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I'm Carol Klein and this is my garden nestled in the heart of North Devon,
15 miles from the coast
and surrounded by this tranquil and beautiful countryside.
I've taken care of my garden for 30 years.
I know every inch of this place and every plant.
Each season brings its own delights.
There are plenty of challenges too,
but that's what makes it so exciting and so fulfilling.
And over the next half hour,
I want to share the fruitful bounty of the season in my garden,
and its gradual falling away into glorious, golden October.
The garden party reaches the height of its autumnal festivities
in September and October.
The whole place is rich,
redolent of the smell of wonderful, ripening fruit.
There are sheets of colour everywhere.
Bright and brilliant yellows,
blues of the first Michaelmas daisies,
and there are all those exuberant plants,
cannas and dahlias,
just jostling with each other to be front of the queue.
Autumn is its own season.
It's not just a corridor between the summer and the winter.
You've got to be out there and collect those seeds.
The first of the spade work starts,
and in the background, there's a smell of wood smoke,
and the very first scents of decay.
We've got two lovely daughters, Annie and Alice.
They've each got a garden named after them,
and I love it when they find time to come home.
My biggest project this year was to rejuvenate Annie's garden.
But this is the quandary, Annie.
-I mean, what do we do about this?
-Oh, the apple.
It's, um, it's got canker.
Do you see where it's getting in there?
It's just dead, these bits, really.
And yet, in the spring,
the whole thing was just so full of flower and blossom,
and it's full of fruit.
So what do we do about it?
Well, it's had a good innings.
It's been here as long as I can remember.
And if it's diseased
and there's a risk that it's going to spread to the other trees here,
then maybe it's time to say goodbye to the apple tree.
It will be sad because it's just such a big part of this garden.
But you know, all things come to an end.
Really? That's very philosophical of you.
I thought that you'd just be adamant that we shouldn't touch it.
Maybe we could just juice all the apples and remember it.
It's not nice out there.
I mean, you feel as though September is going to be an Indian summer,
but today's definitely not.
It's absolutely pouring down and it's so blustery too.
But it gives me an opportunity
to catch up with loads of those jobs that I keep on delaying.
That's the thing, isn't it? You can't win.
You want to be out there.
If you're out there you feel guilty about not keeping up with this.
But these are aquilegias that I sowed, oh, just a few weeks ago.
And especially with things like aquilegias, that flower early,
you can collect their seed, get it sown straight away,
and if you get onto it, you can prick them out
and you can have decent little plants by the time the winter comes.
Next spring, out they'll go into the garden.
And it gives you an opportunity when you're doing things like this,
cos there's something very automatic about it and very restful,
and it gives you a chance to think about
why you're doing what you're doing
and about this whole wonderful cycle.
I think it's really important with these hot borders,
which have really sort of been at their peak for a few weeks now,
to try and maintain it and make sure everything is as good as it can be.
This Rudbeckia usually stands up for itself,
but just occasionally it gets pushed forward
by all these other things which are just jostling for space.
But there are a few leaves and stuff along here
that have got rather mauled.
Come and have a look.
This is how this canna's supposed to be.
Look at that, pristine, gorgeous.
But look what's happening at the bottom of the plant.
Those slugs and snails have been in.
This is manna for them, really.
So a bit of pre-emptive action,
and we might keep them off these beautiful leaves.
Well, as well as stuff that's flopping
and things that have been damaged by slugs and snails,
it's really important to keep on top of dead-heading,
cos that encourages lots and lots of other flowers.
You can always tell with these dahlia buds,
it's the squidgy ones you want to get rid of.
You want to cut them back right to the next leaf axil.
Scissors will do.
They're quite different from the buds.
The buds are round and solid cos they're full of petals.
Cos what we want is flowers, flowers, flowers.
Once upon a time, the only place you would see dahlias
was confined to allotments
and out of public sight.
And lots of people used to grow them to show, you know,
they were that sort of a flower.
But nowadays, they've been accepted far more into polite garden society,
and no wonder.
They're positively dazzling.
You can tell where they come from. They're from Mexico.
If you've got a dahlia and you want lots more of it,
bring them into growth in about March.
Water them, feed them.
When they've started to make big, solid, robust shoots,
just a few inches tall,
just slide your sharpest knife right down the side of the shoot
so it's almost in contact with the tuber,
and sever it, just pull it away.
Then plunge around the edge of a clay pot in gritty compost.
And if you put them into a warm place, water them well,
occasional little bit of liquid feed,
you'll get big, strong plants.
As soon as the pot is full of roots, then just tip the whole thing out
and pot them up individually.
And then grow them on.
Now, I wouldn't put them out in the garden the first year,
but if you overwinter them, they'll have made tubers by then,
and then next year, they'll be quite capable of holding their own,
right out in the open border.
Autumn's a time when the garden gives up its bounty.
There's the last of the beans to harvest.
Not bad, eh?
I love this noise. CRACKING
My onions can be dried off in the last warming rays of the autumn sun.
I mean, it's great, you're sharing your garden. But not with this lot.
Just look at them! The whole place is teeming.
Tomorrow is my special, special open day for the National Gardens Scheme.
And it's lovely to share your garden.
I just enjoy it so much,
talking to other people about all their hopes and aspirations,
and hearing all their ideas,
and on the whole, very encouraging things.
But what are they going to think of my Lobelia? Look at that!
It's completely mullered. There's nothing left of it.
And you're the little critters who are responsible.
Look at them.
Aren't they revolting?
Here you go. Into there.
That's more like it.
Into the bucket.
I've really got to do the rounds, though.
That should be OK. Here's your tickets.
Clematis like alkaline soil, they love alkaline soil.
They also like, you know, plenty of substance.
-Really, you know, strong stuff.
Keep working with the water.
-Yeah, just keep mulching it with muck.
-This is the grass that I grow with Rudbeckias.
-Yes, it's a tall one, isn't it?
Cos it's a Molinia, but it's not huge like those great, arching ones.
It's completely sort of upright,
so you can grow it even when you've got tight corners like this.
And that's a wonderful butterfly plant.
I mean, that's an agaster.
Yeah, so the butterflies adore it, and the bees, and all the insects.
-And we've just been having a look. Watch.
-Yes, no, do, go ahead.
-Look at that.
So those are next year's plants already.
I was going to say, yeah, that is next year's plants.
I ought to give you these back, shouldn't I? They're yours.
-Put them in somebody else's pot. It'll be a surprise.
-Are you sure?
-Shall we put some in?
-Fine with me.
Sprinkle a bit.
That's a great thing about gardening, isn't it? Sharing stuff.
Well, haven't we had a lovely day, girls?
Hasn't it been wonderful?
I've had the most marvellous day.
You get so used to being in your garden on your own.
It's a very solitary sort of business, gardening.
And I love that.
I love that kind of, you know,
instant communication you get with the earth and with your plants.
You know, nothing else matters.
But then to open the garden, to have all these people to share it with,
is so rewarding.
People... People make observations
about things you've never thought of,
they make loads of suggestions too.
But, I mean, I suppose the really satisfying thing is that
what they have to say is so encouraging.
You know, if you feel that they're really enjoying it and loving it,
and they love, I think, the atmosphere as much as anything,
then, I suppose, you feel you're doing the right thing
and everything's... everything's going well.
October can be so golden.
There are all sorts of changes in the morning.
When the alarm clock goes off, it's dark outside.
And when you come in in the evening and breathe,
you can see your breath.
But on these beautiful golden days,
you almost feel as though the garden's gathered together.
It encapsulates all that summer's been.
And yet, at the same time, you can hear it breathing out.
You can hear it dying down and saying,
"My work's done. I'm just at the point of going to sleep."
The brick garden sits between the hot beds down here
and the top terrace.
And it's a kind of hub.
It's a sort of centre of the garden, really.
And of all the places within the garden,
it's the one that changes most.
It's a calendar.
You see each season coming along,
and each season has its own different persona.
At this time of year, it's glorious,
and probably the centre of the whole thing
is these four big clumps of hakonechloa.
I just love the way this swishes about and moves.
And earlier in the year, in early spring, I suppose, late winter,
I got right down into the middle of there
and chopped it all down, right back to the ground,
so I could see all those wonderful, brilliant spring shoots come up.
It's difficult to do, but it's essential.
This Euphorbia, it's palustris,
and in the spring, it's bright and vigorous
and very upright with these big, lime green bracts.
But I think I love it just as much at this time of year,
when, in its death throes, it becomes golden and amber and wistful.
It moves about beautifully.
And it's a good companion right the way through the growing season
for this lovely Rudbeckia.
Now, this whole garden is packed with North American daisies.
Rudbeckia's probably the most dominant of all of them.
Bright, vivid splashes of yellow for a couple of months,
but then when those petals start to fade, look what it leaves behind.
It's almost another set of daisies.
The green calyx with the black cone in the middle.
And I'll leave those right the way through the winter,
cos the birds and the insects love this plant.
It's covered with autumn butterflies,
and then afterwards the birds move in and take the seeds.
And this beautiful aster that was a cloud of blue earlier on.
Soon all its seeds will have disappeared, flown away,
and they'll leave behind them all winter long,
these little, silver, twinkling stars.
I do love this place. I could sit here forever.
In May our new bees arrived.
All summer the sound of their gentle humming has pervaded the garden.
Phil Chandler's come back to help Neil check them out
before the chill wind of winter sets in.
You can see this is finished honey.
This is all sealed stores
so this is part of their winter supply of food.
They'll eat their way through the honey through the winter?
That's right, yes. They'll form a cluster,
-and they'll move through the stores as they require it.
-How long will that last them?
The general rule of thumb is that
you want about 35 to 40 pounds of honey in the hive
at the beginning of the winter.
While there's stuff in flower,
they're feeding themselves and building their stores all the time.
So they've done well for honey,
but they could have a bit more to see them through?
Yes, I think they've got a decent amount of stores,
but just to be on the safe side, as we've got the opportunity,
we'll give them a bit of extra feed.
So this feeder is a simple plastic bucket with a clip-on lid,
and inside it is a couple of litres of sugar syrup,
which we've mixed.
And the lid itself is where they get the feed from.
It's perforated with little holes, as you can see.
And if I turn this upside down,
a little bit will run out to start with, and then that'll stop.
There we go, it's staying down.
So we're just going to put this over the hive,
and the bees can come up and take it down and store it.
That will give them a boost,
-and with luck, all will be well for winter.
-Are you happy, Neil?
Oh, I'm really pleased. I feel really optimistic for the winter.
Thank you so much for all your help, Phil.
Sometimes I feel really sorry for the plants in my garden
cos no sooner do they come into flower
than I'm already thinking about them setting seed
and being able to collect it.
It's the perfect day for it.
It's sunny and warm
and I made notes about these two Eryngiums earlier on,
even took pictures
because they were quite distinctive,
and they're both really desirable plants.
This one was deep, rich purple,
while this was this brilliant, sparkling sort of blue.
And I want to keep those seeds separate
and actually sow them separately
and bring the plants on in two different batches.
Now, I marked each of the best seed-heads on here
with a piece of red ribbon,
cos it was a very special plant.
And now I'm just going to snip them off.
It's a very, very prickly business.
So that's my bright, bright blue.
And then the purple.
And when you're doing it,
your mind goes backwards to just how wonderful these plants were.
And then forwards to the spring,
when these things start to pop up
and you get a whole new cycle starting again.
Look at this beautiful little thing.
Isn't it lovely? It's a Scabious, obviously,
and it used to be called Scabiosa ochroleuca.
Now it's changed its name to Cephalaria ochroleuca.
But whatever it's called, it's equally beautiful.
And what's lovely about it is these pale, pale lemon flowers.
The insects adore them.
But also the seed-heads.
They're so sculptural, so beautiful.
Each one of them is individually attached to that central bit,
and at the right moment, they all just sort of fly away in succession.
But these aren't going to cos I'm going to have them.
That's what you call a decent haul. Lovely.
But there's something else deep in the woodland that I want to collect.
It's a berry.
This is one of my favourite foliage plants.
It's Arum italicum pictum.
This is why you grow it,
for these beautiful leaves that are there all through the winter.
But while they're making a fine display,
my seedlings are going to be growing,
cos I'm going to collect a whole load of these and sow them.
And inside here are one or two enormous seeds.
They're big enough to be able to station sow.
Look at this, Silv. Hey? Isn't that great?
I'll have a tray full of seedlings.
They'll grow on.
By next spring, I'll have nice little plants.
I'll be able to prick them out individually, grow them on some more,
and by this time next year,
I can just put them around the garden where I'd like to
because it looks beautiful when you can see it in a whole drift of it.
Still there when the snowdrops come up in the spring.
The colour this autumn has been magnificent.
My phylums over here have been just beautiful.
Every colour imaginable. Golden yellows, ambers, russets.
And as for the Fothergill of this little shrub up at the top,
I've never seen it with such brilliant colour.
But of all of them, this has got to be my favourite.
This is Acer Osakazuki.
My mum gave it to me...
..so it's got very, very special significance.
And any minute now,
the whole thing's going to become this most glorious scarlet.
September and October have been wondrous months.
We've had everything, including an Indian summer,
and right now the whole garden is glowing.
But you come out one morning, and you look up at the branches,
and you realise that there are more leaves on the ground
than there are on the trees.
Underneath this Acer, the whole thing is sort of crimson confetti.
But then the wind starts to blow, and it's a northerly wind.
It's a chill wind.
You turn the collar up on your coat
and you reach for your warmest clothes,
and you realise that winter's on its way.
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