Episode 11 Gardeners' World


Episode 11

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Transcript


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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.

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I'm just lifting this euphorbia

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because it's rather swamping the plants around it.

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Staking at this stage of the year, when the whole garden is growing

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in front of your eyes and plants are opening by the hour practically,

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is not so much an exercise in control but in support.

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Just get in there and underpin

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and let things flow and look as natural as possible.

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You want to celebrate what it's doing

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rather than instruct it to behave properly.

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Now, in tonight's programme, a little bit of instruction

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but lots of celebration.

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This week, Carol is celebrating blossom.

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This year it's been a little late but it has been fantastic.

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Whether it's a sloe in the hedgerows

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or these glorious ornamental doubles,

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it really doesn't matter.

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It's their blossom which brings a whole season to life.

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And we visit a couple in Yorkshire who share their love of begonias

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with every single person that passes by their house.

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CAR HORN BLARES

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It's really embarrassing.

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You'll be out the front garden doing a bit of dead-heading

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and this bus will slow down to a crawl

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and there's like 30 people with cameras at the window

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taking pictures as they go past.

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Later on in the programme, I'm going to be planting out my tomatoes and

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I'm going to put them into different containers as an experiment.

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At the end of the year, I'll see which has been the most successful,

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but first I've got a job to do here in the Jewel Garden.

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Now, last year, I bought this pot and I got it, to be honest,

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because it was such a cheap price I couldn't resist it.

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I bought it sight unseen

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and when it arrived it was slightly daunting

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because this is a huge, big pot and planting it up is not

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just a question of putting any old thing in it.

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You have to think it through.

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Now, it doesn't matter what you plant

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you do need to give it some drainage.

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And you can buy chocks that you simply place the pot onto.

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And you do that so that it doesn't get waterlogged.

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So we just sit it up off the ground.

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I like to add terracotta crocks too.

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Now, I use terracotta because that's what we've got,

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but you could use anything.

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Polystyrene packaging chips work very well, too.

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Apart from anything else, in a great big pot,

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it actually takes up some pace.

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Otherwise, it gets really expensive putting in compost.

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When you're planting a big container of any kind,

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you will have a lot of plants and they will make quite heavy

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nutritional demands, so it's worth taking trouble with the compost.

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Now, you can use an ordinary potting compost

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but after about a month to six weeks,

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you'll have to feed regularly.

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I like to mix my own.

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I use peat-free potting compost, sieved garden compost,

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leaf mould and grit in equal proportions.

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Now, you need drama in a big pot

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and I plan a large container with three storeys.

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You need a top storey, you need a mid-level layer

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and then ground cover.

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And for the top storey, for this container, I'm going to use a canna.

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Now this is Canna Australia.

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It's got lovely chocolate plum-coloured leaves

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and then big striking red flowers.

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Cannas come from Central and South America.

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They like heat and they like moisture,

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so if you plant a canna in a container,

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you are committed to watering it regularly.

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And also it does need plenty of feed.

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Now, I'm going to plant that in the middle.

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Take it out of the pot. There we go. Nice healthy plant.

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It should flower at about eye level which is perfect.

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Word of warning.

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Cannas are very commonly being sold with a virus and this

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streaks the leaves and loses them vigour

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so look for a nice clean foliage.

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So that's my top storey. Dead easy.

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The next storey, the mid-level, is going to be dahlias.

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Now dahlias, of course,

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come from the same region of the world as cannas.

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That's Central and South America

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and they like the same sort of conditions.

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Now this is called 'Grenadier' and I've chosen it because

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the foliage and the stems pick up on the cannas' foliage.

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It doesn't turn much darker than that

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but there's this slight plum chocolatey colour to the stems

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and also it's got a fabulous red flower.

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Pure red.

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Got the tuber in there.

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And this, I've over-wintered, grew last year

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and I'm going to put three in.

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Pop that in like that.

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OK, that's my mid-storey.

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And, of course, at the moment, they're just a big as the cannas

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but the cannas will soon overtake them.

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Now, underneath I want to use annuals

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and I've got a number of different ones here.

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I've got a couple of petunias,

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'Black Velvet' and a 'Surfina Bunga...' Bungadee?

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B-B... I can't say it!

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Of course, what I'm struggling to say is "burgundy."

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I want the really rich darkness.

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In fact, 'Black Velvet' has also got a flash of yellow.

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And, of course, petunias, an annual,

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they will like moisture

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which is just as well as it's starting to rain,

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and we use the two colours

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and I'll put these all the way round and, of course,

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they all grow and spill out to a certain extent.

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These are plants that I bought in March

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when they were tiny little plugs,

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potted them on and they've grown really well,

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so it's given me a large plant for the price of a very small one.

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Now, I'm also going to introduce a flash of yellow.

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This is an Osteospermum 'Voltage Yellow,'

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almost a gold.

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And perhaps it might pick up that flash of yellow on the petunia.

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You can see it's grown decent roots. We've got a nice, strong plant.

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Now, I'll give that a good soak

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and it will settle and it will take a few weeks to get going but then,

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as soon as the nights get warmer,

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the cannas and the dahlias will really start to grow,

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so we'll have these wonderful big canna flowers on the top storey,

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the 'Grenadier' dahlias round about this level,

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and underneath, the bedding.

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And that will go on right into autumn.

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Now, I love mixing up all these different type of plants,

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but you can achieve really good effects just using bedding.

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We visited a couple in Yorkshire who don't just love bedding,

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they're obsessed by it,

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and they share their magnificent obsession with every passer-by.

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We get an awful lot of holiday traffic,

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people travelling from West Yorkshire up to the Lake District.

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We get people tooting their horns,

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people stopping, taking pictures, knocking on the door.

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We've become a bit of a tourist attraction in our own right, really.

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CAR HORN HONKS

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LORRY HORN HONKS

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It's really embarrassing.

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You'd be out in the front of the garden there,

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doing a bit of dead-heading and this bus will slow down to a crawl

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and there's 30 people with their cameras at the window

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taking pictures as they go past.

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We started 27 years ago putting the flowers out.

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It grew and it grew and it grew.

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And every year, it's still growing.

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This village is not called Coniston Cold for nothing.

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It is cold, as you can gather,

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and we get a lot of wind and very cold weather.

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So we had to find a plant that would withstand our climate

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and we ended up with the begonia.

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I would always recommend begonias.

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You can let them dry out. You can over-water them.

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They will always grow, no matter what.

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In this climate here, that's been proven time and time again.

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We get plug plants, very mall plug plants which need potting on

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so that will start in February-March time

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and run right through till May.

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When we start planting, it's late May before we can plant out here.

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But we can get frosts well into June here

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but it takes about three weeks to put them all out.

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One year, I worked out by counting the plant pots,

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I grew 6,500,

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which is a bit frightening.

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It used to take me approximately two hours a day to water them by hand.

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Sometimes, in mid-summer, when it was hot,

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you'd do two hours in the morning and two hours at night

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which is a lot of time.

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Now it's all done by computer.

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It switches itself on and off, which is a lot better.

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Feeding I will usually commence

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in an evening because you don't want direct sunlight.

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When I'm feeding the plants, I've found that

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tomato feed mixed with seaweed extract

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is the best, without a doubt.

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But you've got to be careful with seaweed extract.

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You must stick to the dilution rates.

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If you don't, you'll kill the plants. It's very powerful stuff.

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Personally, I can't see any room for expansion anywhere.

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I think they would basically have to hang them from the roof

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if they were to put any more flowers up.

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But I know that next year Robin will say,

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"I've ordered a few too many flowers now, I've got some left -

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"where shall we put them?"

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And I'll say, "There's nowhere, Robin."

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And then all of a sudden I'll hear him drilling the wall

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and he'll have found another place

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and there will be more flowers going up.

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Where there's a will, there's a way.

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There have been times where we've thought,

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"We can't carry on with this,

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"it's too much of our life, it takes too much time."

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But it is the nice cards that we get sent.

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People waving out their cars and off of coaches.

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-It makes you feel very humble.

-Makes you feel good.

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Making the world a brighter place. Yeah.

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The pond is starting to get lush and mature.

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But it is only 12 months old. All this planting

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has been done in the last year.

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And one of the things that I'm keeping an eye on

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is quite subtle, which is a line

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of reflected light, exactly along the line where I am now,

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which is through the gap in the hedge.

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And I deliberately wanted this line

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to continue the path across the surface of the water.

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And of course you can do that with water.

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You can play with reflections and light.

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And the water mint, which I planted last year

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as one little clump, has now grown across that and of course

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is spoiling the reflection. So I want to just thin it back a bit.

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Now is a really good time to divide any marginal plants,

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to plant any aquatic plants, because it's warmed up.

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In fact, there's quite a chilly wind today,

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but the water is much warmer than it was a month ago.

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And it's getting clearer too.

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I think perhaps the barley straw I put in about four or five weeks ago

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is beginning to work, although the whole balance of a pond

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is a subtle and shifting thing,

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and it's to do with light, shade and minerals.

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So one of the things you have to do is keep some of the water covered.

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You want to keep a third of the surface covered by plants.

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But this water mint, you can see, is spreading across here. Look at that.

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It's really minty.

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Now I'm going to divide that a little.

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It's as tough as old tough.

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And you can see the roots are there.

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So I haven't harmed what I've taken,

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I can move it to another place if I want, or I can compost it.

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One of the things that I'm very aware of is that

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if you want to really encourage newts and frogs and snails

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and dragonflies and all the lovely things

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that will come to a pond like this,

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you must have lots of cover for them.

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Let's put a little bit of this water mint down there.

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That will bed down in and this can go to the compost. Over you go.

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This is tinkering.

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Playing, really, in the water,

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and any kind of water lends itself to nice playing about.

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But it's important and it's timely, because plants

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can very easily re-establish if you divide them,

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and if you plant new plants,

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they will get going very fast in the water.

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But you may not have water.

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Nevertheless, here are some other jobs

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that you CAN be doing in your garden this weekend.

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If you took cuttings in spring from plants like dahlias

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or delphiniums, check them over,

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and if you see new growth from leaves or roots,

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it's time to pot them on.

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Remove them carefully

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and pot up each cutting individually into fresh potting compost.

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Water them, and put them in a protected place

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where they can grow on so they should be ready to plant out

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in late summer.

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Late-flowering clematis grow very fast at this time of year

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and can get in a real tangle.

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So, using soft twine so you don't damage the delicate new tendrils,

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unravel them and tie them in.

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And then when they do flower,

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they'll be exactly where you want them.

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Come on!

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# Missed the Saturday dance

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# Heard they crowded the floor

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# Couldn't bear it without you

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# Don't get around much anymore. #

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It's time to earth up potatoes.

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Draw the soil right up over the foliage.

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This will protect them from any late frost,

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and more importantly, mean that the tubers are well covered,

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and thus protected from light,

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which turns them green and poisonous.

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There's a final benefit,

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because an extra layer of soil will also provide protection

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from blight spores that might occur later in the summer.

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The blossom on my step-over apples is a relief, actually,

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because the poor things have been moved.

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They were in with the soft fruit and they had to be moved

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to make room for the greenhouse, and now I've put them in here.

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And they seem to be adapting.

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And of course the great thing about step-over apples

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is not only do they look good,

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and you can have them as a decorative element

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in amongst vegetables, but also it does give you fruit

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in a very, very restricted space.

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But the blossom is as good

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on a little apple tree as the biggest one.

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It's the same flowers, and hopefully the same fruit.

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And there's something about any blossom

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that just makes your heart sing.

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Well, I don't know if Carol's singing,

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but she's certainly celebrating blossom.

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There are so many blossom trees that light up our gardens

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and hedgerows from spring to early summer.

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Their delicate clusters of flowers are a seasonal delight for us.

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And for the wildlife.

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Sloe is the first sight of spring in our countryside.

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It's called Prunus spinosa because the whole thing is spiny, spiky.

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It's a very well-armed sort of a shrub.

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And those spines are poisonous,

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but they're there to protect those flowers

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and the fruit that follows them.

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The wood itself of sloe is extremely hard

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and the Irish use it to make their shillelaghs.

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Not only do birds nest in its branches,

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but the whole thing is humming with activity.

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And after the flowers have fallen to the ground,

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there are the most wonderful small black fruit - sloes.

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There's no avoiding sloe.

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It's in-your-face, it's instantly recognisable, it's there.

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But it's not until you stroll in the woods

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that you come across our wild cherry, Prunus avium.

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This too is packed with all sorts of nectar,

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and as the sun shines in here, wildlife come to visit.

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You can see immediately, though,

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when you look up into these branches,

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the similarity between this and all those ornamental cherries

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that grace our gardens and pack our city streets.

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It's hard to believe that the ornamental Japanese cherry tree,

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so popular now, only came to our gardens around 100 years ago.

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In Japan, sakura, cherry blossom,

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plays a hugely important role in daily life.

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The optimism and yet the ephemerality

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of these beautiful blooms opening wide

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represents life itself,

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followed by the inevitability of death,

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as those petals fall to the floor and carpet the ground.

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The blossom too signifies clouds,

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as tree after tree opens its snowy blooms

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and moves across the countryside.

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Here at Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire,

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they've got 130 different types of ornamental cherry trees,

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many of them a familiar sight in British parks and gardens.

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And this is one of the finest examples. It's so blossomy.

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This is Prunus sargentii.

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Just look at the scale of this! It's huge. It's massive.

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It's a structural monument to the beauty of cherry blossom.

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Too big for a lot of gardens, but what a spectacle!

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And as if that wasn't enough,

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when the autumn comes,

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this is one of the first of all the cherries to change colour.

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Head gardener Matthew Hall is showing me

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the national collection of village cherries held here at Batsford.

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These trees come from villages in Japan

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and flower in succession right through the season.

0:20:150:20:18

We've got yedoensis.

0:20:180:20:20

This is what starts the flowering cherries.

0:20:200:20:23

Everything goes on from here.

0:20:230:20:25

The whole thing travels up the country, doesn't it?

0:20:250:20:27

That's right, yeah.

0:20:270:20:28

Batsford has trees that are perfect for smaller gardens, too.

0:20:280:20:33

-So dainty!

-Yeah.

-What a picture.

0:20:330:20:36

-Absolutely perfect, isn't it?

-Yeah, it is.

0:20:360:20:39

-So this is prunus incisa?

-Incisa, yeah. It's a Fuji cherry.

0:20:390:20:43

It's an ideal cherry for the small garden.

0:20:430:20:45

Well, you can imagine that going anywhere, can't you?

0:20:450:20:48

-Yeah, you could.

-Even on a tiny, tiny plot.

0:20:480:20:52

You can grow it two different ways.

0:20:520:20:54

You can have a straight, upright stem,

0:20:540:20:56

-or you can have maybe multiple stems coming off.

-Right, right.

0:20:560:21:00

It's small leaf, really compact flowers.

0:21:000:21:02

-It's two to three metres and is quite shrubby.

-I've got that tiny one.

0:21:020:21:06

-Kojo no mai.

-Kojo no mai. I've got a couple of them but I grow them in pots.

0:21:060:21:12

That's right. Good for pot culture.

0:21:120:21:14

So even if you haven't got a garden, you can have a flowering cherry.

0:21:140:21:17

That's it, that's right. That's the beauty of them.

0:21:170:21:20

Thanks to the introduction of these ornamental Japanese cherries,

0:21:230:21:27

we really can choose from a wealth of blossom trees

0:21:270:21:31

as well as enjoying our own wild species.

0:21:310:21:35

Whether it's our sloe in the hedgerows

0:21:350:21:39

or our wild cherry, Prunus avium,

0:21:390:21:42

whether it's the village cherries from Japan

0:21:420:21:44

or these glorious ornamental doubles,

0:21:440:21:47

it really doesn't matter.

0:21:470:21:50

It's their blossom that brings a whole season to life.

0:21:500:21:54

I last went to Batsford 10 years ago. It was absolutely fantastic.

0:22:010:22:04

I must go back next spring.

0:22:040:22:06

This spring, one of the great delights has been the apple blossom,

0:22:060:22:09

which of course has been very late, like all blossoms.

0:22:090:22:12

Because it's all come out together,

0:22:120:22:14

there should be really good cross-pollination and, touch wood,

0:22:140:22:17

a nice crop of apples.

0:22:170:22:19

So, to have apple blossom in late May is unusual,

0:22:190:22:22

but it's been a real treat.

0:22:220:22:25

BIRDSONG

0:22:270:22:30

Now it is time to plant out tomatoes.

0:22:370:22:40

I've got a batch here of gardener's delight, one of my favourites.

0:22:400:22:44

It's got a fairly small tomato,

0:22:440:22:46

delicious raw, even better, I think, roasted.

0:22:460:22:50

Absolutely perfect. These I grow from seed.

0:22:500:22:54

You can see they've got a nice root system. They're not pot-bound.

0:22:540:22:58

If I plant these out, they'll grow really strongly over the next month or so

0:22:580:23:02

and then start to set fruit.

0:23:020:23:04

I've grown tomatoes, oh, for at least the last 40 years,

0:23:040:23:08

and I really had thought until last year I pretty much knew how to do it

0:23:080:23:12

successfully every time. But then I paid a visit to Richard Sandford,

0:23:120:23:17

who is a superb vegetable grower.

0:23:170:23:20

All of these tomatoes look really impressive,

0:23:230:23:27

but this pair here are incredible.

0:23:270:23:31

These are the best tomatoes I have ever seen in the UK.

0:23:310:23:37

Very kind of you.

0:23:370:23:39

Richard made me rethink everything about tomato growing,

0:23:440:23:49

because he grew those amazing tomatoes, and they were stunning,

0:23:490:23:53

in terracotta pots about this sort of size.

0:23:530:23:56

And what was extraordinary was that the pots were certainly

0:23:560:24:00

no more than half full of compost mix.

0:24:000:24:03

So that they had a tiny root run,

0:24:030:24:06

but he fed them every single day from home-made feeds.

0:24:060:24:11

So the upshot is this year I want to experiment.

0:24:110:24:14

I want to try different ways of growing tomatoes.

0:24:140:24:17

I shall be growing some in the other greenhouse,

0:24:170:24:20

but I'll also grow some in different containers in here.

0:24:200:24:23

I've got a grow bag here, so I'll grow some in those.

0:24:230:24:26

I've got some terracotta pots. I'll grow some in those.

0:24:260:24:29

And I'll also grow some in what I normally use,

0:24:290:24:33

which is a large plastic pot. So it's got a decent root run.

0:24:330:24:36

And if they're all gardener's delight,

0:24:360:24:38

I can just simply compare how they grow,

0:24:380:24:41

and most importantly of all, what the fruit are like.

0:24:410:24:44

Let's start with the grow bag.

0:24:440:24:46

To be honest, I haven't used a grow bag for about 10 years.

0:24:460:24:50

I used to use them and they were perfectly successful.

0:24:500:24:53

When you buy them, give them a really good shake,

0:24:530:24:56

because they're stacked on pallets and they get very compacted.

0:24:560:25:00

So just make extra holes along the bottom so that can drain out.

0:25:010:25:07

And then I would grow three tomatoes in a bag like that.

0:25:090:25:13

Like that.

0:25:150:25:17

And then you simply take a plant.

0:25:210:25:25

Now, as a rule of thumb,

0:25:250:25:26

I've always said that you should bury tomato plants

0:25:260:25:29

at least up to the first leaf.

0:25:290:25:32

It wouldn't hurt going up as much as that.

0:25:320:25:35

Then you get roots growing from the stem

0:25:350:25:37

and you get a more secure plant,

0:25:370:25:40

because this is going to get very big and heavy.

0:25:400:25:43

However, in a grow bag that's tricky,

0:25:430:25:45

because what is astonishing is how shallow the bag is.

0:25:450:25:50

It really doesn't feel as though there's enough depth of soil

0:25:500:25:53

to support the plants. But we'll see.

0:25:530:25:56

OK, that goes in there.

0:25:560:25:58

And that's in there.

0:26:010:26:04

Exhibit A.

0:26:050:26:07

Right, next I am going to try Richard's technique,

0:26:070:26:11

which is a terracotta pot

0:26:110:26:13

with a dangerously small amount of compost in it.

0:26:130:26:18

That's really all he had.

0:26:210:26:23

It seems absurd to me, but come on, let's try, let's try.

0:26:230:26:28

Just one plant.

0:26:280:26:30

And put that in.

0:26:330:26:34

I'm going to put a little bit more compost in there to bury it,

0:26:360:26:41

not to cheat but just simply to anchor it in place.

0:26:410:26:45

There we go. And I'll do a couple more of those.

0:26:450:26:50

Put that in nice and deep.

0:26:530:26:56

There we go. Exhibit B.

0:27:030:27:08

And finally, the tried and tested large plastic pot.

0:27:080:27:16

Now, I have deliberately been generous with my compost,

0:27:250:27:31

left enough room to hold water on top.

0:27:310:27:33

But that allows a fairly decent root run.

0:27:350:27:39

And in the past I would say not overgenerous,

0:27:390:27:41

but, having seen Richard's example, it now looks enormous.

0:27:410:27:46

But we'll see.

0:27:460:27:48

And this I will bury, nice and deep.

0:27:500:27:54

That goes right down in there to bring the soil up around underneath that first leaf.

0:27:540:27:58

Right, let's call that exhibit C.

0:28:010:28:03

I'll treat these as I always treat tomatoes.

0:28:030:28:07

Richard's... I will remember his guiding principle,

0:28:070:28:09

which wasn't prescriptive, but what it was was pay great attention to their feed,

0:28:090:28:13

and if need be, feed them every day.

0:28:130:28:18

The grow bag, I will just try and use my common sense

0:28:180:28:21

and look after as best I can.

0:28:210:28:24

And we'll see.

0:28:240:28:26

If you grow tomatoes in a particular way,

0:28:260:28:29

I'd love to hear from you.

0:28:290:28:30

If you've got any secrets, share them.

0:28:300:28:33

Now, we'll only know the proof of this come August and September.

0:28:330:28:36

But we'll be back here before then.

0:28:360:28:40

I'll see you next Friday, here at Longmeadow, at the normal time.

0:28:400:28:42

Till then, bye bye.

0:28:420:28:45

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:480:28:51

Monty Don plants up summer bedding in the Jewel Garden and starts a new tomato experiment, while Carol Klein celebrates the blossom at Batsford Arboretum in the Cotswolds.


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