Episode 25 Gardeners' World


Episode 25

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Although this is a lovely time of year,

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this really is a season

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where everything seems to be changing all the time -

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the leaves, the weather,

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the borders, which are slipping away. You look,

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and you turn your back, and there's a little bit less there.

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However, this is the best opportunity

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to prepare for next year.

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There are loads of jobs to do now

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which will bear a really good harvest next spring and summer.

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This week, I'm planting shrubs

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that have both lovely spring flowers,

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as well as brilliant autumn foliage.

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Planning ahead, I'm planting great swathes

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of spring-flowering bulbs

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and sowing sweet peas to give me

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the most fragrant of all summer flowers.

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Carol finds great ideas

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for seasonal colour at Thorp Perrow Arboretum in Yorkshire,

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which has one of the most stunning collections

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of shrubs and trees in the country.

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Just look at the fruit!

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Isn't that brilliant?

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I don't think the dahlias

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have ever done better in this garden than they have this year.

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I'm particularly pleased with these ones in pots,

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because I got these as very small rooted cuttings in spring.

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They were so tiny, I thought I'd grow them on

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to plant out next year, but they did quite well.

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So we planted them three to a pot, thinking if they flowered,

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it'd be good. And look at them, they're fantastic. Next year,

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each one of those will make a whole pot,

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so I'll have three times as many from this batch.

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So I'm very, very pleased with these.

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This is the first year that we've put a pot on this spot.

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And it's worked well, because it catches the eye.

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This is the first thing you see when you walk into the walled garden.

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But these pelargoniums will go indoors in a few weeks,

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and then we'll have nothing here. I want something for early next spring

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which will work in the same way, which will be white,

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dramatic and really act as a centrepiece.

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So I'm going to plant a shrub behind here,

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because these won't come out again until next May,

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which will do the same sort of job.

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This the perfect time of year to plant any shrub.

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The soil is warm, the roots will still grow,

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but there are no demands on them by top growth.

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This is a Magnolia stellata,

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which has wonderful, daisy-like

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white flowers in April.

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It'll grow in almost any soil,

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although it's happiest if it's slightly acidic.

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And practically any position,

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though it does like some sunshine.

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The only thing to avoid is early morning sun.

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Don't put it on an east-facing wall,

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simply to protect it from spring frost.

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The buds and flowers can be damaged.

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But ideally in a west-facing position,

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although what we've got here is north-west.

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I'm going to plant it here, set back a bit from the path.

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If you're planting any shrub, keep it simple.

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There we go like that.

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Magnolias have rather fleshy roots that can be easily damaged.

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They're brittle, so when you take it out of the pot,

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be fairly careful.

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Good root system on this.

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Slightly pot-bound, so I'll just tease them a little,

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not to break them up,

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but just to stimulate growth outside the confines of the pot

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as quickly as possible.

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Although I'm not adding compost, I will add some mycorrhizal fungi.

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The purpose of this is to act as a conduit

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from nutrients in the soil to the roots.

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It speeds up the root growth and the way it can take up nutrients.

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The important thing is to have it in direct contact

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with the roots themselves.

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I'm going to give that a good soak, and then mulch it.

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The mulch is really important.

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Where did I put the lid?

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What a strange year it is.

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Here we have the viburnum, flowering in the middle of October,

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whilst at the same time,

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its leaves are turning that lovely rich purple colour.

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These should be and were produced in May.

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Likewise the primulas. Flowering again now,

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and yet they flowered from February right through almost into June.

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It's as though all the seasons are going topsy-turvy.

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However, it's still a very good time to plant shrubs.

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The second shrub I want to put in is a bit more special.

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Whereas Magnolia stellata is available everywhere,

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you might have to look around more for this one.

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This is a witch hazel, Hamamelis intermedia 'Diane'.

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It's got particularly red flowers.

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Witch hazel flowers are little

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fluttery ribbons

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that spiral off. They're produced

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at the end of winter, before the leaves come out.

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Incredible display,

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especially when the plant gets big.

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It also, as you can begin to see, has fabulous autumn colour.

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I've grown witch hazel before in this garden

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and had a lot of failure and trouble.

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They like a nice, sunny site. That's the way you get the best display.

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So putting it here in the damp garden, it'll have nice, moist soil.

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It'll also get the sun from morning to late afternoon.

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That way, I should get a fantastic display round about February time.

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Witch hazels come from America and Asia.

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Intermedia is a cross between

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Hamamelis mollis, the Chinese witch hazel,

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and japonica, the Japanese one.

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So it's got hybrid vigour.

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Take it out of the pot.

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Rather like magnolias, they do best on a slightly acidic soil.

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Now, is that the right aspect?

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This is quite an expensive shrub.

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It cost over 30 quid.

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But any plant that can give you really good flowers

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in winter as well as this stunning autumnal foliage

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is worth money, time and trouble.

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I'm so pleased to have this back with me in the garden.

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But you don't need a fancy plant

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to get good colour at this time of year.

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Carol has been to Thorp Perrow,

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to the arboretum there, to relish the autumnal colours.

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Well, autumn's well and truly here.

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It's the time of year

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that sees the most definite changes in our garden,

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the time that announces that winter's on its way.

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Although the change is gradual,

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it's also intensified by these huge splashes of colour.

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And they're seen most clearly in trees and shrubs.

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What better place to see this change than in an arboretum?

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Thorp Perrow Arboretum is set within 80 acres

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of beautiful parkland in North Yorkshire.

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Arboreta like this

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are the perfect places to gather inspiration

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for autumn colour for us to incorporate into our own gardens.

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I suppose with autumn colour, it's leaves that we think of immediately.

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But of course, autumn's also the season of mellow fruitfulness,

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and it's at this time of year when trees and shrubs

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display these wonderful berries

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that have taken them all year to produce.

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This is a particularly fine example.

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This is Euonymus hamiltonianus, and it's from Asia,

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from Korea and China and Japan.

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And as well as these pink-tinged leaves,

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it's got these beautiful, magnificent pink fruits.

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When they split apart, they're full of these seeds

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coated in orange flesh, almost fluorescent.

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What a beautiful picture.

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If you want to bring fiery drama to your borders,

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Cotinus coggygria, the smoke bush, sets a whole garden aflame.

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It's easily grown,

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and there are green and purple leaf forms,

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both attractive from the moment their leaves emerge in the spring,

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though it's now, in the autumn,

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that they lend special enchantment to the garden,

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when the whole shrub positively glows.

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Decaisnea fargesiis, surely one of the most spectacular,

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the most exotic shrubs you could have in your garden.

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All this foliage turns to glowing gold.

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And as if that wasn't enough,

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just look at the fruit.

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Isn't that brilliant?

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This gives it its name, the blue bean tree.

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Just look at that. Isn't that spectacular?

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There are these rows of seed in serried ranks,

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and they're surrounded by this sort of sticky flesh.

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You can just imagine,

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as the weight of these pods brings them down to the ground,

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birds and small mammals rush in,

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chew the flesh and then either wipe it off

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or it goes straight through them.

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And it germinates and another Decaisnea fargesii is created.

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As the first strong winds of autumn bring the leaves

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crashing to the ground, the trees are revealed

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in all their stark simplicity.

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You can really appreciate their architecture.

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For a full six months of the year, trees are without their leaves.

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But if you choose a tree with beautiful bark,

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then your enjoyment of it is twofold for all that time.

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This is a beautiful example. It's Prunus serrula,

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and you really can

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hardly keep your hands off it.

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You just want to polish this perfect bark.

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The white bark of Betula jacquemontii

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has become a familiar sight, especially in show gardens.

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But other birches are equally desirable.

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Betula albosinensis is a medium-sized tree

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with peeling, papery pink bark.

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It can be grown with a single trunk or as a multi-stemmed specimen.

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Few of us will ever have the pleasure

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of owning an arboretum like Thorp Perrow,

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but we can all take away inspiration from places like this.

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All around the country,

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there are glorious arboreta full of autumn interest

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to visit at this time of year.

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Near Peebles, there's the Dawyck Botanic Garden.

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There's Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey,

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and Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire

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has an autumnal walk,

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the Golden Mile.

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You can go to our website for even more suggestions.

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I don't think I can remember a year that's been so good for sweet peas.

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They flowered constantly from July

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right through to the middle of October, and every ten days,

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we've picked at least two big buckets full

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and the house has been full of them for months and months.

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I sowed these in March, and they've done well.

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But there is debate whether that's the best way,

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whether you should sow them in October, in early spring

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or even sow them direct in the middle of spring.

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So thinking about next year,

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I thought we'd do a trial on our sweet peas.

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The nature of the trial will be to see which is the best time

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to sow sweet peas to get maximum flowers for as long as possible.

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Now, I'm going to sow the same sweet pea in October, March

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and then directly in April.

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It's a variety called Monty Don,

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which is the grandiflora type.

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It's got a lovely ruby, purpley colour

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and a splendid sweet pea.

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And each of them I'm going to sew in exactly the same way.

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In three-inch pots with a decent potting compost.

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I've added some grit and some home-made compost.

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But it's the same formula and I'll use it again in March.

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I'm going to put three peas per pot.

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And then these will be planted out when I've done all three,

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side by side, on three wig-wams in a piece of trial ground.

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And we'll see how they turn out.

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And really we won't be able to draw many conclusions

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until this time next year. It's a long-term project

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because it could well be that early-sewn ones look good early on

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but stop flowering earlier or later ones come up on the outside.

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I tend to grow sweet peas in these three-inch pots

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and it works perfectly well for me.

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The main thing is to use something with a nice deep space

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for the roots to grow down in.

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It could be a purposefully made container like that.

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You can use an old loo roll.

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Whatever it is - lots of depth, so you get nice deep roots.

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I don't soak my sweet peas, I don't nick them with a penknife,

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I know lots of books will say that's a good idea

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but actually, I've not found any need.

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They grow perfectly well in compost.

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And there we have identical peas

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and I put three per pot.

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The big disadvantage of growing sweet peas now for me

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is that they do have to be protected over winter

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so you either need a greenhouse or a cold frame

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or even a very sheltered corner, but I certainly wouldn't leave them outside unprotected

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if we had a winter like we did last year.

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The advantage of course is that they will develop into nice, strong, bushy plants

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when they're ready to be planted out - good and early.

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Right, I'll give those a good soak and put them in a greenhouse

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and that's part one of this trial completed.

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Part two will follow in March.

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You can buy sweet peas in most garden centres at this time of year,

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almost any time of year, actually, with a wide range of varieties

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and you can take for granted that all seeds are always available,

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but in fact that's not true,

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and particularly with a lot of vegetable varieties.

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A lot of the more interesting or rarer ones have disappeared

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and are very hard to get hold of

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because DEFRA has a list of approved varieties

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and if they don't appear on that list, they can't be sold

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and if it wasn't for the likes of the Heritage Seed Library at Ryton,

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many more would vanish and they would never be available again,

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so the work they do is really important.

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The Heritage Seed Library is a collection of vegetable varieties,

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about 800, that we conserve here at Ryton Gardens.

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The important thing about some of these varieties is that

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they might be useful in the future for breeding work,

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but also some of them are specifically good for gardens,

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rather than potentially large-scale agriculture

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or for niche growing things in poor soils et cetera,

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so there's quite a range of why people might want them

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and also some of them are obviously quite unique

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and different to some of the varieties you get today.

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This is radish Rat's Tail. It's a podding radish.

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What I mean by that is that you grow it for these pods

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rather than for the root

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and you can see why it gets its name, Rat's Tail.

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It produces these long, almost like a rat's tail.

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And these are what you eat so you can just take a bit off there.

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Just have a taste.

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And it has - the first bite is quite clean

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and then you get a real peppery aftertaste.

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This is the tomato White Beauty.

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Not quite white, but quite pale.

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You'll see that you'll get some yellow tomatoes

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and you'll get the red ones, but this is a very pale yellow variety.

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This variety is lettuce Bronze Arrow,

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an old variety from America, from the West Coast.

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We've done some trials against commercial varieties with this

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and it came top for the taste and disease resistance.

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Taste with varieties is very subjective.

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People will rave and say, these are much better than the old varieties.

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I think it can be said and we've had lots of people come back and say,

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"That reminds me of what I used to eat when I was younger."

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It's one of those strange ones that you can't measure,

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but it's been said that some of the older varieties

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have a lot more taste than some of the modern ones.

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Now this is broad bean Crimson Flowered,

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one of our greatest success stories.

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It was donated to us by Rhoda Cutbush and her sister in 1978.

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Her father and grandfather before that had been growing it.

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She gave us three beans that were in a tin and from that,

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we've bulked it up and gardeners are growing that all round the country.

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One of the things with broad beans is that people ask us

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how dry do the pods have to be before they're ready to harvest.

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In a word, very dry.

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You can almost hear, they rattle as you hold them,

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they're very dark black.

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You basically just open them, crack open like that

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and you end up with the seed inside already dried,

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ready to sew for next year.

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The varieties you'll find in lots of catalogues

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tend to be the hybrid varieties which tend to be very uniform,

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they tend to mature at the same time and be quite standardised.

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The varieties we have in our catalogue are quite varied,

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maturing at different times.

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We can't sell you these seeds, so we have a membership scheme.

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You join as a member, we provide you with a catalogue once a year

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and from that, you can choose free seed.

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We want people to try these varieties, we want them to eat them,

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we want them to taste and enjoy them and save some of the seed from them

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so that they can grow them again the next year if they enjoy them.

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Now, I always get a sense of guilt at this time of year

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that I've missed the boat in planting spring bulbs,

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because in August and September, it can feel terribly early.

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It still feels like summer, the ground is really hard

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and somehow that emotional connection with next spring isn't there,

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but it's not too late to do it now

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and you can have wonderful spring bulbs as early as next February, and then March and April

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and that's what I'm going to do now

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because I want to plant some anemones in this part of the garden.

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And we did plant a whole mass of crocus in here a few years ago

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and every February, they come up and look really good for a week or two - and that's it,

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so I want to increase that planting

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especially for spring before the leaf cover comes in

0:22:120:22:15

and anemones are perfect. These are Anemone blanda.

0:22:150:22:18

You can get them in white, blue, pink

0:22:180:22:21

and they flower roundabout March into April time.

0:22:210:22:25

Perfect for the edge of woodland, dappled shade

0:22:250:22:28

and of course, because the foliage won't be out,

0:22:280:22:31

there's plenty of light in here up until April

0:22:310:22:33

-and they should do really well.

-PIGS SQUEAL

0:22:330:22:35

Even the pigs think so.

0:22:350:22:37

I've got 150 tubers in here of a variety called White Splendour,

0:22:370:22:42

because I want a swathe of the white daisy-like flowers underneath the trees.

0:22:420:22:47

However, you can get them in mixed colours

0:22:470:22:50

and it's cheaper to do that, particularly if you're buying in small quantities.

0:22:500:22:54

150 of a named species cost me 37 quid.

0:22:540:22:58

These are just £2, £1.99 I think, for 20 mixed

0:22:590:23:03

but if they were a single colour, they would be £2 for five

0:23:030:23:07

so if you're going for a single colour and you want a massed effect,

0:23:070:23:11

shop about and buy them in bulk. It's much, much cheaper.

0:23:110:23:15

Now, you can soak these overnight

0:23:160:23:19

and I have done so in the past, although it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference.

0:23:190:23:24

Also, this is a very wet place.

0:23:240:23:25

Although the ground is dry now, you can guarantee this will be sodden over the next few weeks and months,

0:23:250:23:31

so they should be OK,

0:23:310:23:32

but if it's going to be dry and you've got any doubts at all,

0:23:320:23:35

soak them overnight before planting.

0:23:350:23:37

The ground is hard now and planting into there is tough work,

0:23:370:23:41

so I'm going to try a new technique.

0:23:410:23:43

This is an experiment. I've not done this before.

0:23:430:23:45

I read about it the other day, so I don't know if it'll work,

0:23:450:23:49

but I like the idea.

0:23:490:23:50

And that's simply to take the area where they'll be planted

0:23:500:23:53

and give it a good scratching.

0:23:530:23:56

So that the ground is roughened up.

0:23:580:24:00

And then simply sprinkle the tubers on the surface of the soil.

0:24:000:24:06

So we'll just chuck those down.

0:24:060:24:08

They want to be about three or four inches apart

0:24:080:24:11

but don't try to space them, just push them down like that.

0:24:110:24:15

They look alarmingly like something a small dog has left behind.

0:24:150:24:19

I'm covering them with a mixture of leaf mould and compost,

0:24:220:24:26

but actually, soil would do.

0:24:260:24:27

This is just easier for me to use, but it won't do any harm.

0:24:270:24:31

But soil or even sand will do the job

0:24:310:24:34

Of course, the other good thing about this is it will mark where I planted them.

0:24:360:24:40

And that's it.

0:24:400:24:42

The squirrels may come and try to dig them up,

0:24:440:24:47

but they'll get broken teeth cos they're too hard for them,

0:24:470:24:50

and no doubt the dogs will have a scratch around, but we'll see.

0:24:500:24:53

If it works, it's a really easy way to do mass planting of anemones.

0:24:530:24:59

Over the next few days, I shall be planting lots more spring bulbs,

0:25:090:25:13

but here are some other jobs for you to get on with this weekend.

0:25:130:25:17

As the weather gets wilder, now is the time to pick any remaining pears

0:25:190:25:23

so that they don't fall and bruise.

0:25:230:25:26

Pears don't keep very well at the best of times

0:25:260:25:28

and a bruised one will rot quicker than it ripens.

0:25:280:25:32

Store them carefully in a cool, dark place and check them often

0:25:320:25:36

because as soon as they're ripe, you should eat them.

0:25:360:25:39

If your shrub roses have put on vigorous growth in the summer months

0:25:430:25:47

these can act like a sail in winter winds, damaging the roots.

0:25:470:25:51

You can both protect them and prune them at the same time

0:25:510:25:54

by shearing them back by about a third.

0:25:540:25:57

It's a good time now to give your greenhouse a really good clean-out.

0:26:010:26:05

This will maximise the winter sun

0:26:050:26:07

and also get rid of any lurking pests and diseases.

0:26:070:26:11

Choose a dry day and then give it a thorough scrub

0:26:110:26:13

with a mix of warm water and a splash of washing-up liquid

0:26:130:26:17

and get into every nook and cranny.

0:26:170:26:21

Then leave it wide open so it can dry properly before evening.

0:26:210:26:25

Now, the scattering on the ground and covering up system

0:26:330:26:37

works really well for Anemone blanda,

0:26:370:26:39

but it will be no good for daffodils or any of the more conventional bulbs.

0:26:390:26:43

They need to be in the ground.

0:26:430:26:45

And here on the cricket pitch, we've got some daffodils

0:26:450:26:48

at the top left-hand corner, and I want to fill it up.

0:26:480:26:51

I managed to get hold of some wild daffodils.

0:26:530:26:56

This is pseudonarcissus.

0:26:560:26:59

You can see that the bulbs are tiny.

0:27:010:27:04

Now, I've bought 500 of these,

0:27:050:27:08

but whether you're planting a big bulb or small,

0:27:080:27:11

the technique is just the same.

0:27:110:27:13

Take a handful and just go like this.

0:27:140:27:16

And that will always look much more natural than the most artful placing

0:27:180:27:22

you can do, because it is uncanny how the eye reverts to a grid.

0:27:220:27:26

By the way, if you're thinking of planting daffodils in long grass,

0:27:260:27:31

just remember you can't cut the grass until the daffodil leaves have died down

0:27:310:27:36

and that's going to be June at the earliest and could easily be July.

0:27:360:27:39

There we go. That will go in the ground.

0:27:400:27:43

Get it in the ground at least its own depth again deep.

0:27:430:27:46

That's better. That pops in there.

0:27:470:27:50

When I've got all the bulbs in the ground,

0:27:500:27:53

it'll be covered with little pot marks

0:27:530:27:55

so I'll go over it with some compost and work it in with a stiff brush

0:27:550:27:59

and that will fill it all up and then it'll be done and ready.

0:27:590:28:02

The reason why I want to get it done

0:28:020:28:04

is because you never know at this time of year what the weather's going to do.

0:28:040:28:08

It could be frosty, it could be stormy, it could be glorious.

0:28:080:28:11

So if I get it in the ground, that's it. I can rest.

0:28:110:28:14

But whatever the weather's like,

0:28:140:28:16

I'll be back next Friday here at Long Meadow at 8pm.

0:28:160:28:19

So join me then. Bye-bye.

0:28:190:28:22

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:330:28:38

E-mail [email protected]

0:28:380:28:43

At Longmeadow, Monty is planning for next summer by sowing a batch of sweet peas. He wants to find out, by sowing a batch now and another next spring, whether the flowering and general performance of the plants will differ.

Carol Klein is amongst the leaves, bark and berries at Thorp Perrow Arboretum in Yorkshire admiring the onset of this year's autumn display, and recommends varieties suitable to plant in our gardens.

We visit Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire to find out about their collection of heritage vegetables and how to collect their seeds.

Back at Longmeadow, Monty tries out a new method of planting bulbs in dry shade.


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