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Hello, welcome to Gardeners' World.
Now, I'm already thinking of next spring and planning ahead,
so I'm going to lift these wallflowers that
I sowed a couple of months ago and move them
so that I can line them out. They'll develop into
nice bushy plants, so, next autumn,
when I plant them into their final position, they're really nice,
healthy specimens that will give me maximum flower when I want it.
But it's not all about next spring.
On tonight's programme, Carol takes us on a journey into the rich
and voluptuously colourful world...
of the iris.
The whole point about irises is they're so varied
and so incredibly beautiful that you can create your very own
pictures, your own tableaux.
You can express yourself by using them.
It's time to prune wisteria.
Now, if you think it's a big job,
we visit a gardener with a 250 foot wisteria!
I shall also be planting irises here in the cottage garden,
and if you want some lovely, fresh salad leaves and you think
the moment's over or you haven't got enough room, well, you're wrong,
because I shall be planting some salad crops in a container.
Let's get these wallflowers done. A curious thing has happened
because although they've grown really well...
..quite a few are flowering.
Now, they shouldn't be flowering now.
I don't want them to flower now. I want my flowers next April.
They're very healthy, there's absolutely nothing wrong with them.
I think this has been triggered by the really hot weather.
And this is a very hot spot, south facing.
They've got baked, they've got a decent root system,
and they've simply forged ahead.
They're biennials, wallflower, so you normally sow them
sometime in spring, early summer,
and then they develop their foliage and roots, and their flowers follow
the following year, so that's what to buy, the second year in spring.
If your wallflowers are flowering now, be ruthless - cut them back.
That way, you won't use up their energy
and pay the price by less good flowering next spring.
Now, I've taken the wallflowers from the seedbed, which is
designed just simply to raise seedlings. Now they need more room.
So, I'm lining them out,
cos what I want to create are really nice bushy plants.
You can see that if you have a clump, like this,
you've got a number of plants in there.
Although, actually, I'm happy with them,
that's a nice healthy plant, it'll be even better, those two,
if they're spaced out about nine inches apart.
And that's what we're after. By the beginning of October,
the best wallflowers are really bushy, strong plants.
They don't have to be tall.
That way, you'll get the best performance the following spring.
Now, wallflowers are members of the brassica family.
So, what I usually do is line them out in the vegetable garden
in amongst the cabbages and, like here, the purple sprouting broccoli.
And the advantage of that is that you will treat them
in the same way, and that's how they like it.
And all the things that makes for a good cabbage,
makes for a good wallflower.
So, we're spacing these out.
Important to water these in really well.
As much as anything else, it washes the soil around the roots.
These are bare root, and you've ripped them out the ground, however carefully.
And it gets them growing again quickly.
Now, you can do this with all your biennial flowers,
whether they be foxgloves, or sweet williams, lift them
from the seedbed, or plugs, if you've been growing them like that,
and plant them out to give them room to develop.
And, very often, a corner of the vegetable garden is the best place.
This is a time of transition in the garden.
You have crops like the sweetcorn and the courgettes coming along.
The chard is really fantastic. I love chard.
I love the way that it can be eaten just the leaves
or just the stems, and go on right through the year, too.
Broad beans, almost over. Almost finished those.
I've good carrots.
These, we've been eating. They're perfectly good.
Do you think that's nice? A little woody.
Health and safety wouldn't approve
but I eat these with a bit of tough dirt.
Lovely. Absolutely lovely.
Peas also almost over. Nigel, did you want a pea? Here! Come on!
Nigel loves peas.
Look at that.
There you go.
He quite often picks them when I'm not around.
This is chicory. Growing strongly.
We won't harvest that for another two or three months.
And, of course, the brassica, all kinds of cabbages
and cauliflowers and kales have to be protected from cabbage whites.
And they're desperate to get on it.
I found, over the years, the easiest way to deal with it is just
try and keep them off. Look, there's one inside there.
It's got through, the little so-and-so, and it's laying its eggs.
You can never stop nature doing what it really wants to do.
It's a mistake to gear your vegetable and fruit production
to one big harvest season.
Inevitably, more plants come together towards the end of summer
than at other times of the year, but the real secret is to keep it
going for as long as possible, right throughout the year, if you can.
And that means sowing in succession.
I want to sow some lettuce now that will give me a harvest in autumn.
And you don't need to have a big space to do that.
I've got this tin bath here, which I've drilled holes into,
I don't know if you can see, there are holes in there for drainage.
That makes a really good container for growing vegetables,
but you can sew veg in anything.
An old shoe, if you've got it, will do the job. Now...
..I put some compost in.
I've mixed a little bit of gardening compost to give it a bit of oomph,
but normal, peat-free,
commercial potting compost will do the job fine.
There we go.
I have to say, this is probably the easiest thing to do in gardening.
You just put some potting compost or soil in a container
and sprinkle some seed. Job done.
But it is worth thinking about what to seed to sow.
I'm going to use a salad bowl lettuce.
You can have green salad bowl or red salad bowl. They're both delicious.
The nature of salad bowl, or oakleaf, lettuce
is that they have a mass of
crinkly leaves and you cut them, cut the whole lot off,
and they regrow.
And on a healthy plant, you can probably get two, three,
even four pickings from it.
What I like in a container is if you sprinkle the seed in there,
it will fill...completely fill up with these leaves.
You come along with a knife, cut what you want for dinner,
and then there's more left behind and that will regrow.
And, like all these things, sow thinly.
You will not get more leaves by having more seeds.
Now, that little pinch of seed is plenty.
And, then, just very thinly, sprinkle them on.
That's it. All I have to do now is just water that in.
Now, when you're positioning lettuce in a container or in a border,
just bear in mind that lettuce doesn't germinate
so well once it goes over about 24-25 degrees.
So, if it's very hot, you should give it shade.
But it does need light.
So, at this time of year, the nights are getting cooler,
the days are getting shorter, you can safely put this in full sun.
Those should give me a lovely fresh salad
from the middle of September to the middle of November.
But man cannot live by vegetables alone.
You need colour, you need flowers. I'll be planting some irises later.
There's hardly any flower that gives you more intense colour than
the bearded iris.
Of course, they finished about a month ago,
but back in June, Carol went to celebrate irises in all their glory.
At the water's edge,
the straight sword-like blades of Iris pseudacorus rise up.
bearing at their tops these beautiful yellow flowers.
This is our native, yellow flag.
You see it all over the place, every opportunity it gets to paddle,
it'll be there.
Whether it's canals, ponds, reservoirs,
any damp place at all, up it comes.
There is a theory that before the last ice age,
Iris pseudacorus was a landlubber.
But as the glaciers retreated,
the ice melted, the land became wetter,
and the iris evolved gradually to live in moist conditions.
We have another native iris, too.
Iris foetidissima. It's in the winter that we notice it,
when its seed pods explode, showing to perfection
these brilliant, bright orange seeds.
There are hundreds of species of irises
all across the northern hemisphere.
And though some of them love living in damp conditions,
there are others which prefer exactly the opposite.
They'll grow in dry, arid sites, on mountainsides, almost in deserts.
I've come to Norfolk, a county famed for big skies
and an exposed landscape, where the sun bakes the earth.
Aren't they just devastatingly beautiful?
Since the dawn of time, irises have held this allure for mankind.
They've been depicted, poems have been written about them.
And they feature in everybody's mythology.
Iris was the Greek messenger of the gods.
She delivered her message via a rainbow
that stretched between heaven and earth.
And, just like a rainbow, they're here one minute and gone the next.
All irises have these straight, linear leaves,
rising out of the ground.
And through them thrusts the flower stem.
And here are the coalescent leaves on their way up,
each with a bud in its axil.
But this is what you really need to concentrate on.
This is the main flower.
And it's always the top flower,
the apical flower, that opens first.
There are these three beautiful falls.
These are the ones that lure the insects in with these
beautiful pollen guides here.
And this soft beard which must provide a great landing stage!
And, then, above them are these three standards,
which protect all the inner workings of the flower.
-I got my first iris when I was 15.
-Can you remember what it was?
-It was Jane Phillips, actually.
-She's a beautiful iris.
-Yes, she's one of the best.
Strong and stands up well in a border.
Always appears at Chelsea, every year.
So, they're obviously so happy here.
What is it about your soil they love?
I think it is well-drained soil, which is the main thing.
A little bit of clay in it. And they just thrive on it.
A sunny spot... So, if there's a sunny spot, in the right zone for next year's flower,
that's what you want.
You must put them in August or September, not too late.
Get them established before the winter, that's the main secret.
So, what happens is you see one and you think,
"That's got to be the most beautiful iris I've ever seen!"
And then the next one you say the same thing.
Two nights later, it'll be something else, and it goes on, really.
This has to be one of my favourites.
-This is Iris pallida, isn't it?
-It's one of the best, actually.
-Very good for foliage.
-I love the simplicity of the flower.
This is one of the forebears of all those beautiful,
-Yes, that's right, Carol.
Isn't it incredible to think that from a plant like that, and maybe
one or two other different species, you get that huge range of colour?
-Can you dig us one up?
-Course I can. Just show you what's what.
Look at that.
Look at your soil, it just goes almost to sand, doesn't it?
-It does, yes. There is the one from last year.
-Where is the new one?
The new one is here. This is a new piece.
With those lovely white roots. What a handsome plant.
-Very handsome plant.
-You don't want to replant these, do you?
No, I don't. You can take it home!
The whole point about irises is they are so varied
and so incredibly beautiful.
You can create your very own pictures, your own tableaux.
You can express yourself by using them.
They may be shooting stars, they are not here for very long.
But the point is that they are beautiful.
Enjoy them while they are there.
I tell you,
if seeing irises like that doesn't make you want to have some
in your garden, then I don't know if the blood is flowing in your veins.
They are fantastic. We do have irises here at Longmeadow.
It is quite tricky because our soil is heavy and they must have
good drainage, certainly the bearded varieties,
and they need sun to bake.
I think this will do.
This is the moment that you should be planting irises
and if you have got any, it is also the time to divide them.
I have got a selection here... Sorry, Nige, I trod on his tail.
We have got plants like this which...
This is Carnaby which is a mixture of pinks and apricots,
which is exactly the right colour scheme for the Cottage Garden
which can absorb anything from white through to dark.
This is how you buy an iris if you get it bare root.
You often get it with the leaves cut off.
Don't worry about that, there is nothing very fancy about that.
It is simply to make it easier to transport
and also to stop it rocking.
If you go to a garden centre, they will look like this -
in a pot, tall leaves, looks a much bigger plant.
The real difference is, that costs about £4, £4.50,
and that is about £6, £7.
They are much cheaper to buy at bare root.
You can see really clearly here that you have the rhizome, the sort
of knobbly, sausagey bit which stores the goodness for the plant.
The roots that come down, which are fairly thick and fleshy
but conventional roots, which go down in
and then draw up the nutrients and the water for the plant.
That is the storage system and that is a feeding system.
And then from this, a stem will come up which is the flowering system.
And the foliage, of course, is also doing its work.
And it is the rhizome that must be kept above the soil,
and wants maximum sunshine to produce maximum flowering.
It is a really simple equation - sun in, flower out.
What this means is, where I have a low hedge here,
I mustn't plant it in the deep shade of the hedge.
That means keeping away about a foot or so from the hedge.
Assuming that your soil is well-drained, this is not too bad,
you can see I can sink my trowel right down, that is a good sign.
I could put grit underneath but all
I need to do is put it in there and then bury the roots like that...
..leaving the rhizome on the soil.
And that is one of the reasons why the leaf is cut back,
because when you have a plant in a pot, I can take this out...
I will plant it next to it just to show you how it works.
I don't want to bury that down, I want to keep it up.
That is easy because you can see the rhizome
is on the surface of the soil like it is in the pot.
But when you have planted it, always cut the leaves back
because the roots have got no anchorage.
Any strong wind could blow them over. It acts as a sail.
So simply take the leaves and just reduce them
by about two thirds, like that.
And then like that.
That will do the plant no harm at all but will make it more
secure until the roots have got down and given it anchorage.
Next year when they grow up, it will be absolutely fine in the wind.
If ever a plant was an investment, it is an iris.
Not only will this plant itself last for years,
but also you can divide it and divide it again for generations.
We could keep irises going here in my grandchildren's time.
And I think on that basis, they are relatively cheap.
But you may not be planting irises
but here are some other things that you can be doing this weekend.
By this stage of summer, mint is fast going to flower
and the leaves are getting very small.
If you cut back half your supply, right to the ground, that will
provoke a fresh flush of leaves.
And you needn't throw away the cut leaves either.
Tie them up and hang them to dry and that will give you a winter supply.
An easy but important job at this time of year is to keep
picking sweet peas, especially if you're going away.
I have found that if you cut all the flowers off a plant every
eight or nine days, it will go on producing a fresh
flush of flowers right into autumn.
Main crop strawberries have finished producing fruit
and it is time to give them some attention.
This is a job in two parts.
The first is to cut off all existing foliage
and clean up around the plants.
This will let light and air into them
and encourage fresh growth before winter.
The second job is to take some runners.
Choose a healthy plantlet closest to the parent
and either pin it into the soil or into a pot of compost.
Leave this for a few weeks until it roots and then it can be cut
free and there you have a new strawberry plant.
The White Garden is one of the most recent projects here at Longmeadow.
We started by making the path
and then gradually brought the planting in.
We've got bulbs in there, I put in hardy annuals,
then we've planted shrubs, climbers, perennials and tender annuals
such as the Ammi majus,
which, of course, picks up the spirit of cow parsley.
And I'm always instigated by feelings rather than just
specific plants and the feeling I wanted to capture was
cow parsley in May in all its glory.
To try and extend that throughout the season for as long as possible.
So I am working on it and it is very
much a work in progress, but given that it is only a few months old,
I am absolutely delighted with the way that it has developed.
And hopefully I can build on it and create a White Garden
that will capture that essence of cow parsley for years to come.
I have already put in quite a wide range of plants
and I have got some climbers in too.
I've got rambling rose, a clematis, there are honeysuckles.
I've thought of adding a wisteria but I don't know
whether it would take over these apple trees.
Certainly this is the time of year when they finish flowering
when wisterias really start to romp and grow.
But I bet there are very few people amongst you watching who have
got a wisteria that is romping to quite the extent of the one
we went to visit in Essex.
Most people have this wonderful romantic view of the wisteria -
just gently climbing up and over the door,
perhaps a little rose up next to it.
The truth is, it is not really like that.
Once it starts to grow, it is actually quite a thug.
Its main aim in life is to get 100 feet to the
top of the canopy in its native China or Japan.
And they will grab hold of anything that is nearby.
When we came here 26 years ago,
the wisteria wasn't actually attached to the wall, it was in
a great big mound and came out right over the grass where we're standing.
So probably about 15 feet or more away from the wall.
We pruned it with a chainsaw, it seemed a bit violent
but it was the only way of doing it.
I started then to train it back to the wall
and then began to train it over.
This is the Chinese Wisteria sinensis, which is
one that is most commonly grown.
This wisteria is 252 feet long and it is up on this 11-foot high
wall and extends probably a bit above, so it is 13 feet.
Once I started growing it across the wall, I thought then,
"I know what I'll do.
"I'll see if I can grow it right the way to each end."
And that was my ambition.
So, ten foot by ten foot each direction, obviously.
And within about 14 years, it actually got there.
So, now it's a case of just keeping it where it is
and just maintaining it.
I have wondered whether to grow it round the whole two acres. Hm...
I don't think so!
Well, as the wisteria hits the ground,
it will then lie on the ground and it will start to root.
And then I dig up that piece and I have a baby of my wisteria
which, obviously, as a rooted layer is guaranteed to flower.
Often with the wisterias that people have,
they say they never flower, and so many of them,
unfortunately, are grown from seed,
which means that it's probably going to be 15, 20 years,
sometimes, before they do flower.
This is one of the two varieties of wisteria that we grow in the garden.
This is actually Japanese.
This is one of the Macrobotrys varieties,
and it has these huge racemes,
or flowers, which can be up to a metre in length.
It grows here over this pergola,
which allows it to sort of drip over the edges.
I always say to people,
"Don't plant it against a wall, because it looks completely flat."
You need to see the way it all drops down.
The wind's at the moment blowing the racemes in here
and it's the smell. It's very, very different.
I think probably if you were given this,
you would never realise it was wisteria.
It's a sort of a musky, soft, sweet smell.
It actually wafts up the whole of the garden.
I don't feed it, I don't water it, I don't do anything to it.
I talk to it.
I think the biggest amount of time I spend on it, of course,
is the pruning.
In July is when we normally start.
It's about two months after the original flowering.
The pruning, really, is more of a tidying up at this time of year.
It's taking off the surplus.
You have far too much of the new growths that come out.
They come out looking for something to climb onto.
Very twisty, tangly little corkscrews.
January, February time is the time it gets its main cutting.
That's quite a vigorous cut
with everything then back to two or three buds,
and that's the real shaping of it.
Because this year we've had such a late spring,
it's just been perfection.
It really does make me feel quite emotional.
You may remember that I sowed the top of the mound
with a clay meadow mix.
We tend to think of wildflower meadows as needing poor soil
and very good drainage. It's not true, actually.
You can get mixes for almost any situation.
Now, sowed this in the hottest summer we've had for ages,
just watered it once a day, it's done really well.
It's actually better than I possibly could have expected.
This should develop into a glorious field of flowers.
You can replicate that in as small an area as you like.
Now, that's it from Long Meadow today.
Next week, we shall be celebrating, along with the rest of the BBC,
with the BBC's Summer of Wildlife,
looking at all the different ways that wildlife can be included
and encouraged and celebrated in our gardens.
Till then, bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Longmeadow is in full bloom, but Monty Don is keen to remind us that there is still time to sow some late vegetables, even if you are really short of space. Meanwhile, Carol Klein has been out and about in Norfolk to revel in the delights of the bearded iris. And we visit an extraordinary garden in Essex with a 252ft long wisteria trained along a wall.