A look at some of the BBC's most popular gardening programmes and personalities, presented by Carol Kirkwood. Carol explores subjects that all begin with the letter W.
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Hello and welcome to The A To Z Of TV Gardening,
where we sift through all your favourite garden programmes,
and dig up a bumper crop of tips and advice
from the best experts in the business.
Flowers, trees, fruit and veg - letter by letter,
they're all coming up a treat on The A To Z Of TV Gardening.
Everything we're looking at today begins with the letter W.
Here's what's coming up.
We're looking at weeds and how to get rid of them.
And that just kills all the annual weeds on the top. Yes, it does.
And on a hot day like this, it's perfect.
Perfect, cos it dries up the roots.
Women gardeners, handing down knowledge through generations.
I ring them up. They're my oracles. "It's died! What do I do about this?"
And a close-up look at the wonderful world of worms.
That's all to come, but first, a climber
that leaves most of us amazed by its beauty.
Our first W is for wisteria,
and here's Alan Titchmarsh with all the whats, whys and whens.
You see, wisteria is a peculiar beauty,
and in order to get these huge, grape-like bunches of flowers
cascading from every bough, you need to prune it not once
but twice a year -
in July, and again in January or February.
It doesn't matter where you start,
but in order to show you the early results,
I'll start back in February.
Ours was a huge, tangled mass of stems.
Hopefully yours won't look quite this bad.
But if yours has never been pruned,
or you've hacked at it rather tentatively and it's galloping for the gutters,
then, this sight is probably all too familiar.
All these long stems were behind that downpipe.
If I'd left them there, they would have swollen over the years
and pushed that thing completely off the wall.
We don't need as many as this.
I want to try and get the plant to go round the corner
and furnish the other wall, but not with all these.
We can reduce them by at least half.
'Then, along the new main framework of stems,
'shorten each of the side shoots to about three or four inches,
'and it'll become a flowering spur.'
That's what we're after. You see these little fat buds here?
Those are the ones that are going to be flowers,
and it's those that you can cut back. You've got a nice little finger there
that's just going to cascade with fragrant blooms in May.
'Those old spurs need to go back to about three or four buds
'while you're at it.'
And then, by shortening those side shoots to make more spurs
and trimming back the existing ones,
I reckon we got double the number of flowers, easily.
But you can get even more if, come July,
your wisteria gets another haircut.
Those long, whippy growths up there
that we no longer need to extend the territory of the plant,
because it's covering quite enough wall, can come off now,
because if we leave them on, they'll just lash around
all through autumn and winter, doing no good at all.
'Cut them back to about a foot in length,
'then you'll prevent them from extending further,
'and persuade them to start producing flower buds.
'These are the stems
'you'll shorten to three or four inches come February.'
There are lots of myths attached to wisteria.
One is that they don't flower for seven years after you plant them.
Well, that might have been true in the old days
when you were planting rather dubious flowering varieties of Chinese wisteria,
but nowadays, if you want to make sure you can get flowers
even from the first year onwards, look for a grafted plant.
Go into your garden centre, and you will see,
at the very bottom of wisteria plants,
a great sort of thumb thing of the root stock,
and then the grafted bit of a proven flowering variety
growing out of the top of it. And with one of those,
you know it'll flower - well, at least in its second year.
It's one of those lovely jobs
that you feel incredibly virtuous when you get to the end of.
And the other thing is, you know it's money in the bank.
It flowered pretty well last year.
Think what it's going to be like next year!
Thanks, Alan. Now let's join Christine Walkden
on a road trip uncovering lots of wisteria hysteria.
So, you don't need a really posh house to have a beautiful wisteria.
Just look at that one!
Oh, look! A white wisteria. Isn't that nice?
Let's go and have a closer look at this pearly beauty.
I just love seeing the purple and the blue wisteria,
but there's an intrinsic charm with the pure white.
'But now I'm off to find a wisteria of near-legendary status.
'It's so famous, it's got its own postcard.'
And here it is, looking glorious
against that beautiful Cotswold stone.
What's amazing about trees and shrubs
is that the vast majority of this in the middle is dead.
What keeps this plant alive is two millimetres of plumbing
immediately beneath the bark.
What a spectacular plant! What do you do to it?
Well, we prune it once a year.
My husband gets up the ladder, usually the end of September,
and we just keep it down to a level,
cut all the long, trailing bits off, keep it off the roof,
because it likes to go under the tiles, so, um...
And how much do you take off?
Well, we have about ten dustbin bags full. Ten?! Ten.
What's its history? We believe it's about 150 years old.
My husband's family have been in the cottage for 200 years, so...
Wow! Now, you obviously love it,
but what about the locals and what about visitors?
The locals love it. It's quite a landmark, really. I'll say!
And the visitors all take photographs every time they come.
Do you feed it or water it? We do nothing to it.
Apart from pruning it. We just prune it.
At the wrong time of the year, according to the horticulturalists!
SHE LAUGHS Well, it survives.
It does more than survive. I mean, that's rather magnificent.
What a fantastic sign of spring! Look at this beauty!
And you don't need a vast garden to have a front-garden star like this.
Now, our next item is not about gardening
but gardeners themselves,
and looks how, in one significant way,
horticulture in Britain has changed over the years.
Here's Carol Klein, on W for "women gardeners".
For a woman like me, with my kind of social background,
it would have been virtually impossible
to have even attempted the sort of things I've done,
let alone achieve them.
You've only to look into the history of gardening
to realise that the whole thing was totally governed
and staffed by men.
Women just didn't get a look-in.
'I know I owe the opportunities I've had
'to a small group of women, who battled against the odds
'to make gardening an acceptable career for a woman.
'Many of them have gone largely unrecognised,
'and yet it's thanks to them that women like me
'have been able to follow their passion for horticulture.
'Now, I've often been described as a maverick,
'but I'm nothing compared to one woman
'who dared to challenge Victorian convention.'
Like me, Marianne North was a woman with an obsession about plants,
but her social upbringing denied her the opportunity
of a career in horticulture.
But Marianne persevered.
Unable to endure the claustrophobia of Victorian society,
in the 1840s she began to travel the world
to paint the world's flora and fauna.
I think it's remarkable what Marianne North actually achieved.
She managed to go to some places more times than any explorer went,
and she managed to do a lot of things
that ladies in her time were not expected to do.
She was really making a statement
that women could do this kind of thing.
She really did as much for women's independence
as, say, the Pankhursts managed to do
with their rights movements in England.
Women are now the fastest-growing group of allotment holders.
In fact, at the Dale Allotments in Nottingham,
not only are women taking up plots,
the entire allotment committee is made up of women, too.
I must admit, when I was thinking about it,
you'd expect it to be a lot more men,
and so I was quite shocked that it was all women.
Now women are earning the money and having a lot more stress,
so it's like that's why we're coming here.
We need to get out of the house as well, you know! Yeah.
It's not just a place for the men.
I suppose the old allotmenters tend to have the way it's done.
The way it's done, and that is set in stone.
They have a whole plot that's been completely cleared,
and everything's planted in rows and done the way it's always been done.
But going to most of the women's gardens here,
you'll find they're decorated or there's something pretty about them.
Gingham curtains, yellow window frames and that sort of thing.
Pink doors. And then the men's gardens are, like, shed, gardens.
We're like a little family. It's just... You know, it's great.
We're often ringing, going, "Are you up there? See you there in ten."
"I'll bring the bacon sandwiches." It's a nice little community.
The kind of social interaction up here
is something you just wouldn't get anywhere else.
I've just been sat up in one of the alleys between allotments,
drinking coffee and eating plums straight off a tree,
and just gassing, you know?
It crosses, you know, international borders
and age barriers, really, so if there's a party,
then the old guys will turn up with their damson wine, things like that.
THEY CHATTER AND LAUGH
Why I've become a gardener is because of my mum,
my sister and my granny, really.
My mum and my nan both kept gardens and did the gardening.
My mum's got a big veg garden,
and my sister and I, as soon as we could hold things,
were given spades, trowels, etc. I ring them up. They're my oracles.
"It's died! What do I do about this?"
'Today there are women in every field of professional horticulture -
'businesswomen, designers, plant experts
'and hands-on nurserywomen like me -
'who are making a living from growing their own plants.
'To me, they're as much pioneers as their historical predecessors,
'and I wonder if they feel the same.'
'I've come to meet my fellow- nurserywoman, Marina Christopher,
'who runs her six-acre nursery in Hampshire singlehanded.'
I have to say,
I haven't really considered me being a woman in the business.
I just get on with it. Yep.
I've been working on a smallholding since I was 15,
and we all picked up the bags of potatoes.
We all picked up the vegetables. Yeah.
And, um, it didn't make any difference
whether I was male or female. I was expected to do it.
So, um, no. I've always done it.
And also I'm a much faster digger than most,
cos I'm nearer the ground! THEY LAUGH
Marina started her career as a botanist,
and that's determined the way she runs her nursery.
In the early days, that approach put her right ahead of the field.
I tend to look at plants with their aspects to insects,
so, in fact, the naturalistic, um, gardening, um,
thing that's been going through has been excellent for me,
cos it's allowed me to use the wild flowers.
I started off with a wildflower nursery for insects,
and, um, having, um, naturalistic planting
has allowed me to use plants that I used to be told,
"Oh, that's just a weed."
Cos you really do believe in going with the flow, don't you?
Yes. Yes. No, I'm ahead of the flow. THEY LAUGH
And it's not just been her passion for wild flowers
that makes Marina a pioneer.
She's used her scientific background
to develop her own propagation techniques.
'In some ways I think I'm liberated,
'because I haven't done a horticultural course,
'but what I do do is observe,
'and I'm used to experimenting in the field,
'so I actually do quite a lot of things that aren't in books,
'and it works for me.'
Marina and I both have our own techniques,
but what we share is the same passion for plants.
You nurture your plants, don't you? You love them.
I'm not good at throwing things away that I should throw away, maybe.
THEY LAUGH But, um, yes.
No, it is. I mean, they're my little babies,
and I want them to go to a good home. Yeah.
Whereas I think maybe men are a little bit more hard and commercial about it. Yeah.
Have you ever refused anybody a plant
because you knew that they wouldn't look after it?
Yes. Yeah. I have, too. THEY LAUGH
Thanks, Carol. Still to come,
wild flowers, winter gardens, and even worms.
But first, we look at a subject that leaves even the experts confused.
Our next W is for weeds - but what is a weed?
Chris Collins is in search of an answer.
Richard Mabey has been writing about wild plants and weeds
for the last 30 years.
Well, there have been masses of definitions.
In America, a weed is defined as any wild plant
which grows six inches above the ground in anyone's garden,
and it's illegal. Somebody,
an American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson,
said a weed is simply a plant
for which a use has not yet been discovered.
The most popular one is that a weed is a plant in the wrong place,
but that means somebody's got to decide what the right place is.
'Keen to show me an example of the difference
'between a right place and a wrong place,
'Richard took me to the ruins of the 12th-century abbey
'at Bury St Edmunds.'
There's a very graphic illustration
of the extent to which there are minute differences
in what can be the right and wrong place for a plant.
Here we've got aubrietia, which for a start,
is in the wrong place in two ways.
It's a native wildflower of Southern Europe,
brought into this country as a rockery plant,
has escaped onto the walls of the abbey,
where it's tolerated only if it's about five feet above the ground.
And if you come down here,
there the aubrietia has been the subject of weed-killer spray.
It injects so much subjective opinion into it.
I mean, some people, if they get bluebells in their garden, which...
you know, wild bluebells coming in from the outside,
regard them as a weed, because they should stay in the woods
where they belong,
and conservationists regard the Spanish bluebell,
a bigger, more aggressive sort that people grow in their gardens -
when that gets out, gets into woods
and hybridises with the English bluebell, that's a weed,
so there's enormous kinds of social and convention,
and even fashion, which come into this definition.
Thanks for that. Now let's hook up with Joe Swift,
who's found a fellow allotmenteer
with some good weed-clearing techniques.
Now, if you want to know about getting rid of weeds,
the thing to do is look for a plot where there aren't any -
like this one.
Andrew? Hello. Hoeing away beautifully.
Look at that! You've got a great little hoeing technique going there.
And that just kills all the annual weeds on the top, doesn't it?
Yes, it does. And on a hot day like this, it's perfect.
Perfect, cos it dries up the roots of the weed and they just die.
And if they don't, I come along and hoe 'em again.
But you've laid the whole bed out
with the intention of getting a hoe between the rows. That's right, yes.
Imagine six inches. The hoe's four inches,
and it'll go through it easy,
without touching the onions or whatever that's growing there.
So you've measured them out exactly. Yeah.
Never let them seed. No. Never let them grow too big
that they are uncontrollable, ie, if you understand what I mean
by the next-door neighbour's allotment.
Well, I didn't want to say anything.
Does it cause any antagonism on the site itself?
Um... BOTH: Yes.
THEY LAUGH Nice to meet you!
You've missed one over there, though!
Andrew's trick is simple and effective
for areas where you're growing crops, but for uncultivated areas,
cover with black plastic to smother any developing weeds.
Nettles and brambles are the usual suspects you have to confront
when you take on a new plot. It's the same approach to both.
Cut them back with a brush-cutter,
and then dig out the roots with a fork.
You've got a lovely plot here, Carol, I have to say. Beautiful!
A few weeds. Dandelions are your problem here, aren't they?
Yeah. We, um, get rid of them, really.
We put a plastic bag over the top. Oh, suffocate 'em?
Well, not suffocate them,
but stop the seeds from flying all over your plot
and sprinkling all over. They come up like little babies.
And then dig 'em up? Now we just get the fork...
and we go in. Got to go deep. CRACKLING
And you hear that cracking? Yeah, you can hear it,
really hear the roots of that.
You can never really get all the roots out,
and as you can see... You've broken a bit off, yeah.
So that will come back next year as a big dandelion.
The only way of really, really keeping on top of it
is to dig it out. Next year you're going to come and dig it out again.
Yeah. And it's just a never-ending process.
Just like weeds, our next pick is not everyone's favourite,
but they're absolutely essential in all gardens,
because W is for worms. They're only small,
but they're hugely important. Let's find out why.
Most of us wouldn't give earthworms a second glance.
But not Emma Sherlock! Earthworms are her passion.
You see, Emma is curator of worms
at the Natural History Museum in London.
Not only that, she's president of the Earthworm Society of Britain.
As Emma is about to reveal, there's far more to the humble earthworm
than first meets the eye.
Most people think we've only got one species of earthworm in the UK,
but that's really not true.
We actually have about 27 different species.
We've got stumpy green ones, and they're bright green,
stripy ones... These ones, when they stretch out,
you'll really see the stripes on them.
We call them tiger worms, because of the stripes.
We've got pink ones, we've got grey ones,
we've got ones with black heads. We've got deep-red ones.
Some are really large, sort of 30 centimetres in length,
right down to some adults being just a few centimetres.
So massive diversity.
Surprisingly, scientists like Emma know very little
about the distribution of these different earthworm species.
Sampling the worms in your garden can help fill in these gaps.
The best way to sample earthworms, really,
is just to dig a hole in the ground.
So I generally dig around a plot,
pull out the square I've dug, and then just go through it
and try and see how many earthworms are in here.
'And in a plot this size, potentially it could be 50, 100,
'maybe even, if it was a really, really rich patch,
'maybe even up to 200 earthworms.'
So, in an area the size of a football field,
you could get maybe as many as two million earthworms.
All gardeners know that earthworms are really good for the soil,
but the reason that is
is because they are burrowing down into the soil.
They're letting air in, letting carbon dioxide out.
Earthworms are the recyclers of the planet.
They are breaking down all the organic rubbish
and releasing all those nutrients back into the soil
to be used again by the plants.
Without earthworms in our soils, life would pretty quickly dry up.
Earthworms aren't just good for the soil.
Their juicy, muscular bodies are perfect food
for lots of other wildlife. CHICKS CHIRRUP HUNGRILY
Birds just can't resist them.
Badgers gorge on them.
60 percent of their diet is made up of worms.
And moles? Well, they can eat 50 grams of worms a day.
It does seem they get rather picked on by other animals.
One neat little trick I'm going to share with you
is something to actually get the deep-burrowing earthworms
to the surface without the heavy digging.
And that's this.
What I've done here is mix mustard powder with water,
maybe around two tablespoons per litre-and-a-half bottle.
And then pour it on the ground.
What this technique does is, it just irritates the worms slightly
so they come up to the surface.
Earthworm behaviour is also fascinating,
not least the way they reproduce.
I'll let Emma explain.
Earthworms are hermaphrodites,
so that means they have male and female parts,
but they still sexually reproduce. So they find another earthworm,
kind of glue themselves together, pass each other sperm,
and then, when they've broken off, they then each produce a cocoon
which then sits in the soil until the conditions are right,
and then the babies emerge.
'I love earthworms because they're so amazingly important
'for our soils, they're such fascinating animals,
'and when you actually start to look at them,
'it's amazing, the diversity and variety of them -
'the sizes, the colours, the different jobs that they all do.
'And yet no-one's out there looking at them.
'And they're working so hard under our feet.'
I hope you see them in a different light now.
And almost with the same enthusiasm as Emma
are two competitors who have only 30 minutes
to make what is our next pick.
This W is for "window boxes",
and here's Toby Buckland and Joe Swift.
Bring it on, eh? A 30-minute fix.
The idea behind it is to spend a little time this weekend
to create something for your garden that will last for a season or two,
bring it to life. And the challenge facing me and Joe
is to create two window boxes that will survive without water
while you're away on holiday. So, I've got my timer.
There's an honest gentleman in the audience there.
30 minutes on the clock, please, sir.
Have we started? Yeah. We're underway. We're off!
My whole window box is called "A Month in Provence".
Pretentious, eh? All right, then, you know - "Two Weeks in Bognor".
Mine is called "A Trip to the Curry House".
Last night I went out and I got myself a Tindaloo and a Vindaloo
in these boxes, and these are going to form a sump
in the bottom of a wooden window box that'll hold moisture, and...
Oh, it's going to be brilliant, and the planting will be gorgeous.
Now, what you really need is a little bit of preparation, Toby!
A bit of a template. Ah!
You've learnt your lesson, then, Joe. A bit of a template.
Right. I feel like my kit is coming together now.
I'm going to start assembling my window box.
So, that's looking all right. That's looking OK.
Nice and solid, and reasonably square.
But the clever bit of my planter is, as I say, these curry tubs.
Now, to make these into a sump for the plants,
what I'm going to do is just use a craft knife...
You got to be careful with these, of course.
But just to cut a little circle out of the centre...
..like that. Don't have to be too fussy. It just wants to be the size
of a little bit of pipe like that, cos that's what you're going to use
to get your water down into the sump.
Now, what I'm doing to make my self-watering system
is to stuff a bit of this cleaning cloth,
a nice, soft, water-absorbent cloth, down in beside my tube.
And that means when the Tupperware tub's filled with water,
this cleaning cloth will act like a wick,
taking moisture back up to the roots of the plant
so they don't dry out.
I've gone for all succulent plants, right,
cos these literally will need very little watering.
This is a beautiful succulent, Duddleya.
It's from round here, Dudley! This is one of my favourites, Echeveria,
or as someone who used to work for me called it, "Etchy-veria".
And this has got fantastic flowers, as well, orange and pink.
Not normally a colour combination I like,
but actually looks amazing and works beautifully.
I've gone for a bit of taste, a bit of colour coordination.
I've got trailing pink mini pelargoniums,
and then this beautiful flower, Pelargonium sidoides.
Dark purple. How sumptuous and how rich,
and lovely against the silver foliage
that it's got on its own leaves and against the grasses at the back.
BELL RINGING Oh, there goes the bell, Joe!
Yep. I'm done. Step away from the planters.
Let's tidy the bench. ALL LAUGH
Thank you very much.
The big thing is, who out of me and Swiftie
has won this plant-tastic competition?
You got Joe Swift's... Well, explain it yourself. Sell it.
This will not need any watering at all.
You go away, you come back, it will be absolutely beautiful.
Toby, explain your way. Apart from the curry,
which cost a tenner, my window box came for free.
It's got lots of plants you can take cuttings of.
It's going to last and last. Put your picture of the person
you think who deserves to win this competition in the air.
Oh! Oh, my God!
How many were there? 50? Yeah.
There were 50, thrifty Swiftie. TOBY LAUGHS
Joe, I'll leave you to tidy up. That's what the loser has to do.
Nice one. Take care, mate.
Now we're finding pleasure at an unexpected time of year.
Everyone's familiar with the delights that gardens provide
in spring and summer, but let's join Carol Klein,
because she's looking at W for "winter gardens".
This can be a really gloomy time of the year.
Sometimes you don't even feel like venturing outside.
But in actual fact, there are some plants which excel
at just this time of year. They really come into their own.
And Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire
boasts one of the finest winter gardens in the country.
'The winter garden is long and narrow,
'but snaking through it is this winding path,
'and at every twist and turn,
'there's something new and exciting to see -
'beautiful coloured stems and glorious bark.
'The garden has only been created for 13 years,
'but already it's been a resounding success.'
The winter garden relies for its dramatic effect
on the impact of these big blocks of plants,
lots of them, and wonderful combinations between the blocks.
But the point is that anybody could steal any of those ideas,
scale them down and take them home to their own gardens,
whatever their size.
When you think of winter colour,
you usually associate it with something sort of macho,
But you come round here and the opposite is true!
The whole place is fluffy and feminine.
It's absolutely lovely, all this blossom burgeoning,
and it's very, very soft,
and that softness is taken up
by these gorgeous mounds of this Euonymus.
And whoever planted this lot
is definitely in touch with their feminine side.
Richard Todd's been head gardener here
for the last 11 years, and is pivotal to the garden's development.
That looks like a really satisfying job, Richard.
It certainly is. Can I give you a hand?
Do you want some secateurs? Here we go.
This is a Salix alba vitellina.
Vitellina? They call it the egg-yolk willow...
Yeah. Very aptly named, too. ..cos it's a lovely yellow.
How often do you do this? Because those two over there
are much, much more vivid than these. Yeah. They were done last year,
and you always get the best colour on year-one growth
with anything like salix and cornus. Right.
These are two year olds, so you can see they're slightly duller.
Yeah. So, anything you're growing for its stems,
that colour's brighter and much more vivid
if you keep on top of it.
In the first year, much brighter. That's what we're looking for now.
We want to aim for next year, bright colours in the winter,
but you got to do it now.
This birch grove has to be one of the most iconic pieces
of this whole winter garden, isn't it?
It definitely is. For everybody, it's the climax of a fantastic walk.
Yeah. It is just so... It's so magical
when you come round that corner and see it for the first time.
It's out of this world. And you just gasp and have to say,
"Wow, what have I come to? Is it Narnia?"
THEY LAUGH I mean, they look incredibly natural.
I love the way they're swaying in the wind.
In the summer, we want shafts of light coming through here.
It's very important to pick out the stems,
and so there's a bit of tweaking from time to time.
So the odd one or two will come out,
and that's how you carry on with the garden.
You keep saying, "What's the effect we're looking for?"
"What do I change?" So not just a gardener, but an artist.
Absolutely. I'll tell you what, it's really paid off.
Definitely. It's a pleasure to me every day.
I suppose you tend to think of garden visiting
as being a sort of summertime occupation.
But visiting this garden has just been such an experience.
There's so much to see, all these wonderful twigs and barks,
and the whole place pervaded by this glorious perfume.
I really think it's inspirational.
Thanks, Carol! Now we're joining Toby Buckland again
because we're starting a particular type of garden space from scratch.
This W is for "woodland glade".
The little area I'm working on has quite a woodland feel.
It's quite romantic. When you're trying to bring out that romanticism,
you need natural materials. You can't get much more natural than this -
timbers cut from trees, sourced from the tree surgeon
and from the hedges here at Berryfields.
I'm going to use this timber to mark out paths and beds,
putting the paths where the worst of the soil is,
and then using the timber to make a little raised bed,
to make the soil deeper for the plants' roots.
No woodland glade is complete without plants,
and I've got some fantastic beauties that will bring this area to life
for every season.
I love setting out the plants. It brings the whole area to life.
Just moving them round, trying to match them
according to their colour and their foliage texture,
make them stand out. I could take hours over this.
When it comes to setting out your plants,
there's no right or wrong way. I tend to set out the evergreens first.
These are the ones that are going to define the shape
of the beds and borders in the winter as well as in the summer.
One of my favourites is this, the old foam flower.
I can't understand why more people don't grow this in their gardens.
It's such a little trooper.
It survives in the most inclement conditions,
in sun and partial shade, spreading gently
so there's plenty to propagate, and looking good
even just as a green carpet through the autumn, into the winter,
and then again in spring.
Another easy evergreen is this, the heuchera.
This is a classic variety called Plum Pudding,
with leaves the colour of crushed berries.
Now to set them in the soil.
I'm starting with Dicentra formosa.
It's a lovely little woodland plant, this.
Well-watered pot, as you can see. And the reason why I like this plant
is that it dies down at an odd time of year,
right at the height of summer.
So the leaves come up beautiful silver in the spring,
followed by these dainty pink flowers,
and then the whole thing disappears, goes to ground,
until the following winter.
And that gives the whole of your garden a kind of dynamism
that it wouldn't otherwise have - things coming and going,
a succession, as we gardeners call it.
It's what woodland gardening's all about.
And to succeed from this, I've got this plant, Astrantia major.
You wouldn't believe it, looking at it, but that's in the carrot family,
an umbellifer. And it's as tough as those hedgerow carrot cousins,
the cow parsleys.
Flowers from midsummer right through to the autumn,
a real long-flowering stalwart of your borders.
Another cracking combination...
You got the lovely stipa foliage, bronzy and green,
and that looks beautiful next to this sultry dark purple
of actaea Pink Spike. It's called bugbane, this one.
I've also got some shrubs here -
Hydrangea quercifolia for autumn colour against the conifer,
and climbers, as well, that are going to provide autumn interest.
Clematis, lovely flowers,
and also a lovely honeysuckle.
Don't feel you have to plant in threes and fives.
I don't. What I do for a sophisticated look,
whether it's in the long borders or in a woodland glade like this,
is echo the planting scheme either side of paths.
It just seems to give the planting more impact.
Another combination I'm delighted with
is the heuchera, Plum Pudding, and this little epimedium.
It's called "x versicolor Sulphureum",
but don't let that put you off. It's a delicious plant.
I fell in love with it when I was the supervisor of the woodland section
at the University of Cambridge botanic garden.
There it forms sheets, down in their woodland garden,
with camassias and summer bulbs pushing through the foliage in summer
and then, in spring, daffodils and bluebells.
And despite its delicate looks, it is an easy woodland plant,
and slug resistant, too. Well, that's the planting done.
Now for the final flourish.
Doesn't the woodchip look nice? I got this from a tree surgeon.
The type to always go for is the composted stuff,
because it doesn't rob your soil of nutrients,
and it beds down and also looks more natural more quickly.
My final job is watering the plants in,
but I'm delighted with this little garden.
It can happily fit in one of those difficult-to-plant places,
in a town or a city. But here at Berryfields,
it chimes in quite nicely with the naturalistic planting of this area.
It's the start of something new, something good.
And we're almost at the end of today's programme,
but not without a show of flowers,
because this W is for "the wonderful world of wild flowers".
Brian Herrick has been developing the gardens
and sustainable farmland at Barcroft Hall in Somerset
for the last ten years.
And in 2010, an opportunity arose to diversify his range of crops
This was an area of land that we'd recently acquired,
which was in a bit of a state,
and then after we cultivated it,
we were just about to put in some normal arable crops,
but it demanded more than that.
And what we then decided to do, my wife and I,
was to put it down to wild flowers.
The plan was to create a wildflower meadow
that people could come and visit,
so a variety of annuals from all around the world
were planted in huge swathes.
It was never our intention to just have indigenous flowers.
We wanted to show diversity.
I worked very closely with a butterfly expert,
and together we chose the right species of plants to put in,
not only to give the right colour and the right attraction
to insect life, but also for the longevity of the plants
and to make sure we had the right plants coming up at the right time.
A couple of weeks into the flowering,
it just looked like an Impressionist painting,
and now it's gone into a different phase entirely.
We're seeing more yellows, we're seeing more whites
and splatterings of blues coming through,
and it's an annual wildflower,
so we're seeing its birth and its death.
I suppose, if you're a purist gardener,
you'd think, "I'd never put that colour with that colour,"
but it really does work, and everybody's really enjoyed it.
There's some favourites of different people here.
There's some favourites of the children, of course,
and they're looking at a much lower level,
looking at the sort of rose mallows here.
And of course they love all the corncockles, the chamomile,
and they certainly love the cornflowers.
But the adults have got a different taste altogether.
They're more into the poppies and the little red scarlet flax here,
which is actually my favourite,
and the Cape daisy which we've got here.
It's not just flowers in here. We really wanted that connection
between farming and what we've done here.
We didn't want to be seen just as the flower farmer,
so whilst all this was going on and we were sowing all this,
we also came out with our bags of barley,
our bags of wheat, and we sway the wheat and the barley around here.
And it really does work well, because there's just barley here,
and it's looking lovely within the flowers.
Loads of people have asked us, "How do we do it on a smaller scale?"
And you can easily do it. The first thing is,
you're either going to sow it in an area which is already grassed,
or you're going to sow it on an area which is already cultivated.
Either way, it's got to be clean. Either clear the grass away
or clear the weeds away, and there's several methods for doing that.
The first and easiest method, obviously,
would be to use a proprietary herbicide with a sprayer,
or you can use black plastic to cover the grass,
or, indeed, newspaper with a mulch on top.
When the light doesn't get to the grass, the grass will die,
and then you can cultivate it later on.
If you don't want to cover in black plastic or in newspaper,
and you don't want to spray it, there is only one method,
and that's to use good old elbow grease and dig off the turf.
So, it's March, April time,
and we're going to cultivate the soil as best we can
and get it down to a lovely fine tilth
ready for the broadcasting and distribution of the seed.
We're going to broadcast it in a density
of about three, maybe four grams per square metre.
And after we've done all that, we're going to roller it in hard,
or we're going to stamp it down with our feet,
and then we just wait for the flowers to appear.
I think next year we'll fundamentally do it the same
if we can. We've learnt a lot. Everybody likes particular flowers,
and they've said, "Oh, we'd like some more poppies."
What we're trying to do is what our visitors have asked us to do,
and, er, I think more poppies, certainly.
Really beautiful! And with that,
we've reached the end of today's programme.
Do join us next time on The A To Z Of TV Gardening. Goodbye!
Subtitles by Ericsson
Carol Kirkwood takes an alphabetical journey through the world of gardening, getting inspiration and advice from some of the BBC's most popular garden presenters and programmes. In this episode, she's exploring subjects that all begin with the letter W.
Programmes include: Gardeners' World The One Show The Wonder of Weeds Springwatch
With presenters: Alan Titchmarsh Christine Walkden Carol Klein Chris Collins Joe Swift Toby Buckland.