Episode 4 Gardeners' World


Episode 4

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Transcript


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Hello, welcome to Gardener's World.

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I do love primroses.

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To me they are the archetypal spring flower.

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And on a cold, miserable spring like this, you need them more than ever.

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In fact, I always associate them with Easter.

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When I was a child we would pick great baskets of primroses

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and take them to the church to decorate it.

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And on a good year, we would have enough not

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just for the inside of the church but for the graveyard, too.

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And every grave would have a little posy of primroses

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for Easter Sunday at the foot or the head of the grave.

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And they are a plant above all else that are a symbol of hope.

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On tonight's programme, Easter is the first weekend

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when many gardens open, and Carol is in Cornwall,

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visiting the spring garden to learn the secrets of its success.

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As soon as you see those first shoots bursting through the ground

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and the leaves beginning to unfold, you are just filled with excitement.

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We will be going behind the scenes at a specialist grower to get

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a preview of the bedding plants that we can buy this year.

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The thing that really excites me about this plant, Osteospermum 'Voltage Yellow',

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is that it is going to flower all the way from the

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very early season, from April right the way through the first frost.

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And Joe continues his series of masterclasses on planting design.

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This week, he shares ideas on how to create a naturalistic garden.

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Easter is always a really special time for gardeners.

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Because it signals, regardless of weather, the end of winter

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and the beginning of a new season.

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And this year, not only have we got Easter, but we have more time

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because the clocks go forward on Sunday morning, which gives us that

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precious extra hour when we want it, when we can get out in the garden.

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These four grass borders are actually

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the newest part of Longmeadow.

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I am told that 18 months ago, 2 years ago

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they were all part and parcel of the Jewel Garden

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and planted up accordingly.

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And then in the summer of 2011, everything was taken out

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and replanted with grasses.

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And I have to say, as far as I'm concerned,

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they have been triumphant.

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And not least because they are so easy to manage.

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Once you have planted them there is really nothing to do except for once a year give them a tidy through,

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clear away the old material and give them light and air.

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It doesn't matter if you're growing one grass in a pot or

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a couple in a border, the same rules apply.

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There is just one thing to be clear of,

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the difference between an evergreen grass and a deciduous grass.

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If you have a Stipa like this Stipa gigantea here,

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this is evergreen. You can see it is, it's got green leaves.

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All you have to do is run your fingers through it

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and take out all the dead material.

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It is the simplest and most practical way. Just comb it.

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That can go down there.

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When you have a deciduous grass, you need to cut it back.

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You can see that already, down the base, the new growth

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is coming up. I don't want to cut that off. Choose the cutting point.

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Just about there, I'd say. Get in there and hack.

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Now, these grasses don't really come into their own until midsummer.

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And then they take off.

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And by the end of July, they are fantastic

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and their real prime season, August, September, October,

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when you get these plumes of flower and the seed heads

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and you have a structure, they catch the wind and there is movement

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and its sound, and just fabulous.

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And before I have a proper tidy up,

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I will clear some of this away to the compost heap.

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Now, these borders are dominated by grasses and everything else works

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around them, but in his final of a four-part masterclass that Joe has been giving us, he looks at

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the way you can make a naturalistic garden using grasses as part of it.

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A successful naturalistic garden takes the best from nature

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and adds just a touch of design.

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Swathes of plans are carefully chosen and combined

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but left to find their own order, mimicking what happens in the wild.

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This week, again, I am looking at the design elements of structure,

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texture, colour and seasonal interests to help explain how

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to create a naturalistic garden.

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This is a fantastic naturalistic border. It is very stylised,

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and you wouldn't actually see these plants together in nature.

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But the effect they have together in the suburban garden is powerful,

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because this border is just linked together beautifully by the grasses.

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There are no real showstoppers, nothing competing for your

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attention and no evergreen shrubs punctuating the space, either.

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That creates a lovely fluid effect and a nice relaxed feel.

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In a traditional border, you would have the taller plants

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and the lower plans at the front, but with this style of planting you

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can throw that rule book out of the window to get the naturalistic feel

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and these plants lend themselves to being brought to the front of the border.

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Something like this Stipa gigantea is perfect because you can

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see through it, so it creates a lovely depth of feel to the planting behind.

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And combined with this Verbena bonariensis, well, it is a classic combination.

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And it even looks good on a blustery day like this.

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In these gardens the plants are grouped in blocks with strong

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contrast between their shapes and forms.

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Texture is also used to link the whole garden together.

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There are bold blocks of different textures, like the flat-headed Sedum,

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the soft grasses and spiky Echinops.

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But it is repeating these blocks that helps hold the garden together and draw the eye.

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You don't have to stick to a colour scheme, but creating

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compositions using two or three plants

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can help create a coherent space.

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This is a fantastic combination, you have this lovely fluffy

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Sedum at the front and the Echinacea in the middle with

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its downward drooping petals and fantastic cones at the centre of the flower.

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Towards the back this upright different form,

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different shape of this Persicaria, quite an intense pink.

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And the colour that links them all together

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is this reddish pink just dotted all the way through.

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So the eye moves beautifully through these three.

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Gardens like this look fabulous over the summer

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and really come into their own in the autumn and winter,

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when there is still plenty to be seen.

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In nature, plants decay at different rates and there is

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so much beauty to be had in those fading blooms.

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Look at this composition, we have a good combination of the vertical accent

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of the Verbascum at the front, the pom-poms

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of the Phlomis, that lovely rounded seedhead and the flatter seedhead of these Achilleas at the back.

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Together they make a wonderful composition so don't be tempted

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to grab the secateurs and cut them back, leave them on all the way through the winter,

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because they will only look better when frosted.

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So here is my plan for a naturalistic garden.

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The first thing I will do is draw some swathes through

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the planting area, and get a nice flow through it.

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And then start filling in some blocks of planting.

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I will start with something nice and tall, something like Verbascum.

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Then I will plant a drift in front, something more medium height.

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These Rudbekia are stunning at this time of year.

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A shot of yellow colour would be great.

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I think the Echinacea here are absolutely beautiful,

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it will be a nice contrast in colour and shape of flower head as well.

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Just a little block of those, a cluster.

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Behind them I should get some grasses

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in because the grass will help link all the borders together.

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Something like a Calamagrostis.

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And to one side I need something with a good seedheads,

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so some Phlomis would be perfect.

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You can see them here again, a good really low plant,

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always combine well with the grasses.

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Now I'm on to the front of the border plant here and I think Stipa tenuissima,

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this, absolutely fantastic.

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In front of this Phlomis I have a nice gap between the Phlomis

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and the grasses at the front. Persicaria would be perfect.

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And then a band of, I think Allium, the little

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white seedheads, are gorgeous. That will bring colour earlier in the year as well.

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I am going to take inspiration from this garden and put in some of these

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Stipa gigantea so I can see through their wispiness

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and go for the classic combination of some Verbena bonariensis growing through them.

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And I will add in some Eupatoriums to frame the composition at the back.

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That will fill in over time to make a really striking naturalistic garden.

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Another real bonus of wild gardens is that not only do

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they look really good but they are fantastic for wildlife,

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so the whole thing works well together.

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Now I have put those on the compost heap ready to be shredded.

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Most compost heaps tend to be a bit high in nitrogen,

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too much green material like grass cuttings.

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If you can add lots of carbon,

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which you get in the dried-out stems of grasses,

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that will get the balance better and the texture better

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and the whole thing will work beautifully.

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I have been preparing vegetables ready to plant,

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but it's not something you can do in a rush.

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Because if you're sowing seed at the end of winter it is far too

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cold to plant them out. Particularly this spring, which has been icy.

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So I sow them and propagate them in the greenhouse,

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then they go into a cold frame and gradually grow

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and get more robust and then they are hardening off.

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It is really important when you're sowing seed undercover,

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before planting it out, to give them the chance to acclimatise. Which is all hardening off is.

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I have rocket here which is ready for planting out, as well as some beans.

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Come on, come on, come on, come on.

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Easter is traditionally the time when people planted their potatoes,

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but I don't imagine anybody in the British Isles is going to be planting potatoes this weekend,

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it is too cold.

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There is no point in putting anything into cold, wet soil.

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Because it won't grow. What I've done is to protect soil and warm it up,

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protection is against rain so it dries out,

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and anything which keeps the heat and will help.

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Put down the soil for a few, or even one week before planting out

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and then you can get cracking.

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These raised beds have been designed to try

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and alleviate the problem of this very wet, heavy soil we have down here.

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That is quite dry, it will drain well, it is

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not warm but for what I am putting in, I think it will be fine.

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That is why I am planting out rocket.

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These are nice plants that were sown, let me look at the date, on the fifth of February.

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You can see they have grown up good and strong

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and the secret of getting plants away from plugs is to have good

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individual plants with a nice root system.

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Just make a hole and pop it in. Don't force it.

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Because then you will damage the roots. Gently ease around it.

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And the other thing, when you're sowing any salad crop,

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don't be tempted to put them too close together.

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I use the span of my hand.

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And if you haven't sown your rocket or any seeds yet, don't worry.

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There's plenty of time. I would sow them now.

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But because it is such a cold spring I would not sow direct.

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I would sow them undercover, raise the plants and then plant them up

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when things warm up.

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Go with the conditions as they are, that is good gardening.

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Feel the soil. Is it warm? Is it cold?

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If it is cold, then that is the reality,

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not what the calendars or books or people like me say.

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Use your own judgement.

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because it is likely to be much, much more helpful than going by the book.

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I think all of us have felt that this winter

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and spring has been a pretty long, hard slog.

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At times it has been miserable.

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And that is the moment when you need to get out,

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visit someone else's garden and get some inspiration.

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And Carol has been down to Cornwall doing just that.

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Bosvigo in Truro, Cornwall, is one of my favourite gardens ever.

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One of Cornwall's claims to fame is that spring arrives here first,

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thanks to the benign influence of the Gulf Stream.

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As soon as you see those first shoots bursting through the ground

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and the leaves beginning to unfurl, you're just filled with excitement.

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Look at this Stachyurus praecox, praecox means "early."

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With its delightful dripping lanterns of flowers,

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it's just beginning to do its thing here,

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but if you are a Mancunian, it won't happen for you for a few weeks

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and if you're an Aberdonian,

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you may well have to wait until the end of April.

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But however long you've got to wait, it's SO worth waiting for.

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It's just such a wonderful season.

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And here at Bosvigo, it's the spring light shining through the bare branches

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that illuminates the woodland floor and brings everything to life.

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The plants that personify this time of year, for me,

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are what I call Cinderella plants.

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They're all those woodland wonders that shoot to stardom,

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get everything done before the clock strikes 12.

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They flower, set seed and then retire for the season

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until they reappear in the following spring.

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This wood anemone is a perfect example.

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This is Anemone nemorosa, it's a rather large form

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of native wood anemone

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and it LOVES this sort of setting where it rambles around.

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It spreads by these little tuberous roots, these little rhizomes,

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just under the surface of the soil and then up it comes,

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so there's a whole thicket of it.

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It just goes to prove

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that far from shade being a problematic sort of place,

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in fact, it offers you all sorts of wonderful opportunities.

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Wendy Perry seizes every opportunity her garden gives her.

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She's a mistress of the art of combining Cinderellas

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with spring classics to roll out the colour, right across the season.

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Your garden is just THICK with ideas about combining plants together.

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I mean, this as an individual, this Corylopsis is just...

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-Isn't it pretty?

-..delightful.

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And also, I've picked up or contrasted the colour with

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Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign' underneath, which is a very sharp, sharp blue,

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which as that fades is going to then be followed by Scilla siberica.

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-Right, so all the time you're thinking about...

-It's layers.

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It's layers and layers, each one coming on as the other fades.

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And that classic combination of yellow and blue...

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You can't beat it. In the spring, to me,

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lemon, yellow and blue are the most wonderful combinations.

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-I never get tired of them.

-Lemon, yellow, blue and green!

-Yeah, great.

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-Go for it.

-And the whole garden is verdant, isn't it?

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Absolutely, each day something happens.

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This lovely partnership of Chionodoxa and fritillary

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typifies the way Wendy weaves her magic.

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They are exquisite.

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If you look up closely at them,

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I mean all the chequered patterns of the purple and cream,

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it's endlessly fascinating.

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The very first time I saw one of those,

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I think it was in Kew Gardens, and I thought it was a joke,

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-I thought somebody had hand-painted it.

-They probably had! THEY LAUGH

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-But it looks like that, doesn't it?

-It does, it is exquisite.

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-And then you look... This little...Scilla, is it?

-Yes, a Scilla.

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Almost had its time, this is taking over, that's looking beautiful

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and then behind it are going to be things like this...

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This pink cow parsley, which is so exquisite.

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It comes up three feet, lacy pink blooms

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and then I've got black Queen of the Night tulips, which rise up to it.

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-Oh, ah!

-So it's something worth coming to see in late April.

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-It's something worth drooling over!

-It is, I love it.

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Look at the perfection of that.

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The thing about your garden is it's a "down on your knees" garden, isn't it?

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I bet people never look up here.

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I spend my whole life on my hands and knees, up close and personal with them

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and I recommend it, that's the way I garden.

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I hope that people coming will look closely at the beautiful plants,

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you know, at the Epimediums...

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Then going on to the Helleborus,

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-which has got golden yellow nectar.

-Oh, look at that!

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Isn't it exquisite? It's very, very popular.

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Yeah, and just this combination...

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Everything flows together, doesn't it? It's so lovely.

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They link up, they link up.

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It's a labour of love. It is intense, isn't it?

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How long do you spend out here?

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More hours than I would care to confess, actually.

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Probably I work six months of the year to have that spring rush.

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I often say I peak on a Thursday afternoon in mid-April,

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there is that moment when everything is perfect, when everything,

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all the connections, all the plants that you planted join together.

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I'm just clearing this. Obviously, Easter is when most gardens open up.

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If you want to see a list of suggestions of gardens to visit

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you can go to our website where, of course, you can get information

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about all kinds of things on tonight's programme.

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I'm just taking off the cover

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because I want to put broad beans into here...

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And to be honest,

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I've never grown broad beans in a raised bed before.

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Normally, you grow them in rows with a gap between the rows

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where you can walk down and pick the beans.

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So, as an experiment I am going to grow them in a block

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and reach in and maybe have to support them from the middle.

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But the technique for sowing them is identical.

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You've got big seeds, take them and just pop 'em in.

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Like that, push it underground.

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Each bean should be at least nine inches apart

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and could be a little bit more.

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These are big plants, big root system and they need room to grow.

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The nice thing about a raised bed is you can sit on it.

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You can eat broad beans when they're really quite small and tender

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and tasty and they're completely delicious either on their own

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or in a risotto...

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Broad beans are probably the easiest vegetable of the lot to grow -

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they are easy to handle, they grow in almost all conditions,

0:21:220:21:26

they're tough, they'll take any amount of weather -

0:21:260:21:29

there's very little else that's going to cause them any harm.

0:21:290:21:32

Once they're in the ground, nothing to do at all but stake them as they grow bigger.

0:21:320:21:36

So a really, really good vegetable, not just to eat,

0:21:360:21:39

but also for the soil because the roots open the ground up

0:21:390:21:42

and obviously they're legumes so they add nitrogen.

0:21:420:21:45

Now, if you're not sowing broad beans here are some other things

0:21:450:21:49

that you can be doing this weekend.

0:21:490:21:52

Just as it's breaking into leaf,

0:21:560:21:58

now is the perfect moment to prune back dogwood.

0:21:580:22:02

By cutting it back hard you will stimulate new vigorous growth

0:22:020:22:05

and this will give you the best colour next winter.

0:22:050:22:08

You can cut the whole plant right-back or

0:22:080:22:11

if it is a big plant and you want to keep some of it,

0:22:110:22:14

cut half this year and half next year

0:22:140:22:16

and while you're about it, it takes very easily as cuttings,

0:22:160:22:20

so put some of the cut material into the ground

0:22:200:22:23

and you will get new plants for free.

0:22:230:22:25

Summer might seem a long way away, but now is the moment to sow tomatoes.

0:22:290:22:33

I like to use a seed tray,

0:22:350:22:36

sprinkling the seed thinly on the compost and then cover them lightly.

0:22:360:22:41

You can water them direct or you can place the seed tray

0:22:430:22:48

in a container of water and let it soak up from the bottom.

0:22:480:22:51

This avoids disturbing the seeds.

0:22:510:22:54

Leave it for about five minutes

0:22:540:22:56

and then place it in a warm place to germinate.

0:22:560:22:59

A windowsill above a radiator will do fine

0:22:590:23:02

or in a greenhouse, on a heated bench.

0:23:020:23:04

Over the next few weeks,

0:23:070:23:08

garden centres will be selling millions of bedding plants.

0:23:080:23:11

But many of these are tender

0:23:110:23:14

and it's much too early to be planting these outside.

0:23:140:23:17

However, the plugs are very good value for money

0:23:170:23:19

and if you buy them now and then pot them on

0:23:190:23:22

into a three-inch pot using normal potting compost,

0:23:220:23:26

by the time that spring does come and it warms up,

0:23:260:23:28

you'll have a much larger plant for your money.

0:23:280:23:31

There's a tendency to think of bedding plants

0:23:330:23:36

as a very municipal thing.

0:23:360:23:37

But actually, you can use them in lots of different ways,

0:23:370:23:40

from hanging baskets to a mixed border.

0:23:400:23:42

We use them here all the time, particularly in the Jewel Garden

0:23:420:23:45

because they do give a real intensity of colour

0:23:450:23:49

in a very short time span and that's very, very useful.

0:23:490:23:52

Last summer we went along to the trial ground of a nursery

0:23:520:23:56

that grows bedding for the trade to see what would be available

0:23:560:24:01

in the garden centres this spring.

0:24:010:24:03

I think we all need a little stimulation in our lives...

0:24:120:24:14

With bedding plants you have just about every colour imaginable.

0:24:140:24:17

They bring lots of excitement, impact,

0:24:170:24:20

a bit of wow and a feeling of well-being.

0:24:200:24:23

We have four acres of trial grounds

0:24:260:24:28

and plants in all sorts of different displays -

0:24:280:24:31

baskets, containers, out in trial beds, display gardens.

0:24:310:24:36

This is our living catalogue.

0:24:370:24:40

New varieties, existing varieties, plus new plants

0:24:400:24:44

which perhaps are two years away from introduction into the UK market.

0:24:440:24:48

What's new for 2013 are these wonderful colours of Calibrachoa.

0:24:570:25:02

This series called Cabaret has been developed to create a lovely

0:25:020:25:06

basket-hugging shape,

0:25:060:25:09

but the beautiful colours of this Deep Yellow

0:25:090:25:12

and this Bright Red, the colours don't bleach in full sun

0:25:120:25:15

and they will go in almost any aspect in the garden - full sun, semi-shade.

0:25:150:25:18

What I really like about the plant

0:25:180:25:21

is that you don't need to pick them over like petunias.

0:25:210:25:25

Even more exciting is this lovely Deep Purple

0:25:250:25:27

and this is Can Can Deep Purple with it's almost black-like flowers.

0:25:270:25:32

What we have here is a new begonia called Cherry Bon Bon.

0:25:400:25:44

A beautiful patio begonia, semi-double flowers,

0:25:440:25:47

really loaded with colour all summer long.

0:25:470:25:49

It comes from the same plant breeder

0:25:490:25:51

as the Million Kisses trailing begonia,

0:25:510:25:53

which has been bred to withstand wet through to hot-dry conditions

0:25:530:25:57

and I think we've got a real winner here.

0:25:570:26:00

Well, given the past two seasons - the really wet summers,

0:26:090:26:13

cool conditions - just look how resilient these bedding plants are.

0:26:130:26:16

The marigolds will go through the worst of weathers

0:26:160:26:19

and used in particular with the Rudbeckias with different forms

0:26:190:26:22

and heights, incredible show of colour.

0:26:220:26:25

The thing that really excites me about this plant -

0:26:290:26:32

Osteospermum 'Voltage Yellow' -

0:26:320:26:34

is it's going to flower all the way from the very early season,

0:26:340:26:37

from April right the way through to the first frosts.

0:26:370:26:40

It's one of the earliest and latest flowering Osteospermums,

0:26:400:26:42

intense colour, marigold even under very wet conditions

0:26:420:26:45

and we've had an absolute downpour today, but look at it.

0:26:450:26:49

It is possible to get a bit overwhelmed

0:26:560:26:59

by the amount of choice of bedding.

0:26:590:27:01

What I try and do is to work out what colours I want

0:27:010:27:04

and the effects I want before choosing the actual plants

0:27:040:27:07

and then when I know pretty much what I'm after,

0:27:070:27:10

choose the plants to do the job.

0:27:100:27:12

It doesn't matter what you choose, you do need to protect them all

0:27:120:27:16

until the weather warms up.

0:27:160:27:17

And it's not just from frost, but wind is important too,

0:27:170:27:20

so if you don't have a cold frame or a greenhouse,

0:27:200:27:22

put them somewhere where they are out of the wind.

0:27:220:27:25

Right, keep those nice and tucked up.

0:27:320:27:36

Give them a little bit of a water.

0:27:360:27:38

And they can grow on, nice and snug.

0:27:420:27:45

Now, it's a good job we've got a long weekend

0:27:450:27:48

because I've got a long job ahead of me.

0:27:480:27:50

These limes are pleached,

0:28:010:28:03

which effectively means that they're trained to have a very, very simple shape

0:28:030:28:08

and every spring I prune them back hard.

0:28:080:28:10

It's a long old job, but I rather like it because it's easy

0:28:100:28:15

and it's got a rhythm.

0:28:150:28:17

And you just feel that it's one of those jobs that mark

0:28:170:28:21

the entrance to spring.

0:28:210:28:23

So have a really good Easter.

0:28:230:28:25

Don't forget - the clocks go forward on Sunday morning

0:28:250:28:28

and I'll see you back here at Longmeadow next week.

0:28:280:28:31

Bye-bye.

0:28:310:28:32

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:550:28:58

We have a long Easter weekend ahead to get to grips with timely gardening tasks and Monty Don has plenty of ideas of what to do now. Amongst other jobs he'll be cutting back his grass borders while Joe Swift reveals his top tips for creating a naturalistic garden.

Carol Klein makes her way down to Cornwall in search of a garden full of beautiful spring colour.

And if you're heading off to the garden centre this weekend, there's all you need to know about bedding plants from the 'living catalogue' of new and existing varieties at Ball Colegrave in Banbury, Oxfordshire.


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