Celebrating Scottish gardens. George Anderson enters his produce at the Dalkeith show, and Jim McColl visits the Newburgh Orchard Group in Fife to learn of their current project.
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Well, hello, and welcome to Beechgrove Garden.
I don't think you'll want to hear this word
but we're thinking about Christmas, I'm afraid.
We've been doing lots of bulb planting in the garden
but there's also a lot you can do for indoors.
Most people tend to think about hyacinths for Christmas.
Lovely perfume and we've a few varieties here, haven't we?
These are prepared hyacinths or Boy Scouts as I like to call them,
Yes, as opposed to the ones that aren't prepared
and the slight difference is the prepared once have had a treatment
so they'll flower a little bit earlier.
Then what we've to do is force them.
The whole forcing idea is the fact they've a little
bit of darkness, then you bring them into heat and you get them
into flower before they should.
What we are using here, because we're doing these in containers for the house
which don't have any drainage holes, we're actually putting a little bit
of gravel in the bottom to help with drainage and we're using
bulb fibre. The white bits in here are oyster shell which
helps to keep it sweet.
And there's a bit of charcoal as well.
I'm just using pots so they've got the drainage
but I like the fact that if we put the hyacinths in individual pots,
then after we force them and take them out,
you can get them at the same stage and then put them into bowls.
Match them all up. We've got white, pink and blue.
This is also a lovely way of growing hyacinths,
particularly for children, isn't it? In one of the glasses.
It just touches the water and you put them into the dark after that.
The other thing is when you're potting them, the noses are exposed.
There are other things you can plant, too.
Which we're going to force. This is a lovely crocus.
This is Flower Record, which is a deep purple.
We talk about the depths we do bulbs but when you're doing it in containers
you're sitting it on the surface.
It's not just crocus, you can do other things like Iris reticulata.
Tulip here, this is a red one. This is Showwinner.
Also, there are some more narcissi, Bridal Crown
and also Sol D'Or which you can do. This is an interesting one.
These are Paper Whites and the difference with these is,
-they don't need the period of dark.
-Read the label, that's important.
These can just sit on a cool windowsill
and they'll flower in eight weeks with this gorgeous fragrance.
You can create a succession
but the next stage for us is to put them into the dark.
Lesley, this is our fancy plunge bed, the raised bed.
What we've set up here is a layer of sand. You then plunge
the hyacinths or the pots into it, keeps them nice and clean.
On top of that, we'll put two to three inches of leaf mould.
You can use just compost if you want.
And that then is giving them the dark period.
On top of that you've got to have the polythene,
you don't want moisture going in there.
I put mine in the garage with a cardboard box ovr them.
-That's nice and easy.
-You could use a cold frame,
you could even just dig a hole in a border.
Same sort of principle.
I'm letting you handle these hyacinths,
they can make people very itchy. They do that to me.
If I'm ever working with them, I always use gloves.
That's really important, isn't it?
We'll leave them here for eight to 10 weeks.
-You need to then have an investigation.
-Excavate to see how they're doing.
If you've shoots that are around two inches in height with
the hyacinths, that's the time to take them out,
obviously pot them on, and then you give them
temperatures of around about 10 to 15 degrees.
And we'll get flowers at Christmas.
Meanwhile in the rest of the programme...
It's been raining pears. I'm knee deep in them here.
This is in fact a one-off, the oldest Lynn Dawes pear in the world.
I'll tell you more about it later. Delicious.
Here, in the equinox garden,
there's lots of colour for the autumn equinox
but I'm going to be planting containers today which will
give us colour and interest right through to the spring equinox.
And I'll be helping some young gardeners in Fife to rejuvenate
the border in a school, which is looking tired and dilapidated.
That's the border.
That's what is called democracy.
Well, it's still propagation time in the garden
and as the season progresses, we need less and less
sophisticated conditions for what we're about to do.
We started in late July, August, doing that half-hardy perennials.
You've got to be very careful because they're soft so they need
to be an enclosed environment, in a greenhouse, frame, et cetera.
Then we move on to the deciduous shrubs, they can go into a frame
and then coming into September, we can do the evergreens.
The heathers and the conifers.
They don't need very much in the way of protection at all.
I'm busy now with conifers.
I've taken some cuttings from the capresis behind me
or the chamaecyparis and I'm just taking some now from this thuja.
What I'm looking for are cuttings about that sort of length,
three or four inches long.
Where they've started to go brown at the bottom
which is a sign of ripening.
All I want to do then is just to tear that off like so.
The next part of the preparation can be done...
in the potting shed.
Well, that was good timing.
That's the rain on now so I can do the inside job.
Let's talk about the rooting medium. Sand and peat. Peat and sand.
50/50. I've been using this mix for half a century
and I'm not changing now.
This is what it looks like when it's finished.
It's well aerated and has water holding capacity for these cuttings.
Let's get to the cuttings themselves.
Kept in the bag so they don't try out.
And here we go with... oops.
Here we go with these little thuja cuttings.
All I want to do is to trim them up.
Take that tail off. It's quite woody, quite firm.
You just want to do that.
All I expect to happen over the winter months
is that that will heal up and callous.
Then, in the spring, when the temperature rises,
we start to get more activity and the roots will be formed.
These cuttings in this container are put in a cold frame.
That's what I mean, no sophistication whatsoever.
The process is quite slow.
Putting them in now, burying the pots
up to their necks in a cold frame, keeping off the worst
of the weather, make sure they don't completely dry out.
Then, in the spring, you have to be more attentive.
By mid-to-late summer, there's little cuttings will have
started to root and may be even big enough
and well enough established to take out
and pot into the individual pots. So there you go.
We're here with Jim McColl from the Beechgrove Garden.
We invited him to come to our school to help improve our garden.
Jim, you've been doing this show for a lot of years.
It's great to have you here. Thanks for coming.
It's been a great pleasure to work with you.
You've got some smashing gardeners there and there's a lot more to learn yet.
This morning I'm speaking to members of the Green Club
at Coaltown of Balgonie school in Fife.
They're all very knowledgeable gardeners. Yes?
I thought you'd say that.
We're looking at a wee border here that has got...
-You're on the ball! What do think we should do with it?
-Take it out.
Yes, yes. See that green and white stripey thing in there?
I think that's worth keeping, right?
So, if you step in there and put a cane... I'll hold these.
Step in there and put a cane in.
Watch, there's a big pot. What's that?
Be careful that you don't get a...
I can hit it.
I can kill it.
-Now, is that pretty or is it not pretty?
-You shut up.
Do you think it's pretty? Will we take a vote?
Hands up who think that nice green and silver thing is pretty.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
They all think it's pretty.
No, I don't.
I've overruled you.
That's what's called democracy, right? See this spiky thing?
-I want you all to grab...
I want you all to grab it and rub it in your fingers
and then sniff your fingers.
Go on then and tell me what it is. I can smell it from here.
-Is it yummy? Did you hear? Tell him again.
And that's not that lassie's name, it's the name of that plant.
Isn't that nice?
So we know anything with a cane at it we're going to keep.
-Now, I want... You've got to pick somebody to help you.
Rachel, where's Rachel?
Right, you know you're going to get some nice pods of lupins.
The rest of us are going to get ready
to start chopping all this down.
Ready? OK. Get your gloves on and your tools
and your scissors and stuff.
Go either side and the two of you...
Put it in a pile because that can all be composted.
Twist it that way.
And then twist it that way.
Cross it over like that, put it on there
and you've got a knot that will easily come out.
You just lift some of that up on the spade and let's look at this stuff.
What's it like?
-It's like dust.
Because the plants that were in here before have taken all
the goodness out of the soil.
And so this is what we're doing to make the soil better
and to make it grow better plants.
We're going to put in compost.
This is all old plants that have died
and rotted down and we're going to put in this garden,
your own school compost
and we're going to put some of that into here like that.
OK? Look how much fibre is in there. It's all full of food.
Not for you and me but for the plants.
And this magic stuff in here...
Take some out and hold it up for us.
-Now then, what do think that is?
He's picking up dung.
Can you smell it? Can you smell it? Give it a smell.
Because it's old farmyard manure.
It's been lying in a heap for ages and ages and ages.
It's all rotted away and it's just like food for the plants.
And then, we're ready to plant new plants.
-What have you done?
-There's a metal one, a metal one for you.
I don't often get to call a teacher by her first name but Alison,
you've a gardening club at the school.
How long has it been going?
Has been going for about seven or eight years,
as long as we've been in the award scheme.
-How many green flags have you had?
-Our third this year.
Great stuff. So, what does the gardening club get up to?
They like to grow different plants.
We look at that seeds, the different ways they grow.
We grow produce and we get to eat it.
Do you manage to keep them going all year round?
All year round. If we cannae be in the garden,
we go inside the school and do different things.
Is it a spin-off in the sense that you get parents coming in?
Lots of parents involved and grannies
and all sorts of folk which is just fantastic.
You reckon it's ticking all the boxes in the curriculum, is it?
It takes all the boxes for our new curriculum. It's fantastic.
That's good news.
A good idea is before we put the plants into the ground
is to make sure that they're not thirsty.
So it always pays to water them in the pot first.
So, will you fill that pot up to the rim with water from here?
You notice we can do it with just the spout.
Go on, keep filling it till it's right up to the top.
That's it. Fine.
Here we've got a chance now to plant some new plants.
Squeeze it like that.
Test it out. And where is it?
It needs to go a wee bit down, doesn't it?
Now then, members of the gardening club,
now you know how to fill a border.
Are you go to finish it?
You've transformed a wonderful garden. Do you have a favourite?
I suppose what you'd expect me to say
my favourite garden is the Beechgrove Garden.
You seem really happy on the show.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting people like you.
The Equinox Garden was designed to look good at both of the equinoxes,
that's in the spring with bulbs, and now in the autumn.
And it is really looking stunning.
This is Rudbeckia golsturm.
It looks so attractive with Cotinus Golden Sprint.
And this will then start to get us some really lovely autumn colour
as the weeks go on and the weather gets cooler.
There is interest too with berries, this is the Hypericum,
different coloured berries on it,
and what is looking startling at the moment is the Colchicum,
the autumn flowering crocus,
and it is here, loads of purple flowers.
The leaves have already died away, huge big glossy leaves,
which tend to dominate the bed in the summer.
We can also do a lot with our containers to give us autumn interest.
And so I have got a couple planted up here.
To make sure we have got the spring interest
we have got bulbs in these containers already.
In here I have Tulipa tropical punch,
and it is a real firey mix
of reds and orange lily-flowered tulips.
And it here I'm going to pop in some cyclamen.
These aren't the house plant cyclamen,
these are little hardy autumn flowering ones.
They'll run out of steam for winter but will flower in the autumn
and give us a real interesting splash of colour.
In this container the central plant is ornamental kale,
comes in purples and greens,
frilly edged, it is edible as well.
And then I have popped a little mix of violas around the edge.
These will perform in the autumn but don't really have the energy to keep going in the winter.
I have got an interesting mix of bulbs in here.
It is a nice partnership. It is a tulip
which is a sort of nice apricot colour,
on the top I'm going to put through some little Chionodoxa.
These bulbs are quite small
so I have planted up the container first,
then I can see where there are little spaces and I can just tuck them in
because they don't have the vigour or size to fight through everything else.
And then we go on to our winter containers.
But before I mention that, first of all,
again, we have got tulips in here.
This is plum pudding and it is a mix of purple tulips
which as you can imagine I think is just ideal.
And then these are winter flowering pansies.
The planting time of these is absolutely critical.
Do this mid-September to mid October.
And they need to have initiation of flower.
Then they will sporadically flower throughout the winter and again in the spring.
And then this last container is just purely for winter.
It has got some bulbs in here, and then also I've just got ivy.
This is Hedera Pittsburgh, just a green ivy.
And then for interest and a little bit of texture
I am going to put in almost a mulch of cones
on the top and to get some height in here
I've got some Cornus, or dogwood stems,
and I've had to pick the leaves off
and I'll pop these in throughout it
and it just gives us that little bit of structure.
And this will look good even on Christmas Day.
We are back at George's allotment in Edinburgh
and you might remember at the end of April we were setting up a trial
and it is all about growing leeks and spring onions
and a couple of disease problems.
We have got leek rust and mouldy nose on spring onions.
They are tragic things when you get them,
cause an awful lot of damage.
To complicate it slightly more,
we divided up the plot and one side had Growmore,
and the other side had this secret ingredient called Perlka.
-But you've got a confession to make.
Unfortunately, being a man, I didn't read the instructions properly
and I put it on too close to the sowing time
and it's affected the germination.
That's why there's a few gaps here.
-You think that's to do with the germination?
-I think so.
But you've another story to tell,
because it's been a very difficult season,
starting off with what was it, the moisture?
I wonder if I should even bother growing leeks and onions now.
When we started it was fine, they were sown under good conditions.
We put fleece on them to make sure they were looked after properly and that they grew well.
We had rain and then we had wind
and it belted the fleece up and down on them
and it flattened crops so I took the fleece off.
They grew away and amazingly they grew away quite quickly,
up to about two inches tall.
And I came back to have a look at them
and the rabbits have got them right down to ground level.
Nothing to be seen. So that was a problem. I thought fleece back on,
with hoops. That was good.
But then when you put hoops over you don't cultivate and hoe underneath. I got these.
-You can see the damage straightaway.
It's very distorted.
So I was losing plants, in particular rows like that row there.
-It sounds horrendous!
-It worked along the row and just ate them.
-Let's go back to the rust.
-Yes, I think it's easier.
There's not much sign of rust.
You can see a bit on the Musselburgh,
it's maybe starting to come in on most varieties.
We'd expect it on Musselburgh, that is the classic variety.
But, we don't have very many old leaves.
That is what the rust comes in on.
-I think it is quite inconclusive.
-There is nothing we can conclude.
-We can't compare the Growmore, or the Perlka.
But we can say they've grown well.
I know, do you know, I'm glad you mentioned that because I was really concerned.
Sowing them in April,
when we start them off so early in the greenhouse,
you obviously have an amazing climate here.
-Well, this is East Lothian.
-I know, big difference.
What about the spring onions?
We are seeing mouldy nose in most of the varieties, aren't we?
That thing there, feast, which is an F1 hybrid
which we had great hopes for...
Should have been the best.
It should have been, but the crop there is disastrous.
Although you see it in the onion itself,
you can realise you'd maybe got a problem just looking at the foliage.
Yes, foliage seems to melt away.
It goes brown and falls to the ground.
As you say when you pull them they come away very easily.
Very slimy on the nose.
I don't think there's a difference between the two sides,
but we do have one particular onion,
even though there's a bit of mouldy nose,
performer has performed the best.
What a performer!
I'm in the wee north Fife town of Newburgh,
on the south bank of the River Tay
which is just a couple of hundred yards that way.
Before this street was built it was an orchard.
In fact before the town was built it was full of fruit trees.
how long have you been a resident of Newburgh?
About 13 years.
What was this garden like when you came?
Lots of fruit trees, plums, apples,
and of course there were raspberries and brambles as well.
-Name a few varieties?
-Newton Wonder, Bramley.
What have you done since? Have you simplified it? Do you mean to keep it the same?
The orchard part I've kept as an orchard.
And I have replaced trees as they have fallen down.
But it is remarkable it's all here.
Would I be right in thinking I've heard the word, Secret Gardens of Newburgh?
They are called that because from the high street all you see
is rows of terraced houses on either side of it.
But the gardens stretch away down the river
-and away up the hill towards the railway line.
Drew McKenzie Smith,
your family have been custodians of Lindores Abbey for 100 years?
-Gosh. Now then, take us right back to how it all started.
Well, the abbey was founded by David, Earl of Huntingdon, in 1191.
With monks of the Tyronensian order from Tiron in France,
who brought with them
the horticultural skills
for the fruit growing and the farming that then took place here.
What sort of acreage we talking about?
The orchards were at least 10 acres.
So they really did cover a lot of ground.
It all came to a sad end at the Reformation.
It did. The abbey was pulled down by John Knox,
the stone went into building what is most of Newburgh today.
Behind each of those houses there are long strips of gardens
which have the orchard trees, the fruit, plums, apples,
so the same trees the monks planted, their descendants are still here.
What a sense of continuum. That is thousand years.
-It is fantastic.
Now that explains the Secret Gardens of Newburgh.
Now then, Paul, you are treasurer of the Newburgh Orchard Group. Tell me all about it.
It was set up in 2002 as an offshoot of the History Society
because it was felt that the history and heritage of fruit growing in Newburgh was being forgotten
and a lot of the fruit that is grown in the gardens of Newburgh is just wasted.
And so we thought that having a fruit market in the high street
selling the plums and the apples and pears to the public
would put Newburgh on the map as a fruit-growing town,
and would encourage the orchard keepers to look after their trees
because they would be getting some benefit from them.
In this continuum obviously trees grow and get old and die,
are you making plans, is that part of the policy of the group?
We started a grafting programme,
particularly on the pears and apples but will be onto the plums as well.
And in fact we have some that came from France originally
that have died out in France.
And have you still connections with the people in France?
We are in contact with the people from Tiron
where the abbey originated from.
And so now we should, we hope,
be able to send back some varieties to them.
A real coals to Newcastle story, isn't it? That is pretty nifty.
Tell me about the Lindores pear
which I understand is unique to Newburgh.
The Lindores pear was discovered about 200 years ago,
and there is only one example of it left in Newburgh
in one of the gardens along the high street.
It is not an especially good pear but it is just one of these things that you want to keep it going.
Just to keep it going!
The other thing I find very intriguing
is you've have brought this whole idea into the school
because they are going to be the future custodians of this.
The community orchard encourages children
to take an interest in fruit and looking after the trees,
and we hope as they get older they maintain this interest
and their parents through them will also be interested.
Tell me what kind of things do you do with these fruits you are picking?
We make chocolate apples with the apples.
And apple juice and apple ice lollies.
Do you do any baking? Do you make apple pie?
I've made bramble pie with the brambles in my garden.
-I'm the best at talking in my class.
-I'm not surprised.
-Does he know when to zip it?
He doesn't really know.
Ruth, these children were obviously enjoying that wee session
I had with them there.
Is it part of the school curriculum?
It is. It is such a valuable resource for us.
You can tell the children are having great fun picking the fruit, looking at it, examining it.
And we all use the orchard. It helps us deliver the curriculum.
It is making successful learners, confident individuals,
they learn the history of the abbey as well
because all the fruit came from the monks in the abbey.
Yes, and they were very vocal about the things they were making.
It makes them very enterprising.
Chocolate apples, pressing fruit,
they are seeing processes at work as well.
-How many children in the school?
-And they all go through?
-They will all come through, different activities in the orchard.
You are very fortunate. It is a great area for growing food.
Maybe not so much on a day like this, but on a sunny day it is well worth being out here.
Great stuff, thank you.
We'll take the opportunity to have a look at the beetroot
we were growing at the allotment, First of all, these.
They have done wonderfully well. Silver pen, old black pots, superb.
We love this one, wodan.
Smooth skin, great exhibition form. The Egyptian flat rooted one.
-Rather strange looking.
-Thought it might be woody, but it's not.
That one is great for bottling, the cylindrical type.
-Very good. But the rabbits love it.
-That is true.
Rather unusual one at the end.
Doesn't look like a beetroot. Great colour, superb. Interesting to see what it tastes like.
Then a wee tip about twisting the foliage rather than cutting it off.
Don't cut them, always twist it off.
Here we are standing on the edge of the plots
where we applied MO Bacter earlier in the season.
This is a material applied for controlling moss.
Two plots were left without, and two plots treated.
And within the treated, there you see an area that we photographed.
-With quite a bit of moss.
-Quite a little bit of moss.
And I have to say about three hours after we applied the material
we had torrential rain
and I can only assume the material was washed through.
But all is not lost. It is well-established in the south
and we got a good response from people
who have tried it and it has worked.
Similarly one to have tried it and like us they missed out.
-Do you think we should try again?
It is very expensive so you need to know it does work.
You want to get it right. I accept that.
Nice harvest and I'd like to point out the tomato,
chocolate cherry, what you think?
Well I suppose it was a breeding challenge.
A breeding challenge!
-I wouldn't be attracted to it.
-I would probably feel the same.
-A bit chocolatey-looking but not chocolate flavour.
If you'd like more information about this week's programme
it might be about Lesley's autumn and winter containers,
all in the fact sheet, the easiest way to access that is online.
We are looking for small-scale garden problems
we can tackle like the school where Jim helped out this week.
And likewise we are looking for community garden projects
like the one we tackled at Spey Bay,
and if you are inspired by that
all you need is a suitable piece of land
and lots of friends to help you.
-And the easiest way to apply...
-And money maybe!
And the easiest way to apply is have a look on our website.
Well, next week
it is the last programme in the series, number 26.
So it will be packed with lots of ideas
of how to shut the garden down for winter.
-Until we see you next time, goodbye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail: [email protected]
It's the day of reckoning for George Anderson as he lifts his secret show veg that he has been cosseting at Beechgrove for weeks, and takes them wrapped up in cotton wool to the Dalkeith show. Find out what the result is.
Carole Baxter is thinking ahead to Christmas, showing how to force bulbs for Christmas display. Lesley Watson is also in bulb mode as she adds bulbs to the Equinox garden, which is designed to look good at both the spring and autumn equinox.
George and Carole also revisit George's allotments to see how his rust and white rot has come on with his leeks and onions.
Jim McColl is in Newburgh in Fife. Newburgh used to be the biggest fruit-growing area in Scotland and the Newburgh Orchard Group have been working to revamp the orchards that have been there since Franciscan times. They are trying to put Newburgh on the map as Scotland's fruit town.