Celebrating Scottish gardens. Carole harvests her trial broad beans, Lesley discovers how her hardy and half-hardy annuals have fared, and George helps a pair of novice gardeners.
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Rather nice fennel, that!
Hello. Welcome to Beechgrove Garden.
Yes, the variety is Tauro F1, and it's bulking up really nicely.
It was protected early on in the season,
and that's the story of the vegetable garden this summer.
Look at that - self-blanching celery coming along nicely,
planted close so you don't need to earth it up.
The celeriac, brilliant. It's coming away now,
and you can see where the roots are beginning to swell,
so we're going to get a decent crop in there. Moving along,
carrots here. Harvesting these carrots.
They were covered for the second-generation fly.
Beetroot - well, the less said the better.
I'm not sure if we'll get a crop there. Late carrots are fine,
parsnips OK, and so on. Really we've had a tough time,
but the boys have done a great job here behind the scenes.
Potatoes have all been defoliated because of the blight.
At the far end of the row there is our old favourite, Sarpo Mira,
with not a mark on it. This is a new Sarpo variety.
This is Kifli, and it does show a little bit of leaf blight.
That's a bit disappointing, but we'll get them up fairly soon.
It's an early main crop. Onions...
Don't be too greedy. Get them bent over now.
Stop the growth, and get them up out the ground.
Let them ripen, and they'll firm up really nice and firm,
and they'll stay all winter. Leeks are fine.
French beans... Ah, not so sure that we'll get a crop there.
It's getting too late. Broad beans have been fine. Peas are fine.
Look at them Brussels sprouts! We nearly had to put in fence posts to get them up.
They are coming along beautifully, but we need to start picking them,
because once the buttons get to a certain size,
I think they lose their flavour. And the kale - how about that?
Looking wonderful. These'll keep us going right through winter
with brassicas. The rest of the brassica plot has been cleared,
and the old saying, of course, is that nature abhors a vacuum.
What we're going to do is to put a green manuring crop on.
It helps to feed the soil. It adds to the organic matter.
It helps the wildlife, and, of course, it stops leaching
from these heavy rains. We're using a ryegrass,
and putting it on here, rake it in lightly.
It will bulk up. Into this bed next time will come the roots,
so you wouldn't ever be wanting to put dung in here in the winter
because it causes roots to fork, doesn't it?
That's the old story. But ryegrass makes a wonderful root system,
a fibrous root system, and a top which is strimmed,
and it gets dug in as well. So I'm about to sow.
Minimum preparation, and I've got to make this...
I've got to make this last over the whole plot,
so I've got to be very gentle with it.
There we go. Now, then, in the rest of the programme...
100 years ago, in this very garden,
was grown the most valuable bunch of sweet peas ever.
And my problem corner this week is an absolute millstone round my neck!
Oh, dear! It's confession time.
We're going to have a look at our broad-bean trial, and look at the state of the plants!
It's a severe attack of chocolate spot.
Now, Jim was looking at the broad beans in the main plot,
and although the beans are looking OK,
they are just starting to show signs of the chocolate spot.
It's very distinctive. It is just a brown sort of spot on the foliage,
whereas these ones are in a terrible state.
The foliage has been destroyed. You can see marks
right down the stems. When you get something like this,
you've just got to pick the crop. But why are these ones so bad,
as opposed to the ones in the main plot?
My theory is, partly because it's far more sheltered here,
and a lot of fungal diseases, when you've got the moisture
and the humidity, if you don't have that ventilation,
that's when you have the problem.
But back to the reason for the trial.
It's all about growing three different varieties.
We've got the Sutton, which is a dwarf variety.
We picked also a traditional one, which is Imperial Green Longpod,
and then a fairly new variety called Karmazyn,
and you can see that one is pink, which is quite interesting.
I'm not sure if it stays pink when it's cooked,
but we are going to cook up some of these and try them
later on in the programme.
So, three varieties,
and we're growing them in tubs and also in the border,
and half of them are being grown with a pea and bean booster,
which is a nitrogen-friendly bacteria,
and that's applied to the seeds when we actually plant them,
and that's all you need to do,
whereas on this side, we applied the fertiliser Growmore.
So then we want to look and see, has the cropping been significantly different?
And it has. It's quite interesting. The top figures are the ones
that have been treated with the booster,
and below are the ones with Growmore. So here, the Sutton,
1.6 as opposed to 2.2.
Karmazyn 4.3, 5.5,
and then the Longpod is 3.1 and 4.1.
So, I mean, my conclusion is the fact
that the Growmore is giving us better results,
so really, I wouldn't use the pea and bean booster.
It's much cheaper just to go for the Growmore.
Well, we've got another vegetable trial to have a look at.
Now, this is a good-news story. What I've been trialling here
is two varieties of leeks, Carlton and Sultan,
and we were sowing them from seed and also buying them in as plants.
Now, sowing from seed, we had a 100 percent success with germination,
and they were working out at five pence per plant.
Buying them in as plants, we were expecting 30 plants.
We ended up with a few more, so the cost of those
were about 11 pence per plant. So the ones from seed were half the price.
However, what you've got to take into account
is things like compost. You've got to have the pots,
you've got to have the greenhouse, a little bit of heat.
So at the end of the day, I would say it's value for money
whether you go for sowing from seed or you buy in as plants.
When Wendy and Gordon Lyon moved to their garden
at Kellas outside Dundee, they had this wonderful vision
of taking over a garden that would be absolutely splendid.
But when you inherit a garden, you inherit all the problems,
and that's what's happened here. So we're here to see what we can do just to help them out.
Have you done much in the garden since you arrived?
Well, we've been here a year now, and the first priority was to make it dog-friendly
and to allow the garden to grow and let us see what we've inherited.
Now it's about developing the garden,
and that's where we're looking for a bit of a steer from yourselves.
-First problem is this hedge. It looks awful, doesn't it?
This is a Leyland hedge, and, um, it's been affected
by the frost and cold.
It's possibly had an aphid attack as well,
and sometimes they get a fungus. But it's growing away,
which is a surprise, isn't it? So we can humour it, as it were,
and sort it. Now, because it's growing away out...
I know what we're like when we start pruning, us men.
We like to get whacked in about it. Don't do that.
This time be gentle about it. Trim the ends off these green shoots.
Don't disturb the brown, and that way it'll grow back out again.
-It's kind of dreich today, isn't it?
The main problem is the view from the kitchen.
-You want to do something with that. Could we go into the warm kitchen?
-Absolutely. Come on.
Well, this is much dryer in here. Thank goodness,
because it's terrible out there. The hedge here has got the same problem.
-Was it always like that?
When we came here a year ago, the right-hand side was already dead,
but over the period of the winter months,
-it's spread to the rest of the hedge.
-I think they're dead.
-I think they are.
-I think they are. So only thing you can do,
dig them out, get two suitably large replacements
-and plant them, and they'll soon fill up the space.
But that wasn't the main problem, was it?
What was it you wrote in and asked about?
We wanted to create a garden that wasn't such a mish-mash
as it looks just now, something that would bring in birds and wildlife.
It's quite a tall order, but we might be able to do that.
We'll extend the border. Got some things you can put in there
and make it into what you want.
The down side is, it's still pouring with rain,
so we're going to have to get wet.
You watch your hips, George. GEORGE CHUCKLES
-Why are we doing this?
-You may well ask.
This is just compost which we're forking into the top,
just to improve the soil a little bit,
-then anything we plant will get a wonderful boost.
Have I planted things a little bit close together?
-Do you think you have?
I think that one there in particular, that little Gaultheria,
is too close to the lavender. We'll just move it out to the side.
-Plants grow, and that's what happens,
-so the rest of it's OK.
-There we are.
-Are these carnations?
-Yes. It's a Dianthus,
and these will flower in the middle of summer onwards.
These two are from South Africa. That's a thing called Schizostylis,
red, almost scarlet, and that will give you colour
at the end of the year. And then this one,
this is a dwarf lilac. But you know how other lilacs get huge?
This one stays quite small, but it will have nice purple flowers
-in the spring, and you get butterflies onto that...
..one or two of the early butterflies.
So, before we carry on with the planting here,
it's quite important to tidy this one up.
This is one of these golden elders, and there's a bit of deadwood on it.
Has the deadwood been caused by excessive pruning?
It can do that sometimes. If we've pruned really hard on occasions,
we can cut back into wood that doesn't want to grow.
So all we'll do is take the deadwood out from this,
and there's a yew tree at the side,
where we'll take some deadwood out of that as well.
So if I indicate the branches to you,
just because I know you're nervous, you can take them out.
You know where the cover is for the septic tank, the romantic bit?
-Put them there, one that side and one in front.
Wendy, see the thistle, that one there that he's just knocked over?
-Put that in at the back of the conifer, just in the back,
and that'll be at the front of those grasses.
This is interesting. It's a geranium,
a Scottish native, and it's a woodland plant.
That can go into the shade.
These phlox, just keep them tight together,
and put them in at the back.
-Now, stand back and look.
-Nice mix of colour.
-It's not too pristine.
-By which you mean...
-There's textures and ups and downs.
It's not too regulated and restrictive.
Which we want. You're looking at it from a distance.
You want the textures within it. All that's left now is to plant.
There we are, back inside, and that's the view we were trying to create.
Oh, it's exactly what we wanted.
There's a lot of different textures of foliage in there,
and that will give you interest all year, but also there's flower,
which will be right through the year from spring to autumn.
-Maintenance? How does that work?
-Most of the stuff that's there,
you just cut right down to ground level or near ground level
every spring, and it will re-grow,
with the exception of the red hot poker, the Kniphofia.
Don't cut that down. Just leave that,
because it's got good texture in the foliage,
-and it'll be there all the year.
-What are the trees at the back,
-and what do we do with them?
-You're worried about them.
Those are poplars, and if you leave those,
they'll grow to about 100 feet. I would suggest that in the spring,
you cut that down to about two foot off the ground at the back.
Just take a saw, cut it right down. And then the young growth you get
will have this wonderful variegation on it.
You'll see it against the hedge, and it'll look fantastic all season.
-And that's Gordon's job.
-That's his job, yeah.
HEDGE TRIMMER BUZZES
I wish I had a licence for that thing! This is going to take ages.
But basically what we're saying is that this is the time
when you can start the round of hedge clipping,
and I'm working on Cotoneaster simonsii,
lovely red berries that are held on the plant well through the winter.
It seems that the birds are not too keen on it.
It makes a great show then. Semi-evergreen.
Very heavy frost, it'll lose its leaves,
but most winters it'll go through with a fair covering of leaves.
We're often asked, "How much can you take off a hedge that's overgrown?"
Well, this one's got up too high. We're taking it down to 1.2,
which is absolutely fine, and the reason is, of course,
that it was beginning to shade the greenhouses
along this run here, casting too much shade. Even this bit here
where we tend to keep plants, it was too much shade,
so let's take it down. This is a good time of year to do it
with other evergreen hedges as well, things like Leyland cypress,
Cupressus, our new hedgerows that Carole has.
They've started to be trimmed just up the edges,
just up the sides, to give that batter of a shape
which makes a strong hedge, and that's what we'll attempt here.
First we're taking the top down, then onto the sides with clippers.
When we do the sides, we're trying to end up with that sort of shape,
because if you get any weight of snow on top, it'll hold its shape.
If it gets to that, a bit of weight and it starts to spread,
and you've lost it. So you can get tore into it now,
and hopefully you'll find a use for that. It can be composted,
shredded and composted, and that would be the best thing to do.
Anyway, I'm going to be here till midnight. I'd better get on with it.
They're a bit of a scabby bunch, but it's a donation to the funds.
A lot of them have been spoilt in the rain.
-We've had too much rain.
-No, no. These are for the booby prize!
To my knowledge, this is the first ever Beechgrove fairy story.
I'm in the parish kirk in Sprouston, two miles from Kelso,
and this kirk didn't have a chancel at one time.
But it has now, as a result of a bunch of sweet peas.
We've come all the way down from Dollar to win this.
100 years ago this year, the Daily Mail announced
they were going to run a nationwide competition
for a bunch of sweet peas presented in a jam jar.
They thought they might get about 15,000 entries.
Well, Alec White, who was the gardener up at the Manse,
says to the minister, the Reverend Denholm Fraser,
"I think we should have a go at this, sir."
So between them they decided to have a go,
one bunch per person. It came to pass that in July
they cut two bunches, one in the name of Mrs Fraser
and one in the name of the minister. He got on his bike,
up to the station in Kelso there, on the train,
all the way to London, to the Crystal Palace, no less.
Instead of 15,000 entries, there were 38,000 entries.
Imagine the astonishment in this village
when the telegraph rang in the post office
at 12 o'clock the next day,
to say that Mrs Fraser had won the first prize!
£1,000! 20 minutes later the bell rang again -
another telegraph to say the Reverend Denholm Fraser
had won third prize, the bronze, for £50.
£1,050 coming to this wee village,
out of 38,000 entries across the whole nation.
Well, there were two dreams realised on that day.
Number one, Mrs Fraser got the furniture
to furnish the Manse as she thought it should be,
and secondly, the Reverend Denholm Fraser was able to get the chancel
he had always thought would be the right thing.
That, for a bunch of sweet peas.
100 years on, a group of people in the village decided,
"Let's celebrate. Let's have a party to commemorate that occasion."
Mine is to make everybody else's look really good.
The smell from sweet peas, absolutely wonderful.
This is the very garden in which the Reverend Denholm Fraser
grew the sweet peas that won that money.
Peter Davies, what was the garden like when you took it on?
Well, it hadn't been cultivated for two or three years,
so there was a lot of work to do. Fair few perennial weeds
in the ground. We started on this bed here with some heavy digging,
digging the trench for the sweet peas.
-When did you get that started?
-Beginning of April, end of March,
-so very, very tight for time, yes.
-How deep were you going?
Started three foot at that end, and by the time I got to that end,
-I think it was about two feet.
-You got the cultivations underway,
-but when did you sow the sweet peas?
-First seeds went in pots in January.
The last seeds went in pots actually at the end of April,
-so we were really pushed for time.
-Oh, that was quite late.
And you coincided with a season which has been quite difficult
for the crops. What I wanted to ask you about was the varieties
that you're growing here - nothing like what the minister was growing.
Well, he was very keen on the Spencer varieties
-that were newly in around that time.
None of his varieties are available today.
We've got two growing here which aren't Spencer varieties,
but in his book of 1912, he highly praises these.
We've got Flora Norton, the sky-blue one,
Lady Grisel Hamilton, the sort of lavender-coloured one.
What about this training system? You've got canes...
Yes. We've gone high with these.
Again we've had the marvellous book of his of 1912,
where he described very well the system that he used.
He used 16-foot-high larch poles.
I couldn't get a 16-foot larch pole, so I've done the next best thing.
And he wouldn't have had bamboo canes,
because they used brushwood, didn't they, with wire to support it.
I think when they were picking them for the show in late July,
in Henry Donald's book, they were up stepladders.
-High up a stepladder, yes.
-This year's growth hasn't been...
No, we're not quite there. Nowadays they would take the plants down
and layer them, but they didn't do that.
I think you guys have done a fantastic job,
because you've brought this garden back from the brink, so to speak,
and you've got this air, the feeling of the history and the continuum.
Yes, and that's what we really set out to do,
-take people back in time 100 years.
We always hope. We can't guarantee anything in life, I'm afraid,
but we can only hope.
Tom Neillans, one of the judges.
What are you looking for in a good sweet pea?
Good straight strong stems,
four heads on each stem,
and straight, and good big blooms.
Er, clean, no damage from the weather and everything.
This is the second prize. That's first, this is second.
-Where is the fault in that one?
-You see the bend in the stem?
And the flower heads are not so strong.
Now, I understand that this is a guy who shows regularly.
How does that compare with the amateur, so to speak?
The amateur pushed him very hard. We studied them quite a while,
and this was the one that really was a better quality.
-The story is, anybody can have a go.
-Anybody can have a go.
THEY SPEAK UNDER APPLAUSE
CHEERING / APPLAUSE
Yes, that was a lovely little fairy tale to be able to tell
down at Sprouston, all about the sweet peas.
When we were in the garden, Peter Davies, who'd done all the work
with his pals in the garden, made a comment about layering sweet peas.
They'd never been taught to layer - they hadn't discovered it, perhaps -
in the time of the Reverend Fraser,
and the fact is there were posts 16 feet high out of the ground,
and there was brushwood, and they were cutting the flowers
way up at the top by the end of July, beginning of August.
In the meantime, we have discovered the technique known as layering,
and this is what we've done. We've taken the plants from the supports
and laid them out on the ground. That one is already through the gap.
Because what we do, progressively,
is we take the plants down from here,
and the fact is, at this stage, this is the working bit here.
This is the bit that's producing the flowers,
and will continue to do so right until October,
no bother at all, if the weather behaves itself.
This bit, from the ground up, is just a hosepipe,
just taking all the goodies up there to the plant.
So we take it along, gently lay it along the ground,
and then we start to train it again,
We're cutting the flowers over an area that we can actually work with.
So you tuck that in, and then you go to the next one.
You're working progressively. I've taken the ties off this one ready.
Down it comes. Lay the foliage gently down there,
and it goes onto the second cane.
And, of course, if I continue round the other end,
I'll finish up with empty canes round here,
and that's where these guys are going.
We're picking nice flowers once again over a manageable height.
From those lovely sweet peas, we now move on to our ornamental potager.
And I should explain, an ornamental potager is a mixture
of flowers and vegetables. And our inspiration came from a potager
in Fife - the garden's called Cambo - and the head gardener there,
Elliott Forsyth, every year creates a different type of ornamental potager.
So this one was based on his potager from last year, 2010,
and he used the Impressionist painter, Monet,
so we have this lovely palette of colours.
So, let's just have a look at one or two of the plants.
Here we've got a scabious. This is an annual, quite easy to grow,
and a beautiful white form. That particular one is called Snow Maiden.
So, from a flower we now move on to a vegetable,
and we've got a chard there, Charlotte,
with really beautiful red stems.
And then look at these two Cosmos together.
That is a brilliant sort of dark pink,
followed by the white Cosmos.
And then the Ricinus here, the castor oil plant,
not really grown for its flowers but its foliage,
a lovely architectural plant.
And as we move round, we've got some of the pak choi.
You might remember that was attacked by the pigeons,
but it has recovered. Then we've got some of the linear leaves,
with the leeks. That's a lovely sort of shape or form.
And this, perhaps, is my favourite part of the potager.
We've got this lovely grass. It's called Hordeum,
and the common name is squirrel's-tail grass,
and I think that would be really nice for drying.
Then in the centre we've got the kale, Redbor,
and that's really quite a dark purple.
And then look at this scabious here. That one's called Black Knight.
That definitely has to be a favourite of mine.
And the whole effect of this is really wonderful.
This is a wee bit of the "ha-ha-ha, see what we've got"!
The last of the peaches, some of the figs.
Awful difficult to get figs in here,
because they disappear between one day and the next.
And the first crop from the new set of strawberries,
picked today, by the way. And to tell you the saga again, of course,
we started off with a crop in here, picking through June,
then we moved to the crop out of doors.
We've just finished cropping there. In the meantime,
the plants that gave us early crop, we took to the community garden
and they were planted there in Glasgow, and we had a new set here,
and they've just started cropping.
And the smell is absolutely gorgeous!
If you ever grow sweetcorn in your garden,
we always advise you to plant it in blocks, and that aids with the pollination.
But there's a couple of other tips you might want to try.
This is the male part of the plant, and that's the tassel,
and this is the female part down here. That's the silk.
And what you can do is, once it's in flower, is just tap it,
and that transfers the pollen down into the silks.
Otherwise, you can just run your hand over the tassel
and then run that over the silk as well.
Jim, a chance to taste the broad beans. That's the dwarf one.
This is the one I grow at home. I know it well.
-You think that's OK?
-Nice and crunchy.
-Bit of white sauce would be fine.
-That's the traditional one.
That's the Longpod. I think that's a bit bitter,
-so I'm not going to try it.
-This is a new one.
That was the pink one, but when you've taken off the shells,
it still looks quite green.
I think the best bit about it is, it's pink.
No, it's lovely! It's got a real fresh flavour to it.
-Like a slug.
-Well, I'll take this. You can take those two.
-Dress it all up, though.
-I know. Add in a bit of feta cheese
and some lardons.
-Throw out the weeds.
Well, that recipe will be in the fact sheet.
-Got a great harvest as well. You were showing the fruit.
Well, I did. Sweet peas, more flowers,
vegetable garden still giving us some lovely stuff. Yeah.
And then flowers - let's look at our daisy border,
which is based on the family Compositae,
so they all belong to that family, and the sad thing is
that one hasn't done very well, and that's the French marigold, Bonanza.
-African marigold's all right, though.
That's a variety called Vanilla,
lovely white, but there's a pink tinge to it.
-Creamy, too, in the centre.
-The marguerite is super.
Yes. I think that's a topper in the border.
Sole Mio, and it starts off apricot and then goes through the yellows
-to the whites or creams.
-And Rudbeckia - you see, I'm saying "Rudbeckia"...
-...doesn't need staking at all.
Then the Gazania. There's something strange about that one,
-because it says Kiss Orange Flame...
..and we've got some rather strange colours.
Yellows and oranges. They'd be twice the size if the sun would shine.
But this fella's lowped the fence, I think. That's a wine red.
-We've got a bit of a mix there.
If you'd like any more information about this week's programme,
maybe the daisy border, or Jim with the hedge-cutting,
it's all in the fact sheet, and the easiest way to access that is online.
Next week I'm going to be in the orchard,
-finishing off the summer pruning, so until we see you then, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
In the Beechgrove Garden, Carole is surrounded by beans as she starts to harvest the crop from her broad bean trial. Which variety has performed best, has the best yield and most importantly the best taste? It's bean good.
Meanwhile Jim is pruning hedges all round the garden. When to prune, how to, what shape, and with what tools? Jim has all the answers.
Lesley is in the Cutting Garden seeing how her collections of hardy annuals and half-hardy annuals chosen for both fragrance and also for cutting have fared, especially in the recent rains.
George is in Broughty Ferry with Wendy and Gordon Lyon, who are just starting out gardening and are desperate to learn. Viewed from the kitchen, there are two small areas at the front of the house; both look messy and because of a dominant lime tree it's not certain what will grow there. George gives the couple plants to provide colour and wildlife interest all year round.
Jim visits the village of Sprouston and goes sweet pea crazy as the village celebrates the centenary of a unique achievement by the then minister of the parish and his wife (Reverend Denholm Fraser) when they won first and third prize with their sweet peas in a national competition at Crystal Palace from an entry of 38,000. The 1000-pound first prize was the used to build the chancel on the church.
This year at the two national sweet pea shows, there will be a special class called the Sprouston class, where entrants can replicate that original event by staging a vase of 12 annual sweet pea stems. In Sprouston the centenary will be celebrated during the weekend of 12 - 14th August with the sweet pea competition. There will also be trips round the original garden, as it would have been in 1911 with sweet peas growing in the same way.