A phone call from our garden designer in early 2016 set in motion a wonderful string of events that ended with me being interviewed by Alan Titchmarsh, featuring on ITV’s Love Your Garden, and learning valuable life and business lessons from him and his team.

The focus of Love your Garden is the design of an inspiring garden for a deserving person and their family. And it was so moving to see Durham’s Sam Hunter and her two boys fall in love with their magical garden.

So how and why was I involved? Well that’s the magic of life. Synchronicity in action. 

The call from my designer was to check whether I’d be interested in our garden being featured on TV. 

The programme team were looking for gardens in the area. Gardens with particular aspects that could provide inspiration to Alan as he designed his own inspirational garden in Durham. My curiosity was well and truly piqued, and after saying yes, things moved very quickly…


Julie Johnson Love Your Garden


Almost immediately I received a call from associate producer Simon. He requested photos of the garden now, along with a visit from Natalie, one of two programme directors. 

At this visit Natalie confirmed that other gardens were also being considered. So it was a surprise to receive a call the following day advising that our garden had been chosen. Simon also asked if I’d accommodate a second visit, this time from Julia, another programme director who’d be writing the show’s script.

Two separate half-days were organised for filming, the first of which was disrupted by the noise from building works starting in the village. The British weather also did what it does best in summer, providing us with sunshine, clouds and rain showers. 

Although I didn’t mind the rain showers because they meant free time with the crew in my kitchen. And I can happily confirm that Mr Titchmarsh is the same wonderfully warm and friendly person in real life as he is on TV (in case you were wondering!)


Love Your Garden Sound Engineer

In the programme, aired on 2nd August, myself and my garden are only actually featured for about three minutes, yet filming with Alan and the whole crew lasted almost 5 hours on the first half-day, and another 4+ hours of aerial and wide-angled shots on the second.

That’s almost 10 hours of filming for 3 minutes of TV!

So what did I learn from this experience, other than life is wonderful (and so is Alan Titchmarsh)?

5 Life and Business Lessons from Alan Titchmarsh and the Love Your Garden Team

These started as life lessons, but they can just as easily be applied to running a business too. Two for the price of one if you will…

1. Be open to opportunities and possibilities 

Be open to life’s magic. To serendipities and synchronicities (co-incidences if you prefer!) This doesn’t necessarily mean running with everything new that’s presented to you. But it does mean having an open heart and mind, and checking in with how the opportunity makes you feel.


Julie Johnson & Alan Titchmarsh

Those initial calls felt exciting, and I was curious to see where it might lead. So I jumped at the opportunity. I saw it as an adventure.

However, if Sophia, our garden designer, hadn’t read the email from the production company, or she didn’t think our garden might be just what they were looking for. Or if I’d decided our garden was simply for our own pleasure, then we’d have shut down the possibility of being featured on this popular TV show.

2. Have more fun 

This opportunity felt scary as well as exciting. Lots of thoughts were running through my head during that first call. Thoughts like ‘Will they like the garden?’ ‘Will it be picked?’ ‘What will be expected of me?’ ‘What might it mean for me and my family?’

So this opportunity had the potential to be terrifying as well as an amazing adventure. I committed to making it a fun adventure.


Julie Johnson Love Your Garden team

I decided it would be fun to see our garden on TV. Fun to see how a TV programme is made. Fun to meet Mr Titchmarsh in person. Fun to be interviewed on TV. And fun to support our garden designer.

3. Commit fully when you make a decision 

Committing fully means taking immediate action. It means doing what it takes to see it through. It doesn’t mean wavering or procrastinating. Worrying about whether it will work, or what might go wrong. Talking yourself out of it, or taking half-hearted action. 


For me it meant rearranging my work schedule. Taking time off work. Dealing with numerous calls, emails and messages. Doing extra work in the garden. And arranging for additional support. 

But I was happy to do all of this because I’d made a commitment to the process, and to seeing it through. 

Remember, at the start I wasn’t certain our garden would be picked, so I wasn’t fully aware of this extra work. Yet because it felt exciting, I decided to make it fun, and I had committed. I was ‘all in’.

4. Share the Love 

It was evident that Alan and his whole crew really cared about the people they were helping. They took time to understand them, and to learn about what motivated and inspired them.

And they did the same with me. They spent time explaining the process of filming, highlighting what they wanted, and trying to put me at ease. 


Julie Johnson, Alan Titchmarsh


Alan is naturally empathetic, with a real love of gardens and gardening. And he was genuinely interested in the design, planting, and materials used in our garden, much to the delight of our garden designer, Sophia. 

And it was obvious that the whole team wanted to produce a programme that would do justice to the magnificent garden they were creating themselves, and to the memory of Sam Hunter’s beloved husband, and father to her two boys.

We all have families that we love. If you’re running your own business you also have clients you love…. How do you demonstrate and share that love?

5. Do Your Best and Celebrate a job well done

Alan and his team dedicated themselves to producing an inspiring garden, and a TV programme they’d be proud to share with the world.

Their expertise and professionalism, their vision for the programme, and their attention to detail, all shone through in the filming, and was demonstrated in the final programme that was televised.

They each gave of their best, and when they’d finished they congratulated themselves and each other, on a job well done. 


Julie Johnson Sophia Andreski Love Your Garden team

Another lesson in commitment…committing to doing the best you can.

And a reminder to recognise when you do, and to celebrate it.

Because when your heart and mind is open. When you can have fun or make what you’re doing fun. When you fully commit to your decisions and you take action to see them through to fruition. When you share your love, do your best, and celebrate your wins….Then I guarantee you’ll be living a full life. And if you do the same in your business, staff and customers will thrive too.

Wow….all this inspiration, fun and insight from a gardening programme! 

Where do you get your inspiration and insight from? Which of these lessons resonate most with you or your business?

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