Episode 31 Gardeners' World


Episode 31

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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World. Well, we have reached the last

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programme of this year and it has been a good year in the garden.

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We did have that really cold spell in spring

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when the whole garden seemed to be locked still for weeks on end

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by that icy wind. But everything made up for lost time.

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We had a fabulous flowering and fruiting year

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and things still are flowering really well here at Longmeadow.

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This week, Carol is taking a harvest from the hedgerows to

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propagate new trees for her own garden.

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Fruits, nuts, berries fill our hedgerows.

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What a wonderful opportunity to avail yourself

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of some of this treasure.

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And Rachel is at Noel Coward's old garden in Kent, which is

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now the home of Julian Clary.

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This is a stunning peony. Do you know what this is?

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Oh, I call it Geoffrey.

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And I shall be doing what I can to get as many

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birds into the garden next year as possible,

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but first, there has been a bit of a disaster in the Jewel Garden.

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Come on.

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Now...

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..this weeping pear is no more, it's died.

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Not quite sure why it's died,

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but I want to remove it for two reasons - one because it looks ugly,

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and two, because now it's dying, it is bound to drop

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and blow over when it can do most damage to the plants underneath it.

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Now is a really good time for this type of major surgery

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because if I make a big mess, it can be repaired

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before next spring. So the first thing I am going to do

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is clear an area so I can work.

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You can cut back the top growth of herbaceous perennials any

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time from now on, even if it's still looking a little green.

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These plants are dying back for the winter and a haircut will

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encourage fresh new shoots from the base next spring.

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The first thing is you can see that there is something terribly

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wrong with the tree.

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The bark is peeling off and underneath

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it looks like it is dying back.

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The foliage has almost completely gone

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and that's not just autumnal leaf fall,

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because exactly the same tree,

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which I know I planted on the same day as a pear on the other

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side of the path, is still covered in leaves and is completely healthy.

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This was badly damaged by wind two Marches ago

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and it ripped off a branch and that left a big open wound,

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and I think that is the problem. That infection of some kind,

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a fungus, has come in through the wound.

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I say that because if I look down at the base,

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and this is the graft,

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and you can see that you've got a swollen base there and this top

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bit has been grafted onto the roots, that there's healthy re-growth.

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If that was being attacked by fungus from the roots up,

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I don't think there would be such healthy re-growth.

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And, of course, the big dread is Armillaria, honey fungus,

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that can rip through a hedge or a big tree.

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Honey fungus attacks the roots of trees and often proves to be

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fatal and will spread quickly from tree to tree.

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If this was honey fungus, I would have to cut the tree down

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and dig out as much of the roots as possible.

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However, what I think I'll do is cut it off at just about head

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height, use the stump to train a clematis up and then if, next

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year, I do need to take the roots out, I can do that next winter.

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When you are pruning anything large, two things you need to

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bear in mind - one, use a sharp saw or loppers.

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It's much safer and much easier. And two, do it by degrees.

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Just take off pieces you can manage and take it down gradually

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and you'll be surprised at how really big things can be

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dramatically reduced with minimum of fuss.

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This now is good and secure and will certainly take

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the weight of a heavy clematis or a rose so, potentially,

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will create something else from the same material.

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Now Carol isn't cutting down. She is making new plants,

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new trees, but this time, she is sourcing her raw

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material from the hedgerows around her home in Devon.

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What an extraordinary year it has been.

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First of all, we had that cold,

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shivery spring that went on and on and then, suddenly, the sun

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burst through and we've had a sizzling summer.

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Now that autumn is here, it has come with a bounty.

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Fruits, nuts, berries fill our hedgerows, our gardens

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and even spill out onto the pavements of our city streets.

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What a wonderful opportunity to avail yourself of some of this

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treasure and to grow your own trees and shrubs from seed.

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Even if you have only got a small garden,

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planting a bit of native hedge or a single tree is going to

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benefit the local wildlife immensely.

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This looks like a promising place. Just look at these rosehips!

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Masses of them.

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When you're collecting berries,

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it's really important not to take too many. You have got to leave

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most of them for the birds, but they're not going to miss a few.

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I'm going to have some of these for definite.

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You have got to remember too that

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if you're picking on private land, you must have the landowner's

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permission and some nature reserves too have restrictions.

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The wonderful thing about hedgerows is that they are so diverse,

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they are so packed full of different kinds of shrubs and trees

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and climbers. The remnants, really, of ancient woodlands.

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There are rowan berries, acorns... Oh, there's hawthorn here.

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Look at this.

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Just a few are going to make me, with a bit of luck, a few trees.

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I love hawthorn because it makes a brilliant addition to a hedge,

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but it is also great as a freestanding tree.

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It's terribly underused and it's brilliant for wildlife.

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Anyway, I could just sow these directly into the ground,

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but I'm not going to.

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What happens with most berries is that deep inside the berry, there's

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an inhibitor which actually prevents that seed from germinating.

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The whole idea is that it has got to go through a period of cold

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first of all and the seed will germinate in the spring,

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but I want mine to germinate really rapidly,

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so I'm going to try this lovely process called stratification.

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Now, all it is is a way of deluding these seeds that they've been

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through that period of cold and it could not be simpler.

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All you need is some sieved leaf mould into a plastic bag

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and then all my berries in with it.

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Mix them all around really well.

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Now, this is going to go straight into the fridge.

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Leave it in there for a couple of weeks and then bring it out.

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Then, I will take them outside,

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sow them in a little nursery bed at the edge of the veg garden,

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or into a seed tray. Wherever I put them, when they come up,

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when they germinate, it's such a thrill.

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It never ceases to amaze me that great oaks from little acorns grow.

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The real reason for all that foraging, all that collecting

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berries and sowing them, is to create something like this.

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This is my native hedge.

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What this hedge does is provide all sorts of food

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and shelter for all manner of wild creatures.

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Now, this hedge is on a big scale. But it needn't be.

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You can still tried the same idea even in a small garden.

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You can replace some monocultural, like privets

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or leylandii, with a whole selection of different native trees.

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This is Viburnum opulus,

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the guelder rose.

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I could easily propagate it from some of these berries,

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but I want to try another method too, which is pretty foolproof.

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It is hardwood cuttings and you can do it with

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lots of the constituents of this hedge, with elders, Cornus,

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and lots of your garden shrubs too.

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And what I'm looking for is strong, this year's growth.

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Snipping it off.

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The reason I want to do hardwood cuttings from this Viburnum is

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they will establish fairly rapidly.

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Hardwood cuttings are so simple.

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By now, most of these leaves would have fallen in a normal year,

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but everything is late this year, so I'm just going to strip off these

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leaves because these cuttings don't need the goodness from the leaves.

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They are going to make new roots just on the stem.

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I have got a nice sort of terminal bud up there

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and I'm going to cut right under a bud here.

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That is the ideal sort of size really, 20 centimetres.

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I'm going to make a little slit trench with a sharp

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spade in one part of the garden,

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preferably somewhere where they can stay there undisturbed.

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Then, I am going to plunge those cuttings into the trench with

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just that little top bit protruding.

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Whether you are growing from berries or from cuttings,

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the point is, it is not instant gratification.

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It takes some time and a bit of patience,

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but what results you will have.

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Come on.

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It's nice to have somewhere to come to to get out of the rain.

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Now, I've had a letter here regarding my grapevine.

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It is from Helen Bishop.

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"Earlier this year, Monty Don showed how to plant a grapevine

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"and fed it through into his greenhouse.

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"We thought it was a good idea and planted two grapevines."

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Huh, two, eh?

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"The vines have grown really well during the summer

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"and we'd be most grateful if you can do a follow-up

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"to show the best way to prune them.

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"We'd love to have them to cover the underside of our open conservatory."

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That is pretty similar to what we're trying to achieve in this greenhouse.

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I planted the vine outside and trained the stem through

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a gap that we had left in the wall, in the brick base of the greenhouse.

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This has grown this summer up here, got established, come up,

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moved up, then across the door

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and is a third of the way along the north side of the greenhouse.

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The reason why it is on the north side is

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because we don't want it to shade out the tomatoes

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and whatever else we may decide to grow over here on the south side.

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However, the fruit, when they hang down, will get the south light

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and, therefore, should ripen.

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But we're not there yet.

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This is a three-to-four-year plan so we have developed good growth,

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no grapes and, importantly,

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the roots will have established really well.

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As for pruning, now is not the time to do it.

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The time to prune all vines is when they are dormant, which means

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December or January, and there are two ways you can prune it.

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You can either go back down to the base and cut down to a pair of buds.

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However, if you want a permanent structure, which is what

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I do here and I guess you do, Helen,

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you need to train a single cordon wherever you want it to go.

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To get that, the wood must be mature,

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so what I will do here is prune into the mature word.

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This is not mature, that has some green showing there

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and as we go up, it gets greener and greener.

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So all that has got to come off, but I could come down somewhere

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around about here, I won't be able to tell until all the leaves off.

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There are two stems there. I am going to remove one of them.

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So, one will come right out, we'll leave a single stem, prune back to

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a pair of buds and one of them will be the leader and that will grow on.

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And then, the next year, we prune back to the mature wood

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and, in about three years' time, you'll have your framework.

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And from that, the side shoots will produce the grapes.

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One final note of warning.

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To get really good grapes, you need a dormant period, which means cold,

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so if you're in a conservatory, or even a greenhouse,

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bear in mind that, for about three months in midwinter,

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it should not warm up, you want it five degrees, no hotter than that,

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and that may not be very comfortable for sitting in for humans.

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HE WHISTLES

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Come on.

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Because we've got so many hedges in the garden,

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it means we have lots and lots of birds, and that's fantastic,

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but despite all the natural nesting places, there is

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always one or two that finds an unusual corner to make their home.

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TWEETING

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Now, it's all very well having lots of hedges and trees,

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but a lot of gardens are either complete blank canvas

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or have no mature and suitable places for birds to nest in

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and that's where a nesting box comes in.

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You can have birds in the garden by attracting them to a suitable site.

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And birds not only make the garden healthier,

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and they enrich the ecosystem,

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but they're hugely enjoyable for the gardener.

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I've got two types of box here.

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We've got one with a circular hole, which is perfect for tits.

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The tit thinks that this is essentially a tree trunk

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with a hole in and a hollow space

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and it will go in there and make its nest in this space underneath.

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So it can go in a relatively exposed site and it will use it.

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One slight thing to bear in mind with a tit box is that woodpeckers

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can bore in to get at the young, and you can see here's a box

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that has had a woodpecker do its best

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to get at those nice, juicy young birds.

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So, it's a good idea, if you're putting one up,

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to get a metal plate, which you can get with it,

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and then just place around the hole,

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which adds as a protection against woodpeckers.

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This box is designed for robins and wrens and flycatchers, so it's got

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an open front and it wants to be in a rather different position.

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These birds tend to nest behind the back of sheds,

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behind a water butt, perhaps, or in the depths of a hedge,

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so you want to put it somewhere that is enclosed and protected,

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but the actual entrance to the nest is open.

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Now, tits like a secluded place, out of strong winds,

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and, importantly, out of direct sunlight,

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because, come a hot June or even early July day,

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it can really cook inside these boxes

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and get hot enough to kill the chicks.

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So what I've got here is a west facing,

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but very sheltered spot on the back gable end of my writing hut.

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So up under the gable should be absolutely perfect.

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Now, having said that, there's no guarantee that they will nest

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this year, or ever, all you can do is put up a suitable home

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and hope that they take advantage of it.

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Right, if I was a bluetit in search of a home to raise a family,

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I'd look around this garden and would alight on this and I'd think,

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"This is a deluxe residence."

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Now, the nesting box with the open front,

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which is designed for robins, wrens, wagtails...

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needs to be in a completely different spot.

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These are the birds that you can find nesting in a shed.

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Sometimes on a post, or in an old shoe, or a watering can,

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somewhere that, to them, feels nice and secluded and hidden,

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but with good access.

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And this lean-to is perfect.

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If you've got a wall with a rose growing up it, or some ivy,

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you could put a box behind the rose.

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That would be ideal too. Not too open.

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So I'm going to put this up here.

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The hedge that will grow inwards a bit there, to protect them,

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but they can get around it, but it's protected from the weather.

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Well, that is really solid.

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It is important to get nesting boxes up by midwinter,

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because that's when birds first start to look for suitable sites

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and stake their territories

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and then, in early spring, they can be laying eggs by mid-February.

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Now, you may not be putting up nesting boxes,

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but here are some other jobs you can be getting on with this weekend.

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If you've gone to all the trouble of carefully picking and storing fruit,

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it's worth checking them regularly throughout the winter.

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Remove any that are damaged or bruised, as this will only spread.

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Of course, you can eat any of the damaged fruit that you remove.

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The rhubarb season is now over.

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You can pick any upright stems and eat them,

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but clear away any that have fallen or died.

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Weed between the plants and then mulch them generously.

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But be careful not to cover the crowns. This will feed them

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and ensure a good harvest for early spring.

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As we go into winter,

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there are fewer and fewer vegetables in the garden,

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but many of the brassicas are coming into their own

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and will last right through to spring.

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However, it's not just humans that like to eat them.

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Pigeons love them, particularly when there's not much else around,

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so net them to protect them.

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That will do.

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It's not very secure, but the reason for that is

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it's secure enough to keep pigeons out

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and, if snow comes on it, it will collapse, but then,

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because it's easy to put back up again, there should be no damage.

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Now, I'm very aware, with this garden,

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although I've made it from scratch, I'll leave,

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someone else will take it on and, the truth is,

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all of us are custodians of our gardens for a brief time

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and then, someone else takes over the mantle.

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And last summer, Rachel went to visit

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the garden of Julian Clary, which once belonged to one of his heroes.

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'Noel Coward bought this traditional Kent farmhouse back in the 1920s.

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'He wrote one of his best-loved songs here -

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'A Room With A View.'

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NOEL COWARD: # A room with a view and you

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# And no-one to worry us No-one to hurry us to... #

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JULIAN: Well, hello!

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Hello, Julian, it's really nice to see you.

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'Now, it's home to comedian and writer Julian Clary.

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'This self-confessed fan of Noel Coward's wit and wisdom

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'bought the house back in 2006.

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'And living here's helped him to discover a real love of the garden.'

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So what was it that you fell in love with when you first came here?

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I've always liked Noel Coward

0:22:140:22:17

and it's got a sort of spirit of him here. Uh-huh.

0:22:170:22:19

So... A "blithe spirit"?

0:22:190:22:21

Blithe spirit! SHE LAUGHS

0:22:210:22:22

One tries to live in the present, but it is all kind of seeping

0:22:220:22:26

through the walls and that was all quite romantic.

0:22:260:22:28

So, you came here, saw it, love at first sight?

0:22:280:22:31

Well, I started digging in the garden the day we moved in

0:22:310:22:35

and it was all Michaelmas daisies, Michaelmas daisies and daffodils!

0:22:350:22:38

That was my lot! SHE LAUGHS

0:22:380:22:41

There were one or two roses we discovered that we managed to revive.

0:22:410:22:45

Um, I thought I'd have a white flower bed and then...

0:22:450:22:47

A la Sissinghurst? Yes, quite!

0:22:470:22:49

This is iceberg? Iceberg, yes. Because I recognise this, cos my dad

0:22:490:22:53

loved that rose as well. Very good, well, it just goes on and on.

0:22:530:22:55

Then I got distracted by pink things, so it's not really white.

0:22:550:22:58

Lots of soft pastels, there's not a lot of strong, bright colours here.

0:22:580:23:04

Is that a conscious decision, is that your personal taste?

0:23:040:23:07

That's my taste, yes, all a bit muted,

0:23:070:23:09

because, you know, I don't want a shock of a morning.

0:23:090:23:12

This is a stunning peony! It's absolutely beautiful.

0:23:120:23:16

This looks like "bowl of beauty" definitely.

0:23:160:23:17

Do you know what this is? Oh, I call it Geoffrey.

0:23:170:23:20

SHE LAUGHS If you want any proper answers,

0:23:200:23:22

we'll have to get my gardener in.

0:23:220:23:24

'And that's Andrew Ashton.

0:23:240:23:27

'He's worked for Julian for more than five years.

0:23:270:23:30

'Now, I'm curious to know just who does what around here.'

0:23:300:23:35

Let's have the truth now, guys.

0:23:350:23:37

Who actually does the hands-on digging and so forth?

0:23:370:23:41

I do nothing. Andrew does everything. I think, if we have a show of hands,

0:23:410:23:45

mine are slightly different to his. He wouldn't want me interfering.

0:23:450:23:48

I mean... No, we have a good relationship, don't we?

0:23:480:23:51

I do the hard, the digging side of it,

0:23:510:23:53

and Julian gives the instructions.

0:23:530:23:56

But, Julian, don't you feel that, actually, you would

0:23:560:23:58

quite like to do a bit more of the practical hands-on stuff?

0:23:580:24:02

You know, do some digging and pruning and get stuck in?

0:24:020:24:05

I'm desperate to do it, but, you see, Andrew needs the work.

0:24:050:24:07

LAUGHTER That's right!

0:24:070:24:09

But if I started, you know, it would interfere with his hours.

0:24:090:24:14

You do a little bit, though, don't you? You do a bit of watering?

0:24:140:24:16

That's OK. That's a start. What about propagation?

0:24:160:24:19

Beg your pardon? SHE LAUGHS

0:24:190:24:21

Well, I can see you're a bit of lupin man,

0:24:240:24:26

or YOU'RE the lupin man? I'm a lupin man and a dahlia man.

0:24:260:24:30

The dahlias are obviously not with us yet, they're coming up behind. Yeah.

0:24:300:24:33

The plan with this garden is to have it flowering

0:24:330:24:36

from, really, January, with the hellebores,

0:24:360:24:38

right through to October with the asters, really.

0:24:380:24:41

# The sun is shining Where clouds have been

0:24:410:24:46

# Maybe it's something To do with spring... #

0:24:460:24:49

So, tell me about this area here.

0:24:510:24:53

Well, this flat little bit here, this was the croquet lawn. Uh-huh.

0:24:530:24:57

When Noel would play croquet with Joan Crawford...

0:24:570:25:00

RACHEL GASPS ..or whoever was passing through.

0:25:000:25:02

And I found the path hidden under the lawn. Andrew dug it out.

0:25:020:25:06

LAUGHTER Yeah. It didn't lead anywhere.

0:25:060:25:09

So I had the marvellous idea of a stone circle. Uh-huh.

0:25:090:25:13

And so, you could sit there and look back at the house.

0:25:130:25:15

'Look hard and you could even

0:25:200:25:22

'find echoes of the garden Noel Coward would've known..'

0:25:220:25:25

It's quite an interesting historic tree. It's a mulberry tree.

0:25:250:25:29

Well, it was, when it was alive.

0:25:290:25:31

Andrew estimates it's about 400 years old

0:25:310:25:33

and Coward mentions it in his diaries.

0:25:330:25:37

At some point, he refers to the fact that they were having a party...

0:25:370:25:40

Uh-huh. ..and I believe they were dressed as women.

0:25:400:25:42

And they came out and they put...

0:25:420:25:45

They picked the berries and rubbed them on their lips

0:25:450:25:47

and went back inside and everyone was... In the 1920s,

0:25:470:25:51

this was their idea of a good time. LAUGHTER

0:25:510:25:54

But now, it's become a great thing to grow clematis up.

0:25:540:25:57

Yes, it's a perfect host, isn't it? That's a beautiful clematis as well.

0:25:570:26:00

Let's walk round and have a look. It's almost as if we stuck it in,

0:26:000:26:03

ready for your arrival, but honestly... Stunning!

0:26:030:26:06

Look at that. I mean, they're the size of plates, these flowers.

0:26:060:26:09

Would you say this is your own little tribute to Coward?

0:26:090:26:14

Well, I don't think he'd be too horrified if he were to see it.

0:26:140:26:17

You know, I think he would think it was cheerful.

0:26:170:26:19

If you've got any diseased material,

0:26:360:26:39

it's a great idea to burn it if you can.

0:26:390:26:41

And that will kill the fungus,

0:26:410:26:43

or the bacteria that's causing the harm,

0:26:430:26:46

and then, you can put the ash on the garden,

0:26:460:26:47

either directly or by the compost heap.

0:26:470:26:49

And that applies to the roots of perennial weeds,

0:26:490:26:53

like couch grass or bindweed.

0:26:530:26:54

Of course, one of the luxuries of living in the country is

0:26:540:26:57

you can have bonfires. If you have neighbours, of course,

0:26:570:27:00

you've got to think about them.

0:27:000:27:02

So, if the wind is blowing in their way, or if you know it upsets them,

0:27:020:27:05

then don't do it.

0:27:050:27:07

However, if you've got a green bin for recycling,

0:27:070:27:09

you can put material in there, or you can bag it up

0:27:090:27:12

and take it along to the local council to deal with.

0:27:120:27:16

But a fire on a grey November's evening cheers any spirits.

0:27:160:27:22

And it's useful too.

0:27:220:27:24

BIRDS CALL

0:27:240:27:26

It's sad to see a plant that's been an old friend and a really...

0:27:470:27:51

important feature in the garden for the last 15 years go up in smoke.

0:27:510:27:56

But everything changes and all good things come to an end

0:27:570:28:00

and this is the last programme of Gardeners' World this year.

0:28:000:28:05

I hope you have a restful, restorative winter

0:28:050:28:08

and I'll see you back here at Longmeadow

0:28:080:28:11

bright-eyed and bushy-tailed next March. Till then,

0:28:110:28:15

bye-bye.

0:28:150:28:16

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:240:28:27

Monty Don starts to prepare the flowering borders in the Jewel Garden for winter and makes a big garden bonfire.

Carol Klein celebrates berry-laden hedgerows and shows how to grow them into new trees.

Rachel de Thame brings memories of Noel Coward and of the summer just passed when she visits Julian Clary in his garden.

And Monty also puts up bird boxes around the garden in the hope that robins and wrens will seek them out over the winter and that they will be nesting in them next spring.


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