Episode 9 RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Episode 9

Alan Titchmarsh looks back at the day's events at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The emphasis is on the exhibits promoting Britain's wild flowers and wildlife.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Episode 9. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



gardeners permission to relax. After years of tailing and


cultivating it's time to give our garden as bit of slack and welcome


back a touch of the world. Many exhibitors are showing a natural


decide of garden, we are showing off Britain's bountiful wildlife.


Coming up, Adam Frost follows in the footsteps of poet John Clare,


the inspiration behindlies 2012 show garden. When you get away from


the roads and people and the peace and just that connection with


nature, how do you encans late that in a garden? Wild about Mary -


cookery writer and judge Mary Berry introduces us to her passion,


gardening. These have culture a wonderful scent. Stunning self-


seeders, Carol Klein seeks out the Great Pavilion flowers that need no


help in spreading. Hello and welcome to the RHS


Chelsea Flower Show. Tonight the plants of Chelsea take centre stage,


particularly those that provide a vital wildlife Lorder. The plight


of our poinating insects has become a cause of constant concern in


recent years, so tonight we provide a guide to the flowers they favour


which we can all grow in our gardens. Understand this regal year


I'm not sure that crown will fit the bill. But it is fun. Old Bexley


Floral Arrangement Society, a family effort apparently. It is


lined with roses. And the leaves on the cushion are skeletonised.


didn't notice the leaves on the cushion. That's beautiful. It's a


lovely piece of work. It wouldn't attract much wildlife, which is


what we are concentrating on today. Plants with nectar is the thing.


is. It is staggering just how much of our native wild flower meadow


has been lost. Since 1930, 97% of our wild flower meadows in England


and Wales have gone. And that, it is just extraordinary. And the


great thing act insect and wildlife in general is they are opportunists


and if we put them there, they come. They are still there. All you have


to do is create a bit of your own and off you go. It is not just


about native flower species. The exotics can supplement them in some


circumstances. Any flowers with nectar and pollen are good. One


designer celebrating the beauty of the unspoilt countryside is Adam


Frost. His garden is in Northampton share. He walks the peasant walks


of John Clare. Adam's been soaking up the atmosphere of Clare's home


in the village of Helston as part of his research.


I was inspired not only by John Clare's poetry but more by we've


got these five or six well known local walks. It is this diverse


countryside. That's I think what inspired me.


Sweet tiny flower of darkly hue, lone dweller in the pathless shade.


How much I love thy pensive blue of so beautiful, it lifts the spirits


doesn't it? Even today, absolutely pouring down but there is something


so calm and peaceful about this place. It's the colours. It's the


uprights. It's the, it's the leaving the field and going into


the and wood. A change of atmosphere. Your head spins and


there's all sorts of ideas that come out of something so simple as


a wood with bluebells. John Clare lived just down the road from here,


so as a kid I think he would have come up into these woods and played.


I've brought my children up here. We walked in the bottom end of this


wood. You more or less come to the beech trees and it is a sea of


bluebells with little white amen mis.


-- athen mis. I love the way these canopys of


beech trees are stunning. They create the dappled shade which is


lovely. They lead down to these strong stems of the beech. At


Chelsea I think I will replace the beech with the hornbeam. The stems


are slightly greyer but you are going to get that lovely feathery


feel and soft texture. At Chelsea what I want to do along the back of


the garden is create an Avenue along the back. But as you leave


the Avenue and drift back into the garden you will get that change of


light as if you were coming to the edge of a wood. And then you escape


into the field and hopefully that's what I'm trying to achieve it it is


all about atmosphere. There are so many plants which grow


natively in our country that we can use in our gardens. At Chelsea like


the bluebells, though I can't use these because they'll be long gone,


there is things like campanulas, digitalis, ferns. All the things


that grow wildly but we can use them to capture a bit of this


atmosphere in my Chelsea garden. What I want people to do the, when


they come to Chelsea and they see this planting that's native driven,


I want people to realise that that is what they've got outside their


back door. I want people to open their gate, go out in the


countryside and explore. And maybe explain to their kids how important


of your hornbeam alley. It has really worked. This is woodland


fraying out. This was the feel I was trying to achieve. When your


eyes adapt to the wood and you come into the open space down to the


brook. Down to the dyke. But you've adapted it into a garden. You've


given the gardener some pleasure, a champagne cooler in the stone wall!


There's condensation on bottle the cool wall. We'll open one.


like this, underneath this robust oak shelter a roof of clover.


Inspired by one of his poems, but in reality you could do that.


Compost it once a year. Even your accoutrements like your barbecue


have become a fire pit. It is about a space that people can use. Though


it is inspired by those walks it is bringing it home. Nature is outside


your back door. The countryside come stpwoos the garden. That is


our connection with nature isn't it, outside our back door for most of


us, or it should be. You've formalised the brook with this


wonderful stone edging and dirty great boulders. You know when you


are walking out and suddenly you come into a stream and you find


something to get that step over. Gardens like this are important


wildlife corridors, like country hedgerows, leading wildlife on.


Exactly. And we should have more all the time. Again, you think


about the whole thing is inspired by John Clare. He was questioning


at the time that we were taking away those habitats. Yes. And we


are still doing it today. So some things true then are still true


nowadays. Congratulations on the gold medal. Well deserved. The


inspiration Adam's taken from our native countryside is echoed on the


opposite of Main Avenue in a garden designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett.


Nigel taken time out to design a garden that showcases different


styles of meadow planting, as Chris has been discovering.


How has your experience at the Olympic Park influenced what you've


achieved here? It is almost the other way round, because this


garden is full of my typical style of planting, which we've applied in


the London Olympic Park Particular over the 2012 gardens, half a mile


of these mixed naturalistic perennial plantings. What's


different about these is we worked with the habitat types, from


woodland and shade through to bright sun and meadows and woodland


edge. So we are looking at woodland here. It is beautiful with


aquilegias. Native grasses. We pint up with adding a other things in --


pe pep it up with adding other things. I've used the lily


throughout. The pale pink wild form coming up through grass. When you


have those ephemeral plants it really excites. To have these


emerging through the lower layer really gives you drama. And the


canallals are bounded by narrow -- canals are bounded with narrow


strips We have what we call our bio-Swale mix. This is a zero run-


off garden. It is capturing all the rainwater through the Swale which


is fill up with water. The water can go down slowly into the ground.


It cleans the water like a reed bed and we get lovely clear water in


the central pools. I love the way you take a principle which is


evident out in nature, in the wild, and cleanse it and refine it and


make it garden worthy. I call them evokations of nature. I look to


dramatic and beautiful vegetation in different parts of the world and


adapt it. For example this more dry meadow with the white form of the


Lily coming through is a really nice example. We have native wild


flowers, lots of grass, but the white lilies are special. I've seen


the martagon lilies staining whole hillsides pink and white in


southern Europe through the sheer numbers. Most people see lilies in


pots but in the wild they can be so dramatic. There is so much


potential to be artistic with plants and to produce visual


spectacles. For me, I like to think that some of the things we are


working with, particularly in the Olympic Park, people's jaws are


going to drop at the spectacle of it. They are certainly dropping


here at Chelsea Flower Show. It's a stunning garden. Congratulations.


If you do have a ticket to the Games this summer do make time to


view Nigel's work first hand. Mary Berry is one of our most


respected cookery writers, with over 70 best-selling books to her


name. Many of you will know her as a judge on the BBC's Great British


Bake Off but what you may not know is Mary is also a passionate


gardener. She's tend her garden in Buckinghamshire for 22 years. She


invited us to brave the weather for our own private tour.


I wasn't interested in gardening until the children had grown up a


bit. As they grew up and spent more time at school, I had a bit of time


on my hands. I enjoyed it. I like to have in the garden all different


areas. Some formal, some informal. I love the pond. In the evening the


idea is to come with a glass in hand and have the sun setting, but


nearly always I'm just pulling out the odd weed around or deadheading


or something. Spring is a yellow time. There is


the marigold. The primulas, I picked up these seedlings and dug


them out and nurtured them and brought them back. They are doing


quite well. The pink is coming through. One ar rum lily, I have


not had success with them. We tried to build them in the water and had


half logs and earth but the ducks sit on the top of them. I've moved


them up the bank a bit and I'm hoping they will get going. As the


year goes on, we have in the borders lovely soft colours. I like


soft colours. The one thing I cannot stand is orange.


You are not going to change me. I wouldn't wear an orange jumper


either. Here's the meadow. This is a real


cast to the formal part of the garden -- contrast to the formal


part of the garden. It's a very pleasant place to be. Lots of


wildlife here. And we have the path going across and the path coming up.


A few wild roses. In summer it's almost up to my waist. It looks


very beautiful as the winds blue and the sun is on it. Very paefplt


is to have something to pick. These make a lovely mixture, these tulips.


This egrow when you put them in water, they seem to get taller.


These have such a wonderful scent. I think this is lovely, the proper


name I can't say, I call it Japonica. I usually snip it off


there and have five or six in a tall vase, it looks wonderful.


I feel totally at home here in the herb garden. I have lovely bay and


then I use all sorts of sages. I suppose I use chives more than


anything else. Then we've got the marjoram here, golden and plain.


And many thymes. I never use a dried herb noi, just fresh herbs


from the garden. I really like a garden which is


full of colour and tidy. And it's just the same in the kitchen. I


like a tidy kitchen. I like things to look good. I think you could say


Mary, it was a rotten day, rotten weather, but a wonderful garden.


is. It's a great joy to us. Favourite spot? I like by the pond.


On that day it was raining so hard. I've enjoyed renewing the marginal


plants. We've got lovely primula at the moment and arum lilies not too


successful. Now you've moved it up the bank a bit, I reckon it might


be more successful. You need to keept ducks off it. Ducks and


gardens don't go together.. They were sitting right on the top.


There are you! I think you'll be OK with that. I shall tend it well.


The wildlife is ofg -- obviously important, we're featuring wildlife


guard nds, it means something to you. We have a meadow. Sadly, there


are not very glamorous plnts in it, because it is all going back to


grasses. We're not replanting it. After many years of that it goes


back to grasses, doesn't it? I have exactly the same on talk down and


Cricklade mixture. I also put in yellow rattle, which weakens grass.


Generally you don't scatter seed on grass to make a meadow because it's


just beaten by the grass, but you can scatter yellow rattle seed


among it to weaken the grass. This wasn't intended to be a dlinic, but


I'm happy to turn it into one! try that. It's a semi-parasite. It


weakens the grass and you get the yellow flowers as well. When it's


clear I can plant more interesting things. Can you put in some plugs


in. Especially near the edge so everybody can admire it. Yes. You


must have a good kitchen garden. We saw the herb there's. On that day,


very, very wot, very little growing. But now every row is ready to come


up. I always plant in the vegetable garden things that we enjoy eating.


The herb garden is a huge joy. I hate dried herbs. Now you have them


all the year round in the garden. It's been a delight to talk to you.


What are you doing back there? Lavender biscuits. Oh, I say!


Especially made for you. Bless your heart, this will be eaten within


about 15 seconds now. Nts and the lavender I put in was just the leaf.


I chop today exceedingly finely and into a shortbread biscuit. That's a


fair reck pence for gardening advice, baking advice. We look


forward to see you on our screens soon. We're sending Mary out to


find the answers to her questions. We'll catch up with you later.


Thank you very much, Mary Berry. Mary was talking about it as well,


we prop gait plants madly, we take cuttings of this and shoots of that


and root them. Some plants don't need us involved at all. They're


very good at self-seeding. They spread themselves everywhere,


sometimes where you don't want them. Carol's been finding out the most


successful self-seeders. There are myriad different ways


that plants have evolved to distribute their seeds, depending


on the prevailing conditions and their situation. As kids we're all


used to doing that familiar thing where you blow away the dandelion


clock. First of all the flower is polinated and it closes in and


inside here lots is going on. That seed is set. Finally, when it's


ripe and on a dry, sunny day, the clock emerges and at the perfect


further. In the case of lupins, when the flowers have fallen the


seed pod swells, gets really dry and crisp. On a hot, sunny day, the


whole thing twists and explodes. Other legumes, plants in the pea


family, use the same method. A lot of them are very familiar to us.


Sweetpeas, peas themselves and is the euphorbia. If you happen to


be nearby, you can sometimes hear their seeds as they are catapoulted


into the air. In some cases, third parties are employed. Strawberries,


for instance use birds, animals to distribute their seed. Strawberries


belong to the rose family. There are so many members of the family


that we're familiar with including giums. In their case, the seed has


no capsule at all. It's completely open. But what it does have is a


velcro mechanism, so an animal or huemon or bird walks by, the seeds


attach themselves and are carried off. Any plant that lives in or


beside water is liable to have evolved with that water and use it


to spread its seed. The coconut is a perfect example. These huge seeds


will tumble into the sea and be swept away to land up on a distant


shore and make yet another coconut palm.


Of course, not many of us have coconuts in our garden, but we do


have water and in it we grow plants like water lilies which employ


exactly the same method to move their seeds around. As gardeners we


grow lots of plants from seed. But occasionally plants take it upon


themselves to join in. And it's those self-seeders that can make


all the difference between a monotonous gathering and a


deplorious garden party. Tonight we're looking at the


benefit of wildflowers in the benefit of wildflowers in the


gardens. It's clear that one huge benefit is because of the


polinating insects they attract. One insect often seen as a cut


above the rest is the bumblebee. One man who knows all about them is


Dr Ben Darvill from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. So bumblebees


as distinct from honeybees? honeybees maybe people wouldn't


notice in their gardens. They're small and brown and not distinctive.


Bumblebees are the stripey things we love to see on our irises


amongst other things. These are the ones we're looking for. These are


the ones we need to take care of. Why? Why are they so important?


Why? Why are they so important? They polinate a huge variety of


different things. They help the flowers produce seeds or fruit. In


the garden that gives us seed. In farmland something like 84% of


Europe's crops need bees to polinate them. Yeah, they're very


important. Why are they in danger then? Are they in danger? They are


I'm afraid. There have been huge declines across the UK, we've lost


two species and many species are seriously in decline. How many do


we have all together? There are 24 species. But most people will


struggle to see more than six or seven in the garden. The others are


very rare. There are far fewer flowers in the countryside than


there used to be. You have watching this programme millions who would


like to do something about it. What can we do to redress the balance?


Masses. Gardens cover a vast area Masses. Gardens cover a vast area


in the UK. Well over a million acres. If everybody in the UK did a


bit to help bees it would make a significant difference. It's about


planting the right flowers. It's very important that people choose


appropriately. How can we find out? I can list a few, but the easier


thing would be for people to go onto our website. We have a brand


new app, which allows people to choose the plants in their gardens


already that are good for bees, find out a score for their garden


and get further recommendations to make it even better. These are


plants rich in nectar and in pollen. That's right and flowering


throughout the year as well, so that the bees are left without


anything to feed from. Thank you Ben. We're answering the call of


the wild tonight. This year's event supported by M&G Investments boast


a host of exhibits promosting the importance of wildlife friendly


gardens. Still to come: A meadow in minutes, the turf that does all


your hard work for you. Towering ambition - Diarmuid Gavin


tells us how his plant rich pyramid could inspire cities to go green.


From here I can see what you had for breakfast. From here a lot of


people would see their own breakfast. And Mary's mission,


we'll find out if cookery writer Mary Berry has had a great day out


at Chelsea. Oh, gosh, it's a myriad of


different plants and colours. There's been lots of interest in


the painted pots we showed yesterday. The RHS are auctioning


these online. Go to their website, in aid of their schools gardening


campaign. Here are three of them. The one on the left is the top


price at the moment at �285. That's Judi Dench's pot. The middle is �82,


that's Mary Berry. One on the right is mine, at the moment at �200.


Mary's is nicer than mine. Go online and bid for a pot. It's all


in the cause of getting children gardening. What's all this about


you and a taxi with a garden in the back? I came out of the hotel the


other morning, I was greeted by a floral bounty that was a black cab.


I thought it was going to be the outside, but inside was like


walking into a glass house, it had tomatoes, strawberries and potted


plants and little he isian cushions. It was just extraordinary. Why?


you know, I think it's all part of the black cab in bloom. It's urban


greening. I have to say the cushions were a bit itchy. I don't


recommend he isian. One man who was advocating the benefits of wildlife


gardening in the 1980s was the late Geoff Hamilton. He encouraged


viewers to create outdoor spaces to attract polinating insects. After


his death in 1996 his son Nick took over his gardens at Barnsdale. We


caught up with him a few weeks ago. He spoke about the ethos that's


When my father was setting up the gardens here his ethos was very


much to be organic and therefore to be wildlife friendly. It had had a


hippie image before then. That's something that he definitely wasn't.


He was somebody, I know for a fact from talking to lots of people, he


was somebody that if he told people that this was the thing to do on


the television, that they'd all rush out first thing Saturday


morning and doing it. The 39 individual gardens and features


that are created here were created very much with wildlife in mind.


Obviously we've gardened over the years on organic principles. This


is one of the last ones that my father created. This is the


wildlife pond and stream, created to encourage people how to attract


to encourage people how to attract wildlife into a garden. It evokes


great memories of my father. This was something he really enjoyed


doing. He didn't enjoy digging the pond very much I have to say. But


it was something that summed him up and has done everything that he


ever want today to do. It's nice when a plan comes together. Now the


great stream project continues. You'll remember last week I


finished off the stream and the pond and I got the water moving too.


The sound of running water in the garden really does make a


difference. I love it. Water is essential in any sort of garden and


particularly a wildlife garden, because obviously, everything that


lives needs water. It creates part of the whole ecosystem of a


wildlife environment. It's created in 1996, one of the first


things my father planted in here was the classic bog garden plant,


the marsh marigold. It is fantastically inspirational with


the bright yellow cups, which is suitable for insects. It has


gradually started to work its way into the pond.


This is our wildlife garden, which is situated right at the very top


of the gardens here at Barnsdale and has been designed not only to


be of interest 12 months of the year but more importantly to be


sustainable for wildlife through the 12 months. Things like this


winter box have finished flowering now. The usage now has been tone


over by the pulmonaria and the euphorbia, so the wildlife have


something else to move to. There is no doubt that if you conserve and


maintain that delicate balance of wildlife in the garden you will


solve your pest problems without having to lift a finger. At Chelsea


this year we are looking to bring a little piece of Barnsdale to


Chelsea and also to try and focus on that wildlife aspect. We'll be


using a lot of plants that attract wildlife. Certainly the more nectar


plants. We are looking at hissup, geraniums, the campanulas and the


bell flower. Chelsea being the most prestigious show in the world, it


is a fantastic window to take Barnsdale to. Barnsdale is the most


fantastic place to be in the world, so what better combination can I


have? Good to hear Geoff's voice again.


Your dad's work still goes on. Absolutely. He will never die will


he? That wildlife and organic element at Barnsdale it is shot


through the place. Very much so Alan. We've been organic for 25


years and we need the wildlife to do a lot of the work for us. It


doesn't enable us to sit back and take it easily. We have it very


much as a running through throughout the garden. What are the


difficulties of running a garden and a nursery. You are selling the


plants and keeping the garden looking good. It's a double


pressure in a way. It is. I love it. I can Potter about in the nursery


and then I'm in the garden. The biggest problem I find is that


we'll never ever grow everything we have in the garden. People see


something in the garden and then want it. We spend a lot of time


directing them to other nurseries, like here at Chelsea. You must be


heartened by this whole urban greening thing. There is always an


opportunity isn't there? I think there is. People don't quite


realise what benefit they have themselves. They bring the fields


and the surrounding area into their own garden and it does enlighten


your life. It's fantastic to see the insects buzzing about and the


other wildlife that it brings. about the plants you would


recommend. You have a lovely little stand, a jewel stand. Picks out a


couple you think ech wildlife garden should have. The valerian,


that's a fantastic pollinator for insects, as is the white robin. It


is the white form of the ragged robin and very good pollinating


plants for the insects. But it is not just about that but the other


wildlife. The firns and the heuch actions give cover. And you can't


choose the wildlife, it chooses you. Exactly. Without the pest you don't


get the predator, which are the ones we want It's a balance between


the two. Lovely to see you and to remember Geoff.


Alys Fowler has been here too. She's been visiting the show today.


Alys's own gardening style is always in tune with her natural


surroundings so Chris caught up with her to find out what was


inspiring her about this year's cheap.


I have completely fall no-one love with the Korean garden. For me that


planting plan is exquisite and it had so many things I really wasn't


aware of, so it is exciting to see new stuff. There is huge variety in


subtle flower there is, which is great for wildlife. It is going to


give that diverse delivery of nectar. And it is all native. I


guess across the gardens in general there's been so much, a really


relaxed planting style. There is so much that's good for wildlife. It


is quite a joy to see all the gardens buzzing with insects.


difficult for people visiting the show, when they look at a bloom to


think, well, is that going to be great for wildlife or not? What


broad rules should we be applying? Simple flowers. Stay clear of


anything that is double. Anything that repeat flowers or has a strong


presence. If the bees are visiting it, it is probably a good indicator


that they like it. It is about creating a matrix, not just one


level of floral interest. Have trees, climbers and shrubs. That


increases the insects activity. insects are essentially the base of


the food chain. They perform not only poll ination but they are


above that level. Get the insnects and every else comes to behind.


When you have all the others, the birds and the bats, they help


control your pest problems. It works to your benefit to get this


insects The message many exhibitors are


keen to get across this year is that a nectar-rich meadow doesn't


have to stretch for acres. They can start in your own back garden. It's


just a question of deciding what particular flower mixes you want to


sow. To help you decide, Alys has been to meet students from Capel


Manor College who are staging a beginner's guide to meadows. Hello


Tom. I believe you are a student at Capel Manor. That's right: There is


something special about this turf? Yes, all of these plants tract bats.


How will this bring a bat to your garden? It brings in the moths that


the bats like the eat. Fantastic. And this bit here is something


that's familiar to me. You've used rubble? All repsycheled from


brownfield sites. Will it self colonise with annuals, and we've


put some perennials as well. Will it look after itself. Have a patio


that I took up and underneath was a huge amount of rubble. I did pretty


much the same thing. What flowers have you got in there? Thymes and


Nigella and a bit of flax. It is a really simple, elegant solution.


love the contrast between the urban gritty waste and these delicate


pretty wild flowers. If you want your own slice of urban meadow, all


you need to do is pick the right mixes. These mixes here have been


chosen for their long-flowering interest. They are a mixture of


native and non-natives. Native poppies, toad flax and lots of


cosmos. You begin to realise how long the flourg period is going to


be. There is more and more flowers coming up and each mix is a


different colour scheme. This is a riotous pastel. This is going to


turn into a lot of hot pinks. There's a really beautiful kind of


rich yellow version. The wonderful thing about these is that they've


been specifically designed for garden soil, so you don't have to


impoverish your soil. All you need is a patch and you too can sow


something fantastic for wildlife and to give you a long period of


colour. What I love here is a spied hear already decided to move in.


Two weeks ago, John Wilson had no idea he was coming to Chelsea.


Today he's standing here with a prestigious gold medal. What's


story, John? I got a phone call just over two weeks ago saying they


had a cancellation at Chelsea and Iowa on the waiting list. Would I


be able to fill in? You don't say no, do you? I said yes and


immediately got on with preparing for Malvern the following week and


where I was all last week. So effectively I had about one week to


get ready for this. It is a Jew ill of a stand, this. Thank you. Ferns


it seems to me are so useful in the garden, the damp, shady spots.


gaits no other plant will do. The bits that no other plants will


do. All firms love moisture and shade, but there are a lot of


varieties that are tolerate drier conditions and some sun. There is


hardly anywhere apart from those areas that are in full sun that are


not suitable for tern ferns But when you plant them, dig in plenty


of organic stuff. Your own garden compost, well-rotted manure or leaf


mould. That's the stuff they love. I ger you gave Joe one for his


garden? No, I sold him one. Good man. There's a nurseryman!


Congratulations. Thank you. Tonight we've been taking a look at


the benefits of wild flower meadows. However, if you do want to create


one in your garden, remember they do take a bit of time - until now.


I say that because some of the meadows you see at Chelsea this


week are created from strips of wild flower turf. These roll out


meadows have been produced by Yorkshire-based turf grower Stephen


Fell, who earlier this month agreed 25 years now. What we are trying to


do for our customeres is truce a nice attractive roll they can lay


out in their gardens. I wanted to be able to do the same thing with


wild flowers. We've moved some to which technology to move across to


growing wild flowers that can be rolled out in somebody's garden or


a roof garden. Well people typically try to establish a wild


flower area in their garden, often that soil will be too fertile. Wild


flower seed takes a long time to germinate. The danger is there are


other seeds and roots or rhizomes for previous vegetation which will


overtake that and establish before the flowers get going. We've got


nettles taking over, ground sell, which will spread very fast, as it


seeds prolificly. Cleavers, docks and vigorous rye grasses. You can


imagine a poor wild flower plant here trying to survive. It doesn't


have a chance. Growing wild flower turf on a mat


gives us huge advantage, that it is going to suppress vegetation from


coming you through. This is how we start growing wild flower turf. We


lay down a plastic sheet to stop the roots growing into the soil.


And then we have a layer of felt from re cycled textiles. We have a


substraight of green waste compost and recycled brick. Having got this


level, we put the seed on at just the right seed rate.


It is important to keep that seed moist so that it can germinate


rapidly. We have specialist irrigation to keep it damp, but


equally we must be careful not to overdo it. Wild flowers don't like


waterlogged conditions. Once the wild flower turf has grown to a


stage of maturity that we can sell sit, we cut into it rolls and put


it on to a palate. When you look at it you might think it doesn't look


exciting, but looking into it there are lots of small plants. That's


good time to put wild flower-type turf down. Growing wild flowers and


having them flowering in time for Chelsea is very challenging, so we


need to bring them in where it is warmer. We have various mixtures


flowering probably six weeks earlier than they would normally.


It is really interesting that once we open the doors we get a whole


range of pollinating insects, not only bees and bumblebees but


hoverflys, butterflies and a range of other insects.


At Chelsea I hope the effect we have is that people can see they


can bring wildlife to small areas. That it can be attractive and it


doesn't need to be complicated. They don't need to know a lot about


plants and flowers. They can lay down this and sit back and enjoy


this and let the insects enjoy it as well.


One designer making the headlines this week is Diarmuid Gavin. His


pyramid garden takes urban Greening to a new level. Quite literally.


The garden was created in a you Rica moment. He was walking to the


Royal Hospital grounds. We caught up with him a couple of weeks ago


main is contemporary architecture. I quite like scaffolding. You saw


Albert bridge covered in scaffolding and it seemed to be


stepping up on different layers. I've always wanted to do a hanging


gardens of Babylon to show how people in an urban environment,


where space is limited could possibly garden on top of each


other that. Seemed to be the answer. I can see the shark from here.


Very similar. Wu then you have the more sober architect churl


inspiration, this amazing park that is built on an old railway line in


an urban environment like this, that snakes through the city and


this new building, that's covered in an urban forest in the centre of


Milan. All these things go into inform different steps, different


decisions that you make when creating this tower that reaches


upwards. I hope that Chelsea, that people come to Chelsea will enjoy


it. It's kind of provocative. When you do something so big, you're


making a big statement, for me oddly enough it's not about going


big, it's about doing something different, pushing boundaries and


exploring possibilities. The message is: Can we in the future,


plan in an innovative way to have gardens in an increasingly


urbanised society? Can we make every use of our space and resource


to create gardens that make the most use of light, to create guard


thans are on top of each other, quite as simple as this, when you


water one on the top it drips through everything, to allow plants


to go up and hang down, to create escapes for people. It only becomes


valid and becomes a garden if it drips with plants. If you can be on


that structure and it feels like you're floating in a garden in the


air, I hope it will look structured but dreamy and very, very green.


Alliums and hostas, Silver Birchs and rhododendrons, a swing and


saflding, it's gardening Scotty, but not as we know it. Ladies have


been shrieking as they come down the steel shoot to escape, it is of


course, Diarmuid Gavin's magic peer mud. But what is it -- pyramid. But


what's it all about? There must be a serious point. There is. It's


exploring the notion of a multistory garden in an


increasingly urban society. Lots of people live in cities like London.


There's not a lot of green space. It's an experiment in garden, lots


of different people garden on top of each other. You reckon this


could work on say, a tower block? Well, it's a scaffolding pyramid


that could be permanent in a plaza. We've created by a 60 by 60 metre


space, 576 square metres of usable garden space. If there's enough


light, yeah, I don't see why not. Let's look at some of it. This is a


fabulous swing seat. I'm reluctant to leave that. Past the shed.


practical garden sheds. We have lots of water butts and sheds. We


want to show sustainable gardening. This is a terrace, the meet-and-


greet area where everybody who gardens here would come together.


How many floors all together? floors. Wow. Residents, members


club, I'm in the a member, am I allowed in? You're an honorary


member. Oh, look! Oriental style Pavilion. It's rustic in nature and


then we have this circular opening leading into a secret garden.


walk into a secret garden. It is magical. You said it was and indeed


it is. You disappear from one area into another. It's a garden that


keeps you moving. It does. I love the tree top bamboo walk. Those


ones, I can't believe we've kept on coming up. The black ones start


from here. This shady plant and then rhododendrons. Walk up around


the pink shed to Another Level. Look at it! There's a pond here.


The roof of the shed collects water. It's used in the washing machine.


Do you your washing as you're gardening and you hang it out to


dry, like most people don't. Good drying day. Very good, isn't it?


really is your washing! It is. On the floor floor, Rosemary, thyme,


good light levels up here. We have a Victorian style greenhouse and


these old industrial containers used to plant the fruit and veg.


And still we go. Which level are we on? Four, about to go to five,


which is men's hosery. Oh, thank you! And vegetables. Going up.


You wash your clothes down below and your body and abluegss up here


then. -- ablutions up here then. The water is collected fed to a


barrel down below and used for the fruit and vegetables. I could have


stayed here instead of a hotel. Magical. Are we going up? Yes, up


and up. Two more. Great vantage points here. Across the river.


Absolutely. From here I can see what you had for breakfast. From


here a lot of people would see their own breakfast.


You're very high. It's rather fitting that on top of


your pyramid is a plant and it's a fabulous birch, wonderful peeling


bark. It's heritage. It has fantastic bark and yeah, we wanted


to crown it with a plant and it's in a bed of bell lowing


Mediterranean style planting, where there's full sun. There could not


be a better day to see this. It's wonderful. The London skyline


around us, the bridge is there and all into London and Battersea Power


Station. Well done mate, it's a lovely job. Congratulations.


Everybody enjoys this. We've enjoyed today hugely, the company


of Mary Berry, who was right down there looking at it. She's been in


the show ground. I hope she's had a good time and discovered some


exciting things because as far as I'm concerned, Mary Berry is the


cherry on top of my cake. I've just come in the gates and I'm


so excited. I've been looking forward to this day so much. It


really gives me inspiration for my planting. I get lots of new ideas


and I have one or two questions to ask some of the growers.


Gosh, it's a myriad of different plants and colours.


Oh, here's a friend, we've grown these for three years. They are


wonderful smell, lovely for picking, healthy foliage. We prune them in


March, really hard, took everything out as thin as a pencil. They're


looking very good now. But here they are in bloom.


What a joy. I just love this because you can


see how big the actual hostas grow. There are little miniature ones,


big ones. I always go for the big but what I want to know about are


hardy freesias. There is a new range of prepared freesias which


means they've been given the cold treatment, because freesias are a


native of South Africa, from the cape province. So they can be grown.


The biggest problem is drainage. They like well drained soil and


they need the cold period. Best to plant in the Autumn time. Let them


sit in the cold soil over the winter, then they'll germinate in


spring and the new growth will start to come through. Oh, I can't


wait to order some. It will be exciting. Thank you. You're welcome.


This is my favourite garden. It's got wonderful structure. I think


this would be lovely throughout all seasons. I like the way they've


grown their roses. I like the idea that you can weave Hazel into a


nice dome. I might have a go at making those.


I've had such a wonderful day. This must be the best Chelsea ever! I've


got lots of new ideas, all my questions answered and I can't wait


to get in the garden this weekend. Last year at Chelsea the RHS in


conjunction with the writer and broadcaster Sarah Raven launched


their perfect for polinators initiative. There you are. And I am.


It's a campaign destined to help gardeners identify plants


specifically good for wildlife. 12 months have gone by, so has that


initiative been successful? We're joined by Helen Bostock.


Successful? Incredibly. We can't believe the response that we've had


believe the response that we've had from everybody. The message is


definitely getting out there. plants are leaving the garden


centres. They are. We know that the plant centre at Wisley, we've


doubled the sales in the plants on the list. We've been working with


all sorts of members in the trade, public guard nds, gardening


societies, really to raise awareness about it. I think you


have. The big sign there is put on banks of plants which are good for


bees. They get the buzzing sign. The large labels on the pots


identify them. As do the smaller dangling labels which have a little


logo in the bottom corner, which says it's good for bees and it's a


perfect polinator. So, it's working. What's the way forward? Well, the


whole idea of the list is that it continues to evolve and grow and so


what we've been doing is well, as we speak, ourent moll jists are


working on a new cat Goring -- our entomologiss are working on a new


cat Goring -- gat gory of lists. Rather than by season, we'll do it


by garden condition. Whether it's a wet garden, chalky, whatever


there'll be a list for you. We'll be announcing that on July 4 at RHS


Hampton Court Flower Show. Good for you. We'll do our bit. It's nice to


know we can bring them back in. Hopefully tonight we've given you a


small insight into the importance of our wildflower heritage and how


we can all do something to preserve it like growing a few of these in


# I grew up fast and wild # I never felt right in a garden so


# I never felt right in a garden so different from me.


# I just never belonged # I just longed to be gone


# So the garden one day set me free # I hitched ride with the wind


# I just let him desire where we go # When a flower grows wild


# It can always survive # Wildflowers don't care where they


grow # Just a wild rambling rose seeking


mysteries untold # No regret for the path that I


chose # When a flower grows wild


# It can always survive # Wildflowers don't care where they


grow # Lots and lots of flowers. This


Lots and lots of flowers. This weather's been great. When I sat


down here on Monday, these were in tight bud. Look at them now. It's


not surprising. All of these plants, several weeks of chill at the


beginning of the month and they've just become so turgid, so excited


now the sun's come out. They've all gone pop. It's a lovely thing this


Siberian iris, so beautifully Ben silled, very good for any garden.


Beautiful colour. It's the sort of thing you wish you could paint.


only one had the talent. There we are. We've come to the end of our


coverage from RHS Chelsea Flower Show this evening. Tomorrow we're


back looking at the trends coming out of Chelsea this week. Nicki and


I will be back tomorrow lunch time on BBC within. Digital viewers can


Alan Titchmarsh looks back at the day's events at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The emphasis is on the exhibits promoting Britain's wild flowers and wildlife. There is a master class in creating wild flower meadows in the city and designer Diarmuid Gavin talks to Alan about how he hopes to promote urban greening with his towering 80-foot pyramid garden.

Cookery legend Mary Berry also joins Alan to talk about her life-long passion for gardening.

Download Subtitles