Gardening magazine. In the last episode of the series, Monty Don takes stock of his year at Longmeadow and Carol Klein celebrates the glorious displays put on by flowering plants.
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Come on. You can come up here.
Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.
I've been planting bulbs here at Longmeadow
since the beginning of September, all over the garden.
But here amongst the trees by the copse, I've got a problem.
It's been really dry here for the last few weeks, which is fantastic,
absolutely lovely and it means the garden has looked glorious.
But the combination of no rain and the trees sucking up all
available moisture means the ground is really hard and dry.
Something I've done before and it worked really well
and I'm going to try again now
is to simply place the bulbs on the surface of the ground.
You can see that's really dry and hard.
I'm never going to be able to dig down and make individual holes,
but I've got some chionodoxa,
and this is a lovely little blue starry flower.
It comes from the mountains of northern Turkey,
grows up in the snowline and will flower - whatever the weather -
So simply by placing them on the ground,
a little clump there like that,
and then cover them over with some leaf mould. Like that.
And there, we should have a clump of beautiful blue flowers in March.
We'll have to see.
This week, we have the last of Carol's series
on the botany of our gardens.
I'm focusing on flowers.
They're the reproductive parts of plants
and have developed extraordinary strategies
to attract pollinating insects.
And we see how RHS Wisley goes about turning fallen leaves
into lovely leaf mould.
And I shall be checking up on my bees and preparing the garden for winter.
But first, I'm going to look back over this year
and as well as preparing for winter, it's worth looking back, taking stock
of what worked, what didn't work so well, so that next year,
we can learn from it.
I loved the way in spring you got that zingy green from the euphorbias.
And then the alliums come through after the tulips.
This is about sort of May time.
And you start to get real colour.
That worked really well this year.
And another thing I'm very happy with are these four pots.
This year - an experiment.
We got the phormiums and I wasn't certain if it was going to work.
Well, I think it has.
I really like them and I'll use them again next year.
I like this sort of chocolate colour and the way that
the bidens froth in and through the foliage.
And the chocolate cosmos and the nasturtiums,
although I think the nasturtiums next year
I'm going to go for a darker, richer colour.
Now, these will need some protection.
If you're growing phormiums, I would lift them,
put them in a plastic pot and put them in a shed or a greenhouse,
and if you can't put them somewhere like that,
be prepared to wrap a bit of fleece around them
if the temperature drops much below minus five.
Although spring was good,
we had a very cold, dry May and June here at Longmeadow.
In fact, it was the driest I could remember in 20 years.
Having said that, the dahlias haven't minded at all.
These are tender plants. They come from Mexico.
And yet, they've loved it!
Been absolutely great, so you never quite know what's going to work.
Another plant which has loved it this year
and would look really fantastic were the clematis.
The clematis have been as good as I've ever known them.
The cottage garden is deliberately a holy mishmash
and nearly always there's something that's performing well.
And I think this was the best year for roses that I can ever remember.
They were absolutely wonderful,
and as far as I can gather, that's true of most of us.
2015 was the summer of the rose.
And, by the way, just in the last few days,
this lovely little gentian is flowering in there.
But I've got some evening primrose here. This is an apricot,
Grown from seed, biannual.
It's not too late to plant evening primrose, foxgloves, wallflowers...
You can still be planting now for next spring.
And, of course, the beauty of this time of year is,
as things are going over, there's a little bit more space.
Pop them in the ground.
They will not grow at all over winter,
but they'll be fully ready to take advantage of the weather
as it starts to change next March and April.
Now, obviously, what we want from these are the flowers.
And although they've got an interesting foliage,
it's that display that we will hunger for in the middle of winter.
But flowers don't exist just for us.
And in the last of her series on the botany of plants,
Carol is looking at flowers.
For centuries, we've been seeking to unravel the mysteries of plants,
to unlock their secrets,
enabling us to have a better understanding of how they grow.
As gardeners, we play a small but important role in maintaining
the diversity of plant life on our planet.
Yeah, we grow plants because they're beautiful and for our enjoyment,
but if we learn more about their botany,
it can help us all become much better gardeners.
Over the last four weeks, I've looked at how seeds germinate,
how roots get food from the soil,
how stems transport food and water
and how leaves miraculously supply us with oxygen.
This week, I'm focusing on flowers.
Flowers might enchant gardeners,
but our enjoyment is incidental to their purpose.
They're the reproductive parts of plants,
and have developed extraordinary strategies
to attract pollinating insects.
The colours and forms of flowers are seemingly endless.
But they don't get that way completely by accident -
far from it.
They have partners in pollination.
They've evolved with their insect partners
so that the two co-exist and are mutually dependant.
They've got a symbiotic relationship.
Take this evening primrose.
It's got this long... What looks like a stem, but it's not.
It's actually a tube and at the base of that is the nectar.
And what can access this nectar? Only moths.
It's absolutely brilliant.
And to understand properly exactly what's going on in those flowers,
I want to cut one of these open and expose all its parts.
And so you can see exactly what's going on inside.
You can see here the anthers, the pollen-bearing parts,
the male part of the flower.
And then in the centre, there's this stigma, which is the female bit.
Of course, the pollen has to cross from one onto the other,
but very, very few flowers actually self-pollinate.
What's needed is another factor - an insect, the wind, an animal -
to move that pollen from the anthers onto the stigma
and make pollination happen.
Once pollination has taken place,
then that pollen will go into the ovary,
and once that's happened, those seeds can develop
and spread themselves far and wide.
The beautiful borders at Cambridge University Botanic Garden
are crammed with flowers that insects love.
There are great big dials of daisies,
and petals with arrows and stripes,
directing insects towards their nectar.
When you stroll along a delightful flower border like this,
it looks as though all the bees
and pollinating insects are just visiting flowers randomly,
but in actual fact, so many flowers have really intriguing strategies
to make sure that they get pollinated.
Look at this antirrhinum.
This looks like pollen on the lip of this flower.
In actual fact, if you touch it, there's nothing there.
So the bee is lured in and as it opens up this flower, it's touched
all over its back by the pollen on these anthers, the top anthers.
And at the same time the flower has actually let some of the pollen drop
to the base here, onto the lip.
That's called secondary presentation.
So if the first one doesn't get you, the second one will.
What a clever strategy.
And the net is contained in this bit, which is called the gibba.
It's a sort of extension of a flower
and all that delicious liquid is contained in there.
So, the bee gets its nectar and the flower gets pollinated.
What a perfect relationship.
Every species has its own unique pollen
and images from modern microscopes show how some are spiky,
helping it to cling to insects and some has air pockets,
enabling it to be carried on the wind.
Sometimes in your greenhouse your tomatoes just don't set.
Some people try and move pollen around from flower to flower
with a little paintbrush, but it doesn't always work.
What you need is a bit of buzz pollination.
You want to simulate the vibration of a bee's wings
that will get the flower to release its pollen.
Enter my secret weapon.
An electric toothbrush.
I'm going to try it on this flower. And...
Lo and behold, it works.
I suppose we take it for granted that we can move around freely,
but for plants it's a totally different proposition.
They have to stay in one place, but they've developed extraordinary
strategies to help them to survive wherever they find themselves.
You always get the feeling that nature's indomitable,
she's just waiting in the wings for the opportunity to thrive.
There's no doubt that if you know how plants act and behave,
the botany of them, it's such a help in knowing how to grow them
so that they look as good as possible.
Now, looking after rhubarb is not that tricky
at this time of year.
Obviously there's no more to harvest, it's dying back.
And you can just leave it so all the stems
and the foliage dies right back and then clear them up, or strip away
the leaves and the stems that have fallen below 45 degrees.
Just pull them, you don't need to cut them. Just pull them from the crown.
And then give them a good feed.
Ideally well-rotted manure or garden compost,
as thickly as you can, but don't cover the crowns because
if you suppress those they can rot and then you won't get any next year.
Now, that's it. That's all you have to do
if your rhubarb is fairly young, sort of up to five years old,
but if it's a bit older than that you can refresh it
and rejuvenate it now, at this time of year.
All you have to do is dig up a crown.
And what you need to do is divide it so that your new shoots just have
one section, so I can get two or even three plants from that.
Now, these plants are over 20 years old,
but I have split them fairly regularly.
So, I'm going to replant one there
and that one can get moved to a new site.
A bit of compost in there.
And plant it so that these crowns are above the level of the soil.
There we go.
Give that a really good soak.
And don't harvest it next year.
Let the divided crowns establish and then in two years' time
and for the following three or four years, they will be ultra productive.
I'll tell you what, the Nigel topiary, it's early days,
but it's beginning to happen.
I think by the time we come to next July, August,
when he gets his next trim, you won't be able to tell the difference...
Come on. I still know it's you.
I think it's fair to say that the vegetable garden
has had a very mixed year.
What's done well has done very well.
And what's done badly has been a disaster.
Now, on the good side of things, it's been a great year for carrots.
They're so big in there I can't pull it out with my hand.
But you can see that the carrots have grown perfectly well.
And on there, no sign of carrot fly at all, which is always a good thing.
Brassica growing well.
I mean, we've got far too much of this black kale.
Haven't been able to eat half of it.
In fact, all the leaves - celery, rocket, chicory, lettuce,
has loved this year.
Beetroot, chard and spinach have done really well.
That's the good news.
Bad news is, any of the crops that needed heat - squashes, pumpkins,
French beans have been REALLY bad.
Funnily enough, the courgettes here were fine.
We've had lots of courgettes.
But if you're growing courgettes and you're trying to eke them out
and get a few more, I'm afraid it's over.
So, what I'm going to do here is just harvest the few that we've got
and then clear all these away.
Let's take this to the compost heap.
The first place for compost in this garden is this area here,
which is a sort of collection bay.
And the idea is that all week whatever we're got goes into here,
a real old mixture, and then the end of the week
it gets chopped up as much as possible.
Some things can be mowed, others go through a shredder.
They then go into here where it slowly builds up
and starts turning into compost and the bacteria works on it.
And then that's turned and then turned again.
And by the time it reaches the end bay, you've got a lovely, dark,
sweet-smelling compost which is the absolute secret of a healthy garden.
But of course, at this time of year it's not just compost we're making,
it's that time where you want to collect every leaf you can
to make leaf mould.
And we went to RHS Wisley to see how they make their leaf mould.
Autumn is such a wonderful time of the year.
There are so many rich, vibrant colours.
It's great to get outside, to go for a walk,
to smell those lovely, musky scents which fill the air.
Autumn really is truly a magical, magical season.
Behind all this magic there's a lot of actions
and reactions which are taking place.
During the summer the leaves of the tree are bright green in colour
as it is photosynthesising and producing energy.
However, we come into the autumn with the change in temperature
and light levels, and the tree starts to shut down.
And as it does so a layer of cells start to form between the leaf
and the stem.
As this happens, the green pigment starts to break down
and disappear and it reveals these wonderful reds and yellows,
colours which are hidden behind it.
And then ultimately the layer of cells becomes complete
and the leaf gets shed and falls to the ground.
For many people when the leaves end up on the ground
they become a pesky problem.
But for me, the really critical ingredient is
we start the wonderful process of producing leaf mould.
This stuff is absolutely wonderful.
You can't buy it in your garden centre.
It's great for the health of your garden.
At home, you can use a rake to rake the leaves up,
you can use a lawnmower which chops them up.
Here at Wisley, we use a vacuum
just because of the volume we've got to collect.
The production of leaf mould is a natural process.
In the woodland, we leave the leaves on the bed.
But in more formal parts of the garden,
where the leaves would look untidy, and might spoil the lawns,
we gather them up, we take them off-site,
and we process them behind the scenes when no-one sees.
Here at Wisley, our composting site is huge. We recycle all the material
from the garden, and it comes back in. We keep our leaf mould separate.
To break it down, it's more fungi that break down the leaves.
Whereas with garden compost,
it's more the bacterial action which causes it.
We put it through a shredding machine,
and then put it into long rows which are turned two or three times.
During dry periods, it may get watered.
At Wisley, it takes us
about six months to produce good-quality leaf mould.
In your garden at home, it'll take between one and two years.
This stuff is absolutely wonderful.
It smells great, but it's really light and friable.
When you compare it with garden compost, which is heavier,
high in nitrogen, this we use as a mulch in some
parts of the garden and we add it to the vegetable garden.
However, with this wonderful material,
we use it as a mulch around some of our choice trees and shrubs.
If we're creating planting pockets
for our wonderful woodland perennials,
we incorporate this into the soil because it activates
all the bacteria and fungi necessary for healthy plant growth.
And, then, when it's really rotted down, we add it to potting compost.
Oh, let's look after this wonderful material.
When you're out in your garden
and enjoying the wonderful autumn colour, remember,
gather up the leaves, produce your own leaf mould,
and your garden and its plants will love you for it.
I do agree with Colin. This is just wonderful stuff.
And you can't buy it.
You have to make it from your leaves, so treasure every leaf.
One tip is that I always leave any leaves on the ground
when they're dry and the sun is shining, and they're looking great.
It seems vandalism to collect them up because, sooner or later,
they will get wet. And, actually, they're much easier to collect up
when they're a bit wet.
It feels quite a long time ago that I dug this new asparagus bed.
Put lots of grit in, planted the asparagus.
This was an investment for 20 years.
And, now, if you're growing asparagus, as they yellow off,
it's time to cut them back.
Future crops really repay the investment of some good compost.
And the way to apply that compost is as a mulch.
Put it on as thickly as you can spare.
And, if you don't grow asparagus, here are some other things
you can be doing to get the garden ready for winter.
It's now time to go through the seeds
that you collected throughout the summer.
Check that they're still in good condition and then you can start
to sieve them, to separate the actual seeds from the pods or the chaff.
They can be stored either in paper bags or envelopes,
or glass jars with a sealed top.
Label them clearly, and put them somewhere cool and dark to store
until they're ready to use.
We've already had a few frosts, and we're bound to get more,
so it's time to protect plants
like agapanthus and eucomis.
Evergreen agapanthus are much less hardy than the deciduous ones,
which can be kept outside if it's not too cold.
Both agapanthus and eucomis,
as well as being kept above freezing, should be kept dry all winter.
Ideally, we would all clean and oil our tools every time we use them.
But life is not like that.
However, now we come to winter, it is worth spending time rubbing down
metal tools with wire wool,
particularly those used for cutting,
oiling them and sharpening them, putting them away, ready for action.
Whereas the bottom greenhouse,
as we call it, is almost entirely for propagation,
this greenhouse is half conservatory, really, and it's not done badly.
But we will fill all this,
the whole thing will be full of plants stored over winter.
Of course, the greenhouse also houses the vine.
We planted this a few years ago, and it's grown really well.
We had a fantastic crop of grapes.
We thinned them. There were lots of bunches.
And then a blackbird got in one weekend
and stripped all the ripe fruit.
There were plenty of green ones left - they slowly ripened,
and then the wasps came.
And we had literally thousands of wasps,
and it was almost impossible to get in here,
and they just took the whole lot.
However, the plant is fine, we've got a decent structure,
and I will prune this round about Christmas, New Year time.
The grapes are produced on new growth,
so prune right back to the structure.
Whatever you leave behind will not bear fruit,
so it just wants to be literally the bare framework.
At times this summer,
it's felt like the wasps reached plague proportions -
but there's no evidence that there were more wasps than normal,
and actually, they do do quite a lot of good.
They eat a lot of aphids and other pests,
and if we didn't have them, our gardens would certainly suffer.
This area has been a new development all year,
really quite big beds and it's slowly come on -
it's been quite tricky, cos there's a big area to do,
but I'm pleased with the way it's developed,
and it will go on developing with more planting next year.
But in the orchard,
a really big new venture have been the bees -
and I want to see how they've been getting on.
What I have here is a top-bar hive,
which is really for natural beekeeping,
so the idea is as much to encourage bees into the garden
as it is to get honey - but I can get both.
But at this time of year, what I really want to check
is to see that the bees have a good supply of honey
to see them through the winter,
and then next spring, if there's any left,
I can take our share.
So, the first thing to do is to take the top off the hive...
..and they won't like me fiddling around,
so I'm going to keep really calm.
Now, if I lift this up carefully... Ooh, it's heavy.
..and there we are. There's a natural comb, glistening with honey.
Isn't that fantastic?
And that's what they will feed on for the winter.
Down you go.
Let's keep really calm - I'm sorry to disturb you, guys.
Natural beekeeping allows the honey to overwinter with the bees
as their supply.
What I'm looking for is a balance of lots of bees to pollinate my garden,
and perhaps a good supply, but not all the honey that they produce,
which I'll take in spring.
Well, the bees were getting a little bit angry and flustered by that,
but I'll leave them in peace now.
What about you? Are you angry and flustered?
Not really his style, I don't think.
That's it for today, and I'm afraid that's it for this year.
The end of another gardening season - of course there are jobs
and things to do over winter,
but there's a real sense of the days drawing in -
yes, I know what you want.
"Oh, dear! Not the end of Gardeners' World?!"
No, I'll be back here with Nigel next spring,
so have a lovely Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you then.
They're here because they want this title. I'm really excited.
The knives are sharpened and the heat is on. It can only mean one thing.
I've never, ever seen that!
Britain's best chefs are back in town.
They're here because they want this title. I'm really excited.
Let's see what they can do.
MasterChef: The Professionals starts cooking...
In the last programme of the current series, Monty Don takes stock of his year at Longmeadow. We visit RHS Wisley to learn why autumn leaves are such a precious commodity for our gardens. And in the final instalment of her botany series, Carol Klein celebrates the glorious displays put on by flowering plants to attract pollinators.