There are plans for propagating and planting at Longmeadow this week when Monty Don plants up a new bed of irises and takes pelargonium cuttings.
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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.
We had a really big storm the other day
that really bashed the garden.
It wasn't so much the wind that did the damage, actually, it was rain.
Just the sheer weight and quantity of the rain that fell
for about 15 minutes just smashed a lot of the plants,
including this buddleia.
This is one called Sungold. It's very vigorous,
which means the new shoots are soft and sappy
and they bent, buckled...
However, having said that, I can repair it as best I can.
We've still got other buddleias, the butterflies are loving them,
and you just have to be flexible and take the weather as it comes
and celebrate the good
along with the occasional flurry of tempest and storm.
On today's programme,
Nick Bailey shows how to transform a shady alleyway
into a vibrant space...
..we meet a plantswoman who is passionate about pelargoniums...
..and Joe Swift visits a steeply sloping plot,
which has been turned into a magnificent garden.
I've got some really beautiful bearded iris
in this corner of the Jewel Garden.
They are a rich blue purple.
However, the flowers are diminishing rapidly,
this year there were just two blooms,
and the reason for that is very clear - it's too shady,
and bearded iris only flourish if they get maximum sunshine.
So I've decided to dig them all up,
divide them and replant them
along with a few others that I've bought specially
in a brand-new iris bed.
Bearded iris have a rhizome that sits, ideally, above the soil level,
and it's that that needs the hot sun.
The more that that is baked in the summer,
the better the flowers will be the following year.
So I need to dig it up,
but also preserve the roots which are underneath...
..and the perfect time to buy iris and plant them,
or lift them up, move them, divide them, is now.
Good boy. Go on.
This is the new iris border, and you can see the difference.
This is bathed in sunshine.
That's a south facing wall,
it's protected from wind and it gets really hot and baked,
which is just perfect for bearded iris.
It's poor soil, and I've added grit to make the drainage better -
and I'm going to put a layer of compost on top of that
just to add some goodness for the roots.
The compost stimulates the soil, it acts as an activator,
so you don't need a huge amount.
Basically, we're adding bacteria and fungus to the soil
rather than any substantial amount of organic matter.
So, we'll work that in...
..rake that over, and we're ready to go.
Now, I'm going to position them first.
We might divide them up later.
So, if we put that there at the back...
Now, along with these,
I've got the new ones.
So we've got Iris Sultan's Palace,
which I've never grown before,
but looks to be a glorious rich brown,
and I've chosen a series of browns, caramels, oranges and burgundy
to go with the rich purple.
Quechee is another brown
that we've got here...
..and, finally, to go in here...
I've got Action Front,
which is more of a sort of mahogany red.
Before I plant anything,
I want to divide one or two of these clumps.
Now, this, you can see,
is a good, solid mat of rhizome,
and you can happily cut across the rhizomes.
I'm actually going to cut through there
and across here...
and that will break apart.
This, I think, we can divide again.
So, these are three good plants -
and because they've been divided,
they will grow with new vigour,
and that will mean we get better flowers -
and all irises should be divided
about every three or four years,
because they do lose that vigour.
They'll keep growing more leaves,
but you'll get fewer and fewer flowers.
Now, I want to plant these,
because the sun is quite strong
and the roots are starting to dry out
and that will do them no good at all.
It's straightforward if you just follow one rule,
which is that you want some rhizome above the soil,
because, as I say, it's this that bakes.
I want the rhizome to be facing the sun...
..and you can see, these are sold bare root.
The rhizome's been cut,
but what is left behind is nice and firm,
and the foliage has been cut right back -
and if you are dividing or planting irises,
it's a good idea to cut them back
and I will cut all these,
because otherwise they're very top-heavy and it's like a sail.
If the wind picks up, it simply rips them out the ground.
However, you don't need to cut irises back
if you're not moving them,
because the more foliage they have,
the more that will feed into the rhizome
and increase the chances of flowering next year.
I know. You're noisy, aren't you?
Off you go.
Now, in their new position, with lots of sunshine,
I'll expect these to do really well -
but, of course, sun is not something that we all have at our disposal
in our gardens.
However, Nick Bailey shows that even a shady side return
can be made into a beautiful garden.
Millions of us that live in Victorian terraces have one.
Gloomy, narrow spaces, overlooked by our neighbours.
More often than not,
they tend to become neglected corners of the garden,
where slugs, snails and rubbish accumulates.
What I'm talking about is the pesky side return,
which is a real challenge, even for the keenest of gardeners.
Fortunately, with good design and the right plants,
these spaces can be lifted out of the doldrums.
In the absence of beds and borders,
pots are a quick and cost-effective way
to introduce a range of new plants to an area like this one.
I've specifically chosen square pots,
because they tessellate together.
In other words, they sit directly next to each other in a grid
and don't waste space, like round pots would.
Ferns thrive in deep shade conditions.
This one has been growing really well in this area,
so I'm going to make use of it
and transfer it into one of these new pots.
Now, the fern makes a lovely dome shape on the side, here,
but I want to compliment and contrast that
with something taller and more upright.
This is Fargesia Red Panda,
and it's the perfect bamboo for a pot,
because it's a clumper rather than a spreader,
so it stays nice and narrow...
..and it's also evergreen, so it's brilliant for a shady side return.
It will keep the interest going year-round.
To dress the base of the bamboo,
I want to introduce some all-important colour.
So I'm going to use New Guinea Impatiens
and they're brilliant,
because they thrive in the shade...
..and then, to add some zest,
I'm going to use Heuchera Lime Marmalade.
It's got that wonderful citrusy tone to it.
It will really lift the area and contrast against the pink.
To get the effect I want in a plant,
rather than plant them perfectly upright,
just giving them a tiny little tilt,
which will get them to lean over the edge of the pot.
I'm also using two other plants,
which will thrive in the shade.
One is a woodland grass called Luzula nivea
and it'll love growing in that side return,
and then, I'm using a bedding classic -
it's Begonia semperflorens.
Those white flowers will glow out of the shade.
Now, it's just an annual, so it'll grow for about six months,
but can be replaced in the winter
with pansies or primulas.
The plants tie well together to the rest of the collection,
so the fine leaves on this grass
pick up the bamboo nicely and then the succulent foliage
and white tones here correlate and tie in with the impatiens.
I want to make the most of the vertical growing space.
So I'm going to be using a popular climber, a clematis.
It's Prince Charles.
It's a tried and tested plant
I've used again and again in this situation
and it's perfect.
It has pale blue flowers that are virtually luminescent in the shade.
You just need to cut it down to six inches
in February - and that's it.
Clematis can suffer from a disease known as wilt
and one of the ways to address that is to plant them slightly deeper,
so most plants that you put into the soil,
or into a planter,
you would aim to get their finished soil level
the same as the top of the pot.
With this, I'm going to aim to get it several inches deeper
and that will prevent some of the potential problems with wilt.
Now, there's one extra climber
I want to introduce to the wall here.
This is Trachelospermum jasminoides
and it's one of my go-to climbers,
because it will thrive in sun, or in shade.
The best thing about it is it's deliciously scented and evergreen.
And we're done.
The next thing I'm going to do is to plant the top of this
and the other container with the same scheme
as the pots at the back...
..and I'm also going to repeat that planting
with these containers on the side,
and that will help with the rhythm and repetition of the area
and unify the whole lot and bring it together.
The climbing plants on the walls
are really going to help make use of the vertical space,
but I'm going to be using hanging baskets, as well.
Now, the trick to planting up a hanging basket
is to secure it,
so I'm just using a bin here - but a pot, or anything else,
will do the job.
Ordinary multipurpose compost,
and the plant I'm going to use in here is a trailing begonia.
Be very careful handling them.
They're quite liable to snap -
but these will be flowering all the way through to the first frosts.
I'm also going to introduce an ivy.
This is a variegated form of Hedera helix
and it's evergreen,
so it'll help bring life and energy to the space year-round.
Introducing these colourful pots has not only unified this space,
but brought a touch of elegance.
Now the combination of evergreen plants and colourful annuals
will ensure that there's interest year-round,
and so what was once a sad, shady side return
has been given a fresh new lease of life.
Well, I'm prepared to forgive Nick for using begonias,
because it still looks pretty good -
and shade is not a problem.
You mustn't see it as something to overcome or get around.
It can be a real advantage,
because there are lots of plants that need shade to thrive.
I mean, take hydrangeas.
More and more people are growing them,
they've done really well in the last few years.
The only thing I would say is they don't like to dry out too much.
So if the leaves are flopping
and it's generally looking a bit dejected,
almost certainly it needs some water.
Other than that, give it light, dappled shade
and it'll be very happy.
However, there's one plant that absolutely will not thrive in shade
and that is the pelargonium.
They come, of course, from the Cape district of South Africa
and the British summer can never be too hot or too sunny for them -
and we went to Cramden Nurseries in Northamptonshire
and met Emily Mitchell,
who has taken part in a recent RHS trial of pelargoniums.
I love growing pelargoniums.
They're just so full of colour.
They make you think of summer and they really just lift your heart
and give you so much happiness.
Cramden Nursery was set up back in 1954 by my dad.
He was very much into growing young plants
and he grew a whole range of different types of young plants.
Then he heard about this, this "new crop", pelargoniums.
So he just grew a few varieties in the first year,
they grew well, and, even better, they sold well -
and he just made the decision, alongside Mum,
that, "Let's just grow pelargoniums,"
and that's what they did.
Alongside Dad, I worked here
and slowly took over the running of the nursery.
Very sadly, last year he became very ill and very quickly passed away.
It's only just been a year since he's gone, but he's everywhere.
He's in the greenhouses talking to me, so we'll miss him deeply,
but he's here around us.
There are many different types of pelargoniums.
The most popular one that we grow here on the nursery
are your zonal type pelargoniums.
These are our bread and butter.
We grow thousands of these a year.
A zonal pelargonium is often what people know as a geranium.
They have nice, big round flowers,
they are perfect in pots.
Then you have ivy leaf pelargoniums.
These are all about trailing.
Then you have angel pelargoniums.
These are really sweet, dainty little flowers,
ever so tiny and they've got small leaves, as well.
So although their flowers are a lot smaller than the zonal types
and the ivy types, they make up in having loads of them,
so there's absolutely masses of flowers.
Decorative pelargoniums have larger flowers than the angels,
and they tend to grow slightly larger.
They have lots of different colours, but then they come in bi-colours -
and some of the reds are really rich and deep.
They're almost pushing on blacks, they're really, really showy.
We have a really nice selection of tall growing pelargoniums here
on the nursery and they're actually called antiks
and these have been bred to grow tall...
..and then we have an amazing range of scented leaf pelargoniums,
so we have a citronella, which has a wonderful lemon scent...
..then Attar Of Roses.
Attar of Roses is the real traditional
rose-scented leaf pelargonium.
This is one of my favourite varieties.
This is Candy Flowers Violet.
Just look at that amazing violet flower, so bright and colourful.
She's a decorative pelargonium, so she likes to be in a pot.
She can go anywhere in your garden,
but she really likes a good sunny position.
As you can see, if you look closer,
there's loads and loads of buds all over this plant,
so it's just going to flower all summer long for you.
Last year, the RHS decided to do a trial on pelargoniums
and they wanted to trial them,
how different varieties coped in the borders
and how different varieties coped in pots.
We provided them with some rooted cuttings in April
and across the board, all the different growers
that were providing them with plants sent them all down on the same week.
Once the plants were established in their beds, or their pots,
they had a team of judges that went round,
on almost a monthly basis,
to assess how the plants were growing.
So, the judges were predominantly looking for flower size,
how many buds that were being produced,
and the shape of the plant.
The public were also able to look round these RHS trial beds
and they were encouraged to vote for the variety they liked the best.
In the container section of the trial,
our flower Fairy White Splash came third.
I think the public voted for this in the trial
because it's got such an eye-catching flower.
It's absolutely gorgeous.
You've got a silvery white edge
with this beautiful pink centre
against lovely fresh green, nicely shaped leaves.
In the bedding section of the trial, excitedly for us, Abelina,
one of our varieties, came third as well.
It also received, this year, a gardeners Award Of Merit
from the RHS judges -
and I'm not really surprised at all.
It's a beautiful variety, it's got such a deep, dark red flower,
against this wonderful deep green foliage which is really attractive.
I think the combination of both of these colours work really well.
It's a good, strong growing plant
and produces lots of buds and flowers
and the flowers hold their size really well.
Pelargoniums are a wonderful family to grow
so I cannot imagine doing anything else.
One of the things that any of us who grow pelargoniums
has to face sooner or later is that they cease to look perfect.
You buy one, like this, which is compact,
the flowers are blooming beautifully,
the foliage is healthy,
and it's a good shape...
and then, after a year or so - not necessarily the same type -
they look much more like this one here.
And that's cos it hasn't been pruned ruthlessly enough.
There are two times to prune pelargoniums.
The first is when you put them away in winter, round about October time,
and they should be cut back to about half,
and then, in spring, as soon as you see some new growth,
I would take it right down, almost to the ground,
and then you will get nice, thick regrowth.
Pruning is the key.
This is a really good time to take pelargonium cuttings.
I've got this really good specimen of Lady Plymouth.
Lady Plymouth is a scented-leaf pelargonium.
It smells deliciously of spearmint -
and you can get roses,
you can get tangerine, you can get chocolate.
There are lots of different scented-leaf pelargoniums...
..and I'm going to experiment,
trying taking cuttings in a normal cutting mix,
which is essentially a seed compost with added grit to it,
but also, I'm going to try and take cuttings in pure perlite.
Now, perlite is added to potting compost,
particularly by nurseries and professional growers.
So, it's very light. It's an organic material,
and its great property is it absorbs water,
then slowly releases it, but also improves drainage.
The downside of it is it does have a lot of dust
and it can be an irritant.
However, just pour some water into it.
Mix it up and all the dust will be absorbed.
OK, so, we will take one pot
of conventional cutting mix
and one pot of plain perlite, like that.
Now, when you're looking for cutting material...
..you don't want any shoot that's got flowers,
because all the energy has gone into the flowers.
This is better, so I'm going to take that off.
Now, you can either take it off at the heel
or you can just snip it off, like that.
So, we've got one potential cutting there.
We'll take that off there.
Cut there. OK.
Now, if I just thrust that into perlite,
the chances of it striking wouldn't be terribly high.
The thing to remember
is cuttings are simply a race between the existing material dying
and new roots forming.
Now, what's going to cause it to die more than anything else
is the transpiration of moisture from the tissue.
So, the more leaves it has, the more likely it is to die.
But if I take off those leaves there...
and it is essential to have a really sharp knife
because if it's not sharp, it drags at it
and can bruise and damage the material you want to keep.
I'm left with a stem with just a few little leaves -
and the reason why you leave some leaves
is because that will feed into and help root formation.
So, everything about a cutting is just balancing -
and I'm going to cut the end at that node, nice and clean,
and the cleaner the cut, the more likely roots will form.
Again, a good reason for a sharp knife.
So, we'll just pop this into the perlite, like that.
Right. That's the perlite selection.
Let's do the normal cut material.
Now, the key to pelargoniums
is they want their bottoms moist and their heads dry,
whereas, for a lot of cuttings, they want moist air around them -
but if I was to put these in a mist propagator
or wrap them in a polythene bag,
these would rot before they would root.
I'm going to put these in the greenhouse.
Put them somewhere warm.
A windowsill is fine, but not outside.
And those should root within ten days to two weeks.
Now, of course, cuttings are a really good way to propagate,
especially at this time of year,
but, obviously, you've got seed, as well, and division -
and I tried an experiment a couple of weeks ago.
I divided some astrantia that was in full flower and doing well,
and this is against the rules because, normally,
you're advised to divide herbaceous perennials,
like astrantias, in spring or in autumn -
but I'd cut it down, broke it into as many pieces as possible,
and I'd potted each piece into a very weak seed mix.
Well, two weeks later, we can see how it's doing.
How about that?
18 little plants looking healthy, vigorous, and, it seems to me,
going to grow away and provide 18 big plants by next spring.
On the evidence so far,
this is a very good way to increase your plant stock.
The choice of plants that you want to increase
is going to be partly a matter of taste,
but also a recognition of what will grow well
and look good in your particular plot.
There's no point in going against that.
In fact, half the skill of good gardening
is to make the most of what you are given -
but, sometimes, what you're given can be pretty demanding,
as Joe found when he visited a garden in Bristol
created on a very steep slope.
Along these cobbled streets in the heart of Bristol,
these tall Georgian houses obscure a steep hill on the other side.
And along them, there are a row of gardens,
and each of them have their own design challenges.
Karena Batstone has been designing gardens for over 20 years,
working on projects of all shapes and sizes
for well-known names and major corporate clients,
but her own has been a particular challenge.
Karena, it's a fabulous garden. A fabulous house, too.
-How long have you been here?
-We've been here about 24 years.
So, I can't really believe it, but, yeah!
And how have you gone about designing this garden?
Well, when we arrived, there was this little terrace area on the top,
and steep stairs down,
and then a long sloping lawn with a magnolia in the middle.
And I'd just quite recently done a garden design course,
I was a garden designer,
and so I knew about terracing, cut and fill,
and that's what I decided to do.
It looks great. From this window, it's beautifully framed, as well.
It makes you go want to go out there, Karena.
-Can we go and have a look?
-Let's go. It's an exploring garden. Let's go and explore.
So, from out here, you can see how steep the garden is.
-It's really pretty steep down there.
-Yes, don't lean back.
No, I'm not going to lean back.
Yes, my vertigo is starting to kick in a little bit!
But it's really beautifully designed -
and your eye is drawn towards the seating area at the bottom, as well.
There's obviously a destination point in this garden,
-which is important from a design point of view.
I didn't have much room to have a great depth of planting bed...
-..and as you can see, the beds are actually really skinny,
but I've tried to layer and create the depth that way.
And, I mean, the two silver birches, they add that height.
-Very important, the height. You need height.
Otherwise, you really feel like you're looking down on everything.
You need things that are tall.
So, we're significantly down a level here, aren't we?
I mean, you know, a few metres down,
and it's very different, this garden.
There's lovely, dappled shade here.
What was your dream for this area?
If we weren't a family with children,
I might have terraced it in more terraces, as it were,
and had maybe more transitional spaces -
but because the garden isn't that long,
it could only take two levels for us to make it really usable.
Repetition is always a good thing. It sort of unifies a space.
So, although I've got the planting there,
which is very layered and kind of romantic,
there are lots of areas in the garden
where I've got a solid block of one thing.
So, here, we're another few steps down
and we're on the bottom level...
and, again, somewhere comfortable to sit.
We get the afternoon sunshine.
When the rest of the garden has lost it,
there's still a pool around here and it draws you down here.
-Yeah, just by placing this bench at this angle,
we are now looking up the garden and up towards the house,
and it's a completely different view.
Behind us, we've got this mirrored Perspex,
-which is, you know, very, very contemporary...
-..but it's a brilliant end to the garden.
I mean, you can see it from the house,
but down here, it just expands the space, doesn't it?
That bit of sunshine I was talking about,
that reflects in the mirror and back into the garden,
and then, at night, when we have it uplit -
the bamboos uplit - it looks like they're double the width.
Yeah, it's a very clever...
-I mean, it's a very clever little trick, isn't it?
It's all smoke and mirrors, literally! But it works.
Now, Karena planned this garden meticulously 22 years ago
and she did a fantastic job
because the structure is exactly the same as it was back then,
how it all functions and those nice, versatile, large spaces -
but what's gone into the garden,
the plants, the furniture and even the surfaces,
well, they've changed, sometimes many times over,
because her life has changed.
So, the planning stages really early on,
well, they've really paid off.
If you're dealing with a sloping garden
and you want to create level areas, you have to terrace it,
which means putting in retaining walls and also steps.
Now, these existing steps, I really like,
because rather than running into the garden and eating up that space,
they're running perpendicular to the house, so they're quite economic -
but you end up over on one side of the garden,
and if the next set of steps is on that side, too,
it would feel a little bit lopsided,
but Karena's put the next set of steps diagonally opposite,
right over here, which means you HAVE to move through the garden.
It gives a lovely flow to the space,
and then you naturally go down into the next area.
It works a treat.
Now, Karena obviously doesn't do bright, clashing colours
in a garden -
here, she's created something very different,
but she's been disciplined about the plants she puts in.
There are a few key plants that are doing a job here.
The bamboos, the hazel,
and the silver birches are really holding the structure together,
but it just doesn't feel at all fussy.
This is a big, sloping garden. It's a very, very tricky site,
and this design really works for me on lots of levels.
Sure, aesthetically, it's absolutely beautiful,
it's got some great plants in it, too,
but the most important thing is it's a practical garden,
and it's a garden to be lived in and to escape the city.
Do you think that you took the right approach with this garden,
and that it's a success from your point of view?
Yes, I do. I'm very happy with it.
I've allowed it to be used in so many different ways,
and I think that is a joy, too.
Thanks for sharing it with me.
I have to say, I think it's a fabulous garden.
Beautiful garden. I could just sit here all day...
-..chatting about gardens and garden design.
-What could be better?
I can see Joe happy to spend the day
just sitting chatting about gardening.
Of course, one of the things about a steeply sloping garden like that
is you've got a view from the top
and you've got interest from the bottom.
When we came here to Longmeadow,
this was an open, absolutely dead-flat site,
and it's taken quite a few years to build up spaces
that you either can't see or can only glimpse through openings
to create the kind of interest that a slope automatically gives you.
Now, this buddleia is really good here in the Writing Garden,
until it goes over and then it looks dirty brown -
and once plants start to fade in a white garden,
you've got to deadhead them, because they sully the whole effect -
but all the best white plants
invariably are touches of white against lots of green,
and with the light on them are absolutely beautiful.
Now, still to come on tonight's programme...
..we visit Dorset to see a picturesque coastal garden
that has a distinctly Mediterranean feel.
But last autumn, Carol went to Yorkshire
to visit a nursery with a very distinctive style.
Just beyond the post-industrial landscape of Halifax
is the nursery and garden of Dove Cottage.
It's a garden that's been designed
to have interest throughout the year,
but in summer and autumn, it's at its very best,
and last September, I couldn't wait to pay a visit.
This very special place
is set behind this oak door and this yew hedge.
Just look at the eupatorium! Huge, great banks of plants.
This gorgeous rudbeckia.
They almost form a tunnel -
and yet this path is luring you along,
willing you to explore the rest of the garden.
This third-of-an-acre plot tumbles down a steep slope.
It's been terraced and filled with perennials.
It's autumn, and the plants that predominate are the grasses,
and things that you looked at for their flowers earlier in the year
are now seed heads, and so magnificent, so magical.
Patrinia over there. This great lime-green plateau of seeds -
and in the midst of all this glorious, mellow colour,
there are surprises. Look at this!
This is Actaea Queen of Sheba and I have never seen it before.
In this variety, these racemes just...
They're pendulous. They just sway gently backwards and forwards.
It's tremendously elegant.
In amongst this
lovely molinia is this tiny little sanguisorba.
These crimson bobbles.
Every time you look, there's something else.
It's deeper and deeper.
It's just like being in the midst of a meadow.
You forget where you are completely -
and it's a paradise that's been created over the last 20 years
by a husband-and-wife team, Kim and Stephen Rogers.
You know, when you come into this garden,
it all just looks so natural.
Almost looks like it made itself, but it didn't, did it?
No, no, it's taken 20 years, almost, of practising and planting
and replanting and selecting plants to get to what we've got now.
But that's the sort of feel that you wanted to create, isn't it?
It is. Yeah, it is. It is. That much wilder look to the garden,
with grasses and perennials mixed.
It's started to get wilder as we've gone along.
I think that's how you start gardening.
It might be all very controlled at first,
but then, as we've got more and more into it,
-we want to go wilder and wilder.
-So, is it wild enough for you, Kim?
-Because you don't stake, do you?
We had a very wet year one year,
-and it was just too wet to go out and stake in the evenings...
..and we kept leaving it and leaving it,
-and in the end, it didn't happen...
..and it's liberating, not to have to stake -
and we don't mind if plants fall over.
So, the garden envelops you, doesn't it?
-You're surrounded by it.
-Completely surrounded by plants.
Lots of tall plants - and not all pushed to the back of the borders.
Brought right up close to people because you see them, then.
Sometimes, things can be stuck at the back of big borders
and you just see the top -
and you'll look through some very tall, wiry plants
and then see something beyond that creates a good combination
and then even beyond that.
So, it's all about mixing and mingling
your plants together, isn't it?
Yeah, that's at the heart of the garden,
and it's getting the views through plants,
through other plants and then out into the landscape beyond -
and it all seems to fit very well together.
-It fits wonderfully with the Halifax hills, doesn't it?
All around the garden, there are splashes of vivid colour
amongst all the tawny, russet tones,
but you come into this part of the garden
and, suddenly, there's an explosion.
It's pure fireworks,
and it's all created by these gorgeous prairie daisies,
Helianthus Perennial Sunflowers, making this vivid splash of colour
which just lifts your spirits.
It really does give you a feeling of euphoria.
This is Miscanthus nepalensis, and I want it.
I've got to grow it!
In some places, once plants had flowered,
they'd be chopped to the ground, but not here.
They're allowed to do their thing -
to change, to seed, to gradually decay
because, for Kim and Stephen,
it's not just the way that plants live that they appreciate.
It's the way they die, too.
Oh, look at that.
It's ages since anybody gave me flowers!
Normally, wouldn't you cut stuff down in the spring?
We would. We'd normally leave it all till March,
but this year, we're wanting to do two new beds.
-And these beds have lost a little bit of shape and interest.
-I have to start now...
..because my energy levels aren't just as much as they were.
-So, I need all the autumn now to carefully lift all these plants,
prepare the soil, which I might even incorporate
quite a lot of grit and gravel into this bed.
-So, grit and gravel as opposed to lots of compost?
So, under normal circumstances,
you'd leave all your perennials and grasses through to the spring?
We would, because it'll still feel like a garden through the winter
with all the seed heads and the grasses.
It's a shame cos there's some lovely seed heads
-on this eupatorium at the moment...
..but if I don't start now, I won't get it finished for spring.
It was wonderful to visit Stephen and Kim's
beautiful garden last autumn.
I'll be back in a few weeks' time
to see to see how different it looks in all its summer glory.
That combination of grasses and perennials
in a lovely, loose mix
is something that I admire very much
and have tried to recreate here in the grass borders -
and at Tatton, I saw some marvellous thalictrums.
There was one in particular which I knew I wanted to add to the border.
It's called Splendide,
and splendide it certainly is!
This is only half or a third grown. It will reach 2m tall,
and has got these lovely lilac bobbles of flower.
It's sterile, which means that you can't gather seed from it
and propagate that way, but you could divide it -
and because there is no seed,
it means the flowers last a lot longer.
Now, the idea is, with these borders,
that you look through onto plants.
You don't plant great big clumps and drifts of colour,
but a series of upright touches...
..and look, at my feet, can you see this little robin?
Have you come to see me?
There you go.
Right. Having positioned them, let's have a look.
Yeah, I like that.
What we want to do is keep the spirit of these borders,
which is all about these tall, vertical lines,
and nothing should be too dominant.
I'm going to get those into the ground.
In we go.
Now, these will need a really good soak as they go in,
but I want to add first another plant.
This is Sanguisorba Cangshan Cranberry,
and it will start to flower in a few weeks' time.
These will stay flowering into October.
They grow a couple of metres tall and you can see by their shape,
they're perfect for this type of gardening.
Both these plants do like moist conditions,
so they're not to be grown in either blazing sunshine
or very thin, free-draining soil -
but you could try them out at this time of year.
By planting in flower or about to come into flower,
you will know by October if it's working,
and if it's not, you can dig them up and move them
and no harm will be done whatsoever.
If it stays very dry...
Nellie, you are a silly girl! What have you got?
Oh, look at this present you've brought me!
Are you going to help me with the planting? Are you?
Oh! Can I just do this, please?
Thank you. Bye.
Right, as we were...
If it's really dry, I will have to keep these watered,
but once they've had a winter in the ground,
they need never be watered again -
and the key thing is to make a plant feel at home,
don't try and force it to grow where it doesn't want to be -
and one of the features here at Longmeadow
is we are completely landlocked.
It's wet and it's cold
and we're about as far from the sea as you can get -
but we went to the Dorset coast
to see a garden made overlooking the sea
with all the advantages and the disadvantages that that entails.
18 years ago, we arrived on a November day
and it was blowing a gale...
..and we couldn't get into the wood because the wood was so overgrown.
There was a lot to do, so it was quite daunting,
but we just felt this was heaven.
My vision, when we got here, was that
we wouldn't have a garden at all.
I gave all my gardening tools away and I wasn't going to garden,
and it was all going to be absolutely wonderful nature
and perfect as it was -
but then my husband started cutting some trees down
and then there was a gap, so I thought,
"Well, we've got to do something now,"
and so I learned to be a tree surgeon
because I was slightly worried about how he was cutting a tree down
and I felt that wasn't quite the way you should cut a tree down.
I think people are more amazed
by the fact that we grow anything on this site.
The garden's on a 30-degree slope
and we range from 100ft above sea level
to 300ft above sea level, which we garden.
If it says gale force 11 in Portland Bill,
we get gale force 11 here.
It's very brackish, salt air.
The garden has heavy, heavy clay,
so that's really difficult to garden in the first place.
I couldn't put my spade in to start with, it was just so heavy.
So, we had to change the soil in order to work it.
You get very good at actually remembering your tools, as well,
going from the bottom to the top...
..and I just thought, "Perhaps we'd better put some steps in,"
so we put in some stairway to heaven,
which is 64 steps that go up to a terrace,
and I planted a hornbeam little house up there
and then I have sculpted it
to make it look like it's all being blown by the wind.
If somebody asked me about my garden,
I would say it is Mediterranean.
I've tried to make a Mediterranean feel,
but it's also a shaded Mediterranean garden, which is unusual.
My formative years after school were spent in Italy,
so my passion for Italian gardens has always been there
and so wanting to create an Italianate garden,
it's been a dream fulfilled.
They have a lot of structure
and they have a matrix of different textures
and different plants, as well...
..and I like scented flowers, and I've got silver leaves.
I've put in a lot of myrtle...
..and a lot of yew, as well.
People do liken it to the Bay of Sorrento and Napoli,
and with my neighbour's pine tree,
it helps to create the Mediterranean view.
My favourite part of the garden is usually what's out
and working at the time.
Sitting on the terrace here when the sun's shining
and I'm entertaining, I just absolutely adore being here
cos there's nowhere better.
I planted, in 2008, these hornbeams,
which I knew liked the clay, so I planted feathered trees,
and then I've been crown raising them,
which is persuading them to go up and over the top,
and training the branch's laterals in,
so that we now have a living pergola.
From the design point of view,
I've designed from the window looking out.
There's blue campanula over there. It's really simple -
but the campanula with a wonderful shuttlecock fern
and the structure behind -
the whole thing makes up the pattern.
I enjoy having fun with the shapes, really.
This is the yew area, and I've got lots of different shapes here.
Some are organic, some archaic, some are mounds,
I've got balls, but this particular one
is going to be a chicken, and its beak is just being formed.
So, I'm hoping,
in a few years' time, it'll be a really good beak.
When the sun is shining and there aren't any clouds in the sky,
you just think, "Wow!"
It is so amazing -
and, in fact, we don't really need to go to the Mediterranean, luckily,
cos we get light and sun and sea.
To me, it's paradise.
Well, I share that love of Italian gardens,
but I don't share the force 11 gales with the salt-laden wind -
but every garden does have to deal with difficult weather conditions
at some time or other -
and this summer, it has been very dry,
and by and large, you can water the garden and cope with that,
but young trees, in particular,
especially if they're fairly large, like these limes that I planted,
need a lot of water in the first year.
That means a lot of watering -
and if you don't have time, or if you're going away for a while,
that's a problem, as well as the fact that
if you've got very hard ground, you water and it just bounces off,
and runs away and doesn't reach the roots.
Well, I've noticed, over the last few years, these things.
This is a tree hydration bag.
You simply wrap it round the tree,
like a sort of wine cooler or a tea cosy,
and it zips up...
..and then, if I fill that up there...
..and it slowly percolates out of the bag,
over about five to ten hours, and you do that once a week...
..and the bag holds quite a lot of water,
and it shows you the sort of amount that is needed by every young tree -
and I'm enjoying the irony of filling a bag to water a tree
whilst I'm getting soaked in the pouring rain.
That's British gardening for you!
Well, as I finish the watering,
as the rain starts to beat down here at Longmeadow,
let's see what the weather's going to be like this weekend.
Now we're at peak holiday season,
there's one little thing that is worth doing before you go away,
and that is to pick sweet peas.
That might seem barmy cos you're not going to see them,
but pick them and give them to your neighbours, family, friends,
and strip every flower that you can.
One, it will stop them going to seed whilst you're away,
and this is particularly true
if you're going away for a couple of weeks,
and two, it will extend the season.
So, when you get back, there will be another flush,
and you pick those straightaway and fill the house full of flowers,
and then you can go, if you're lucky,
right through into September or even October -
but leave them, and it's hot,
you'll come back and there'll just be a load of seed pods...
..and if you're not going away,
don't think you've been let off the hook,
cos you'll have lots more time to do some jobs this weekend.
If you've harvested your garlic and it's thoroughly dried off,
it's now time to store it.
Cut off the tops, clean off any loose skin or dirt,
trim the roots, but don't cut off the basal plate,
and then they can be stored in a basket in a cool, dry place,
where they will keep, ready for use, for months.
When your lavender finishes flowering,
it's a good idea to trim the flower stalks off,
and this will stop energy going into seed,
rather than into the roots... and whilst you're about it,
you can shape any plants as you will -
but trim lightly because if you cut into old wood,
they often do not regenerate.
If you're going away on holiday and have lots of pots,
particularly if they're terracotta pots,
group them tightly together in the shade.
This will mean they will dry out much less
and be much healthier when you return.
You're hot, aren't you? You're a hot, panty girl.
I don't often, I have to confess,
just sit and enjoy the garden without doing anything.
I always see things I want to do - and, anyway, I like gardening,
I like doing things and that's how I relax -
but, sometimes, you do just have to stop...
..and smell the flowers and watch the light -
and now is the best time of year to do it.
So, however you enjoy your gardens, make the most of them,
and I'll see you back here at Longmeadow next week.
Till then, bye-bye.
There are plans for propagating and planting at Longmeadow this week when Monty Don plants up a new bed of irises and takes pelargonium cuttings. Nick Bailey brightens up a dull and shady space at the side of a terraced house and gives advice on plants that will thrive, Carol Klein pays the first of two visits to West Yorkshire to meet a couple whose outstanding planting has resulted in a garden full of late summer interest and Joe Swift takes a close look at a sloping and shady town garden to find out how the owner has designed this difficult space.
We also meet a gardener in Dorset who took on the challenge of an overgrown coastal garden to create an Italianate idyll and take an in-depth look at one of the most colourful of summer stalwarts - the pelargonium.