Rachel de Thame joins Monty Don in Longmeadow and adds more medicinal planting to the herb garden, especially those that the bees love.
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Hello, welcome to Gardeners' World
on another glorious summer's day here at Longmeadow.
And I love the opium poppies,
their beautiful tall stems topped by these wonderful
flowers that range from relatively simple petals to great ruffles.
However, there is one slight problem, which is that the
colour scheme here on the mound is meant to be whites,
pale lemon yellows, pale blues and absolutely no reds or pinks at all.
Poppies don't fit in to our plan.
The best laid plans of gardeners oft go astray
because these are self-sown.
Poppy seeds can lie dormant in the soil for years and years
and then when you dig it over, which happened last year,
they get the light and up they pop and they are no respecter of colour.
They look fantastic but what I will do is let the beautiful
seed heads stay until they start to turn brown
and then I will cut them off before the seeds can disperse
and that way, next year, the chances are there will be fewer
flowers of the wrong colour.
But, of course, there is nothing in the world wrong with these
And they symbolise for me long, hot summer days in the garden.
On today's programme, I visit a local garden in Herefordshire
to look at a national collection of Siberian iris.
Carol is in Somerset, home of one of her horticultural heroes,
We celebrate a plant that never fails to delight us -
And Rachel will be joining me here at Longmeadow.
As the month comes to an end,
the harvest in the vegetable garden increases and increases.
And the broad beans are reaching their absolute peak.
I was brought up where we ate broad beans when they were in season,
almost every meal, and they would grow as big as pebbles and be
floury and have to be swimming in white sauce to be edible.
But I have since learned that the secret to broad beans
is to eat them small, and to do that you want to keep picking.
So if you have a bean like that...
By the way, it is much easier to use a knife to cut them
because if you try and pull them off, you can
sort of damage the stem of the plant but if you open them out,
that is as big a bean as I want to eat.
They are sweet and fresh and delicious.
My peas are almost ready for picking.
This is a variety called Blauwschokker
and you can see the "Blau" refers to the deep, almost chocolaty purple.
Nigel comes up here and eats them straight off the plant.
Don't you? Too hot now. Do you want a pea?
So those I am not actually going to pick at the moment, I'm going
to keep an eye on them. Just a few more beans.
And by the way, we have a case here of blackfly.
It's nothing to worry about.
At this time of year you have the young feeding on the soft,
new growth. So if you are worried about it -
and it is not going to damage the plant particularly -
just simply pinch it off and that removes the soft,
new material that they feed off,
and they won't attack the old growth.
So if you see blackfly, just pinch off the tips - solves the problem.
Well, that is the beginning of what should make a delicious meal.
But not yet - there's more harvest to come.
At this time of year, it is
inevitable that some of your vegetables are going to go to seed,
And bolting is an evolutionary response
to a change of circumstances, either if they are too hot, too dry,
sometimes too cold, even.
They can feel, "We are in trouble,
"we need to produce seed and produce it fast."
So, for example, this chard, which has been in here all winter,
we've been harvesting it all that time, now every plant is trying to
form flowers, seed, and therefore new plants
and really it's over, it's run its course.
Likewise with rocket.
However, between these two bolting plants that need to come out,
I've got a perfectly healthy and happy crop ready to be harvested.
This is elephant garlic.
When you're harvesting any kind of garlic,
let alone elephant garlic, always use a fork, don't yank at it.
Because if you're going to store them, you need the roots attached.
You don't want to damage the basal plate.
Lift it out with as much root as possible - and this is quite deep.
It's not just below the surface.
There we go. And that...
That's a good size.
Not exceptional for elephant garlic.
If I break this open, I can take off a clove.
Although this is much bigger - and they can be twice this size -
than a normal clove of garlic, you use it in the same ratio.
So if it says a couple of cloves, you use two of these.
And because it is so much milder, it doesn't overwhelm a dish.
It's absolutely delicious, and very good for you, too.
Now, this is in the green,
which means that it is fresh garlic
and we're going to eat it fresh and not look to store it.
If you want to store garlic, probably leave it
until the leaves are dying back a bit more.
What you'd do is, as soon as they start to turn, stop watering,
leave it, let the leaves die back,
and then dig it up.
But when they are green like this, I think they're at their very best.
It is an absolute treat.
Now, we'll finish this particular harvest with a crop
that is a first, or at least a first for these plants.
These are globe artichokes.
I sewed them last year and I didn't take any harvest from them
because I wanted to develop nice strong plants.
Now they're in their second year, they're ready to produce
and perform and they'll go on doing so for another three or four years.
And when you buy an artichoke, or order one in a restaurant,
it's a great big thing,
the size of at least an orange if not a grapefruit.
But if you grow them yourself and you have access to lots,
they are delicious eaten much smaller.
This particular variety, violetta di Chioggia, is quite prickly.
That doesn't matter cos you're not going to eat these outer leaves.
And, in fact, if you cut through it, just cut off all the outside,
that way you can quarter them, fry them gently, you don't
just have to pick off a leaf at a time and sort of scrape it off
with the end of your teeth.
Now although I love growing vegetables, you can't avoid the fact
that at this time of year the garden is just awash with colour.
Colour of every shade and hue and tone.
One of the joys of gardening is finding new plants,
finding ways of combining them.
The other day I went to visit a nursery that grows
one of my favourite plants, with a lovely range of intense colour.
Aulden Farm nurseries is very conveniently close to
Longmeadow but I would have travelled miles to come here,
because it's got the National Collection of Siberian irises.
Now, bearded irises get all the headlines, those are the flashy
catwalk models of the iris world and they are gorgeous.
But the Siberian irises are exquisitely beautiful
and much more adaptable and if you want to see them at their
very best with the widest selection possible, this is the place to be.
The iris beds serve as a vital horticultural resource.
They are a living library for iris lovers all over the country.
The garden is the work of Alan and Jill Whitehead,
and together they have collected over 150 different
varieties of Siberian Iris.
Tell me how the National Collection came about.
We felt as a nursery we ought to specialise in something.
We started looking at the Siberian irises but there was
a National Collection five miles up the road
so there's no point having a second collection so close.
But when that nursery closed about five years later,
nobody else came forward. So, about two years again after that,
we purchased any remaining stock they had
and tried to re-establish it here.
And was there a risk of that National Collection disappearing?
Absolutely. If we hadn't rescued it
then it probably would have just been ploughed in or just neglected.
You know, it was that sense of history and bringing it back
here and keeping it in the area that was important to us.
You've saved this collection for the nation?
For us as well.
-And for you.
It's a reference collection for people as well.
So people contact you and they can check out different varieties
-And if they're doing any breeding of irises it gives them
the opportunity to actually come and see and compare.
Otherwise if they have bred an iris,
how do they know if there's not one exactly the same?
So you have the National Collection, you have the nursery to run,
and the garden is open, too, isn't it?
It's open by appointment for groups or individuals.
We always say, if we are here, you are welcome.
And I've got a group coming now, which I just need to go and see to.
They'll be expecting tea and biscuits and so forth.
-Oh, good, do we get tea and coffee and biscuits?
-If you're good.
So we'll have the garden to ourselves just for a little while
-before they get in?
-Come on, let's have a look. See you later.
-I'll put the kettle on.
Oh, I see goodness.
Goodness, goodness, goodness.
Look at this.
A field of irises.
Unlike bearded iris, which I think most people who grow them know
need to full sun, good drainage,
what do Siberian irises really like?
Are they a marginal aquatic plant?
Are they a border plant? Do they need lots of water?
What's the best way to grow them?
Basically, they are very adaptable.
You don't want to put them below the waterline
but they will cope with damp soil.
But they will also grow in a normal flowerbed with reasonable drainage.
You need to water them until they're established, growing away,
but once they're doing that, they should look after themselves.
It's very unusual to find a garden where you can't grow them.
They need a sunny aspect but partial shade they'll also cope with.
What you're describing is a very easy plant.
-That's what we think!
Most of the Siberian iris that we grow in our gardens today
are actually a cross between iris sibirica and iris sanguinea.
This is showing a lot of the iris sibirica characteristics.
Principally small flowers, quite a few to a stem
and held well above the foliage.
If I show you a plant over there,
that will give you some of the iris sanguinea characteristics.
It's very beautiful, isn't it?
It's gorgeous, it's Ellesmere.
So this is showing more of the characteristics of iris sanguinea.
Principally two flowers to a stem, it's held just on the top
of the foliage, but it does show the bracts hasn't dried back
-at flowering time.
and I can of course see the bracts are tight in on there.
And they can be very attractive in themselves.
Before the flower opens,
you've got these snakes coming up which can actually look beautiful.
It is very beautiful.
It's an absolute joy.
I guess this is one of the very few places that you can see all
This is pretty well a unique opportunity, I'm afraid.
And a real education.
Well, I have been dazzled by all the different shades of Siberian Iris.
And it just whets my appetite to grow more in my own garden.
Surely that is the greatest accolade you can give any garden
or collection -
it makes you want to partake of it even more.
I thought that was a fascinating trip
and I can't recommend it more highly.
If you are near Aulden, do go in.
You'll see the National Collection,
more Siberian irises than you will see anywhere else,
and I've brought back Ellesmere,
this beautiful, intense colour
which will be perfect for the Jewel Garden.
The flowers of course are faded now.
That doesn't matter, I'll plant it now and next spring
it will hit its full stride.
Right, I'll add a little bit of compost and leaf mould.
Because for iris sibirica, the more moisture-retentive soil is,
the happier they'll be.
Just work that in.
I'm going to plant the three in a group.
I want a nice, big strong clump.
Nice root system.
That can come in there.
And then the other big one.
That can go in there.
So what I have is a loose group that will thicken out,
and to help the process of thickening up,
I am actually going to take the flowering stems off.
And that means that none of the plants'
energy will be going into making seeds.
I could have just cut the seed head off like that but then you're
left with a sharp spike and I think it just looks better
with the foliage.
If it gets really dry like it has been here for the last
couple of weeks,
these will benefit from a good soak every couple of weeks or so.
By the way, when you are watering in any plant at this time of year,
do give it a really good soak.
A full watering can or a bucket is not excessive.
And then the soil will soak up the moisture
and the roots will find it days, even weeks later.
If you just sprinkle on the surface, the roots have to go to the surface
to find it and then they are much more exposed if there is a drought.
These iris won't flower now until next May
so I've got to think what will be flowering at the same time.
Of course, there are early clematis that will come through.
And the queen of those early clematis is clematis montana.
And to see the very best of clematis montana,
we visited the National Collection in Salisbury,
held by Val Le May Neville-Parry.
I started off wanting a clematis in flower the whole year round.
And when I'd got about 70 clematis, I thought,
"Right, I've done it now, I'm there."
And then somebody said,
"Well, there's no National Collection of montanas."
And I thought there can't be very many,
most people just say, "I've got the pink one or the white one."
I thought there couldn't be more than about 20.
And I said, "Yes, I'll do it."
And then another friend e-mailed me and said, "Val, there are 75
"in the international clematis register."
When I arrived here there was one montana outside the lounge window.
And the blackbirds used to nest in that every spring
and it was such a thrill for me.
The lovely thing about the montanas is that if you are careful with your
selection, you can have a montana in flower for up to three months,
which is fantastic.
The characteristics of montanas are quite diverse.
There is single and double, pink and white and lemon.
The largest is about 12cm in diameter
and the smallest is about 5cm.
Most of them have the most fabulous perfume - vanilla, hyacinth.
Absolutely glorious perfume pervades the garden in the spring sunshine,
which is a tremendous bonus.
This is one of my all-time favourites,
I gather that the original came from John Betjeman's garden,
and its name is clematis continuity, and as you might expect from that
name, it flowers right up until mid to late October.
When you're buying a plant,
one of the things you need to look out for is multi-stems.
When I bought this in 2004, it had two stems,
and after about three or four years, I noticed that there were another
two stems coming up from ground level.
So if I was to lose one, I would still have the others there.
A lot of clematis that are sold nowadays are just one stem
and, really, if you lose that, you've had it.
The only other one that reliably repeat flowers
is this Sir Eric Savill.
Fabulous perfume, very large flower, beautiful colour.
And it will flower, on and off, until late October, November.
If you can have a look at the flower,
it's mainly one colour on the front, but on the back,
you can see it still retains the bud, deep pink.
Now, this is a really lovely plant called Giant Star.
A botanical artist favourite.
And the lovely thing is the different shapes
you've got on the one plant.
The bud just starting to open, then half open,
and then almost fully open.
This plant has been in the ground for about 13 years now.
And it's planted on the east side of this massive cherry tree.
It's a beautiful double cherry, absolutely gorgeous.
When you're planting, plant a metre away from your host.
Basically, I dig my hole, so... About that circumference.
And about that deep.
And then you can lay your montana in with the roots
away from the trunk, or the wall, or the fence.
Backfill with soil and a little bit of compost and leaf mould.
The leaf mould won't feed the soil,
but it will actually keep the soil nice and open.
When I've had what looks like a really good seedling,
I've named it after a friend.
This one at the back, on the pillar, has been named Mary,
after the mother of one of my godsons.
It's a really lovely plant, very vigorous, covered with flowers,
a cloak of white within the next couple of weeks.
It's beautiful to have plants all round me that remind me
not only of the original person, but their families.
I can just think of all my lovely friends as I walk round the garden.
I love this delicate clematis.
There is something about this that is really special.
And I was going to tell you what it is.
Went to look at the label, because I've forgotten,
and I couldn't read it, cos it's completely gone blank.
The moral of the story is if you're going to label plants -
and it's a good idea - use something that lasts.
And if any of you know of a labelling system that is
absolutely cast iron and works for years,
well, I'd be very glad to hear of it.
But this clematis is very different from montana,
because it's group three,
which means that it produces all its flowers on current season's growth.
So in late February, early March,
this is pruned right down to the ground,
and everything you can see has grown since then.
Whereas clematis montana
produces its flowers on the previous year's growth,
so everything that is growing now
and for the rest of the summer will carry next year's flowers,
so if you prune that off in March, you'd have nothing.
If it's really unruly, cut it hard back down to the ground
and if you haven't done so, do it now, do it this weekend,
and then you get flowers next year.
Now, clematis works perfectly
in this kind of loose, cottage-garden style.
And that style can be laid, really, at the door of one woman.
And she is one of Carol Klein's gardening heroes.
I can't believe that I'm back in this beautiful garden again.
East Lambrook Manor.
The garden was created by one of my all-time heroines, Margery Fish.
She was one of the people who got me gardening in the first place.
Her words, her knowledge,
her love of plants have always been an inspiration to me.
Born in London in 1892,
Margery worked as personal assistant to six different Fleet Street
editors, before marrying the last of them, Walter Fish.
It was then that her foray into gardening began.
In 1937, with war on the horizon, they bought 15th century
East Lambrook Manor, complete with a large, derelict garden.
Despite her lack of any kind of formal horticultural training,
Margery Fish was a natural when it came to gardening.
And this is typical of the wonderful panoply of plants that she'd
put together, all sorts of things jostling with one another,
cheek by jowl, but perfectly happy in this gay profusion.
Margery Fish once said, "If in doubt, plant a geranium."
And these spikes of baptisia, brilliant blue in the background.
And here, in the foreground, tumbling over the path,
And these sort of plants, and this kind of way of putting them
together, is what's come to be known today as cottage gardening.
Head gardener Mark Stainer didn't know Margery, but he's dedicated
a large part of his life to staying true to her cottage garden ethos.
What I love about her gardening
and about all those ideas that she's given us, is it got right away
from that whole idea of control that you find in so much urban gardening.
She really allowed the plants to do their own thing and she used to
spend time looking at other gardens in the surrounding villages,
cos it was these surrounding cottage gardens that inspired her.
And it's this cottage garden style we associate with Margery Fish,
with its very dense, very natural, almost wild planting.
And the borders were true mixed plantings, with trees, shrubs,
roses, herbaceous plants, bulbs, and she was always encouraging
self-seedlings, so as soon as you put a few plants in,
they'd always look very formal.
In no time, the self-seedlings would come up
and the whole bed's filled in.
And it looks like Mrs Fish is watching over the whole thing.
I love the way the garden actually looks like it's just...happened.
Margery gave names to each piece of her garden.
And this one, she called the Lido.
It's very, very damp down here.
And I think this piece perfectly illustrates
three of her most important principles. First of all,
she chose plants which a lot of people would've neglected.
They would've thought them not garden worthy,
but she knew the possibilities that they offered.
Who would've thought of putting iris foetidissima?
Our own native iris, which will have huge masses of orange berries
all through the winter.
At the foot of this tree, almost nothing else would grow there.
Secondly, she was informed by one guiding principle,
and that was choose the right plant for the right place.
So, deep down in the bottom of the ditch
there are all sorts of astilboides,
which really relish that damp sort of place,
and, thirdly, it was the way that she combined plants.
You look at this, and it all looks
as though it just happened to be here - but not a bit of it.
Although it includes all sorts of wonderful self-seeded plants,
the whole basis of this design
is very carefully thought out and put together.
During her gardening lifetime, Margery wrote several books,
and this is the first -
We Made A Garden.
That's what it's about, how she made this garden
with her husband Walter -
but it wasn't all plain sailing.
Margery's nephew, Henry Boyd-Carpenter,
remembers visiting them as a young boy.
-Was their attitude to gardening the same?
-Not at all.
Walter came from a very formal gardening background,
and he liked straight lines, red-hot pokers,
many of the things which, for Margery,
subsequently became anathema.
He objected to her small, precious little plants
which she dug into the walls.
He dug them out, and she dug them back in, and after his death,
she really went on a spree of informality.
Don't you think it was just a rejection of control
that Walter personified?
And producing the joy back into what she thought was gardening,
discovering new plants, telling people about them,
collecting them and then, of course, writing about them
until her death in 1969.
So, she made up for it.
She made up for it, she wrote feverishly,
she wrote late at night with pop music resounding round the village.
What did people in the village think of her?
I'm sure they thought she was very obsessive
and probably pretty eccentric.
There is a wonderful story - Margery in a long dress
going to a very smart cocktail party
and being caught on her way home out of her car in a wood
with a spade digging for leaf mould for the garden.
I would love to have known her!
-You lucky boy.
-It was a great privilege.
And a great joy.
Margery taught us many lessons,
but probably one of the most important things
we can learn from her
is to celebrate the triumph of freedom over formality -
to enjoy our gardens,
because, after all, that's what they are -
places of joy and places to have fun.
I love the way that gardening seems to nurture real characters -
and, of course, these are people with immense knowledge
that is handed down through the generations -
and my own garden, here, look around you.
The influence goes right back 50 years or more to Margery Fish.
East Lambrook Manor is open to the public,
so if you want to see Margery's garden for yourself,
go to our website for all the details.
Now, we've still got lots to come on tonight's programme.
Nick Bailey is showing us how to design
and create borders that will transform any long, narrow garden...
..and Rachel will be joining me here at Longmeadow.
But before that, she goes to the National Botanic Garden of Wales,
where she discovers how they are using the honey from their bees
as part of their plant research.
The buzzing of the honey bee -
once a seminal sound in our gardens,
but these vital pollinators
are now more under threat than they've ever been,
and it's here, in the rolling hills
above the Towy Valley in Carmarthenshire
that the battle to protect them is being fought in earnest.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales
is a blend of formal gardens, lakes and woodland,
and home to more than 8,000 plant species.
It's also a centre for botanical research.
PhD student Laura Jones is leading a team
investigating the habits of the honey bee in order to help save it.
Pollinators and honey bees are under decline.
This is due to a variety of interacting factors -
so, there's a loss and fragmentation of habitat,
pests and diseases, and all these things are interacting
to create a problem for our pollinators.
So, if we can find out the plants that are most important to the bees,
and what they're foraging on, we can help to give them forage
and give them what they need to survive.
So, how exactly are you finding out what the bees are foraging on?
We're looking at what they're foraging on throughout the season,
and to do that, we sample honey from our hives
here at the Botanic Garden.
One of the amazing resources that we have
is that we've DNA barcoded all the native plants of the UK,
and we can use these DNA barcodes
-to identify the plants that are in the honey.
-Shall we go see our hives?
-I'd love to see the hives!
Lynda Christie runs the apiary,
and works closely with Laura on the research.
There you are, and then...
We've chosen this one
because I know that there's some good-quality nectar there
that Laura could take a sample from.
-And, you see, all the bees...
-..are very busy up in the super,
where they've been bringing in nectar and stores.
That's amazing. I mean, I'm tempted to say "busy bee",
-but that would really be...
-It's very apt.
-..too much of a cliche. It's VERY apt!
I see why, now.
So, how many bees, roughly, do you think there are in your apiary?
There's roughly 250,000. There are several active hives at the moment.
-There's a nice lot of capped, sealed honey,
which is fresh, and fresh nectar.
Now, before we take the frame over, I just shake the bees down...
-So, we just give them... They won't want to come off here, but...
-We'll give it a little shake...
-You literally just shake them off!
-Shake them off.
-And then I'll just pass that to you, Rachel...
-..to take over to the table...
-..for Laura to take a sample.
So, Laura, what now?
So, I'm going to try and get some of this nectar,
and some of the capped honey, as well.
Oh, look at that!
So, now that we've got this honey sample,
we'll take this back to the lab, here at the garden.
This contains a lot of pollen that we can centrifuge out,
so we can extract the DNA from, so we can sequence it.
Once we sequence it,
then we'll be able to compare those unknown sequences
with our known sequences in our database,
to be able to say what they are.
-So, you'll know exactly where these bees have been.
Oh, I think it's fantastic.
Look at that one, it's just trying to dip in there, I think.
The results from this year's samples won't be ready until autumn,
but last year's have already thrown up some surprising results
that could influence what we plant in our own gardens.
What we're finding is, the bees,
the plants that they're foraging on the most
were the native sort of woodland hedgerow species,
that's what it tended to be - so, things like hawthorn, willow,
gorse is another species,
and then bluebells, dandelions, are really important forage for bees.
At last, a reason not to do the weeding! Fantastic.
That's really interesting, isn't it?
You're offering them this platter of wonderful cultivated plants,
but, in fact, they're going back to things that are native.
We offer them this sort of rich resource,
they're right next door to our horticultural plantings,
and they are travelling further to get those native plants.
We recorded 437 different plant genera in flower for April and May,
and they're only using 11% of what's available to them.
But cultivated plants aren't off the menu completely -
the DNA research uncovered that honeybees have definite favourites,
such as peonies...
..and skimmia, to name a few.
Obviously, you're doing this wonderful research here in Wales,
but how is it applicable across the country?
We're opening up honey sampling to beekeepers around the UK,
so, if you can send in 30g of honey,
we can sequence the plants that are in your honey
and find out what's in them, and get an idea of what's happening
with bees in lots of different habitats.
This potentially ground-breaking study
will run for the next two years,
and when it's done, the hope is that, as gardeners and beekeepers,
we'll have an in-depth idea of what to plant
to give our much-loved and needed pollinators
the best chance possible, no matter what else they're facing.
-I saw the hat first!
-You found me.
-I thought you must be there.
-Lovely to see you.
-Lovely to be back.
Well, you've never come in summer before, have you?
-No, it was October...
..last visit, and I must say, it's just looking breathtaking.
How was the National Botanic Garden of Wales?
It was such a good day, and when I was there,
I thought, "Monty is going to want to get the honey tested from here."
-Without any question at all. But I also want you
-to do some planting with me.
-If you will.
-Let's have a look around.
-Oh, yes, please.
A tour, I think, is what's called for.
-Big changes here since your last time.
-All the box taken out, right the way through...
-..and then, here...
-..it's our new culinary herb garden.
I love this.
It's good things coming out of difficult situations, and you adapt.
-Exactly. Change is part of gardening...
..and you either accept it, or you suffer!
These new beds are coming on. They're only in their second year.
-They look like they've been here forever.
They're being added to all the time -
in fact, I want to add to them now,
and what I'm really keen on is adding plants
-that will attract bees, but still do well in shade.
I've got a few plants here.
I don't know if they're going to be right or not,
but I think a lot of people feel
-that shade is tricky in that respect.
-Can be - it's a more restricted choice of plants...
-So, choose -
if you plant a couple and I plant a couple...
I'm happy on this side, I'll do these two -
this lovely veronicastrum, cos I love that height,
and these whirls just going down in tiers.
-And the colour just fits in. You can see the palette...
..of the foxgloves and the roses, and what I'm really looking for,
-particularly in there, is plants rising up through.
So, I think they'll do that job, and I think they'll still be -
I'd like on these borders...
Cos if you look at the pinks and the whites...
With the rose there, as well.
-Yeah, exactly - I think they'll work in for that.
The only point that is worth pointing out with astilbe -
-these are no good if you've got really dry soil.
-If you've got sand or chalk. Heavy clay, absolutely fine.
-..I'll start, and we'll meet in the middle somewhere.
I don't think these want to make a group.
I think I'm going to dot these.
That's nice, because it mirrors the very pale pink of the rose.
-I think I'll put these together, though, Monty...
..rather than dot these.
-I don't want to give them too much shade...
..cos otherwise they'll lean over, searching for the light.
Can I persuade you to have these geraniums here? What do you think?
-Now, I've got these Japanese anemones,
and this is a variety called September Charm.
With that blush of rosy sort of mauvey pink, very nice.
-OK, if we're happy where everything is...
-..then I think we can plant.
-Given that I'm only here for the day,
-I think we should crack on.
-Come on, let's crack on. Yeah, let's go.
So, these veronicastrums, I was just thinking,
once the foxgloves have gone over, these will still be going.
What I love here, as well,
the colour of the plants you've got, Monty, because bees are attracted
-to that sort of mauve, pinky-blue spectrum, aren't they?
So, this is going to work well for them.
This one is Geranium Lilac Ice, and I love this colour,
this sort of soft mauve, it's going to be perfect in here,
and it's a sport of Rozanne,
and Rozanne is extremely floriferous over a long period of time.
Masses and masses of flowers, and is justly very popular,
and I think it's a perfect example of this flower shape -
this kind of lovely open disk,
so that bees and other pollinating insects
can just get right in there without any obstructions.
Things with very complicated flower shapes - not good for them.
Of course, the alternative to that open shape is a tubular flower,
and that particularly suits bumblebees,
who have a longer tongue and can get down there -
but this will be loved by all of them.
The thing about Japanese anemones is that they are really tough,
and once they get established, you try stopping them grow and flower.
Those will flower August, September, October,
and obviously what any garden should try and achieve
is have some flowers for the bees
from February through till November, if you can.
There we go.
I think that's good - but I think this is all part of the pattern.
When you're building up big borders like this,
it's going to happen in degrees.
-You're never going to do it all in one go.
What I like is the idea of pollinating insects,
not just honey bees, having access and shade.
-I think that's good -
and I think that this sort of flow of colour is very nice.
-It's a win-win all round.
-Come on, any planting of plants is always great.
-That is true.
If you've got a long, narrow garden, that can be quite daunting,
I think, for people, on how to get the most of it -
but Nick Bailey is about to show us
that, with a bit of judicious planting and clever design,
you can transform even a very long, narrow garden.
Lots of gardens in the UK,
particularly terraced properties like this,
have long and skinny gardens,
and that's often emphasised by the fact
that they've got narrow strip plantings either side -
but, with some clever design tricks, planting and landscaping,
it's possible to change the way this place feels,
to make it broader and more dynamic,
and to add that sense of mystery and discovery.
There are so many ways of tackling a small, narrow garden like this.
So, to start with,
I'm going to mark out three different geometric designs
using canes and some key plants
to help me visualise which one will work best.
I'm going to create a slightly wider bed here,
so it sits in with the format, or layout, of the garden as it is.
I'm putting another bed back here. It breaks up that long view.
I think this birch needs to come right to the front over here.
So, I'm going to introduce a smaller square bed just here -
so, I've got birch, birch and robinia,
and that works all the way through, gives a nice continuity.
Placing a few more shrubs in.
We get a sense of the spatial division that's possible.
Down at the end here, it's going to break up this view completely,
so you won't be able to see into the garden - and so, by doing this,
it creates that sense of mystery as you walk around the garden.
So, this is the layout I'm going to go for.
In order to create the new, larger border,
I'm removing the existing plants...
..then marking out the area with string and canes.
The edges are then cut,
and the turf removed with a spade.
Now, to make this garden really sing,
I want to get a real unity and repetition
running through all three of these beds,
so I'm going to repeat the key plants. The best thing to do
is to get the largest, the most structural plants in first,
so, the trees...
..then the evergreens and the big shrubs...
and then transition down to the smaller plants,
and then you can play around, get them in the perfect positions.
Next thing to think about is the bulkier shrubs,
and I'm using these hydrangeas to do that.
They'll give some of the visual division between the beds.
For evergreen structure, I'm planting Euphorbia wulfenii,
for its lovely chartreuse colour,
and Hebe rakaiensis, which will form a neat hummock in the border.
I'm also adding foxgloves,
which will complement the colour of the silver birch,
and the polemonium Jacob's Ladder,
which has lovely blue flowers
and will fill out at the base of the bed.
The next plant is going to be this geum,
because it's a really bright, vibrant colour.
If you place it in a garden,
it always seems to be closer to you than it really is,
so putting it at that position in this bed,
it foreshortens the garden, it makes it feel wider.
It's a great design trick - and you can use it the other way round,
you can use pale colours in the distance,
and they appear to be further away.
I'm completing my planting scheme with the grass hakonechloa
for continuity through the beds,
and Galium odoratum, which is a wonderful ground cover plant
producing starry white flowers from late spring.
Now, it's quite important
when you're establishing new plants in the ground
to introduce some good organic matter
that they'll want to grow into.
Of course, a plant like this polemonium
has been growing away in lovely compost in its pot -
if you put it into heavy garden soil
it's not going to be tempted to put its roots out,
so, really important you mix some good quality compost into the ground
to encourage those roots to grow away.
Don't be tempted to push on the top of the root ball -
you'll split the roots down below. Firm in around the sides.
That will secure the plant -
and make sure there's good contact with the soil and the compost
so the roots will be encouraged to grow back out again,
and the plant will establish more quickly.
Now, the next thing is to create a little soil moat around the plant,
and that means that when you do your watering,
the soil doesn't run away across the surface of the bed.
Now, tree-planting is a little bit different, of course,
from shrub planting and herbaceous planting.
Fundamental to establishing trees is good staking.
Now, the old-fashioned way of staking
was to use a really long stake
that stuck about six foot out of the ground,
but various studies over the years
have shown that actually slows establishment.
If the tree is staked lower down, and it can move a bit...
..then it establishes much better, has stronger roots,
and is generally healthier.
So, just going to settle this in.
Now, the way to place a stake
is to figure out where your prevailing wind is coming from.
Normally from the south-west.
So, you want to put the stake on the south-westerly side of the tree,
so it's blowing away, not bashing back into the stake -
and you can see it's not going in straight,
it's going in at 45 degrees.
So, give this a good bash...
This, again, really helps with stability.
And, to finish off, I'm tying the birch to the stake with a tree belt.
Well, that's the project complete,
and it's already starting to do some of the things I'm hoping for.
There is a natural rhythm and repetition
running through the garden with the colours and forms,
and then, over the next couple of years, as these shrubs fill out,
they'll create natural screens and divisions,
and create new spaces in the garden,
so that nasty corridor feeling is lost.
There is, of course, now a sense of adventure and allure,
because you won't be able to see the garden all at once -
and also, it feels much wider,
and there are better spaces for the family to enjoy.
There's no question, if you have a long, thin garden,
or even a long, thin space within a garden,
that you want to break up, putting anything across it
doesn't make it seem smaller, it makes it seem bigger.
Now, here at Longmeadow, we've had very dry and, at times,
very hot weather, and even with our heavy soil,
things are beginning to suffer a bit.
So, let's see what the weather
is going to bring us gardeners this weekend.
Now, while Rachel is making sure the dogs are out of the way
and looking after them - at least, that's her excuse -
my own personal bee mentor, Gareth, here, has been guiding me.
He brought the bees here a couple of years ago -
-was it two years ago, Gareth?
-Yeah, second season,
and we've been through all the stages of beekeeping -
and I have to stress, if you want to keep bees, don't go it alone.
Join your local beekeeping association,
and they will find somebody locally
who will guide you through the first few years.
Why are you not wearing gloves?
I haven't for awhile.
I find that I can feel my way around the hive a bit better,
and I find that I'm a lot gentler with the bees.
-OK. We want to take this sample...
..send it to the National Botanic Garden of Wales
so they can then do an analysis of the DNA of the pollen,
and we'll find out what these bees have been feeding on.
So, will that be enough, do you think?
-This will be ample.
-OK, fine. Well, let's do that now.
-If you hold it, shall I scrape it off?
It always surprises me, actually, how firmly it sticks on there.
There we go.
How would you say these bees are, as a hive?
I've been astounded at the strength and vigour of these bees here,
-Monty. They produce both a bit of honey...
..and an awful lot of bees.
In terms of quantity, how much honey would you reasonably expect...
to gather before winter?
You know, Monty, if this weather keeps up -
-it's not great for the beekeepers, it's brilliant for the bees.
-I could see 20, possibly even 30 pounds...
..and that's leaving the bees with 30, 40, 50 pounds for themselves.
So, a hive like this, you're saying, is going to be producing
somewhere between about 60 and 100 pounds of honey.
Yeah - and it's just amazing, the volume of nectar,
it's a sixth of the weight - so, if you've got 100 pounds of honey,
-that's 600 pounds of nectar.
-600 pounds of nectar!
-Yeah, it is.
Well, that's a very - both impressive and exciting thought.
Thanks very much. We'll leave them in peace -
I'm very aware that we're disturbing them.
I'm going to be so interested to know what plants they are.
-Thank you so much, as ever.
-Always a pleasure.
All right, see you soon. Bye-bye.
We'll get a sample of this sent off to the Botanic Gardens,
and I'll be fascinated to see what it reveals.
Now, you may not have bees,
but here are some jobs you can be doing this weekend.
To prevent plants from burning up in the heat,
it's important to keep your greenhouse cool
when the weather turns hot -
so, before you do anything else in the morning,
remember to open all the doors and windows possible,
to allow cool air to flow through.
Whilst it is tempting to allow masses of young apples
to develop on a tree, the overall quality of your crop
will be greatly improved if you thin them.
I leave just two fruits per cluster,
which gives them more light and air, as well as more room to grow.
To keep grass paths looking neat,
and also to stop the grass invading into a border,
you do need to regularly trim them.
A pair of long-handled shears is invaluable for this job,
but you can do them with hand shears just as well.
-I have to say, this feels very good.
-This is a lavender sponge - so, a herb cake...
-..and accompanied by a beautifully coloured...
..lemon verbena tea,
-which, hopefully, will calm you down, Rachel.
-After all the excitement...
-After all this!
..of seeing Nellie again, of coming to Longmeadow.
I was going to say, it's lovely seeing you,
it's lovely seeing the garden,
but I've really come for you two, haven't I?
Now, this smells delicious.
-It is very fresh and lemony.
-Oh, fragrant and lovely.
Well, that's it for this week,
and both Rachel and I will be at Hampton Court next week,
so that's where we'll see you.
-Till then, bye-bye.
Rachel de Thame joins Monty Don in Longmeadow and adds more medicinal planting to the herb garden, especially those that the bees love. Rachel also investigates ways to aid honey bee conservation and protect the nation's favourite pollinators.
Monty visits a local garden in Herefordshire to see a national collection of Siberian iris, which inspires him to create a new iris patch, adding warmth and splash of colour into his dry garden. We also discover a garden containing a stunning collection of clematis montana.
Carol Klein is in Somerset visiting the home of one of her horticultural heroes, Margery Fish. And Nick Bailey shows how to plan, design and build a brilliant border fit for any garden.