Episode 24 Gardeners' World

Episode 24

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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.


for really well made gardening tools and implements.


At this time of year, of course, there's an awful lot of pruning


going on so it's a chance, maybe this is a boy thing, I don't know,


a chance to really relish good shears and secateurs


If it's sharp, it will do the job so much better.


If you look under a magnifying glass at a leaf or a stem


that has been cut by a blunt tool of any kind,


and that is much more liable to be infected


and to let fungal spores in and also going to be much slower to heal,


whereas a really clean cut will form a scar quickly


and will heal, and the plant will recover.


and, I have to be honest, I like the ritual of it.


but however much you enjoy looking after your garden tools,


and I do, a lot - it gives a lot of pleasure,


it's a means to the end, not the end itself,


which is, of course, all the pruning and shaping and the cutting


On tonight's programme, Carol visits gardens


created by not one but two of her gardening heroes,


father and son Alan and Adrian Bloom.


Flo Headlam and Joe Swift return to Wiltshire


to see how the community garden there is developing...


..and the renowned plantswoman Helen Dillon


I love this wonderful square you have,


because then you have this wonderful wilderness around the side. Exactly.


Sorry to refer to it as wilderness. I think it's beautiful.


One of the rituals of the gardening year


You cut them back and you cut them to an outward facing bud


and you cut them at an angle, and then they will flower.


because that really stems from the growing of hybrid teas,


and their dominance in the late 19th and early 20th century -


you can cut them any time, and you certainly can prune them back now -


and if you've got shrub roses like I have,


they grow like mad and they are literally blocking the way.


So now, in September, is a good time to trim them back,


and the way you do it is very simple because you just use shears.


Forget about outward facing buds and slanting cuts


in June and early July, but it's not going to flower again,


so I just need to trim it back at this stage -


If you're not sure whether your rose is a shrub one or not...


The first one is that it looks like a shrub.


It makes a shrubby shape with lots of new growth.


The second is it tends, not always, to flower once,


whereas hybrid teas will go on flowering all summer -


and there are some modern shrub roses that will too,


but by and large they tend to flower once or maybe twice.


They can take an awful lot of hard treatment


..and that applies to treatment that nature might give them, too,


because this year has been a bad one for black spot


as well as covering the leaves with this chocolaty brown stain


that can spread, it can totally defoliate a plant.


but it certainly won't kill the plant.


The worst thing is it looks unsightly.


It's a fungal problem, and there's not a lot you can do about it


particularly slightly later on in the summer,


then I'm afraid black spot is almost inevitable...


..but what it does mean is that I will burn these trimmings


just so we don't spread it any more than we have to.


Right, I'm beginning to be able to see in here.


That has done no harm at all to the rose,


and for the first time for weeks has let me go down this path


and has given me access to the border -


and this is all part of a plan to add a little bit to the border.


Borders like these, it doesn't matter what I'm growing in them,


are symmetrical, they're formal, they're edged with box,


they are of a particular style of gardening


and one which has pretty much predominated


and he and his father were responsible


for a brand-new style of gardening that was incredibly influential.


The plantswomen and men and garden designers


who've shaped the way we garden and, in many cases, changed the way


we think about our gardens are few and far between -


but today we've got two for the price of one.


Bressingham Gardens was the home of Alan Bloom until he died in 2005.


His son Adrian started his own garden, Foggy Bottom,


that makes them titans of the gardening world.


Together, they have introduced more than 170 different plants


and developed a form of garden design


which we might never have used without them.


Gardening is in the Bloom family's blood.


Alan's father always took a keen interest in plants


and when Alan was 20, he helped him start his first nursery


In 1946, Alan bought Bressingham Hall and its six acres.


This was where his new ideas began to take shape.


Until the advent of Alan's ground-breaking ideas,


in a very staid and static kind of way.


There were grand herbaceous borders at all the British stately homes.


Tall plants at the back, short ones at the front...


but Alan could see something marvellous about these plants


and think of wonderful ways to use them


and want to introduce all sorts of marvellous new plants.


..but as well as sharing his excitement


he also wanted to share an idea about how to grow them.


instead of a static affair that you walked along


With these, not only were the plants happy


because they had light, air and sunshine,


and they were designed for all seasons,


right the way through from spring to late summer and autumn,


and around every curb there was a new surprise.


It was a novel idea that gripped the British gardener.


Perennial island beds became the new vogue


and they started popping up in gardens and parks


putting Alan and Bressingham Nursery


firmly on the gardening map of Britain.


Alan's son Adrian remembers his father's all-consuming passion


I mean, he was very, very innovative really, wasn't he?


He was a true pioneer. Well, I think he was.


Of course, the islands in front of the beds


were just the first ones he did, so he was then determined


to carry on and do all the rest of them, ending up with 48 islands


and 4,500 different varieties of plant,


so he was really determined and passionate about plants.


I think that's what really comes across, isn't it?


That passion for plants and wanting to share that with people. Exactly.


As a young man, Adrian travelled widely.


Then one day he got the call from his father


to come back and join the family business.


So you didn't just want to follow in your father's footsteps?


and he was obviously an expert in the perennials


and I obviously had to fight my corner


and try and add something else to the business.


Adrian developed a fascination for conifers


Very soon they were to make their way into gardens


I mean, this bed is a collection of conifers, really, isn't it?


I've got various things in here that are waiting their turn


One or two are more established, like this pine here.


That's beautiful. Yes, it is nice, isn't it?


Gradually, with many of these pines, I've pruned away the lower branches,


lift it up, so you've got almost a canopy,


but then you can plant underneath, you can get views through,


But the wonderful thing is not just extolling their virtues


but also the way in which you use them with other plants.


They have year-round interest and colour,


particularly important in winter time.


I want to see a few of these examples.


I love these little rivulets of festuca


that you've got here and there. Actually, festuca works very well.


Maybe not for many years but at the front of the border


and it blends and mixes in and it looks a really good contrast.


But despite all the interest in here,


it's these conifers that really draw your eye into here.


They're almost like statues, aren't they? Yes, they are.


They're narrow, green, upright forms that are there winter and summer.


They form an architectural continuity, if you like,


if you want to use some highfalutin stuff here -


but the plants can weave in and out of them.


It's a mix of plants that really give me -


and give what I think many gardeners would like -


more pleasure through the seasons. Yes. Hear, hear.


The Blooms have influenced our gardening in the past,


in the present, and with so many members of the family


involved in horticulture, they will continue to do so into the future.


Without the Blooms and all they've given us,


our gardens would be much poorer places.


Well, my Irish yews here in the Cottage Garden are conifers.


When I planted them about 22 or 23 years ago,


they were about two to three foot tall.


They've grown hugely over the years -


this is Foggy Bottom's 50th anniversary


and they are having a big celebration this weekend


and you can get all the details for that on our website.


and I can fill it with one of my favourite


and very old-fashioned herbaceous perennials, and that's a phlox.


I've got a couple here that are going to add shades of blue


You can see they're not large versions, but they will bulk out.


And it's Phlox paniculata, and you'll find that Phlox paniculata


has, I think, all the best varieties -


They are plants that as long as they get enough moisture


If you've got very sandy soil, you need to add lots of compost,


but if you got clay like I have, they're at home.


So I'm going to plant a little group of three in the front here


and then I've got a larger phlox, and this one is called Prospero.


You can see it's got quite a delicate lavender colour -


and remember, here in the Cottage Garden nothing is disallowed


but there is a tendency, an inclination,


Remember, these beds were vegetable beds for nearly 20 years.


They are rich, they hold the moisture


They won't mind anything that a British winter can throw at them.


Buy some now, get them in between now and October,


and you will have a really good display


Now, remember, with phlox, the key thing is that they don't dry out.


That doesn't mean to say that they like boggy conditions


but it does mean that they like a regular supply of water.


Phlox are never going to be the main stars in a border.


There's a kind of very attractive modesty about them -


but they are really good, reliable plants.


They're not ephemeral, they don't get bashed,


they hardly need staking or supporting,


and they give colour at a time of year


when all around them colour is falling away.


So I certainly shall be looking to add more to this garden


and I treasure the ones that I have -


but they're not really likely to attract the kind of fanaticism


that for some reason some plants seem to do...


who are drawn to the point of obsession


For this week's visit, she's headed up to Scotland.


Most of us love gardening and we all have our favourite plants.


They might be perennials or trees or evergreens,


but for some of us, it might even be a humble vegetable.


John Marshall is a Scottish gardener who has built his career


on a plant that most of us eat almost every day.


Empires have been built on it, armies have marched on it


and nations have been brought to their knees by it.


So we all know this is the potato and it's these, the stem tubers,


that is the bit we eat. Yes, they're underground stems.


They'll grow under the ground, and they'll suddenly start swelling,


and over a period of time we get what we know as a tuber or potato.


And they're from a huge family, the Solanaceae family,


which stretches from a very poisonous Deadly Nightshade


And how did this become such a staple part of the British diet,


because it's not a native plant, is it? That's right.


400 or 500 years ago it wasn't heard of -


it wasn't even mentioned in the Bible -


but the Europeans went looking for gold and silver


that Sir Walter Raleigh brought them from Virginia,


but that's largely been discredited by today's scientists. Really?


They think they came in through the Canary Islands


and spread out across Europe and came to Britain.


And quickly they've become something we can't live without. That's right.


These are the early potatoes, Sharpe's Express.


They are an old variety bred in Lincoln


and, actually, is a favourite in the Western Isles,


and the salt spray from the Atlantic rollers and seaweed.


That's what I think of when I'm eating them.


If the growing conditions are right, you could get a crop within 60 days.


And how long would a main crop take? The main crop might take 180 days.


Growing potatoes has taken you all over the world, hasn't it?


Some countries you wouldn't expect, like Saudi Arabia, a huge desert.


The temperatures are really high, 45 degrees,


They're using the pivot irrigation, bringing the water up


and the pivot takes about a day to go around


it would probably kill the crop because of the high temperatures.


because they're such an important crop?


The potato is probably the fourth most important crop in the world.


We've got wheat, rice, maize and then potatoes.


So what would be the ideal conditions to grow potatoes?


You want to take a look at your garden and think about a rotation


and planting your potatoes in sequence after other crops.


So you'd never plant two potatoes year-on-year


The next most important decision to make


is to go to a garden centre and buy classified seed -


seed that's passed the government health standards -


and then earthing up is very important


because you want to prevent greening.


We've got this potato here, you can see there's green.


If it's poking above the drill, it'll go green.


My understanding is root vegetables need high phosphates...


This is a stem, technically, so nitrogen or phosphates?


You are quite correct. Phosphate. High phosphate. OK.


So, although technically it's a stem,


One question people always ask about growing potatoes is chitting them.


Do you find the same thing? Yes, always.


and it means you've got more flexibility with planting.


You want to plant when the soil temperatures are 10 degrees


and you've got a nice firm chit like that,


Now, that's very important if blight's in the area. Yeah.


Because your crop might be decimated.


You've got ten days worth of growth in that potato.


Plenty of light, so a greenhouse or porch is ideal -


because that could spoil your chances of having a good crop.


And if you didn't put that in the light, what would happen?


If they don't get enough light, you could end up with this.


All too often, people take their potatoes home


and, as you can see, the tuber is completely shrivelled.


I've often had things like this in the cupboard


so if you don't eat your potatoes quickly enough,


could you plant that if you bought it from a supermarket?


You don't know where that potato was grown,


you don't know the disease content, it's not classified seed.


And I can see that when you do grow them correctly,


you can have a huge range and the colours of these are incredible.


Is that something that you're very passionate about? Yes.


That's almost unnatural looking, isn't it?


So would this taste different from a white potato?


Every potato tastes slightly different


but they don't taste purple, or they don't taste red.


I'd love to try one. Would that be all right?


Yes, you're certainly welcome. Fantastic.


Well, I've never tasted one of these so I'm going to taste it now


but I'm going to close my eyes and see if I can tell the difference.


You hand it to me. Don't tell me which one it is. I won't.


That tastes really nice. OK, next one.


What do you think? Is that the purple one?


I think that has a really amazing flavour, the white one, doesn't it?


Really nice. Which one's that? That is Arran Pilot.


That is so nice. Is that your favourite? Yes, it is.


You just can't buy it now. It's the gardener's favourite.


Arran Pilot, I'll be growing that one. That's amazing.


Thank you so much for showing me these. It's been brilliant.


It's a shame we don't grow a wide enough range of varieties, really,


because there are so many delicious potatoes.


I think one of the secrets of happiness as a gardener


is to find your favourite potato variety


and then grow it every year with relish.


which is such a good all-round potato.


I have not got any Charlotte left in the ground


but I have got a few first earlies called Orla in this bed.


Now, as a rule with first earlies, you dig them as you go,


but I want to harvest these as one lot now


because it's important that I use the bed at this time of year


so something can get growing and established before winter -


By the way, this dieback is not due to blight.


This is just the tops naturally dying down.


so these were ready at least a month if not six weeks ago.


as anybody who's ever grown them knows,


is to try and not spear them as you go.


..and normally I reckon to harvest my first potatoes


and there's a kind of family tradition


that we celebrate my birthday with the first new potatoes of the year


This has not been a good year for potato blight.


The blight is dependent upon very high humidity and high temperatures


at the same time, and we've had that this August.


If you've got it, you'll know it, because the first indications


are a kind of brown stain, usually in amongst the foliage.


Very quickly that becomes grey and black


and the leaves rot and collapse in on themselves


and the stain spreads until all of them are affected -


and that will happen in a day, two days.


It's not, though, a total disaster for your spuds.


The thing to do is to remove all that blighted foliage,


and if you can't burn it, bag it up to be taken away


and then leave the potatoes in the ground.


That gives a chance for the spores to die off on the surface.


There are some with holes like that in.


So, as soon as they're big enough to eat, or they stop growing,


they can only get worse, because slugs will find them and eat them,


so get them out of the ground and store them.


The best way to store them is to dry them.


If it was a really lovely day, what I would do is spread them out


over the soil and leave them on the ground


and that will dry them up and then take them indoors.


There's just a hint there might be rain around


so what I'll do is keep these in the basket,


and this wild basket is good because there's air,


and then when they're as dry as I think they're going to get,


Potatoes should be stored somewhere cool and dark but frost-free,


We go to quite a lot of trouble to store flower tubers and bulbs


but we do sometimes lose labels or even get them mixed up,


and that's happened here in the Cottage Garden,


because these brilliant burgundy-coloured gladioli


and we've got a pale lavender gladioli


The labels got lost and these corms that looked identical


went into the wrong part of the garden,


so I must make sure that I label them this time


so when they get dug up in a month or so,


they can be stored and get in the right place next year.


which is not the normal delphinium colour,


and it's a good example how that when delphiniums of all colours


have finished flowering in June or early July,


they will regrow and, as often as not,


flower just as well the second time around, well into September.


Now, coming up on tonight's programme,


the celebrated plantswoman Helen Dillon joins me here at Longmeadow.


I think that's the story of what gardening is.


The more you develop, the more you have to control what you've done.


Adam Frost shares some design ideas for creating an exotic garden...


..but first, Flo and Joe go back to Potterne in Wiltshire


to make their final visit to the community garden


that has been developing there over the summer


Potterne's a wonderful rural village with one thing missing -


somewhere for neighbours just to meet up


Hidden up this narrow lane is a large green space


so, frankly, no-one wanted to spend any time there.


A few had made efforts to make something of the garden,


but they just didn't get the support they needed.


But local youth worker Steve Dewar wanted to give it another big push.


So, to help celebrate our 50th anniversary


and regional news programme BBC Points West's 60th anniversary,


Flo and I came along to share our knowledge


..but has Steve managed to capitalise on this burst of energy?


Wow. This is really exciting. Oh, my gosh, it's changed so much.


We've put more plants in, we've raised some of this space here.


This is the mound, isn't it? It's a mound.


You've mounded it all because of all the excavations, I guess.


It's like a snake coming around the curve. The Potterne snake! Yeah -


They've been filling the raised beds with winter veg


and started planting an area for quiet contemplation -


and the beds that were filled with wildlife attracting flowers


have been extended with plants donated by neighbours.


And then you just come in and you're really in the heart of the garden


So when I was here last time we were talking about the decking.


So we've got the decking in now, and this little rockery and stream.


So we've got a slate stream just running through under the decking


and we're going to build up the plants around that


so, actually, you can walk in amongst the growth.


Putting in some more rocks there and a slate path.


Hang on, that wasn't on the drawing, that bit! No, we adapted it.


You've started interpreting the whole thing!


I love it. I feel like a proud teacher...


..and despite the ongoing downpour, volunteers have dropped in


to plant up the snake mound with more wild flowers


and sow native seeds to create a meadow effect...


They just need one important thing - some more seating.


Their award-winning design at Gardeners' World Live


showed off their talents for turning recycled materials into furniture.


I thought they could inspire this community to do the same.


is good for community gardens, in particular?


I think it's about bringing everyone together.


I think lots of people can bring different materials


that they maybe have lying around the house


that they hadn't thought could be used in a garden before,


and they can bring them down and everyone can join in.


and lots of different people with different skill sets,


you may not know how to do the whole bench but you may know how to do


a bit and someone else can come and show you how to do another bit -


and everyone gets that bit more knowledge.


You've got one pretty much ready to go, it looks.


Yes, so this one is an example that has already been done.


So, this is just using scaffold boards.


We went to the local scaffold company for them. These were free.


Sometimes you might have to pay a few pounds for them.


Once it's sanded down it's perfect for a bench.


As Steve helps finish off a bench made out of old boards,


Flo's catching up with local headteacher Mel and mum Lorraine


who are already seeing the rewards of the garden.


So have you seen changes in the children that have been coming here?


It's not a great day today, but there's more children up here.


There's a real cross generation of elderly, young...


young, and we're all getting in there together.


It feels more of like a hub, I think, now. Yes.


Jake has been over here every single day at eight o'clock,


with a spade at the gate, waiting to go.


He absolutely loves it in here. So, it's good -


and, of course, they'll bring their friends, won't they?


So, it's sort of a place for the children to meet,


be with their friends and get involved.


For me, one of the best things is seeing how different groups


are taking ownership of different parts of the garden,


including Roz and Keith from the local gardening club


who have been designing some planting schemes.


The idea being, when the leaves are dying down the green is coming up


and then someone can just come with some shears later in the year


and cut it all down and we'll get a second flush,


rather than having things that have got to be dealt with separately.


What are you hoping this community garden brings to the local area?


I think it will strengthen the community.


Because I think there's nothing quite like knowing people


and getting to know people in the village.


Whereas, you know, if this wasn't here, I think it would be harder.


Mid-afternoon and the upcycle seating is being positioned.


Perfect time for a well-deserved cup of tea and cake


to celebrate the end of the first phase.


From me personally, thank you so much.


My heart and my vision and my hope is that this place is used by anyone


and everyone in the community and the surrounding areas, as well.


I actually do get quite emotional looking at the garden


and just seeing people around, because I know it's not always easy.


It's not always easy to bring lots of different people together,


but it just warms my heart when I see everybody digging in,


everybody getting involved and everybody with that sense of purpose


"because this is where I live and this is what I want to do,"


and, actually, this brings joy to my heart.


It's not exactly as I imagined it at all. It's better.


It feels just waiting to be inhabited by the local community -


There are many more projects to do here,


and this garden's got a great future ahead of it, I have no doubt.


The great thing about any community garden is that it invents itself.


There's no prototype, there's no right way, there's no wrong way.


There's what any particular community wants to work for itself


I hope that goes on to work and give pleasure for years to come.


Now, these sweet peas were grown very specifically


for my son's wedding, which was the end of July,


and the idea being is they would reach


but that doesn't mean to say that they can't go on flowering.


and I see no reason why we shouldn't let them flower


You will notice the stems are very much shorter,


and they're much quicker to form pea pods.


Once they form seeds, that severely restricts flower production.


Pick any you have and keep them well watered.


It's strange to think, of this quintessentially English flower,


that in the 1670s and 1680s this was an exotic


introduced as a wonderful and strange plant from Sicily -


but I guess most plants when they're introduced seem unusual


and most get absorbed into our gardens.


However, some retain that sense of the strange and the exotic


and spread that magic, whichever garden they are planted in.=,


and Adam Frost has been to see one garden


gives little clue to what lies beyond.


Behind the door is a tropical paradise


filled with lush exotic plants that bombard the senses.


I'm hit by this wall of plant and its real height,


which gives me a sort of room-like feel,


and then the path starts to draw me up the garden.


Then the planting comes together and creates this -


and there's a focal point that I can see, which is a cauldron...


and everything's got room to breathe again,


and the sound of water, so I slow down,


and there is a beautiful little pool that's tucked away...


..that runs across the garden and disappears,


The two lawns are bridged by just a simple piece of stone.


and a lot of gardens, you more or less know where to go,


Do I go one way or do I go the other?


Lovely little detail, here, is just a simple stone


and a change of level which then starts to lead me into another area.


that I suppose just says sit down and enjoy,


that was going across the garden drops into this beautiful pool,


and you remember that water is a fantastic reflective surface


and I can sit here and enjoy the big shaped bold leaves just reflecting,


with the dahlias even being picked up in there.


It's the work of owner Steve Moody, and you would not believe


that it's the first serious garden he has ever created.


Steve, this really is a beautiful garden,


but how long ago did you actually start?


We moved in and there was literally nothing here.


So I started by clearing it down completely and started from scratch.


For me, it actually feels like we could be in the tropics -


but give me an idea where that first piece of inspiration came from.


That was probably from Christopher Lloyd's garden in Great Dixter,


and from there, when I could see what you could grow,


and the heights of things, that's where it all stems from, really.


He more or less gave people permission to break the rules.


Give me an idea of how you first went about setting the garden out.


I drew it on paper first, but laid it all out,


and I'd look from the upstairs window down at the garden


and just tweak it slightly until I got the effect I wanted.


So you literally laid the stone out in a shape,


ran back upstairs and then ran back down and adjust a little bit.


I'd move a stone an inch if I had to,


It amazes me, really, because you're an amateur,


but some of these planting combinations


How did you first sort of start putting plants together?


To keep your eye moving through the garden


I try and keep the same colours, not necessarily the same shaped flowers.


So you might have lots of reds going through and also leaf shape,


getting big leaves with small leaves just so the bigger leaves stand out.


If we had all big leaves, the big leaves wouldn't look as good.


Do you know what, mate? I think the garden is not only peaceful,


but, actually, it's exotic, it's exciting,


it nails so many different atmospheres.


What Steve's achieved as an amateur gardener is incredible.


I think it's a subject that people find probably quite scary at times


and even complicated - and you look at this garden


and you just think, "Wow, I could not do that."


When you really think about it, all it is is a series of layers,


and all of a sudden people think about it as an English woodland.


I know that sounds a little bit bizarre stood in the tropics,


but if you think about an English woodland, and the layers,


you've got that first upper storey, your big trees.


That's the first level. After that, the saplings push up -


that maybe could be the mid and small trees in your garden -


and then, after that, you've got your bracken going through,


and, for me, that's my herbaceous layer.


Then you look at the snowdrops, the bluebells.


That's exactly what Steve has actually done here,


apart from he's used tropical-based plants.


He's used his palms and even catalpa at the end, there,


and they work their way all the way through the space


After that, the next layer he's used bananas, he's used phormiums,


and they start to work shrubs, and they bounce through, as well,


and then we've got things like dahlias and crocosmia


and the herbaceous plants that give those little pockets of colour


Then you come down to the real detail,


and, here, Steve's used some little begonias and nasturtiums


and they're the things that just sort of catch your eye


So, I suppose, really, in design - and especially planting design -


Ultimately, it's about building up those layers,


and you can do that over quite a long period of time.


and then slowly build your garden up.


That's how you end up with those sorts of spaces


It may seem a little daunting to try and emulate this at home,


you really can take inspiration from this garden


Another thing I like is Steve's use of focal points.


He's used small water features and bird baths


and even little sculptures that sort of pull you from space to space.


he's used wonderfully this structure.


Cheap and cheerful, just wooden posts -


but it helps create a real sort of intimate space.


I really can see why this is calm. It's peaceful.


He's used green. He's used leaf shape. He's used texture.


It's a lovely space to spend 10 minutes.


All in all, I think he really has created


The key thing with any garden is to find the thing that inspires


and in the end that's all that matters.


As I say that, I realise that's not entirely true,


because you always want other people to like your garden -


and I've spent the last few days really rather anxiously going round


fine-tuning and pruning and titivating the garden here,


Helen Dillon is going to come to Longmeadow,


Helen Dillon is an acclaimed plantswoman and writer


who over 40 years created one of Ireland's most iconic gardens...


..and, having visited that in Dublin,


I wanted now to extend a return invitation


but I must admit, I am feeling a little nervous.


Do you want to have a look around? Yes, please.


This is the new bit we're making. The new herb garden.


This is very nice. This is all doing well.


And where did you get the lovely manure? That is mushroom compost.


The reason I use that is because the yews and the box,


it's just to give it a bit of alkalinity.


Is that that very good rose which is difficult there? Is that that one?


It's dead easy. It's Souvenir du Docteur Jamain.


No, I find it terribly difficult. Do you? Why?


Because it didn't think the soil was good enough.


..but it is just as Vita Sackville-West described it.


The first thing we did was to make this path.


This is my 40th birthday path, and the limes down here -


which we put in, really, as an under story, have become the main story.


The spring garden, of course, is empty now. I mean, it's sleeping.


I know, but this is a cool, green interim now, which is lovely.


And then in here we have what we call the cottage garden.


And we call it this because it's become a mixed bag.


We planted a lot of roses about three years ago.


And you manage them without spraying? We never spray anything.


For non-sprayed, I think they look very good.


I'm very much of the school.... Of the green department.


I'm of the green department. Quite right too.


My philosophy is if a plant is healthy


and the garden is healthy, i.e. it has a balanced ecosystem,


I love the length and I love the way this points out the length.


The planting here is based around the grasses,


What is that? It's a tree dahlia. A tree dahlia. You lucky stinker!


Even if they don't flower I think that's smashing.


They are smashing. The problem is they are absolutely not hardy,


and they're very big things to store. Obviously we cut them down.


So you've got great big roots to dig up. Huge roots like that.


You're dying to plant them just to get rid of them,


but we daren't until mid May because, you know...


Early May. We wait until early May...


and I have to mention it, I love this wonderful square you have.


These were four left-over trees that we had...


They are lime, they're Tilia platyphyllos.


Yeah, it works. Because then you can have this wonderful wilderness


around the side. Exactly. Sorry to refer to it as wilderness.


I think it's beautiful! It is a wilderness, you're absolutely right.


and then you come into the Jewel Garden, which is all colour.


There's no white in here at all. Just gorgeous.


So things like the zinnias and tithonias and dahlias


all come into their own. Wonderful! Wonderful!


The other thing I have to remark on is the size of all your cannas.


For instance, this buddleia, there was a storm


and it was like a bomb had been dropped on it. It was just broken.


but you see, I've got it in for buddleias, anyway,


which is terribly mean to say, but buddleias all die badly,


and I think dying badly is one of the greatest sins a plant can have.


It's a very good point. Don't have plants that die badly.


The Jewel Garden, I like looking across it, as much as anything.


What we try and do, as I say, I like things like that crocosmia.


Absolutely heavenly. This year the tithonias have done really well.


They're terribly good. And dahlias are always happy in this garden.


We never have trouble growing dahlias.


We took down nine trees this winter to let a bit more light in.


I think that's the story of what gardening is.


the more you have to control what you've done. Yeah.


I want to ask your advice, because I get the impression


in Dublin, meconopsis grows like a weed. I want to tell you,


meconopsis is a terrible struggle to grow in Dublin.


Really? A terrible struggle, because it's too warm and too dry.


You're cooler. But I'm slightly worried


It looks as if they're rotting a bit, some of them.


Did you get that as a plant or a seed? I grew them as seed,


and they flowered beautifully for the last two years.


Really well - but I want to keep them. I want to keep them going.


Well, I think you're going to have to make a new area


and move them on to a different area. Right.


They want their space and they want the light.


They don't want hot sun and that soil looks deliciously rich,


just what they want, and it's not a hot garden.


and this big bed was dug from grass two and a half years ago.


Can we be boring for a moment about...?


From grass two years ago means it's that lovely virgin soil.


You get better growth that first year or two


And people don't believe that, but I think that is the main magic.


Yeah. I can remember two wonderful gardeners came to my garden


and they looked at some gentians that were growing...


They didn't bother to explain it to me,


they just said, "Ah", they said, "virgin soil, virgin soil!"


And I think these chaps like virgin soil.


I can't understand, Monty, how you managed to do all this.


Garden after garden after garden, each more exciting than the last,


Well, I have help. Is that why you're rather slim?


And we spend most of our lives out in the garden.


It's lovely to walk around the garden with Helen,


but it doesn't mean to say there aren't jobs to do,


so here are your jobs for the weekend.


to see if any fruit have got brown rot.


and you can notice it because you get brown, rotten areas of fruit


with very distinctive white pustules.


Don't drop this on the floor, but bin or burn them


as they can contaminate the rest of the fruit


and even spread to next year's harvest.


Unless you intend to collect the seed,


by cutting them off right at the base.


This will preserve the energy in the roots for next year's plants.


When you're finished, give them one final feed of the year


using a high-potash feed such as liquid seaweed or a tomato feed.


and this is particularly true of apple mint,


so remove most of the flower on the stems,


leaving a few for use in the kitchen,


and encourage fresh regrowth as you go into autumn.


just in the last five years or so here at Longmeadow,


and which we never used to have to deal with, are pigeons and rabbits -


are particularly difficult with vegetables


but they also damage flowering plants, too,


whereas the rabbits, they cause havoc.


They eat all our crocus, they eat the ammis


and they really nibble trees and shrubs, and you can see here...


..this fruit tree that I've planted in spring


has been chewed all the way up, and if they ring it,


which is to say they ring, they eat right around the bark,


So I'm going to have to resort to putting on tree guards,


if you're planting young trees anywhere near where rabbits might be


or if you know rabbits are around, put a tree guard on,


but to do it, I'm going to have to cut off these lower branches.


You only need a tree guard on young trees


because that's what rabbits are attracted to,


in which case they may be driven to nibbling at older trees,


how good or bad the weather's going to be for us gardeners this weekend.


It is more bad than good this weekend with low pressure in control


F your beds and pots are looking sorry for themselves, nothing in the


weather will change that this weekend. Wet at times though not all


the time. A cool weekend ahead. A blustery weekend too. From the word


go on Saturday morning, showers around western parts. They'll


develop elsewhere as we go through the day. If you catch one, it could


be heavy, possibly thundery with a risk of hail. Some bright or sunny


spells around, but a lot of cloud during Saturday. The windiest


weather in the west and south of the UK. Lots of western Scotland and


Northern Ireland will see the showers easing later in the


afternoon. A rash as cross England and Wales. Across eastern parts


those showers should arrive as the afternoon goes on. Blustery across


the coast of Wales and the south-west of England. The wind will


ease for a time. On Saturday night, mainly dry and clear. Temperatures


will drop away. Some rural spots into single figures. Perhaps


sheltered glens in Scotland low single figures. More rain on Sunday


spreading over Scotland and Northern Ireland. Edging eastwards across the


rest of the day. Eastern England staying largely dry until late on. A


risk of gales on the south-west on Sunday night into Monday. A weekend


of low pressure. Changeable. created by not one but two


of her gardening heroes, This is a Longmeadow special. This


is lemon verbena tea. Hen's teeth! It's such a lovely colour that


even if you don't like to drink it, I'm sure it's very good


for you, as well. Yeah, I guess so,


but it shouldn't be like medicine. Monty, I cannot tell you


what a wonderful time I've had. It's been lovely having you here.


I feel completely spoilt and it is such a treat.


It's a thrilling garden. This little bit is probably less


exciting. It's coming into... It's only young, isn't it?


It's very young. and this is going to be


our little Officinalis Garden, they were the chemist


or they were the pharmacy. Officinalis sounds very grand, but


as you know, it just means basic, you know? It just means... It just


means very ordinary, the common one. Yeah. The common one.


The common, basic, so, you know, and Rosmarinus officinalis


is a basic rosemary, it's nothing fancy


done to it at all, so it's all part of the herb theme


that this will come into being, and I'm delighted


you had a good time. It's been a great honour, and I have


to say, quite scary. Oh, shut up! Shut up! I want to tell you it's


a great honour for me to be here. and I'm afraid that's all


we've got time for today. I'm afraid Helen won't,


but I hope you come back soon, and you can join me


here at Longmeadow at the same time next week -


so from Helen and myself, bye-bye.


At Longmeadow, Monty shows us how to harvest and store potatoes. He also adds late summer colour to the cottage garden and prunes shrub roses.

Carol Klein travels to Norfolk to meet Adrian Bloom, a member of a horticultural dynasty that has had a big influence on our gardens for the last 50 years. Adam Frost takes a close look at the design of an outstanding small garden in Abingdon, and Frances Tophill is in Scotland meeting a man who is passionate about potatoes. Joe Swift and Flo Headlam pay a visit to Potterne in Wiltshire to check on the progress of the community garden, and renowned plantswoman Helen Dillon joins Monty at Longmeadow.

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