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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World on a bright, glorious spring day
here at Longmeadow.
There's just so much light, and now that we've had the spring solstice,
the days are getting longer.
Next week the clocks are going forward
and everything is getting better and better.
This week, Carol is in her own garden in Devon,
planting a shrub that doesn't just give us colour at this time of year,
but also has a delicious fragrance.
I just can't wait for these leaves to unfurl
and those beautiful buds to open into pure white flowers.
Joe continues his series of masterclasses on planting design.
And this week,
he's sharing tips on how to create an exotic tropical garden.
And we visit a couple in Cornwall who have created a garden
devoted to powerful colour combinations.
It doesn't matter if you make mistakes.
You don't know how it's going to work until you've tried it.
One of the disadvantages of making such narrow paths
is that it's very difficult to get stuff in and out.
One of the great advantages of having a path like this is
that there's more room for plants.
At this time of year, the plant that is completely dominating
the spring garden is the hellebore.
They have an intensity of colour, a richness, a generosity
that few other flowers have at any time of year, let alone in spring.
The range that is possible is really wide
and if you go to any garden centre or shop,
there are loads of different types of hellebore for sale
and it's a good time to buy them, because you can see them in flower.
And I've got some here. These beauties.
They're Credale strains.
And you can see that fantastic plum colour.
It does look as though it should be hanging,
like fruit from a tree.
And then this one, this black, smoky colour.
Really, really special.
Now, when you plant any hellebore, but particularly these
Oriental hybrids, you do need to have good soil.
Do you see this here?
That is an old leaf that's left over
and that has got hellebore black spot.
And all the old leaves actually were cut off before Christmas to stop
exactly this, to stop the fungus of the black spot spreading
to new growth.
So if you see any leaves with these chocolate black stains on them,
and they will extend to the flowers too if you're not careful,
cut them off and burn them.
Now, hellebores have deep roots,
so give them plenty of room down as well as out.
Now, if you've got well-rotted leaf mould, it's ideal.
I have actually got some mushroom compost too,
which I've used a lot on the hellebores, and that works well.
But just plenty of leaf mould underneath the plant...
..will give it a nice,
easy root run and also be nutritious without overwhelming it.
What you're looking for is that this soil level,
not the top of the pot but the soil level,
wants to be flush with the soil.
The roots are quite tight in here, it's not pot-bound,
but it's not a bad idea just to tease roots out, and don't worry
if you break the odd one because that will stimulate new growth.
Now, let's get the height right.
That's pretty good.
Let's put a bit of soil back in there.
Look at the way that instantly it adds depth of colour and texture
to the border, and what I'm hoping is, not only will that perform,
but also it'll go forth and multiply,
find another wonderful hellebore, cross-fertilise
and produce offspring that exceed the virtues of both their parents.
And that way, the stock will gradually be enriched.
Now, hellebores, for all their virtues, don't have scent,
or at least none I've been able to recognise.
But Carol is in her garden in Devon planting a shrub that not only
has really beautiful flowers, but also a delicious fragrance.
One of the most important groups of shrubs in my garden
are the viburnums. They're marvellous.
I've got a native one, Viburnum opulus,
in the hedge that runs right down the side of my garden,
and it gives you gorgeous big white flowers and lovely red berries.
So it's a superb wildlife plant.
Viburnums have something to offer right the way through the year.
A lot of them have gorgeous autumn colour too,
but this one is an evergreen.
This is Viburnum tinus.
It's a well-known, well-loved shrub
and it has these big corms of beautiful white flowers.
This one has been knocking around in our garden since the 17th century.
But there are other, new viburnums that are being brought
into the country by intrepid plant hunters, and I'm lucky enough
to have the privilege of planting one in my garden.
Viburnum carlesii, discovered by a bloke called Carles,
who was an English diplomat, and he found it in Korea
and thought it would be a brilliant platform for our gardens.
It's more than 100 years ago
since Mr Carles first introduced his viburnum.
But this particular plant, this was brought into cultivation by
Bleddyn and Sue Wynn-Jones,
modern-day plant hunters and very intrepid too.
They found it up on top of a cliff, growing in very sandy soil.
It was really, really exposed and windy.
And the whole plant - the buds, the leaves, the stems,
everything is covered with this fine, furry substance
that actually protects the cuticle
of the leaves and the stems from the hot sun and the drying winds.
It's perfectly evolved to live in that sort of exposed site.
I haven't got a cliff top, but this is my most exposed site
and I think it's going to adore living here.
Now, it's a big specimen, this, and they've sent it to me bare-rooted.
Normally we are used to getting our shrubs in containers,
but this has been dug from the field by Bleddyn himself,
so I need to get it into this hole as fast as I possibly can.
That looks good. We'll need something to steady it.
And this might keep it in one place
so it's got something to lean on.
And then back in with its compost.
I've added to this soil lots of sand,
to try and make it feel completely at home.
And you can hear, it's very gritty too.
You've got to get them into the ground quickly,
and we've been spraying the roots of this right the way through
to make sure that it doesn't dry out,
and providing it can get those roots down...
..then it really isn't going to suffer at all.
As I go, I just give it a little...
..a little shake.
So you force that soil in amongst the roots.
The whole object of the exercise is to try and ensure
that it's at exactly the same planting depth as it was
in Bleddyn's field.
I think that's probably enough for it firming.
It's going to be a bit of a shock for it, first of all,
but because these leaves aren't out yet,
the roots should get a chance to establish themselves properly.
And it's particularly important with bare-root shrubs to make sure
that you really give them a good drenching and that you continue
to do it over the following weeks, just to help them settle down.
Well, I think this looks really happy
and I just can't wait for these leaves to unfurl
and those beautiful buds to open into pure white flowers.
It's time that I was pruning my soft fruit. In fact, it's a job
I would normally do by the beginning of March.
But this year I have delayed, for a very good reason.
Which is this, my brand-new greenhouse.
You can see that it's really tall
and this means there are lots of opportunities for growing vines,
for having tomatoes trained up on strings, cucumbers.
But it doesn't matter what kind of greenhouse you're going to get -
certain principles apply to all of them
and that's the same for a little plastic job on the side
of the house, which you raise seeds in, to a cathedral of glass.
First thing is construction.
You can have the framework going down to the ground,
but it must be on a fairly firm surface.
A really good idea to make a brick base, if you can.
It will hold the heat much better for insulation
and also hold some moisture a bit.
Because greenhouses do tend to get a little bit too dry.
And then think about the orientation.
South over there,
so it means it's going to get sun pretty much all day long.
The sun rises over there and sets over there, so plenty of light.
It's no good getting light only in the evening or in the mornings,
so bear that in mind.
So work out where you want it, work out what you want from it
and then go for it,
because I've never met anyone who regretted getting a greenhouse.
Anyway, we'll come back to this lots of times later on.
And this is the new home for soft fruit.
We've got a row of blackcurrants, a row of gooseberries,
a row of red and white currants, a row of autumn raspberries -
you can't see them, they've been pruned down.
And a row of summer raspberries.
Now that they're in their new home and bedded in,
I just need to make sure that they grow as well as possible
and that we get as much fruit as possible this year.
Red and white currants and the gooseberries have the same regime.
They fruit on spurs produced on old wood.
And what really matters, to get the best from them,
is to make sure there's masses of ventilation.
You can see here, we've a redcurrant.
It's a pretty good example
of a general goblet shape that I'm after.
The easiest way to think of it is that the branches
are a support structure for a bowl that has been popped in there.
The reason that you do that is partly because soil fly
in particular, but also you have mildew problems,
love congested bases. The soil fly will lay its eggs in here
and then they'll hatch out and slowly eat their way through.
So make it awkward for them.
Now, having got a pretty good shape in there,
I'm now going to reduce it back.
You can see here very clearly, these are fruiting spurs
coming off the older wood,
and all these should have nice bunches of fruit coming off them.
Last year's growth, this new wood, will not bear any fruit.
If I left it, it would mature and in time it will,
but I don't want them to be great big branches.
I just want them to keep no bigger than this, ideally,
so we need to take it back a bit.
Last week I was working here in the Jewel Garden, in much worse weather.
Moving plants, splitting, dividing, planting,
getting it to the point where I could mulch.
Well, that mulching's all been done, so now it is just poised
and ready to grow.
What of course we're trying to achieve is this mixture
of real energy of growth with energy of colour -
jewel colours are rich, strong and voluptuous.
It gets changed and added to and discussed at huge lengths.
Sarah and I talk around every single planting, we both have a veto -
that means that ultimately, we always agree on what's in here.
But when you're trying to make a garden with a partner,
it's not always a smooth process.
I love pastels, pinks, lilacs, blues, whites, mauves.
But then again, totally the opposite, bright oranges
and purples and yellows and blues.
I like to have lots of colour and, to me,
colours don't particularly clash, but I'm told regularly,
"You can't put that with that." I tend to bow to her better judgement.
Red, to me, is red.
And I come home with a plant and she says, "What colour is it?"
I say, "Red." And come spring, when it flowers, she says, "Why have
"you put an orange plant there?" I say, "It's not, it's red!"
And we will argue about colour, but that's all.
This is one of my favourite beds.
We call it the pink, black and silver bed.
I just love playing around with colour combinations.
It's not just the colour of the plants, you know, the forms
and structures are very important.
We've got the fine-cut leaf of the black elder,
the great, big, bold leaves of the Ricinus
and then filled in with things like
sea holly, for the bright silver.
Also the black leaf dahlia, which gives us the lovely pink flower,
that's Dahlia 'Fascination'.
You don't tend to think of black plants, really, and silver plants,
so we put the pink combinations in with them to fetch the colours out.
They also look lovely in certain lights,
and the silver plants just lift it when the sun's on.
If you've got a small garden and you can only maybe use tubs,
it's nice to have something like this lovely Hakonechloa grass.
It does have lots of different shades in it.
If you look at these, it's got like a purple streak in with
the green and yellow, which this Eupatorium 'Chocolate'
or this Lobelia 'Tanya' just picks out that different colouring.
And as the season goes on, it then changes coming up to autumn,
and it goes fiery orange and red and yellow and it gets
little, black, fluffy seed heads, which also looks superb with these.
If you had the eupatorium, the black seed heads would pick out
the black foliage and also the colour
of the sedum would be very good.
We love this garden because it's in total contrast to the cool garden.
It's what we call our tropical garden.
We have lots of oranges and reds and yellows and purples,
with a little hint of white mixed in just to cool the hot colours down.
My favourite plants in here are the dahlias.
We've got Helga, Bishop of York and Bishop of Llandaff,
and the colours and size and shape of the flowers are all so different.
My favourites have got to be the lobelias.
I absolutely adore the lobelias. They give you a very bright,
vibrant colour for a very long time.
This time of year there's a lot of daisy flowered plants,
so that big, long, bright spike makes a beautiful combination with
all the daisy type flowers.
It doesn't matter if you make mistakes.
You always learn by your mistakes.
But if you're not adventurous to start with,
then you don't know how it's going to work until you've tried it.
Take it home, put other plants with it and try the combinations.
-I love the smell of that.
-I'm not going to trust him yet.
He is getting there on his colours and he is getting a lot better,
but not quite yet, no.
I think that's my department.
Well, it's very nice to have somebody to work with,
especially when you're planning a border and all of its complexities,
but inevitably there are going to be disagreements.
But when you do agree, it's usually better for it.
Now, you may not be planting this weekend for colour
in the borders, but here are some jobs that you can be doing.
Now is the perfect time to pot on fuchsias,
as they're starting to grow.
Get a larger pot, but not too much larger.
Put a little bit of compost in the bottom, then put the fuchsia,
still in its container, on top of that.
Back-fill around it, and then carefully lift the pot out
and you should be left with a space exactly that size.
Take the fuchsia out of the pot
and slip it back in so it will fit neatly.
Then water it in and it will grow away strongly.
As the bullet-like buds of hostas start to appear,
it's the perfect moment to divide them.
Lift the entire plant and chop it in two with a sharp spade.
Make sure that each segment has at least one healthy bud.
Then re-plant all the segments and they will grow with renewed vigour,
as well as giving you lots of spare plants.
It's important to move seedlings on out of the seed tray as soon as
they develop a true leaf, because this means they've got roots.
Hold each plant by the leaf, not a stem,
and gently lever it out with as much root as possible.
And then pot it on, so it's got plenty of room to develop.
Put it in a sheltered place
to develop into nice, strong, young plants
that can be hardened off before planting outside.
All these jobs are part of the rhythms
of the British gardening year.
But this week, in Joe's masterclass,
he's looking at a style of planting and design that is much more exotic.
A tropical garden is a tranquil oasis
reminiscent of warmer climes.
It's particularly well suited to sheltered courtyards
and small gardens.
I'm looking at the key plant design elements -
and colour -
that are really important for making your own green oasis a success.
You want to create an exotic feel in a garden like this,
so go for some big specimens.
This is a great composition, an enormous phormium,
its large, strappy leaves contrasting with the cordyline.
Then there is a Magnolia grandiflora
and a tall bamboo at the back adding plenty of height.
Whilst combinations of plants are really good,
sometimes you want to have a plant all by itself,
especially if it's got really good architectural, sculptural qualities
like this Cordyline australis.
It means you can walk around it and it holds the space around it,
it doesn't get too cluttered.
And you can see the wonderful trunk that it's got too.
It looks just right there.
With this style of planting, we're looking for plenty of volume,
but we don't want it all to turn into a green mush.
We need definition between the plants.
And here, the composition works beautifully.
The upper storey is created
with the fatsia and this tetrapanax's deeply lobed, cut leaves.
Underneath, we've got this tree fern with more filigree foliage.
This astelia has got lovely, silvery, sword-like, strappy leaves,
a vertical accent.
It looks great next to this canna here
and there's a purple cordyline over there.
Together, there is volume there, but there is also drama.
When it comes to colour, this garden is predominately green.
It has a very soothing effect.
But there's lots of different sorts of green in here,
all contrasting subtly together.
For example, we've got the euphorbia here with its glaucous foliage,
plenty of blue in there.
Behind me, we've got an aspidistra, planted in the border,
it's a more limey yellow.
If you want to add in some depth of colour, start with the foliage.
Purples, reds, maroons,
and even blacks work and contrast beautifully alongside the green.
And then think about adding in colour through flowers.
If you want to go with that exotic theme, think about yellows
and fiery reds and oranges. This crocosmia is just the perfect choice.
Over there, we have got the cannas towering above my head.
Even down at ground level, a really fiery little nasturtium.
Works a treat.
The beauty of a garden like this is that it has year-round interest,
as it contains mostly evergreen plants.
You can achieve the tropical look without having to use tender plants
that might suffer in the winter.
Whilst the tone has been set by the larger specimens,
many of which are hardy anyway,
other plants have been added in,
really tough, readily available plants, things like bergenias,
heucheras, and the cotinus over there.
But they sit so comfortably in this garden
because their foliage mimics the more exotic look.
They knit together beautifully and create the whole.
How do I go about creating a green oasis?
I've got a very simple layout here. The first thing I'd look to do
is to try to get some height and some structure.
I'm thinking some tree ferns would be really good.
One either side of me.
Then I'd like to balance one out on the other side.
The next thing I'd do is I'd put some bamboos in there,
again looking for structure.
So I'll put three of those, and I think I will balance them out
with another three over there.
I love hardy bananas.
Again, towards the front of the border.
The next thing I want to do is green up the boundaries.
Loads and loads of climbers.
Ivy works really well in this garden.
Trachelospermum jasminoides and even Virginia creeper,
which introduces a little autumn colour.
In this area here, I'm thinking something quite large.
I think something like a fatsia would work really well.
And then we are working on adding more texture and colour.
Means that I'm introducing some purple foliage in there.
Then I'm thinking phormiums as well.
There's a beautiful phormium here, it's got a purple tinge to it.
Cordyline australis is another really good plant.
I don't want to see bare earth at all,
so I'm going to put bergenias
and I like the idea of these heucheras here.
And I'm thinking of using some pots through here.
Echeveria work really nicely,
sempervivums or even something a little bit bigger.
And there you go.
That design, that choice of plant is the essence of a lovely green oasis.
If you want to see details of the plants that Joe has used
or any other details of today's programme,
you can go to our website and it's all there.
I'm mulching the meconopsis that has, as yet, not appeared.
The nature of any mulch is pretty much the same,
whatever you use, although there is a choice.
It's doing three things -
it's keeping moisture in the soil by stopping it evaporating,
it's also suppressing weeds by blocking out light
and, if it's made out of other organic material, it's going to
rot down and incorporate with the soil and improve the soil structure.
So I'd say it's almost the single best thing
that you could ever do to your garden.
Now, around these meconopsis, I'm using spent bracken...
..which has the virtue of being ericaceous,
which is great for plants that are acid loving.
You know, azaleas, rhododendrons.
But there are other materials that will do the job just as well,
like pine bark or pine needles.
If you go to your garden centre and ask for an ericaceous mulch,
that will be perfect for those kind of plants.
But if in doubt,
you'll never go wrong with garden compost or leaf mould.
Now, over here, I'm using a completely different kind of mulch,
but it's actually the kind that I use on most of the garden,
which is mushroom compost.
That's because I've got different plants.
Nearly all plants that are not ericaceous respond well to it.
And this garden has improved hugely
because it does break down heavy soil to a certain extent.
Mushroom compost, by the way, is not made out of mushrooms.
It's manure that is composted with lime added,
and that breaks it down and then mushrooms are grown in it.
The key thing that I would say is don't be coy about the thickness.
Really put it on generously.
Of course, making sure that you clear away from any leaves.
Far better to do a small area really well
than spread it thinly over a larger area.
That really is the key to successful mulching.
Well, there is a lot more to do, but I will push on with this
and I would say that mulching is something that should be done
sooner rather than later.
Try and get it on this week if you possibly can.
I'll be back here next Friday as normal.
And as it's Easter weekend, I've got lots of things to keep you busy.
See you then, bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
This week on Gardeners' World, Monty Don shows us how to prepare for spring and summer with timely tasks in his damp garden and soft fruit area.
Joe Swift continues his series of master classes on planting design to help us achieve the garden of our dreams. This week he is sharing tips on how to create a tropical green oasis.
Carol Klein is in her Devon garden planting a viburnum that will give spring colour and fill the garden with fragrance. By considering its natural, native habitat, Carol shows how to plant it in the perfect place.
We visit a couple that moved to a cottage in Cornwall and used their mastery of flower and foliage colour to turn a thin stretch of land into a beautiful garden.
Back at Longmeadow Monty has advice on the best type of mulch to use for different planting conditions and he gets to grips with pruning his gooseberry and currant bushes.