Browse content similar to Episode 15. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Hello. Welcome back to Gardeners' World.
We've been away for a few weeks, but here at Long Meadow, the garden has been growing and flourishing.
It's been a lovely summer so far.
We've had good weather, and the plants,
from vegetables through to trees and all the flowers in the borders
have been really healthy.
There have been changes. Some things have flowered and gone over,
other things are coming to their best,
and there's quite a lot we can do at this time of year
to make sure that display looks as good as it can right through to autumn.
Now, tonight's programme is full of my favourite things.
Carol is celebrating one of our most dramatic wild flowers,
along with its cultivated cousins.
Surely everybody recognises a foxglove!
Every child who sees one of these plants
wants to stick their fingers inside those bells and make their own gloves!
Joe finds out what the world-famous garden designer Dan Pearson
has planned for his own new garden.
It's not about a grand design, imposing yourself on the landscape?
No, it's about finding a meeting point between the ornamental garden which I'm going to make
and this naturalistic space.
I shall be revealing a brand-new area here at Long Meadow,
but first I'm going to continue a job I've been doing for a week or so,
which is really important at this time of year -
to extend the flowering season in our borders.
Now, the border at this time of year is full of plants that have actually done their stuff.
What they're concentrating on is setting seed
so that next year they can look really good.
For example, these alliums, Purple Sensation.
They look stunning in May and early June
and are now setting seed.
Now, if I wanted them to spread, I'd leave them,
because that seed will develop new plants.
But we've got too many alliums, so I'm pulling them up.
They do just pull up really easily.
Just gently pull on them, and that clears them.
It won't harm the bulb, which will grow again next year,
but it will stop them setting seed.
So it'll also create some space.
Because the Jewel Garden is planted so intensively,
you can't get a foot in, half the time!
And when you come to plants like the perennial geraniums,
the hardy geraniums here,
these are still flowering.
There is a temptation to keep them going as long as there are any flowers.
But don't! Because there are very few flowers on each stem,
and these are all setting seed.
So if I cut that back hard,
I'll get a flush of regrowth and with it, a much more intense ratio of flower to plant.
This applies to all the early-flowering perennials.
So you've got hardy geraniums, Oriental poppies,
delphiniums when they're over.
Cut them all back to the ground.
And you should get a repeat flowering in August and September.
The other thing is how much space is created.
So it's not just about making existing plants grow back strongly.
It's also about creating room to put in new plants.
At this time of year, the plants I want to put in are the tender ones.
Zinnias, Cosmos, all of which can now be planted into this space I've created.
So they will grow alongside the resurgence and regrowth
of the earlier perennials.
That way, we get a really rich tapestry of colour.
No other plant has given me more pleasure over the last week or so
than this foxglove.
It's self-sown, a weed, if you like,
in the cracks in the paving.
Yet it's grown enormous, taller than the shed
and it's just been filled with flower.
I regard these kinds of things as a glorious gift.
I take no credit for it at all.
And Carole is also celebrating the foxglove, but looking at the kinds that you can cultivate
in your garden.
Surely everybody recognises a foxglove when they see one!
These tall stems loaded with bells
just announce its presence to all of us, and more importantly to pollinating insects.
And once those insects arrive,
they're guided in by these wonderful dots and spots within.
Its common name, foxglove, denotes its connections with mankind.
Every child who sees one of these plants
wants to stick their fingers inside those bells and make their own gloves!
Its Latin name, Digitalis purpurea, tells you a lot about the plant, too.
Digit, like finger, and purpurea, this brilliant magnificent colour.
It's typical of a woodland plant in that the bells are concentrated on one side.
So it's searching for the light.
And the structure is so beautifully and perfectly evolved.
No one flower obscures the entrance to any of the other bells down here.
Now, lots of us grow Digitalis purpurea in our own gardens.
But they're just the start of the story!
In the middle of the Wiltshire countryside,
there's a nursery that I've always wanted to explore.
I've met its owner many times at flower shows up and down the country,
but this is the first time I've visited here.
This place holds one of the national collections of foxgloves
and I can't wait to take a closer look.
I don't think I've ever, ever been to a nursery like this.
You feel as though you're in the middle of the countryside.
Yes, well, we are. This is the most southerly outpost of the Cotswolds.
The wildlife has moved in. We've got a whole population of hedgehogs and rabbits
and all sorts of things. We live and let live, pretty much.
-I always had you down as a shrub man, initially.
-Yeah, woody plants.
That's really why the foxgloves came into it
because what grows better with shrubs than foxgloves?
I think this is typical of the things that are all around your nursery,
this lovely big mound of Euphorbia.
-Which one is this?
-This is stygiana.
It's got this marvellous honey scent.
I wish everybody could smell it! It's so gorgeous,
-and punctuated by - is this mertonensis?
This is just one of how many foxgloves that you grow?
Here we've got about 35 different named sorts.
Is there any call for straightforward Digitalis purpurea?
It's an absolute essential.
It's got all the refined elegance of the wild plant.
What a great idea, putting them all in a line so you can really see them.
We have a thing called foxglove week
-and all the digiologists in the country come and compare them!
They come to compare one foxglove with another.
This seemed the most efficient way of doing it.
They're all different forms, all different subtly from one another.
That's QUITE different though, isn't it?
That's Candy Mountain.
Here, the flowerets are all pointing upwards.
Essentially, they're edge of woodland or hedgerow plants, aren't they?
They are, indeed. They like that sort of humus layer that you tend to get.
In the garden, we can replicate that by using whatever humus or garden compost we've got
just to create a nice moist layer on the surface of the soil.
I love the way that in white foxgloves there's no trace of the purple, is there,
in the stems, on the leaves, anything at all.
If you want to create a mini Sissinghurst in your garden...
-The White Garden?
-..the White Garden,
you can do that in your own home garden.
The best way to do it is to look through your seedlings and see how they're colouring up.
I have a couple here which I was going to put in a bit later.
See this one - no marking of purple on there at all.
So that will go in with the white group.
That's a purple foxglove, and that will go in the garden.
It's plain to see, isn't it?
I'll tell you what. I've always felt that white foxgloves have softer leaves, too.
Digitalis purpurea are mainly biennial
and they're essentially plants of northern Europe.
But there are so many perennial foxgloves
that can really grace our gardens and do things that Digitalis purpurea just can't do.
Things like Digitalis lutea.
Look at that with its tiny, dainty bells.
Or this one, parviflora.
Most of these perennial foxgloves are evergreen. Where they come from,
the grow on the edge of woodland.
But when you bring them into a British garden,
you can put them out in full sun.
Is this a shrub, or is it a foxglove?
In actual fact, it's both!
This is Digitalis canariensis, from high up in the mountains on the Canary Islands,
where it's developed not only evergreen leaves
which withstand Atlantic gales,
but also this shrubby growth has no reason to die back to the ground in the winter.
There are other ways of adapting to those sort of fierce conditions.
It's Digitalis heywoodii
and it comes from Portugal.
It's got an entirely different way of coping with a hot, dry situation.
In this case, its leaves are covered in this fine fur
and it stops the leaves losing moisture.
So, whether you want to create somewhere that reminds you of your Mediterranean holidays,
or you want to recreate a woodland glade,
there's a foxglove for you!
Earlier, I said everything had grown really well and was healthy.
Well, that's not quite true,
because my garlic has got leek rust.
You can see these orange pustules. It's a fungus.
It affects the leaves and eventually they die back.
It's not a disaster, but it does mean that it's over for that garlic.
They need harvesting now, because it won't get any better.
The bulb won't grow any more if the leaves are dying back.
But the really interesting thing is not the fact that it's got rust,
but it's so variable from variety to variety.
So Vallelado, which I have here, is hit really badly,
but the Elephant garlic hasn't been touched, right next to it.
And on the other side, we've got Germidour, which is hit badly,
just a foot away from Cristo, which is not too bad.
It's thought that different strains of the fungus exist,
so it's worth trying different varieties of garlic
to see which is most resistant in your garden.
I'm going to have to clear the ground later on,
but I just want to try one, because it may well be
that they're ready for harvest anyway.
So, if I take that up - these were planted in October -
you can see that we've got a small bulb
but perfectly edible.
Mmm, I love the smell of garlic.
I love the smell, the taste, the health aspect of it.
I never understand why people don't like it.
Nigel, do you like garlic, Nige? How about that? Does that smell good?
"Sort of"! Good boy. We'll harvest those later.
In fact, I didn't come up here to look at my garlic.
I came up to see how my potatoes were going on.
Remember that I did a trial?
These are Charlotte potatoes, second earlies,
which can be treated as first earlies,
which I've grown here in the soil, ridged up, earthed up,
grown very conventionally.
And I've also grown them in a raised bed very close together,
and I haven't earthed those up or done anything to them at all.
The point being, if the raised bed ones create as good a harvest as the conventional grown ones,
then that's how I'll do them in future because it's really easy!
Now, you don't harvest potatoes of any kind until they flower.
But when you see them flowering, that's an indication
that they're forming tubers.
So obviously if they've just begun to flower, they're only just forming tubers.
But if you want big baking potatoes or you want maximum harvest,
wait till the flowering is finished or is finishing
and then you can harvest them.
Make sure we don't damage them too much.
The ground is quite dry.
Pull that out. Look at that!
These are less than three months old. That's less than 90 days,
and here we go.
That is not bad, is it?
So this is two plants.
Now, I would stress that if I left these for another week or so,
each individual tuber would be bigger.
But that's a good starter.
Let's see how they got on in the raised bed.
Let's pull out the tops.
They seem to be a bit smaller.
Which is what you would expect, because they've got less room.
OK. I think that's the lot for there.
So let's compare the two.
Now, on the evidence of these first plants,
and it is early days, you can't draw conclusions until you've checked them all,
there's a very nice harvest from the conventional method
and the tubers are good and big.
But there are more potatoes in the raised bed
and they've a good size if you're eating them as new potatoes.
But certainly it's much less work growing them in a raised bed.
You literally just make a hole and pop them in.
Grow them in a grid and that's it. Do nothing else to them at all.
So I would definitely suggest, if you've got good raised beds,
grow new potatoes in them
and save your open ground for main crop.
Now, we can't harvest potatoes without doing one special thing.
Potato trick time, Nigel!
This is a very beautiful thing.
By the way, you shouldn't give dogs raw potatoes.
Good boy! Don't eat it!
Don't eat it. Good boy.
Right. You may not have potatoes. You may not have a dog that catches them off his nose!
But here are some jobs you can be doing this weekend.
If you grow cordon tomatoes,
you'll notice that side shoots form between the stem and the leaf.
These grow at 45 degrees very vigorously.
If you leave them, you'll get a tangled mess
and not many extra tomatoes.
Pinch them out when they're young.
If you do the job in the morning,
use your fingers and snap them off
because they're turgid and full of liquid.
If you try and snap them later in the day,
often they'll tear the stem.
So it's a good idea to use secateurs or a knife.
If you have a greenhouse or conservatory,
you'll do much more harm by letting it get too hot and dry
than by keeping it well-ventilated and moist.
Open all the doors and windows
and water the floor as well as the plants.
Apart from keeping the atmosphere cool and moist, which is healthy,
it'll also keep problems like red spider mite at bay.
To keep your roses flowering as long as possible,
it's important to dead-head them regularly,
and this is particularly true of all repeat-flowering roses.
Don't just pull the petals off, but prune them back
to the first leaf bud,
even if this means taking off quite a lot of stem.
This, in turn, will promote fresh growth
and with it will come fresh flower buds.
By dead-heading this particular rose regularly,
it goes on flowering right into autumn. One word of caution.
If you're growing roses that have really good hips
and Rosa moyesii is a really good example of that,
don't dead-head those flowers as you'll be cutting off the hips.
Now, about the time that we started to make this garden, some 23 years ago,
I was introduced to a brilliant young garden designer.
His name was Dan Pearson
and he's since gone on to become one of the leading designers in the world.
He's been London-based during most of that time,
but a couple of years ago, he bought a place in the country
and started to make a garden for himself.
A few weeks ago, Joe went down to Somerset
to see how he's getting on.
It took ten years to find,
but finally, Dan Pearson has a landscape of his own to transform.
And it's a real challenge.
20 acres of rolling countryside.
As a designer, Dan's created all kinds of gardens
from an urban oasis for cancer sufferers
to his work at the Millennium Forest in Japan,
a space that aims to delight and surprise for 1,000 years!
Oh, lovely cup of coffee. Thanks, Dan.
This is such a beautiful spot.
It's wonderful. It's the reason we came.
Having gardened in London for years,
suddenly you've got no boundaries.
Your horizon is different. You think completely differently
through having space around you, and garden in context with somewhere
rather than within a box.
I've planted an orchard and a nuttery.
I did that straightaway so that that will be growing for the future.
So you're feeling your way?
It's a slow burner. You're in absolutely no rush!
That's a good way of putting it.
At the front of his house are some of his favourite plants.
This is lovely as well. This is lovely!
This is starting to get together things which might look nice together.
The bronze fennel, this really beautiful Oenothera suphurea,
and I thought it would be a beautiful thing to start naturalising here in drier places.
This is a wild barley
which I brought back from Greece as seed.
I think it's perennial.
I want there to be plants that grow in the planting year
that make it look like a garden that was here many centuries ago.
Almost as if it's self-seeded from the fields.
From the fields into here. I've always gardened on the naturalistic side.
I'm wanting to push it a bit further this time.
'At the side of his house, he's developing a trial garden
'to see what plants will thrive here.'
This looks like fun!
It is an enormous amount of fun.
-This is your Noah's Ark of plants?
-Isn't it beautiful?
-It's beautiful! What is it?
It's an opium poppy that I found when I was 19, down in Hampshire.
I was on a cycle ride. I sent a letter to the person in the house,
saying, "Please can I have some seed?" They wrote back and said, "Help yourself!"
The scale of Dan's ambition is truly impressive.
He's got so much space to play with.
I started using some of the garden plants which I'm growing here
which are man enough to deal with it
amongst the natural vegetation here.
So I get that slightly heightened naturalistic look.
Are you trying to create surprises here
that you wouldn't expect to see in a natural landscape to a degree?
Absolutely. I don't want to see that there's anything ornamental going on here from a distance.
But I want to discover it when I get down here.
You'll suddenly see that it's iris Gerald Darby with the dark stems
and that amazing blue flower,
or there'll be a giant meadowsweet from Japan
which is three times the size in terms of its leaves.
-So they've got to be able to battle it out in there.
-It's the survival of the fittest!
This is part of the big experiment.
'And on a site this big, there's plenty of room to encourage wild flowers.'
I'm experimenting with some old pasture
that I've over-seeded with yellow rattle.
It's a semi-parasite.
It's an annual and it weakens the grass
which then allows this window of opportunity
for the wild flowers which are growing amongst it to take a hold.
My ultimate aim with this is to get orchids self-seeding, which are in other meadows nearby.
And if I can get the orchids in here, I'll start to feel like I'm really achieving something!
It's about finding this meeting point between the ornamental garden which I'm going to make
and this naturalistic space, so the wild places come up as close as they can to the ornamental garden.
Gardening is a fascinating process
and really it's not the end result,
it's being in it and doing it that is the thing that really makes me tick.
So I'm very happy for this to run another 30 years.
There's an exhibition of Dan's work at the Garden Museum in Lambeth in London.
It's open from now till October 20, so do go along and see it.
And for more details about that and anything else on today's programme, go to our website.
I really like the way that Dan is allowing the garden to evolve
and he doesn't know where it's going to go or how long it'll take, but enjoying the process.
That's what we've done here at Long Meadow over the last 23-odd years.
But no change has been bigger than here at the Mound.
Over the years, this is just a pile of soil that's built up
from paths and ponds and building work
and with quite a lot of rubble underneath, too.
And for the last few months, behind the scenes,
we've been transforming this into a new garden in its own right.
So it's got a fire pit where we can have our bonfires
and also sit round a fire on a winter's night,
a fabulous view over the countryside,
what will be a meadow on top,
borders down below on a lower terrace,
and then steep banks which we'll plant up.
And all the plants here, whether they be hedges, shrubs, wild flowers, herbaceous perennials,
will be native.
And this is the perfect site.
You've got the fabulous view out into the countryside,
and it means that you have plants that blend and drift out into the landscape.
And the final thing that I love about native plants
is they are the best way of attracting insects into your garden.
And the more insects you have in the garden, the healthier it will be.
The real planting, the flower planting,
on what will be a wildflower meadow.
When you're preparing any area of meadow,
you still need to dig it over as though you were preparing a border.
So this has been dug, it's been raked once,
and I'm just raking it again to get the worst of the stones.
Now, what I'm after here is long grass
absolutely packed with wild flowers.
And you can buy all that. If you tell the supplier, and in the days of the internet, it's dead easy,
whether it's chalky soil, heavy clay, sunny, shady, whatever,
they will supply you with a mix that fits that set of circumstances.
Now, it's really important to follow the instructions
and particularly not to sow the seed too thick.
This is recommended to be sown at about four grams per square metre.
We've got roughly 20 square metres there.
So that's about 80 grams.
Now, 80 grams looks something like that.
And a tip to make it easier,
is then to add about nine times as much sand.
And then mix it up thoroughly.
I'll be able to see where I've sown
and if the sand is spread evenly, then so is the seed.
It will seem scary if you haven't done this before.
You won't believe that it will make a really decent display of flowers and grass.
But believe you me, it will.
Now, if you're very particular, you can divide the area up
into metre squares, using bamboo or string.
But I prefer to just do it by eye.
Now, this seed does not want to be buried.
It wants to lie pretty much on the surface of the soil.
So just rake it lightly to make sure that it's spread evenly.
Now, what I'm holding in my head while I'm doing this
is that this is going to be a tall, beautiful, wispy, colourful meadow.
A flowering meadow is about as lovely as any border could ever aspire to be.
And that's what you're making from this unlikely beginning.
This time next year, I think this will just be looking stunning.
Now, the next stage, and the final one,
is to firm the seed into the soil.
So I'm going to use my feet and just tread it gently.
Contact with the soil is really important
to ensure good germination.
So this is not about levelling the soil at all.
It's all about pushing the seed tight up against the ground.
If you've got a roller, that would do the job perfectly well.
It is really important to keep your seeds watered
And keep on watering it until it's properly germinated and is growing strongly.
You don't have to sluice it down, just a fine mist will do,
but just keep it moist. Don't let it dry out.
We shall be back at the normal time next week,
but Carol, Joe and myself will also be at Tatton Park Flower Show.
So join us at Tatton and Long Meadow. See you then. Bye-bye!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Monty Don makes a start on his new wild flower garden at Longmeadow and at last gets to taste the first new potatoes of the year. He also demonstrates how a radical chop of some border plants now can rejuvenate them for later in the season.
Carol Klein celebrates a cottage garden favourite, the foxglove, and Joe Swift drops in on world renowned garden designer, Dan Pearson, to find out what he's got in store for his new garden.