?

Answer: Topher Delaney, she’s really out there and I’ve admired her work for over 20 years. One of her famous designs is the Garden of Divorce which she did for a client who had an acrimonious split from her husband. The garden contained shattered pieces of objects from their marriage. It was genius. I was both freaked out and absolutely delighted to meet her.

Q4.  We love the working relationship you have with landscape specialist Anthony. You call him your ‘right hand man’. Why do you think you make such a good team?

Answer: Anthony and I are on the same page. He gets the way I see things, and his fantastic construction skills ensure that the whole thing comes together perfectly.

Q5. What can viewers look forward to in the future from The Autistic Gardener?

Answer: Throughout the two series I’ve been focussed on transforming gardens for individuals, but I’d love to work on public spaces, maybe a train station or a community garden for a group of flats. I’ll keep you posted!

Missed the show? Catch up here.