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.
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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.