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Hello, welcome to Gardeners' World.
I love cow parsley,
and around about the middle of May, it is one of the great glories,
not just of this garden but of the English countryside.
But it is also a bit of a thug.
It's become a weed here, in the spring garden,
and whilst I don't want to get rid of it,
I do want to slightly thin it out
because other plants struggle to compete with it.
Mind you, you'd be pushed to find anything
that would swamp the crown imperials.
These are the kings of the garden this Easter.
But you don't have to look very far for delight at this time of year.
The garden is just filling with glory.
Mind you, it's filling with work, too.
And that's just as well because we have a full hour
in which to relish the garden this Easter time.
On tonight's programme,
Nick Bailey has got all you need to know
to get your lawn looking immaculate for the season ahead.
We pay our first visit to Adam Frost's garden,
and he is focusing his attentions
on creating a large herbaceous border.
And Carol Klein visits Waterperry Gardens
to learn more about one of her horticultural heroines,
And, of course, we've got lots more to come from Longmeadow.
The new fruit garden is now fully structured.
I've cleared the turf of this square area in order to grow as many
different fruits as I can to create a kind of fruity garden that will be
ornamental but really productive
and also to grow fruit in a limited space.
So, I've got cordons of apples and pears
growing on the low fence all the way around the outside,
and that makes a kind of fruity hedge.
Now, I've got the structure for climbing plants -
blackberries, tayberries, loganberries.
I can start planting those.
In terms of the structure,
it wants to be at least six foot high, so if you are using posts,
these are 8ft posts which are two foot in the ground.
They are also chestnut.
In practical terms,
chestnut rots very slowly in the wet,
but you can use metal if that's what you want,
and you can certainly grow them up against a fence
as long as it's nice and strong and six foot tall.
But I have used these wires
because you do need strong support for these plants.
So it's 12-gauge galvanised wire with strainers at both ends,
which means you can tighten it because wire inevitably slackens.
Right, I'm going to start with a tayberry.
Tayberry is a cross between blackberry and raspberry
which was made in 1979.
And they're an improved version of the loganberry
so that they are big fruit, they're juicy,
they have the vigour of a blackberry but a lot of raspberry about them.
And the fruits, of course, are bright red.
But I will only plant one to each bay.
About eight to ten foot apart is right,
to let the plant grow vigorously.
And that will fill the whole of that bay, ready for fruiting.
And planting them is easier with my jacket off.
The ground has been dug...
and some compost rotavated into it,
but what you do want is quite good drainage.
So if you've got wet, heavy soil,
you may need to add some grit or sharp sand
and any organic matter is going to help.
I have got some mycorrhizae because that will help them get away.
We add a little bit onto the roots like that,
a little bit in the bottom of the hole to get them away.
That little plant will grow new shoots from the base.
We won't get any fruit this year.
The shoots that grow from this will give us fruit next summer.
So I'm just going to have to be patient with that!
Tayberries are not easy to get from a supermarket
because they're not really grown very much commercially.
And they're ideal for growing at home.
And I think they're absolutely at their best as a jam.
That's tayberries. Let's move on to loganberries.
Loganberries were an accidental hybrid,
and it was the raspberry and the blackberry
that produced the loganberry.
They're large, deep-red fruit produced in July and August.
Not as good as a really good raspberry to eat fresh,
but when cooked in any form - stewed, crumble, jam -
they are delicious.
They don't need full sun.
You can grow these on an east or even a north fence or wall,
if you want to.
Now this, like the tayberry,
will all be set for a good harvest in 2018.
There are a surprising number of cultivated blackberry varieties,
and the advantage of growing them is
the varieties tend to be much less prickly,
the fruits are bigger and they're earlier, too.
You can have blackberries at the same time as raspberries
and tayberries and loganberries.
That's really easy. Just two more things that must be done.
The first is to give each plant a really good water.
Right for that.
And then, do mulch them.
A really generous mulch will suppress the weeds,
keep the roots cool as they grow
and gradually will be worked into the soil
and that will help soil structure.
Now, this is a project which has taken quite a time
to get going and will take a year or more to come to fruition,
in every sense of the word.
But Nick Bailey is starting a series
of weekend projects that everybody can do,
and he sets out with how to make the most of our lawns.
This east-facing garden has got a 20 by 20 metre lawn,
but after a winter of neglect,
it's starting to look distinctly lacklustre.
There are all sorts of problems going on in this turf.
There are weeds, there's moss, there's bare patches,
there are crumbled edges to the borders.
There are all sorts of problems that need sorting out.
One of the first things you can do to bring your lawn back to life
in the spring is to give it a good trim.
Now, the turf will potentially have got quite long over the winter time
and if you give it a really short cut at the start of the season,
that's going to hamper its chances to rejuvenate and become lush again.
So, the best thing to do is just lift up the level
of the cutting deck a couple of notches.
Now, regular mowing will take out most of the nasty annual weeds
that you get in the lawn, but there are certain perennial weeds
that the mower isn't going to eradicate.
There's two different ways of dealing with them.
Some people choose to use a weedkiller
specifically for the lawn,
I would always rather remove them by hand.
Now, the key thing with these perennial weeds,
such as thistles, plantain and dandelions,
is that lots of them have a really long tap root,
and it's really important to get that out
if you don't want them to re-occur in the lawn.
Moss is one of the most common problems you tend to find in lawns.
The lucky thing is, it doesn't have great roots
so it's quite easy to rake out.
Now, that's about a square metre of lawn I've gone through
that was really quite infested.
So with that gone,
and some of the old thatch and dead pieces of grass in there,
the lawn is going to be a happier, healthier place.
This is a typical sort of problem that you'll find
in any garden that's got overhanging trees or shaded areas.
What's happening is the turf is being deprived
both of light and of moisture,
and so it's died out over the winter.
The easy solution to this is to prep up the ground again,
open it up with a rake, fresh seed into there,
so just a shade mix will work really well.
Now, usually with sowing grass,
you'd probably rake the seed back in,
but I don't want to disturb the old roots or the ground any more,
so what I am going to do is to use some ordinary garden soil
and just do a very light sprinkling across the surface,
and that's going to help in two ways.
First of all, it will reduce the chances of birds coming down
to eat your new seed. And secondly,
it means there's a bit of additional moisture, which will help them
to germinate and establish.
Repairing damage to the edge of a bed like this
is notoriously difficult.
So, there is a tried and tested technique
that's virtually guaranteed to work.
What I'm doing is cutting out a standard piece of turf,
much bigger than the actual piece of damage,
and then here's the trick.
All you need to do is simply flick the piece of turf round.
What you're left with is a gap at the back here,
which was the original hole or the dead patch.
It's a lot easier to contend with when it's back into the lawn.
And so you can just scavenge a bit of soil from the bed...
..and then I'm just going to use a standard rye-grass,
sprinkle over those gaps,
and then all you need to do is keep it well watered
over the first few weeks and it will quickly establish,
and we've got a lovely, fresh, solid edge to your bed.
The good old garden fork works brilliantly to aerate a lawn.
What it does, if you work in rows across the lawn
and gently open it up, is it means that water,
air and nutrients get down to the grass roots
and the whole lawn will appreciate it and grow so much better.
As well as running repairs at this time of year,
it's worth giving your lawn a feed.
It will help prevent it from getting pests, diseases
and it also helps knock back some of the weeds
cos the grass is so much lusher and so much stronger.
The best time to try and do this is just before rain is predicted
or when the ground is really wet,
and then the fertiliser will work into the soil
and make sure you have a really lush lawn, come summer.
We might not all be huge fans of lawns, but taking a few hours
at this time of year to feed, weed and repair
will virtually guarantee that you'll have a lush patch
that you can lie out on in summer,
and that's got to be worth it!
Regular viewers will know we don't really have a lawn at Longmeadow.
I've either let the grass grow long or cut into it increasingly
to make gardens, like I have for the fruit garden.
And the long grass is looked after in a very particular way
because it's ideal for growing spring-flowering bulbs in.
The bulbs go in and start flowering in February
with the first crocus through to now with fritillaries,
and in between we have an awful lot of narcissi.
They are allowed to die back naturally.
Now, in the case of crocus, that's at least six weeks.
Essentially, we don't cut the grass till July, and then we mow it
like a lawn. And by the way, this used to be a mown lawn for years,
so it's very easy to then have long grass,
and I like that mix of long grass,
flowers and then short grass for the second half of summer.
And at this time of year, I do get a lot of letters about lawns
and problems that go with them,
and that is matched almost as much by letters about hydrangeas
and the problems that may seem to appear with them.
However, my guess is that Roger Butler doesn't see
ANY problems with hydrangeas at all because he adores them!
Well, I started growing plants when I was eight.
My aunt grew chrysanthemums
and dahlias, and I quite liked them, and I started growing them myself.
And since then, I've moved on to growing trees and then shrubs,
and hydrangeas has become a speciality.
The interest in them commercially
sort of exploded about eight, ten years ago, and for five years,
we've been expanding our range
and growing more and more different types,
and I think we've picked a winner.
They're not Granny's plants any more.
So many ladies have them in their bridal bouquets these days,
and then they become and have a sentimental value to them
for the rest of their lives.
They give such a wide range of colour.
You know, they start flowering naturally in the spring
and you've got colour right the way through till the autumn,
and you can cut and dry the flowers,
so they have a real long life span in the garden.
The bunch of hydrangeas that I've just cut
feature some mopheads,
which is this type of hydrangea,
and two lacecaps and one double flowered variety.
This one here is a mature flower, of a variety called Berlin.
The next one here is Glam Rock,
which was the plant of the year a few years ago. In America,
they call it pistachio, which I think is quite appropriate.
I've got a small-petalled variety which is Ayesha - again, a mophead.
This is Rotkehlchen, a German variety, lacecap,
very nice, reliable, quite easy grower.
In England, lacecaps sell better than mopheads,
and on the Continent, they struggle to sell the lacecaps
and everyone wants a mophead.
But I like them all! I'm sorry!
You're going to struggle to pin me down to one variety.
Well, the unusual thing is
that the soil decides the colour of the plant,
and these two plants here are the same variety.
They're Magical Revolution.
And the only difference between these two plants
is the compost that they're grown in.
This pink plant has been grown in an alkaline soil
whereas the blue one is grown in an acid soil
with added aluminium sulphate.
Of course, if you grow it in a container,
it's easy to control the soil pH.
And if you plant them in your garden,
it's pretty much potluck what colour they'll be in the coming years.
They'll probably stay blue or pink for the first year,
but as the soil affects them,
they'll go to whatever the soil type allows.
Your best bet if you want a hydrangea that stays the same colour
is to plant a white one because the acidity
or alkalinity of the soil doesn't affect the colour.
The word hydrangea comes from Greek, and it comes from two words,
one of them for water and the other one for vessel or container.
So, it's giving you a clue - they need quite a lot of water.
If you want to grow the very best plants,
they need to be in slight shade, in a very organic compost,
and they're quite hungry. They need quite a lot of feed.
Hydrangeas don't grow very well on very alkaline soils,
but if you have got a slightly alkaline soil,
sometimes you'll find the leaves go yellow,
starting at the veins and spreading through the whole leaf.
This can be rectified by watering them with liquid seaweed.
Paniculatas are fine in full sun.
They will grow virtually on most soils.
Some of them grow to ten, 12 feet.
When all the plants are looking nice,
I feel very satisfied with what everybody here has achieved.
I love my plants and I grow a lot of plants.
My wife sometimes says to me that I won't sell some of the plants
on the nursery because I like them so much, and she's right!
She is absolutely right.
I will confess that I am a fairly recent convert to hydrangeas.
I was sort of brought up with them
with my grandfather, who always called them hortensias,
and they are really good plants
for adding texture and colour and flower to shade.
They're woodland plants, but to get the best from them,
you do need to prune them right.
Well, the thing to remember - there are two types of hydrangea.
There are those that flower on new wood
and those that flower on older wood.
And the ones that flower on new wood,
like this one, which is Hydrangea paniculata,
can be pruned really hard just like a buddleia.
And that will encourage new growth and extra big flowers,
and the flowers tend to be
a bit more pointy than the more familiar, round, mophead type,
which flower on older wood.
I'll show you how to do those in a minute.
But with the new wood, you can really be rough and tough with them.
So, I'm going to cut this right back...
..to there and there.
But you can see, it's being pretty radical.
And that, we'll cut like that.
So, I have reduced it to a fraction of its height.
That will stimulate new growth,
which will have lots of vigour and extra big flowers.
The next group, which is much more common,
is actually much easier still to prune.
Nothing in the garden matches this pear.
This is a Perry pear. And when it's fully grown and covered in flower
on an April day, with a blue sky,
really, it matches anything in the world.
The second kind of hydrangea, and by far the most common,
are the lacecaps and mopheads.
I've got a couple here. They're very young plants.
This one is...
..which is a lacecap.
And we have...
..which is a mophead. You treat them both the same.
They've got these very familiar caps of open flowers.
Leave those on over winter.
Don't touch them. Don't prune them until you see the foliage appear,
and for most of us that's sort of the end of March,
early April, depending where you live.
And then all you do is cut back
the old flower heads and stems,
take those back to the next really healthy pair of leaves.
Then go around and even it out, removing any broken stems,
any that are crossing, any that are crowded or have died,
and then you can reduce it by no more than a third,
usually about a fifth, so just cut it back a little bit.
And that'll do. It's a young plant.
I want it to grow nice and big. So it's really simple.
If in doubt, leave it.
If you're not sure whether it flowers on new wood or old wood,
Have a look, make a note and then next year you can get it right.
Now, I know that all this pruning advice can seem confusing.
In fact, the whole business of learning to garden
can seem like a mountain to climb.
But all of us have to learn from someone,
and if there is an inspirational teacher,
someone who really fires you with enthusiasm
and a passion for gardening,
then it's all much more fun and much easier.
And Carol Klein has been revisiting garden heroes,
and this week she is looking at the life of Beatrix Havergal,
who inspired and informed
a whole generation of women gardeners.
Beatrix Havergal was born in 1901 in Norfolk.
Daughter of a clergyman,
she was thrust into a world about to be torn apart
by the First World War.
She loved music, but her first passion was horticulture -
not an easy career to pursue for a woman in those days.
Beatrix started gardening with the Women's War Agricultural Committee.
By 1920, she had passed her horticultural exams with honours.
For Beatrix, education meant freedom.
In 1932, she established the School of Horticulture for Ladies
here, at Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire.
The school was sat in eight acres of landscaped gardens,
but Beatrix's mission was to teach women
not only the craft of gardening with flowers, shrubs and trees,
but also how to cultivate fruit and vegetables and to tend the land.
Mary Spiller was one of her students
and came back to teach and manage alongside Beatrix.
So, Mary, you knew Beatrix very well.
What was she really like?
Well, she was wonderful, really.
Very formidable to look at - broad shoulders,
tall and quite imposing and talked the whole time.
And I know of one farmer who said he wanted something,
they said, "Well, tell her."
"Oh, I wouldn't dare!" he said.
But, you know, she was really sweet inside,
really quite sentimental, and she would help her students.
I know there were several occasions when she helped to pay their fees
cos they couldn't afford it and things like that.
And she was always interested in what you were doing.
-But you had to do it well.
You were expected to achieve.
She was a great one for perfection, wasn't she?
Everything had to be right.
Every line had to be straight.
Planting an acre of Brussels sprouts in the west field,
not only were the... The rows had to be straight...
..the squares had to be straight,
the diagonals had to be straight, too.
So they were on a complete matrix.
Absolutely. But you see, it was sense
because if you were hoeing with a mechanical hoe,
if the rows were crooked, you'd cut them off,
-but it seemed a bit fussy at the time!
-Yes, I'm sure.
The herbaceous border that Beatrix created was used as a place to learn
by her students.
It's still one of the most admired borders in the country.
So what kind of tasks were you expected to perform
-in this long border?
-There was never a plan to it.
It would change each year.
So, in the... Either in the autumn or the spring,
she would go through the border with students
and you'd take a section,
and each section was a sort of repetition of the one before,
but different. You'd have different combinations in them.
So, you'd go through it doing any...
moving that needed, so it changed a little bit each year.
And what about staking?
We staked nearly everything with pea sticks which we cut from hazels,
and you had to put those around and weave them over the top
so that the plants grew up through them and looked natural.
And if there were what she called elbows,
-that was the bit sticking out that you could see...
..she'd pull it out and put it on the path.
-So you'd know it was badly staked.
"You've got to go back and do that bit again."
Beatrix, or Miss H as she preferred her students to call her,
had three guiding principles.
They were order, knowledge and skill.
As far as order went,
she wanted to make sure that everybody grew everything
in straight lines.
And as far as knowledge was concerned,
that was all about plants -
what they were, what they were called, how high they grew,
when they flowered, exactly how to look after them.
And when it came to skill, the most important of the lot,
it was the craft of gardening - how to edge a lawn,
how to propagate plants, how to water.
She'd have them going along the rows tapping all these clay pots
to see which ones needed water and which didn't.
With the equipment she gave them -
all this order, knowledge and skill -
they were able to go out into the world
knowing everything they needed to know about gardening
and with the attitude that
they'd go on learning for the rest of their lives.
What does Waterperry mean to you?
Well, it means a very great deal to me.
It means a great deal of happiness, I spent many happy years here.
It gave me confidence,
it gave me a life, really,
somewhere where I felt confident.
It was a very, very happy life here.
What has she given women gardeners?
Oh, she really emancipated them.
She gave them a huge amount.
You see, the Parks Committee would not accept women gardeners,
and she gradually persuaded them.
And in the end, her Waterperry diploma was accepted by them
as a qualification. So, really, she changed the whole aspect
of women gardening.
We didn't really feel we were women in a man's world.
We were equal to them.
You knew you could do it, and that was it.
So, her contribution has been immense?
Absolutely immense, yes. Yes.
I don't think I can think of anybody else offhand
who gave that sort of contribution to women in gardening.
I don't know if Beatrix Havergal
would approve of the distinct wonkiness
of my bean sticks.
And did you know Mary Spiller
was the first woman presenter of Gardeners' World?
And I am firmly of the belief
that women are naturally better gardeners than men.
Now, if anybody has inspired you and is your gardening hero,
we'd like to hear their story.
And you can contact us via Twitter or e-mail, Facebook...
You can put pen to paper.
There we go. That will support the beans.
Now, there's still masses to come on today's programme.
We've got Frances Tophill's plant that she thinks
is the most influential in the last 50 years.
We pay our first visit to Adam Frost.
He's, of course, been developing his new garden,
and this year he's putting his efforts
into a large herbaceous border.
And, of course, Easter is the time above all else when garden centres
open their doors and people flock to them by the millions.
And Flo Headlam pays a visit to a garden centre with a difference.
I've come to Hulme, an area near Manchester City centre,
to visit a garden centre like no other, and the clue is in the name.
The garden centre is surrounded by raised beds for vegetables,
a wildlife pond, and gardens where people can just wander.
But what makes it special is that the whole place
is tended by volunteers from the community,
led by a few staff like Mark Frith.
This is a wonderful oasis.
I walked through the front gate and I'm like, "Wow!"
It's taken my breath away.
How did it come about?
It started way back in 1998.
A small group of local residents
wanted a green space to call their own,
and they were lucky enough to develop a group of volunteers
to come together and take over this small piece of land.
And since then, 17 years have passed
and we've just expanded and grown so much,
to nearly two acres of land now.
We are a not-for-profit organisation.
All the profits from the garden centre are ploughed back in
-to keeping the garden centre open seven days a week.
So, who comes to the garden centre?
-Who uses it?
-So, we have people from all different walks of life,
all the way through students to a retired professor
who is one of our longest standard volunteers.
We work with people with learning difficulties,
physical and mental health disabilities,
and they're learning new skills,
so we teach them the basics of horticulture, like sowing seeds,
-pricking out, potting on.
These tomatoes that we've got here is a variety called Micro Tom.
-So, perfect for growing on balconies
We've got a lot of students that have moved into the area now,
and they always want to have little things to play around with at home,
so growing tomatoes is perfect because you get the edible crop
-at the end of it.
We just have to tell them they've got to pollinate the flowers as well
because you don't have insects in your flat to pollinate them.
You have to do that yourself,
so a little paintbrush going into the flowers
and pollinating them around so you end up with your tomatoes.
Sustainability is the motto here.
They recycle everything,
turning pallets into bird boxes and containers.
And when they have decayed, they turn them into compost.
This is a place where people can come and wonder and sit,
but here it gives you an idea of what you can do,
as low-cost gardening.
They've got some anemones here,
beautiful spring flowers.
Over here, in a recycled sink,
we've got some thyme, we've got some forget-me-nots.
It's just a place you can come and go, "Oh, do you know what?
"I could do this on a smaller scale in my garden."
Their core ethos is about gardening organically
and encouraging wildlife.
Today, it's strawberry planting time
and I'm helping volunteer Victoria
to get the plants into their raised beds.
How long have you been coming to the centre?
-And what do you like doing here?
I like using the power tools more.
Oh, do you? What's your favourite power tool?
-I like tools.
-Yeah. Me too.
Into our planting hole, we're going to put some seaweed pellets,
which is a good fertiliser,
and then this powder is rock dust,
and that is to help with lush growth.
What other fruit and veg have you grown and taken home?
-At the moment, I've got mint, honeysuckle, cabbage.
Now, I can come home from gardening, and if I'm still in the mood,
I can go out and do my garden.
What sort of gardening skills have you learnt coming here?
Different types of plants and when to plant them.
So you get lots of skills from coming here?
-It's grown my confidence as well in talking to people.
So, you're local and you come here to shop?
-Yes, I do.
-OK. So, what are we looking at today?
We're just looking at some plants for some planters that I have.
All right. What do you fancy today?
I fancy something like that.
-What do you think?
-Alpines will work fine, actually.
I mean, they like, you know, they like kind of free-draining soil
so I'd put a lot of grit in with the compost.
I would take these anemones. They're so beautiful, I would.
-Think of anything else?
-I'm thinking possibly...
Maybe something for height. What do you think?
-Yes, maybe take two of these.
-It's more dramatic when you plant in bigger groups.
-What about this? What are they?
Those two colours together would sit really nicely.
I appreciate your help, thank you.
What I love about this place is that all this creativity,
all this energy, comes from the local community,
and that sense of "This is for us,
"we put into it, we gain from it" is just right across the board.
I've had a wonderful time here today with you and the volunteers.
This is a fantastic place.
And I've brought something for you. I've brought some Jamaican thyme.
-It's from my mum's garden.
She gave it to me and I'm bringing something to you, for you to share.
Fantastic. And in the nature of sharing...
-here's some prunings that we did last year.
-So this is a winter-flowering honeysuckle we did.
-So here's a collection for you to take away and share.
-Thank you so much.
-Wow, that's a lot. Thank you.
Garden centres, and especially at this time of year,
can tap into that incredible power of gardening
to heal, to nurture, to foster a community spirit,
whether it's just one or two people gardening together
or a community at large. It really does work.
Now, coming into this propagating greenhouse at this time of year
is dipping into the brain and the heart of the garden.
This is where everything is happening.
Seeds are germinating,
seedlings are coming through and then pricked out
and put into plugs and pots and grown on.
We've got overwintering plants ready to go outside.
And for a few weeks, it just really is all concentrated in here.
Mind you, we have to move things on.
So, for example, these tomatoes are almost at the point
where they are ready to go out.
Did you know? Tomatoes are our most popular vegetable.
Perhaps one of the most significant plants
that we do grow in our gardens.
You'll have an opinion on that, but this week it's the turn of
Frances Tophill to express her opinion on what she thinks
is the plant that has had the greatest impact on our gardens
over the last 50 years.
I would like to champion chillies.
It's a great representative
of our ever-expanding gardening and culinary repertoire.
In the last half-century, travel has not only expanded our horizons,
but it has widened the range of food that we love to grow.
We have taken the humble chilli to our hearts in Britain,
and who can blame us?
With a vast array of colours and varying strengths, they can be huge,
they can be tiny, but nonetheless fiery,
and they are so easy to grow, too.
Either from seed or as potted plants,
they can grace our windowsills in winter
and our veg patches in summer.
And you don't even need a garden to grow them,
which for me as a gardener with a very small garden, is a great asset!
They have stood at the helm, charging into our kitchens,
our gardens and into our hearts.
And that's why chillies are my choice for the Golden Jubilee plant.
Now, you might agree with Frances that the chilli represents
the biggest changes in our lifestyle and gardening over the last 50 years
or you might not. That is up to you to decide,
and you will get your chance
when all ten presenters have made their case,
and then we will be giving you a chance to vote,
but that will come later on in the year.
Chillies take a long time to germinate and grow.
However, there are a whole batch of tender vegetables that grow fast
as long as they get enough heat.
So, if you sow them now, over the next month, grow them on,
protect them, and then, when they are big enough, plant them out
round about June, at some stage, depending on where you live,
the nights will be warm enough for them to grow quickly,
and then you'll get a good harvest.
I'm going to grow some climbing beans and also some courgettes.
Courgettes can be planted out round about the middle
to the end of May, so start them now.
First is Gold Rush.
Lovely bright yellow fruits,
quite easy to grow as long as it has rich soil, plenty of water.
If you sow them directly into pots, you don't need to prick them out,
you just take them out of the pot, pop them in the ground.
Fairly large seeds, and what I like to do is sow two per pot,
put them on their edge, push them in like that,
and then I weed out the one that grows least strongly.
You'll find that three or four courgette plants
will give you as many courgettes as a family can eat.
What I have done is add to the seed mix some sieved garden compost.
These are essentially strong, lusty plants
that want to grow fast and big.
So, everything you can do to encourage that
will give you a better result.
As well as courgettes, I want to sow some climbing beans,
which eventually, obviously, will be planted out onto the supports
that I put up earlier.
I'm using root trainers.
The advantage is they allow for a deep root.
I'm going to put that in there.
I have two different varieties.
I've got a familiar variety I always grow called Blauhilde.
They have these lovely purple pods.
And I'm going to sow one bean for each root trainer.
Drop them on like that.
Cover them over.
That can go in there.
And this is a variety called Neckargold,
which has golden yellow pods.
So, we've got the purple on one side,
gold on the other.
These are plants that look terrific.
You could certainly grow them in the border
and they would hold their own with any flower.
We'll pop these in here.
So, now we've started the process of sowing tender vegetables,
which will continue right through into June
and it is much better to be a little bit late
than too early with these because a cold spell in early summer
really is difficult to recover from.
So, they'll need water, heat to make them germinate,
and then we can gradually encourage them to grow
as big and strong as possible before planting them out.
Last year, we watched as Adam Frost created his new garden.
We are going back for the first time this year as he is about to embark
on creating a brand-new and very ambitious border.
Do you know, we've been here nearly 12 months,
and it's been fantastic.
What a 12 months it's been!
You might remember the last time you saw me, I was in the barn,
it was pouring with rain and I was drilling these posts,
and now they're in.
So all I've got to do, really, is fix this rope...
..and then I can start thinking about the roses I'm going to plant.
Veg garden is done, that is now crying out for veggies.
And front garden. Actually, there's a bit of furniture out there now.
That breakfast terrace, we can go out there
and enjoy a cup of tea in the morning.
Do you know, there are areas in this garden we've put
so much work into - veg garden, front garden -
but I keep getting drawn back to this space in this woodland.
I really feel like I've benefited from someone else's work.
All I did was literally cleared out the weeds. And then, actually,
after Christmas, snowdrops appeared, aconites appeared.
And all of a sudden, I was out the other morning with the dog,
and popping up in here were these beautiful little tulips.
I think they are Tulipa sylvestris.
This area is really, really stunning,
but this spring I really want to concentrate on
transforming my herbaceous borders to make them just as beautiful.
So I've got these fantastic borders,
lovely, big, south-facing border and my west-facing border.
At some point, these are going to be absolutely rammed full of wonderful
Now, the problem is here, though, it's full of bindweed.
Which you know, as a gardener,
it's one of the most depressing weeds you can have.
It grows through things, up things, tangles itself around.
You only need the tiniest little bit, you know,
and it will just spread itself around.
So, I am going to work my way through.
I'm going to clear all of the border,
and I'm going to cover the border then with black plastic
and then I'm going to mulch on top of it.
You reduce the light and it dies.
What I don't want to do is I don't want to lose the herbaceous plants
that are in here, so the plan is to start lifting things.
I'm going to put them in pots,
put them to one side,
keep them there for the season
and make sure none of that bindweed
is in that plant before I reintroduce it back into the garden.
Geraniums are probably actually
one of my favourite herbaceous plants, and so easy to divide.
All I've got to do is literally chop through.
Check it through for bindweed.
So that's going to be a good clump of geranium.
Tap it down, make sure there's no air pockets.
Let's get these across.
And then, what I'm going to do is I'm going to cover
the whole area in black plastic.
But if you haven't got black plastic, some old carpet,
something like that, anything that's just going to stop that light
getting to those roots.
I'm obviously just breaking this down in sections, you know,
as this is a big old job, but if you've got a small garden,
covering it up with this plastic is ideal, really,
but obviously it's not going to look great,
so I've put mulch on, but you could use bark,
you could even use gravel.
And maybe even arrange, you know, a few pots. Job done!
I'm lucky that this border's got absolutely no bindweed whatsoever.
So, I can get on and I can start planting it,
but just to take you back,
October, November time, I stripped off all the turf
and then single dug it, introduced manure
and now I've let it just have the winter
just to work its way in,
which will give me a really, really good base.
And then after that, added some manure over the top,
just a light covering,
and that'll go in as I'm planting this season
and the worms will pull that in,
give the plants a real good sort of start.
So all I've got to do is finish off a little bit of the timber edging.
And I've gone for timber, really, because it's cheap.
It's pressure treated so it's going to last a long time,
but realistically, it's going to be covered up by the plants
and all I am trying to do is stop this soil ending up on this gravel.
There you go. That's that done.
And now for the fun bit.
I'm going to actually start to design
and actually create this border.
So, to give you an idea, the first thing actually I do
is pick out all the plants
that I want to use in this border -
so the colours I want, the textures I want -
and I build them up in a mood board.
Collect all the images, keep them in one place.
And then we measure the border up and we end up with a scale plan.
After that, the first thing I do is start to actually add...
Where am I going to have sort of structure through this border?
I want you to realise that actually it's all about sort of
a sense of rhythm, I suppose, with a long border.
You need to get these sort of layers of interest that move you along,
and that really doesn't matter whether it's a massive border
or a small border. If you've got a smaller garden,
it might be those points of interest move around the garden.
But where am I going to get my inspiration from?
What is this border really going to be about?
And my visit to Papworth was fantastic.
And I was walking along herbaceous borders,
and all of a sudden, I saw this yucca,
and I saw this phormium, and they were like the "Wow!"
They stood out.
But I want to do something different here and I want the whole garden
to have this feeling of food that runs all the way through,
so in a sense, my yuccas, my phormiums,
are going to become edibles.
So although it's going to be a stunning herbaceous border -
hopefully it will be - it's going to have these edibles.
So, you're going to be out walking the herbaceous border...
It's going to change through the seasons
and you're going to pick from it
and actually then start to use it in the house.
But today, what I want to do is actually get the planting
in the back of this border.
I'm going to add some vines and I'm going to add some more fruit.
I'm going to add a few of those along there,
maybe a couple of apples to go with those pears,
and I'll leave a little pathway,
so hopefully I'll be able to actually get in here
and harvest this back-end of the year.
Well, boy, do I share Adam's pain about bindweed.
Here, in the Jewel Garden, we got bindweed quite badly,
and six years ago, we took out every single plant and dug it over
inch by inch, taking out every last spaghetti-like thread
of bindweed root.
You really, really do have to attack it
because bindweed is not the gardener's friend.
However, once you've got your bindweed-free borders planted up
and herbaceous plants growing lustrely, they will need support.
Lots of things you can use -
you can use strings, you can use canes,
you can use pea sticks -
but here at Longmeadow,
we tend to use metal supports, and we make them ourselves.
We buy 6mm steel rod, which you can get from a steel factor,
and if that sounds like some obscure supplier, it's not.
They are all over the country, look them up.
These are 2.5m lengths,
and the cost of this is going to be about £1.50.
You then need a circular, solid surface.
Now, a tree trunk does this really well.
You can use an upturned flowerpot.
I'm going to use this ball here.
Line it up so it is roughly in the centre
and just bend it round like that.
So, you have got a hoop.
That's the first dimension.
Put them on a hard surface with a board over the top.
Stand on it so you have your weight over it and then pull up the legs.
Hey presto! You've got a plant support.
And you push the legs into the ground
and then you can lift them up a little bit as the plant grows.
These tend to last... Well, I've got some that we made 20 years ago.
They are not going to rot.
Right, let's go and use it.
Whatever you are using to support,
the key is to hold the plant up but not to constrain it.
It shouldn't look as though you've done anything at all.
So, with things like this cardoon,
which can be pretty floppy,
push them into the ground like that
and try and do it so the plant looks natural.
It doesn't want to look corseted or constrained.
Just gently supported.
The time to support a plant is before it needs it.
Now, the weather is glorious today here at Longmeadow,
it really couldn't be better.
But it can turn on a sixpence, and if it does,
plants get bashed however carefully you support them,
so let's see what the weather has in store for us gardeners
this Easter weekend.
Well, whatever the weather is like and wherever you live,
there will be some jobs that you will be able to do this weekend.
For most of us, daffodils are coming to an end.
And they are busy forming seed heads.
But this takes energy away from the bulb
and next year's flowers.
So, snap off these seed heads.
However, leave the stem and the foliage to die back naturally.
It can feel as though the weeds are growing faster than anything else
in your garden at this time of year.
And as well as mulching and hoeing,
the best way to cope with them in a border is to hand weed.
Get in there on your hands and knees and deal with them individually.
As well as getting you up close and personal with your plants,
time spent doing this now will save you a lot of trouble
later in the summer.
The new shoots of dahlias make ideal cutting material.
Choose a shoot that is about four to six inches long
and cut it with a sharp knife
as close to the tuber as you can.
Strip off any excess foliage
and put it carefully into a very gritty compost mix.
Water it and put it somewhere warm and don't let it dry out.
And it should form roots in a few weeks' time.
So often, the blossom of the Taihaku cherry
just gets to a point where it is looking really good
and then it rains or there's wind
and the petals are scattered
all over the water and we never appreciate it in all its glory.
But not this year.
This year, I've never seen it look so good,
and we've got wonderful weather to enjoy it in.
But I'm afraid whatever the weather, there's no more time today.
But I will see you back here at Longmeadow next time.
Until then, bye-bye.
Monty brings you a full hour of gardening for the Easter weekend. From sowing summer vegetables and soft fruit planting to propagating and pruning, as well as jobs to tackle over the long weekend, there is plenty of inspiration.
If your gardening plans only extend to tidying up the lawn, Nick Bailey gets to grips with an unpromising patch of grass and gives his tips on how achieve a luscious lawn, we return to Adam Frost's garden as he starts to transform a herbaceous border and gives his advice on how to rid borders of bindweed, and we meet Roger Butler, who grows over 100 varieties of hydrangea at his nursery in Kent.
Carol continues her series on her gardening heroes when she visits Waterperry Gardens to find out about the legacy of Beatrix Havergal, Frances Tophill selects her Golden Jubilee plant and Flo Headlam visits a garden centre in Manchester which is run by the local community.