Monty has ideas for pots which will remain colourful throughout winter. Frances Tophill helps a viewer whose overgrown pond needs some renovation.
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Hello. Welcome to Gardeners' World.
It's a beautiful day today, but last night we had a real storm
and the leaves were sent flying off the trees.
So it's a chance to pick them up,
but I never mind doing this in autumn,
because every leaf is potentially leaf mould,
and there's something about marking the season -
the rituals of each season are part and parcel of their enjoyment.
That will not make leaf mould.
Of course, this is our final programme in
our 50th anniversary year.
It's been a great year.
We've had lots of good experiences, some great gardening,
and not bad weather either, really,
but all good things must come to an end.
However, before we finally go,
we've got a full programme for you tonight.
Adam savours the beauty of winter at Ellicar Gardens in Doncaster,
the gardening writer Naomi Slade enjoys the spectacular
snowdrop display at Welford Park in Berkshire,
and we meet an inspirational 83-year-old gardener
who's been encouraging children to discover their green fingers
for more than half a century.
And with Halloween coming up next week, I shall be
harvesting my pumpkins and getting the garden ready for winter.
Come on, you two. Come on.
On a balmy October day like today,
winter can seem pretty remote,
but we all know that this could turn overnight,
and frosts, storms and general winteriness will descend.
It is inevitable, and some plants you do need to protect,
like this Dicksonia.
This is Dicksonia antarctica, the tree fern,
and the key thing is to know
what it is that you're protecting.
So, for example, the trunk here is fine,
and the fronds don't matter at all.
These can all die back,
and you can cut them back and they'll be fine, too.
By the way, a little tip -
when you are cutting back fronds, don't cut them right to the base.
Leave a stub.
You can see these are all the old stubs of fronds
and they become part of the trunk.
The bit that you really need to look after is from there to there,
and that's the growing point.
And the absolute crucial area is down in the crown.
There's a kind of inverted cone in there,
which, when you put your hand in, is really soft,
and if that gets filled with ice, it can kill the plant,
so we need to keep it dry enough so it doesn't fill up with water
and warm enough so what moisture there is in there doesn't freeze.
So the answer is just to get a wodge of straw like that
and put it in the middle,
and that will both insulate it
and also stop it getting too wet.
There are two ways you can then deal with it.
What I have done before with Dicksonia is to
fold the fronds over, so they form another kind of insulation,
but, actually, what works better is to get some fleece,
and this is a particularly thick, heavy-duty fleece,
which I've cut so it's going to cover a strip around the top.
And if we put this round here like that, so it's like a scarf
around that critical area, and then tie it with some string,
that will mean the icy winds or very cold air temperature
will not affect it.
Now, that should be enough for most weather,
although you can get a piece of polythene
and just fit it like a cap over the top,
and that will stop it getting too wet.
I'm going to leave that for a bit, because one of the major problems is
it tends to blow away and can be quite a problem to fix,
but if the weather gets really wet and miserable,
and looks like being cold,
then a piece of polythene over the top of that,
and if the straw gets too wet,
take it out, replace it with dry straw,
and then cover that with polythene.
But this will at least keep the cold out.
That's enough protection to ensure that survives
all but the most extreme weather.
Now, I do realise that there is a risk of treating winter
as this terrible problem, this enemy that you have to overcome,
and in fact winter, particularly when the weather is cold and dry,
can be magical and, earlier this year,
Adam went to Doncaster to visit a garden that has done
all that it can to celebrate the beauty of the winter months.
As gardeners, we relish the newness of spring.
We long for summer's days.
We marvel at autumn colour.
But here at Ellicar Garden,
the first bite of frost is a cause for much celebration.
The owners of this garden, Sarah Murch and her family,
treasure the winter months.
Well, Sarah, what is it you really love about winter?
I think, erm...
You know, winter's really special because it's a really quiet
time in the garden, and I think the light plays a big part.
So, obviously, the sun's really low in the sky in winter
and it rises over here, and, as you're walking through
the garden in the morning, on a frosty morning,
it's absolutely magical, seeing all the perennials in the grasses
highlighted with the frost, and then the sun coming through.
It's just really magical,
and it, sort of, turns everything a lovely rusty colour, so I think
the colours red and orange are really accentuated in winter.
Explain to me what you feel actually a winter garden is.
I think it's everything stripped back
so you see the structure in the garden.
-Things like this pergola, that's excellent structure, isn't it?
You get the frost on the beams.
And all the evergreens. I'm really into evergreens, you know,
pines and all the lovely junipers,
and all the things like the euphorbias.
They're all beautiful evergreens.
Do you know, what I really love about winter is actually
the amount of change you get in one day?
So, now the sun's come up and burnt the frost off,
you've got moisture on the plants.
I mean, it looks stunning.
But, be honest with me, did you set off to design a winter garden?
I kind of did actually, because, if you think about it,
you're looking at your garden for months in winter,
so anything you can put in there that's just really
beautiful for those winter months is really worth doing.
And I think the fact that we've got one or two quite nice trees
like the birches with the lovely white bark,
and obviously these red willows that give you the winter colour...
I mean, these look absolutely stunning,
-but, you know, people think, "Willow, massive big tree."
-"I couldn't grow that in a small garden."
But here you've pollarded them,
but you've actually left them up so you can plant underneath.
Yeah, you can underplant them really nicely,
and obviously the bulbs are just starting to pop through now,
so hopefully we'll get, like, a sea of aconites one day.
And I know that these are really easy to take cuttings from.
I think you fancy one or two cuttings, don't you, Adam?
Is that all right?
Basically all you have to do is, like when we were cutting them
back in spring, is you chop them off at the framework
and we would just, sort of, cut it off about here.
-So literally nine inches.
-Push that in the ground.
-Stick it in the ground.
-That much, shall we?
Probably about a couple of inches above the ground, and you could put
that in a pot, just keep it somewhere cool and watered.
A lot of these I've actually put in
from a stick, literally from a cutting.
-So when cutting, you've put another one in the ground.
-Yeah, cos I can't resist it.
-What do I do? I don't want to get rid of them all.
You know, walking around the garden the way you've planted it,
an awful lot of it seems really quite subtle,
and I love the grasses and what they bring,
you know, that life and the colour,
but give us an idea on how you choose the herbaceous plants
to go with the grasses.
Well, I'm quite fussy that I don't have anything that collapses
in winter, so everything has to stay with a really nice structure
through winter, like this Aster frikartii Monch,
which, you know, has brilliant flowers all summer for butterflies
and bees, and you've got this wonderful seedhead that
the birds will eat in winter, so it's great food value.
So in a way you're not just using it because it looks beautiful,
-you're choosing it for what else it brings to the party.
What I really love, and I actually think is really, really clever,
are these Iris sibirica here,
-the way that actually you've worked them through the grasses.
Most people would think Iris sibirica looks great in May, June,
but you've actually detailed the seed heads and they look stunning.
-The two colours together look beautiful.
-Yeah, just woven through.
They're one of my favourite plants as well.
When it comes to cutting those back, what do you do?
Well, I'm quite brutal.
-I would stamp on the Iris sibirica cos that breaks easily...
..and then the grasses would get pulled or cut back,
and then we just lay them down on the surface, because that creates
a layer that the, you know, the amphibians will live under
and the voles.
Real low-maintenance, and that's your mulch again
which prevents your weeds and just feeds the soil again.
Wow. This is fantastic.
Where did this idea come from?
Well, basically, we built it ourselves because we love
wild swimming, so it's actually a natural swimming pool.
I think in winter, you know, that it's got these massive
reflections all around it and it bounces light back, and the...
Actually, the other word for these natural pools is a sky mirror,
so they literally reflect the sky, which is quite incredible.
So it can change the atmosphere or the mood.
-Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
-So it goes from dark and brooding
to, you know, quite bright and light and...
But great for wildlife?
Amazing for wildlife, so you get all the birds coming to
bathe in the shallows, and literally all winter long you'll get
different things coming in to have a bath and a drink.
If you're going to create a winter garden, first of all,
think about the structure.
Choose the right trees.
One of my favourites is the Cornus mas,
covered in tiny yellow buds,
just waiting to burst into colour.
For a splash of colour, maybe go for a simple classic like a hellebore,
or even a snowdrop.
Scent is really important and powerful in a winter garden,
so try maybe Sarcococca -
planted near a doorway, every time you pass it,
I promise you, it'll brighten up your day.
-Oh, dear. Do you know what?
Your garden has shown me so much today about actually why we don't
need to go back to our homes and our fireplaces right through the winter,
but I'm really not sure about that.
No, I think I'd probably join you on that.
-It really is a beautiful garden.
-Oh, well, thank you.
Of course, what winter does is strip away all the floral flesh
of a garden and reveals its bones,
and if you want your garden to look good all the year round,
you must have a good structure.
That is the secret.
These large pots were full of cosmos all summer.
Well, I slightly overplanted them but they look good.
But cosmos are always going to be hit by frost,
and they're very much a summer flower,
and I want these pots to work for me all the year round,
not least cos they're really expensive.
They're a big investment, a pot like this,
so, to get your money's worth, use it.
Use it all the time.
So I'm going to plant it up now to give me a display from the minute
I plant it right through to the middle or even the end of next May,
so I need a succession of plants,
and I'm going to start with a layer of tulips.
Now, I know the other day I did some tulips,
I did three layers in a row, but this will just be one layer
that will come up through a shrub and also some grasses.
I've taken out the old compost.
Put it on the compost heap or spread it on the border.
All the goodness is gone from it. Start again.
And I've mixed up a 50/50 mix
of grit and potting compost.
So very, very good drainage.
It's really important for tulips
that they have very sharp drainage.
As long as the drainage is below them,
you can actually put a less well-drained mix above them
and that will be relevant when we come to plant the shrub.
The tulips I've putting in are a variety called Havran.
They're a rich, dark purple.
They're a triumph tulip
so they have a nice, straight stem and a goblet shape.
Mid to late, so they will flower sort of the end of April,
And, the intensity of the colour
is exactly what I want for the Jewel Garden.
And, of course, there'll be other tulips in the borders, as well.
So they're going to have to work with those.
Nice, big, fat bulbs.
When you're buying your tulips, look for the biggest bulb as possible.
The bigger the bulb the better.
The shrub is going to go in the middle.
So I don't want to plant any bulbs directly beneath it
but I can do it all around it.
OK, that's the tulips.
Now I'm going to cover these over with a slightly richer compost mix.
The reason for that is that my central piece is this Cornus,
This is Cornus alba Sibirica
and I've chosen it, not for its foliage
but for the red of the twigs.
So dogwood likes slightly richer soil, a little bit more moisture.
So that will go over the top.
Pack around it with more compost.
Now I'm going to plant around the edge
Ophiopogon is this wonderful black grass.
Now these are plants that I lifted from the Jewel Garden
and they've stayed in this tray all summer long.
What they do best in
is a little bit of shade and some good drainage
and I can give them both of that here.
So that's going to be pretty much like this.
I know it can look as though there is going to be absolutely no
room for the tulips to get through but they will push up through.
They will work their way through any obstructions.
So don't worry too much about that.
I'll water that in well.
What it gives us is a very stark, striking winter display.
You've got the structure of these bare stems, bright red
and getting redder as the weather gets colder.
You've got the black foliage of the Ophiopogon
and then growing up through it, these tulips and when the tulips
are finished, I'll lift the whole lot, the dogwood can be replanted
in a border in the garden, so getting double value for the shrub.
The Ophiopogon can either go into a border or back into pots
and sit and wait for next year and then
I'll have a summer planting that will be completely different.
Now, this Cornus looks great in winter but, of course,
it's not designed for winter.
It has its foliage and its flowers which come out in summer.
Some plants are exclusively performing in the winter months.
And I guess the first, both in appearance and in most of our minds,
is the humble, but exquisitely beautiful, snowdrop.
And last year the gardening writer Naomi Slade went to
Welford Park in Berkshire
when the snowdrops were at their fabulous best.
I've always loved snowdrops.
I've always been fascinated by them.
Snowdrops are a herald,
they're a herald of spring.
They bring hope, they bring that anticipation.
They are everything about renewal and rebirth
and what's coming next in the garden
and in life generally.
What makes Welford Park so special for me,
so impressive, is its impact,
the drama of the place.
Each snowdrop is so small, so tiny
but here they are in their legion
and it's not just the snowdrops, there are these trees, too.
There's repeated columns of black beech trees.
They add that three-dimensional element, they add drama.
All the flowers in this woodland are Galanthus nivalis.
The name comes from the Greek, gala, meaning milk
and anthos, meaning flower, hence Galanthus
and nivalis, which means of the snow.
So what you have here is milk flower of the snow.
Its beautiful, dainty little drops here, you can
see nice, even little drops
over glaucous, green-blue grassy foliage.
If we just give that a little pinch now you can see the little, green
marking on the inner petals
which is distinctive of this sort of snowdrop.
The Galanthus nivalis is not alone.
In fact there are 20 species
and within those species at least 2,000 named varieties of snowdrop.
Some people have the audacity to say that all snowdrops look the same.
I just don't think they're looking hard enough.
Over the last few years, snowdrops have become something of a cult.
People travel all over the country to find the rarer varieties.
And new forms can change hands for astronomical prices.
Not all snowdrops are white and green.
This is Wendy's Gold, which has a yellow ovary and
yellow markings on the inner petal.
The pleated leaves are very, very distinctive.
They are folded in the middle and at the sides, which makes them
markedly different from the very common Galanthus nivalis.
The yellows are highly collectable
and some of them fetch very high prices.
But, in this case, for a fairly modest sum of about £20
you can get a bulb which is robust, distinctive and easy to grow.
And then there's S Arnott, this wonderful beefy snowdrop here.
He stands up to a foot tall
and he is well-known for this beautiful honey scent,
which is particularly noticeable
when the air warms and the petals open.
Snowdrops like undisturbed ground, good drainage and rich soil.
As an early spring flower, they need good light
when they're growing and they thrive beneath bare trees.
Snowdrops have a great trick for surviving in the cold.
They create a natural antifreeze by accumulating sugars,
salt and amino acids within their tissues.
This means they don't tend to freeze as it gets towards zero.
Even when the temperature drops well below zero, it becomes
a managed process of freezing which means that the ice crystals don't
disrupt the tissues and the plant can survive.
And so to the snowdrop controversy.
Many believe that snowdrops are either indigenous or
they were brought to Britain by the Romans.
The experts, however, say that the plant is most likely not a native.
It doesn't behave like a wildflower
and since it's not mentioned in literature until the 15th century,
it was probably a late arrival.
And, yet, snowdrops are often associated with churchyards
and are often found in the grounds of ruined abbeys and priories.
Welford Park here is built on the site of a Norman monastery.
In which case, they would have arrived with the Normans
1,000 years ago.
One thing's for sure - the snowdrop remains a light in the cold woods
telling us that winter will end soon.
It's all right, Nigel, don't worry.
Just move that back a bit, there we go.
Looking at those snowdrops does make you realise just how fantastic
they can look en masse. I love seeing those swathes of snowdrops.
One little tip - if having seen that, you're tempted to rush out
and buy some bulbs, just hold back.
Wait until February.
Go and see a really good display of snowdrops, choose the ones you like
and then buy them either in flower or just after they have flowered.
They are so much more likely to last and spread
and then you can build up your collection.
I'm just putting these cloches on these salad crops.
It gives just a little bit of protection.
I actually don't close the end of cloches but keep them open
so there's good ventilation.
But it undoubtedly extends the growing season and, obviously
if the weather gets really cantankerous, it does help a lot.
I've had these cloches for years and years,
they're a little bit bashed but they do really good service.
Now, throughout this year we have been celebrating
some of the giants of the gardening world.
People like Roy Lancaster, Penelope Hobhouse,
Beth Chatto, who have influenced and guided the way
that we've looked after our own gardens
for the past three or four decades.
But, right across the country, there are many, many unsung heroes,
people who are guiding, mentoring, or just inspiring people to garden.
And we went to Birmingham to meet Eunice McGhie, who at 83 is still
doing extraordinary work.
My love of gardening came from my parents in Jamaica.
They dig the earth, they plant the vegetables
and then they take it to the market and sold it,
they got the money and they look after the family.
Because of the teaching that I get from home and my grandmother,
I remember when she knocked on the door and she says,
"You're going to England,
"you obey the rules and live."
That's what she said.
Until this day, I remember that.
Gardening has given me health.
Really good health.
It teaches me to be self-sufficient, to be hard-working
and I'm telling you
if I was not out here in this garden...
..I would be sitting in an armchair or into a home, or something.
What you plant, you eat.
You know, you breathe in the fresh air, your lungs get well.
There is always goodness coming from it, really.
I started in the 1960s to do community action work all by myself.
A garden project was developed for educational
and basic life skills, educational purposes
to learn kids about gardening.
So the first thing I did,
I got the allotment and then I start writing to the schools around
to see if they wanted the children to come along.
That was it. They just came.
They just came.
Hello. How are you?
-Very nice to see you again.
-Nice to see you. How are you?
I'm fine, thank you.
Hello, hello. All right?
The young people, their response was marvellous.
They said, "I like this better than sitting around television"
and, "Miss, how did you manage to know that we want this?"
They were just so...
They were on fire, man.
They like the digging and the weeding. They loved it.
They loved it.
The teachers themselves loved it and it was five days a week
on the allotment
for 10, 15 years.
Have a look at these. See how small they are?
And this, we put in here, like that.
In 2014 I thought, do I let it go or do I continue?
So, I decided to take it home, to take the work that
I was doing in the allotment home, starting my own garden.
And I did get the same response as I had through the allotments.
So here we are.
At 83, I'm still doing it.
Now we're going to plant some onions.
We have two onions here to plant,
and how do you think we should plant the onions, then?
-You should plant the onion like...that.
No, that's the wrong way of planting the onions!
-The roots are here.
This is the roots, and this is...
Otherwise you wouldn't get an onion at the end of the crop.
You know what I mean?
Most of the children who come down to the garden project are shy
when they are coming in, but of course, as time goes on,
they change and they change for the better.
So, this is how we would plant the onion, just in there,
and then we cover it.
Come and get your onions!
Here you go.
They're planting it, the seed grows, they are tasting it now,
they know what it's all about, and when they go out on the street
they keep on telling other children and bringing other people in.
Because they are having a good time.
It's about mixing with each other, really.
These children find that they could relate to me, they could talk to me,
and I could help them
to progress their education. Their parents now have found out that
I'm the best thing that ever happened to them!
No, you don't have to press the earth down with your hand.
No, just put it in. See what I do.
I didn't use my hand to press the earth down, did I?
They think I'm very tough and hard, but they will listen and hear,
and some of them even want gardening at their home, they go home
and tell their parents about it and want to set up a garden at home.
Most of them, their lives have been changed.
This is runner beans, and this is how you open the pod to get
the runner beans out,
and this is also the red kidney beans, right?
Here we go.
You see the different colours on the runner beans?
These are ready to cook.
I think Eunice is really amazing, she's always positive.
And, like, she's fabulous.
It has encouraged me to probably plant my own crops
in my garden at home,
and help my little nephews and nieces plant.
When she talks to me, I feel happy
and I feel like I just want to do all the work that she has done.
Over the years, I can tell you now, it's thousands
and thousands of children that I have mentored,
that make good of themselves through the horticultural garden project.
As long as I live, I will be doing
what I am doing now, continually.
Well, I have to say that Eunice is a really lovely lady,
and I'm sure there are lots of people out there who are doing
the same kind of work, and if there are any that you know
and you think that we should be paying a visit to, let us know.
You can contact us on our website or Facebook page,
and we would like to share the work they do
and celebrate all those unsung heroes in our gardens.
Now, I am mulching these borders on the mound with some leaf mould,
and this unsieved leaf mould from last year,
and it makes a really good mulch
because, although it's not feeding aggressively, it's not adding
a huge amount of goodness, it is
improving the structure of the soil, and that is almost as important.
If you mulch at this time of year, in autumn,
it will work in over winter,
it will protect it from very heavy rain, it will suppress any
weeds that grow in mild periods, and by next spring, be ready to plant.
And I like to mulch in areas where there are lots of bulbs.
If you leave that till spring,
you're having to mulch around the bulbs coming up,
whereas if you do it in autumn, it will grow through the mulch.
Now, still to come on tonight's programme...
Frances goes to Wells in Somerset,
to help a viewer tackle his overgrown pond.
But with Halloween approaching, it is appropriate
that first of all we go to Hampshire
to join a pair of brothers who have devoted much of their lives
to growing the biggest and heaviest pumpkin in the world.
-I'm Ian Paton.
-And I'm Stuart Paton.
We are twin brothers and we grow flowers together for a living.
-We both love fishing, both love sailing.
-Both like beer.
But our real passion is really growing pumpkins.
We were 13 when we first started growing pumpkins,
and I remember coming home from holiday - in fact we were
the only kids who wanted to come home on holiday to see our pumpkin.
That was about 45 years ago,
and we're still trying to be world champions.
This year maybe is our chance.
This, we call it the PRD house -
which is pumpkin research and development.
So we've spent an awful lot of time and quite a lot of money
to try and get our world record.
Up here we've got shading that comes over.
We don't want the plant to be suffering in the hot weather,
so we actually have as well, on top of that, belt and braces,
we have mist lines. It's not for watering the plant,
it's just for cooling the air down.
The real important one is this one here, which is
absolutely enormous, and this is the one we're going to be lifting today.
Hopefully we're going to be the world champions,
so we've grown the biggest pumpkin in the world this year.
So, the next couple of years are the real big shows,
and we'll be weighing ours at one of those big shows in Southampton,
but there is a chance that we will beat the world record.
At the end of the day, Stuart and I always say
it's not a beauty contest, cos some pumpkins are indeed ugly.
Some of them are actually rather curvy and sort of curvylicious.
But at the end of the day, it's only weight that matters.
I was looking at this earlier, and that is really thin there.
Yeah, just... Yes, leave it alone.
-But this is thick.
-Solid up there.
We can't do things by halves. It turns into our whole life.
Families don't see us, we're in there at five o'clock
in the morning, we're in there all day if we get half a chance.
Pumpkin growers do call it a pumpkin sickness,
something you need to see a doctor about, actually.
It's a drug.
It all begins with this -
it's a giant pumpkin seed.
It's a bit of a racehorse.
And we'll plant that in April.
And then we're off.
Our soil that we've got here is very, very deep soil,
it's very deep soil,
because we actually get a 1.5 tonne digger in here,
and we double dig the soil,
so we have 8x4 sheets of plywood, and we only walk on there.
Because the pumpkin roots are actually quite fine.
We normally have a fan on the stems of the pumpkins,
because as the stems grow and they get bigger,
they split and they exude a little bit of sap.
We like to just put a fan on, and that just dries the moisture up.
We don't like this bit.
There are bits where your heart's thumping, and this is one of them.
We're going to half lift it and then we're going to
drop it down again and make sure everything's straight.
Sorry, I've got my serious face on.
Ours wouldn't be the first one to break when we lift it.
And it definitely wouldn't be the first one to find a mouse has
decided to eat it from underneath.
-That is flat as a pancake, Stuart.
It's better than perfect.
It's flat, mate. It's great.
It means nothing(!)
Our rivals are the ones chewing their fingernails, not us.
We'll see, on Saturday.
Here we are, this is a big day today.
This is a seriously big pumpkin, so we're really hoping
it's a new PB and a British record, minimum.
The British record we beat last year, that was 2,252 lb.
And hopefully we're going to smash that one today.
And now we're going to be like this all day until they weigh it
and let us know if we did well or not.
As it stands at the moment, the world record is 2,624 lbs...
..and that came from Belgium.
This was a seed from its mother.
And this pumpkin is about the same size as it.
Our biggest rival's...
..in California, at 2,363 lbs.
Anything over that, and we're happy.
I've been growing for 25 years -
it's a hard hill to climb,
to get to the mountaintop where the biggest pumpkin sits.
We are looking at something very special. Once in a lifetime.
Right now we're... not feeling too bad.
Give us another 15 minutes and we'll be in pieces!
This is the pumpkin that we're talking about,
this is Ian and Stuart Paton's pumpkin - their entry for this year.
Going to check it's stable on the scales.
So silence from the crowd.
The world record is 2,624.6...
A new record...
New UK record, guys, well done!
WHOOPING AND CHEERING
Never mind. Never mind.
Today our pumpkin's weighed 2,269,
we'd have liked it to have been a bit more.
Looks like we're going to be second place in the world,
and a new British record, so... Yeah, very happy.
And our story isn't over yet!
Won't be over till we're world champions, so...
-Well, world record holders.
-World record holders, yeah.
-We're going to get it.
-We'll get it!
-Got to be positive, haven't you?
Well, it's a shame they didn't get the world record
but it is very impressive. Although I think probably I'm happy
with the way that MY pumpkins have grown here.
And it's time to harvest them.
It's been a good year for pumpkin growers -
even if you just bunged 'em in the ground, any old seed,
and just let them do their thing -
because they are SO weather-sensitive.
If we have a cold spell,
just when they're starting to grow,
then they stop. And you never catch up that time.
And if it's too hot they don't like it,
if it's too wet or it's too dry...
But this year has been just right for them.
So I'm going to harvest these
and then leave them to ripen
as long as the weather stays reasonably good.
Now, when you harvest a pumpkin,
it is really important to keep the stem on.
If you lose that, then there's a risk
that they will rot from that point and they won't store.
So, if I cut... Oh, it's gone anyway!
So that's solved the problem.
I was going to cut it, and it broke.
This is Musquee de Provence.
And you can see a touch of bluey on that. It's quite heavy.
If I were those brothers, I'd be really worried
that I was coming up on their tails -
there's a world record waiting to happen.
And I confess this is
quite a small Turk's Turban.
But I like Turk's Turban.
It looks great. It's a fantastic-looking pumpkin.
And also it tastes good.
It's a really good one to grow.
And last but not least...
..is this one here.
Which has grown
where the supports have met,
and so it'll be a funny shape.
And by the way,
I'm really pleased with the way that these have grown vertically.
And I'll certainly be doing it again -
I'll keep these chestnut stakes for next year,
I'll put them back up and we'll grow them upwards again.
It's worked a treat. Right, I'm going to cut those like that...
Well, I'll tell you what, that wins...
..the funny-shaped pumpkin contest!
These will store for between three and six months,
depending on how hard the skin is and the storage conditions.
It wants to be cool, and slightly moist but not too wet.
And you'll know the problem is
they start to rot and you get a slight leakage.
But just check them. Just turn them over and check them,
and if you can have air flowing around them, so much the better.
And of course, eat them!
If you want to attract wildlife into your garden -
and why wouldn't you? -
then by far the best way to go about it is to make a pond.
It doesn't matter how simple it is,
it transforms things.
However, you do need to tend them. You can't just leave them,
because very quickly they can become a tangle of plants
And Frances has been to Wells in Somerset,
to visit the garden of Andrew Harris,
who has found that his pond has become completely overgrown.
So, Andy, why is it that you've asked for help with this pond?
I can't seem to encourage anything
-in the way of frogs or newts or dragonflies.
-It's clearly quite kind of congested in here, isn't it?
Yeah, it's rammed.
Which is great, because the plants are doing really well.
But I think if we get this all cleared, then
we can see what we've got to work with and see how it can be improved.
-Andrew's pond will have plenty of bugs and microorganisms.
The problem is, there's just too much vegetation
to attract the wildlife that Andrew loves.
So he needs to create some clear water.
This is the Iris pseudacorus, the yellow flag,
which is actually quite an invasive species.
And you can see why there - it's just taken over, hasn't it?
-Look, it's empty!
-When filling a pond, ideally use rainwater.
Tap water CAN be used,
but it needs to be left standing for a day or two,
or treated with a dechlorinator.
So now the pond is full, what are your thoughts on the flag iris?
I think it's far too big for the pond, it's probably too tall,
and the flowers aren't there much. They don't last very long.
-Let's leave it out, then, shall we?
-I think so, yeah.
And this pickerel, I think, is one to keep.
-Isn't it gorgeous?
-Yeah, especially with the sunlight on it.
-That's beautiful, isn't it?
The problem is, this is an invasive species, so you have to be careful.
If you were anywhere near a watercourse,
I would say don't plant it.
But you're not, it's a contained pond and you have it in this trug,
which will stop it spreading far.
So what we need to do to get this looking its best
-is chop down any of these that have snapped.
Because this plant's really, really high in cellulose,
so all this leaf that's hanging in the water will break down
and release all the sugars into the water.
Which encourages the growth of things like algae.
-So, as soon as they snap...
-..chop them off.
-And it's a really, really good plant for wildlife, actually.
It's really good for bees and butterflies,
and it's a fantastic thing for the dragonfly larvae to climb up
and then launch from, so it's a really useful plant.
Ah. That's what I'm looking for.
Are you happy with the position?
Yeah, that's great. Looks really good there.
Cool. All right then.
So this is a classic example of how congested a pond can get...
-..very quickly. I mean, look at all the stuff we've removed.
Yeah, it's amazing.
And actually you only want 50% of it to be covered with the foliage.
So you have kind of optimal habitats
-for all different kinds of animals, insects...
And you get the reflections coming off the water
and that sort of thing, bouncing off the trees...
Which I haven't had, it's been just like any other border, you know.
-Exactly. I mean, it looked like a bog garden.
-It did, yes.
So what I think we should do is pot on some of these,
and then just get rid of whatever's left over.
So a waterlily, one marsh marigold,
-and that's it.
-So we're really streamlining.
And to do that is really easy, you just need an aquatic compost.
So it's very much like any other potting on you would do,
only your container is absolutely full of holes
so water can come and go easily,
and the compost that you use is a specialist aquatic compost.
And other than that,
you just would do it in very much the same way
-that you would do anything.
-So this is the waterlily...
Is that too much on there, do you think?
Yeah, maybe half of that would be enough,
-but that'll quite quickly fill up.
So I'm taking off the excessive roots
so that they're not curling round...
-So if we put a good covering of gravel on the top...
..that will really weigh it down as it goes in.
Cos the last thing you want is all this compost floating away,
-in your pond!
And bizarrely...even though they're going in water,
-they need a really good soak before they do.
It'll just help them to sink more quickly.
And now you have to think about where you want them!
-Shall we put the marsh marigold in first?
There we go.
Now the waterlily.
-Andrew's waterlily is really quite large.
So it WILL need regular dividing.
Or he could think about replacing it with a smaller variety.
And then obviously... the leaves float on the surface,
which provides fantastic shelter for frogs and any amphibians -
they can shade under there and also hide from predators
and birds and things like that,
so they're a really, really good thing for wildlife.
-So now we've created a haven...
..for wildlife to come into your pond, and your garden,
-we now need to allow them to get out of it again.
So it's a really important step
and just by putting a couple of rocks in, like this,
it can come up here and then get out and come in any time it likes.
So then it's just some smaller plants.
And because these are in fabric pots,
they'll fit into the nooks of the rocks quite well.
This is an equisetum
and it needs to be submerged, but not quite as deeply as the others.
So that will be a good place for that.
That's water mint, Mentha aquatica, which is really a fantastic plant
because it floats on the surface, it's called rafting.
The roots will hang down and really cleanse the water.
And it really smells of mint.
It does, it's a lovely, fresh, kind of spearminty smell.
-It is. Is it edible?
-It is edible, yeah, it's absolutely edible.
-No-one's going to believe us.
-I know. There's a frog.
It's amazing. If you build it...
-..they will come.
-Well, let's hope so.
Frances is right about this flag iris -
it can become very invasive. I like it.
I like the way that it gives such structure
and the yellow flowers are fantastic,
but you just need to thin them.
I'm just putting that on the side,
so all the little creatures can go back into the water.
And this wildlife pond is full of life,
although it is very overstocked.
I've allowed it to become a complete tangle.
It gets quite deep here, so I need to be careful.
But my feeling is that as long as the wildlife is there,
then you don't need to be too proscriptive.
A certain element of it is what is working,
both for you and the creatures that you want to share your garden with.
One little tip I would give is put in a rotten log.
I've had a log floating in here from the day we filled it up
and it's used as a perch by frogs and birds,
it attracts beetles and as it slowly biodegrades,
it doesn't enrich the water in the same way that green material does.
So it's working on lots of different levels.
Right, let's pull a little bit more out.
And then I'll get rid of that and compost it later.
Oh, there's Nigel's ball.
Now, where's the wildlife that is usually attached to that?
Come on, Nige.
Good boy. Good boy.
It's been a good year for veg.
It's quite hard to pin down why that should be,
but some things that can be quite tricky have done well.
For example, these fennel very often bolt and go to seed
before they make a decent heart.
And whilst that's not the biggest fennel you'll get, it's very good.
And we've had lots and lots of lettuce.
The beetroot have come through well.
You see, that's nice.
And I like them when they're not too big.
Our biggest problem has really been pigeons.
But by netting all the brassica, that's solved it.
Courgettes, of course, but then everybody grows good courgettes.
But I think, by and large, it's been luck rather than judgment
that we've had good vegetable-growing weather
when it mattered, which was June, July
and then the end of September and October.
Earlier this year, I took some cuttings from my aeoniums.
And there are a couple here. This has taken perfectly well.
It did look a bit dodgy for a few weeks
because you know with succulents,
you have to let the wound callus and dry out,
which is the opposite of most cuttings
which you want to keep moist in order to form new roots.
And the danger of a succulent is it will lose moisture
and bleed to death.
And so, to start with, you're going against all things
that instinctively you feel you should be doing.
Well, these have come through
and this one is looking particularly healthy.
And what's given me huge pleasure is that this aeonium stem -
and I took a cutting off the top section -
was a bare stick for weeks and weeks.
And, just the other day, I noticed that there are buds forming.
All the way up.
So, by this time next year, that will be a cluster
of lovely, dark aeonium rosettes.
Now, the succulents which spent a lot of the summer outside,
and now indoors, they'll be kept cool, but not freezing cold.
And pretty much bone dry all winter.
And it's the same with some of the salvias and the citrus
and the pelargoniums, gradually this greenhouse is filling up
as a protection against the worst of the winter weather.
Now, I've got some jobs for you.
Not just for this weekend,
but ones that you can do over the coming weeks and months.
It's time for a winter clean-up.
Give all your pots - terracotta and plastic - a really good scrub.
And this will get rid of all traces of compost as well as making sure
you have good plant hygiene ready for next spring.
And then go through all your tools as well, cleaning them.
And if they're not stainless steel, give them an oil
so that they don't rust over winter.
Don't waste a single fallen leaf,
as they all contribute to leaf mould.
And a good way of reducing the volume is to mow them
once you've collected them.
Spread the leaves out either on a piece of dry ground or a path
and run the mower over them a few times,
and this will reduce a large barrow load into one collector bag.
And also mean they biodegrade quicker,
as there'll be a bigger surface area.
If you grow dahlias in pots
or anywhere where the ground is wet and cold,
it's a good idea to lift and store them.
Cut off all top growth down to about four inches
and remove all excess soil around the tubers.
Then store them, packed around with either sand,
old compost, vermiculite,
any material that will absorb some water, but not be too soggy.
And store them somewhere cool and dark and frost-free.
And check them occasionally to make sure
they're neither too wet nor too dry.
This rose is called Caroline Testout
and it's been flowering with almost the same vigour
as it did in early summer
because the first half of October
was so exceptionally warm and dry here at Longmeadow,
and this is a south-facing wall, so it's had glorious weather.
Well, let's go and see if it's going to continue
and what the weather holds in store for us gardeners this weekend.
Well, that's it for today.
In fact, not just today, but for this year.
And it's been a really special year.
Our 50th anniversary.
And thank you all for helping us to celebrate it as we did.
And of course, 50 gone, but 50 to come.
And we're gearing ourselves up for a fresh start next spring.
And don't forget, the clocks go back on Sunday morning,
so enjoy tomorrow for all the light it can give you.
And I will see you back here at Longmeadow next spring.
So, from myself,
Nigel, Nellie and all of us at Gardeners' World, bye-bye.
Come on, you two. Come on.
Nige, this way.
Good girl, come on.
Good girl. Go on, off you go.
In the last programme of the series, Monty has ideas for pots which will remain colourful throughout winter, gives tips on how to protect tender banana plants and harvests pumpkins.
Frances Tophill helps a viewer whose overgrown pond needs some renovation, Adam Frost visits a garden in Nottinghamshire where the season of winter highlights its design, and we celebrate one of the up-and-coming winter flowers, the snowdrop. We visit great grandmother Eunice Mcghie, who, at 83, still teaches gardening to young people in her back garden in Handsworth, Birmingham, while in Hampshire we meet twins Stuart and Ian Paton, who are hoping to break the world record this year with their giant pumpkin.