Gardening magazine. Carole and George clear the blanketweed from the Beechgrove pond, while Jim takes a flamethrower to the weeds.
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That's quite a display behind us there, eh?
Beautiful, that azalea and the viburnum.
Absolutely. Hello, and welcome to Beechgrove, a gorgeous, sunny day.
And we've been talking about the seasons.
It's been kind of very strange this year.
You started it off early on, didn't you,
drawing attention to the fact that all the bulb flower species
-were all flowering at the same time?
-All out at once.
-It was that concertina effect.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So we'll be thankful, whenever they care to flower.
So where are we going now?
Well, talking about concertinas, come and have a look at this.
-Look at these, eh?
-George, this is lovely. My favourite colour.
I think I'll take the bragging rights for this
-because we planted these...
We planted these last year and we took the seed heads off them
and all the rest of it, and there's just some gorgeous ones.
Of course, I can get to meconopsis, but what's that one?
Well, this is Slieve Donard,
and that is one which is of Irish origin.
You know, Slieve is a mountain in Ireland.
And then we've got lingholm and we've got mildred...
They look the same! They look the same!
They do, don't they? But there's little subtle differences.
If you look at mildred,
she's got all these wonderful heads on the one stalk.
-I think she's a bit paler as well.
-Yeah, a little bit.
But, you know... Now, in order to keep these going,
you've got to feed them.
You really have to.
And I'm suggesting leaf mould to that depth,
or well rotted farmyard manure to that depth.
-Over the top.
-Won't rot the base or stem or anything?
-No, it won't.
-And to keep the moisture in.
-Keeps the moisture in.
-It keeps the soil cool. And they like cool, moist conditions.
And the other thing which we did last time was,
if you'll excuse me...
Out with the secateurs again.
To make sure that they keep flowering in other years,
wait for it, you just go and take off the seed heads just like that.
OK? Don't let them seed,
because all the energy goes into the seed head.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the programme...
It's deja vu for me, because I'm back to revisit the garden
that surrounds this beautiful pond and disused quarry.
It's a horticultural haven.
And today, Brian and I are putting our heads together...
For a bit of blue-sky thinking.
Well, you know, it's hard to believe that just two weeks ago,
we were getting rid of our spring bedding.
In fact, this is some that's left, the lovely violas and myosotis.
And we were putting in the summer bedding.
But I now want to think ahead to more spring bedding
for next year and sowing from seed.
Now, all of these are called biennials,
so what do I mean by that?
Well, what it is, is it's something that you sow now,
it flowers for next year, then it either dies, or you discard it.
So, at the moment, I'm sowing wallflowers,
but there are quite a range, I've already mentioned the violas,
the myosotis, we've also got pansies.
And this is a very easy way to sow them.
Just into a drill, direct in the ground.
And what I've done already is, I've actually watered the drill
on the base because the ground is so dry at the moment.
I'm then going to just cover that up,
and once it's totally covered, I would also water it in,
but it's so important that the seeds are actually in contact
with a bit of moisture so that they will germinate.
And to take out the drill, all I use is the tip of the trowel.
But as an alternative,
because maybe you just have a balcony or a small decking area,
what you could do is also sow them in modules.
And here I've got a pansy.
Same sort of technique, really.
But if I just tap some of these out,
all I'll do is use my finger as a bit of a dibber.
I'm going to sprinkle, just at the most,
maybe half a dozen seeds there, cover it up.
And that can then sit on your balcony,
or perhaps if you have a cold frame,
then give it a bit of protection.
But, again, make sure you water it well,
and my suggestion with something like this,
with the compost being so dry, is sit it in a tray of water,
let the moisture go right the way up,
and then you'll know that it's been well watered.
And as a result, hopefully,
we're going to have lots of spring bedding for next year.
I've seen this part of the garden before, George.
What's this one all about?
Well, this is what we used to call the Secret Garden,
but, really, it's getting a bit tired.
And it doesn't act as a decent backdrop
for your magnificent Alpine Garden.
Nah, letting it down, George.
So what do you think we should do, then?
Well, if you remember the panel that was up before, painted blue,
so when we were down there,
it looked like the blue sky.
-And the backdrop to the mountaintop.
So I'm wondering, maybe, still keeping with the same theme,
if we could use plants so they've got the colour for the blue sky,
-but they add to the textures of the area here.
So some blue and white plants, that sort of thing,
mixed together and planted in this area,
so that you are looking up to it,
-and merging into the top of the mountain.
So we'll need to take... What?
-Develop this area here, take this out?
All right, stuff at the back of us which can all be pruned,
and, you know, titivated up.
But that area there will need to be cleaned out. So... A lot.
Get your gloves on, pal, cos you've now given yourself a big job.
Thanks very much.
The first thing to do is to get the ugly fence posts removed.
-Have I got the harder job, George?
-It's a good idea, when you are pruning plants back
like this, when you are going to be removing them,
don't cut them flush with the ground.
Leave a stump.
Because then, when you dig round them,
you can use the stump just as a lever and you get them out faster.
-There you go.
-Right, chop underneath. Got it?
Here you go, George.
I loosened it for you.
-Have you got a minute, Brian?
Could we take out these pieces of glass? Can you manage it?
Just give it a rock and it will come out. Here we go.
They're quite heavy, though.
-They are not going to blow away.
-They're very nice.
Shove them there. They're good when the light comes through them.
I thought, what we would do with this would be lift its skirt
and cut out... You know, when you've got a big conifer,
that's been in here about 10 years.
It's getting a bit overgrown.
One or two dead bits in it, and we just want to rejuvenate it.
-If I lift this up, and then you cut out...
-Take out these lower ones.
Take out the lower ones, aye. We'll see how that looks.
Take it right back in there. Have you got it?
-There we go... You can afford to...
-Keep going, eh?
Not the bottom one. Take this one here.
There you are.
-Go on, take it out, take it out.
-If in doubt, take it out.
-That's the best of it done.
-Hard work out of the road.
Now, here's your plants.
-Here's this wonderful blue, isn't it?
-Beautiful blue flowers.
It's going to tick this blue-sky box perfectly.
We are going to get it interplanted with the lavender.
When you're down there looking up,
-it's going to look like that blue sky.
Now, I've also got some blue grasses round there, got eryngiums,
I've got some blue junipers. They are drying in the sun.
-I'd better get them planted.
-I'll go and attend to the wall.
So when we constructed the Alpine wall,
we packed the stones with soil,
and that way, we could plant into the wall.
But this time, we've left a hollow top.
We've left a hollow wall, and because the roots,
they might not like touching the concrete, what we've done is,
we've put in a plastic planter, in which case we can plant into it.
We've got our usual Alpine mix.
John Innes No 3 soil-based compost with lots of grip,
nice free draining.
Hey presto. We can plant up the wall.
Well, continuing the mountain theme,
we are right up here on the top of the hill.
And what we've got is this, that's wee fine juniper,
so there is juniper here,
and I'm going to plant another one over there.
That's a thing called blue star.
And that will give us this blue theme.
But to carry on this thing about clouds and mist and blue skies,
I've got this wonderful plant from China and the Himalayas.
This is a thing called...
So it is a beautiful thing
which comes up with white everlasting flowers.
That will go in there.
And that will be like some of the mist
rolling over the tops of the hills.
We've got some of the perennial oat grass.
And that's going to be planted in.
We've got two or three in there already.
That will give us height, and we'll see that from down the bottom there.
And then, in amongst all that, we've got the sea holly.
Not maybe a mountaintop plant, but it will still give us the blue,
and this one, again, is called blue star.
Now, the wall creates this shady corner.
I want us to create that collapsed wall look,
so what I've done is, I've got the wheelbarrow, and I've just tipped
some excess stone that we had, just to create this sort of natural look.
And in between it, I've just got some soil,
and I'm packing all the gaps so that I can plant it up.
And in the front, I've got a...
Look at the size of the leaves.
At the other end of the scale are the silver saxifrages
that we planted in the Alpine Garden.
I've got a wee fern here, a shuttlecock fern.
It's going to get about a metre high.
But my favourite plant here is this hosta,
completely different to the hostas
that we normally associate, the big, large leaves,
blue or variegated edges.
This one is called Praying Hands.
It's got lovely furled and twisted foliage, which, hopefully,
is going to look a nice wee feature in amongst all these stones.
-Can you remember where they went?
-No. Not a clue.
-Braw. Look at that.
Well, George, I think that was a great idea,
just covering that hard path with chips just really finishes it off.
That was simple, and that was easy, you know,
but the whole marriage of the Alpine Garden and the Secret Garden
wasn't quite so easy, but I think we've pulled it off.
A wee drink to finish it off now?
It's been a hot day the day,
-so they're all going to need a good soaking.
-They'll need a soaking.
I'll need a soaking tonight, I'll tell you.
Well, you know, if we come back in a year and have a look,
and looking up the hill,
and seeing this blue haze up here, then it's been a success.
-You did a good job well done, George, I think.
Yes, I think so.
Well, I tell you what, this is the first time
we've been to see the tomatoes
since they were first planted.
All in the same compost,
but using different techniques and about eight different varieties.
You can hardly tell the difference at the moment,
but when they start fruiting, we'll begin to pick out.
And they are all doing superbly well, so it's about how you
constantly keep them going in the right direction.
And here we have a plant which is already starting to flower.
And as I look down the stem, there are side shoots.
These side shoots are coming out at the base,
but they may appear at any leaf joint in between.
And they would just be taking energy away from the potential crop.
So we take them out altogether. We have a clean stem. And you notice...
And I often tell people, you know, when you're twisting,
you twist the string round the plant and not the plant round the string.
So you manipulate this string,
and that's why you always leave a bit of slack.
We'll pop it round there.
Get that leaf out.
Now, by so doing,
I'm taking the whole plant and the leader round there, you see?
And that's the string in there.
If I came through there, which would be much easier,
and then the string slips...
It could strangle this truss here.
So always try and give it a bit of support below the truss
as you're twisting.
Now, the feeding's all going perfectly well at the moment,
and the biggest single problem we have is it gets too hot.
So you must do your damnedest to keep the temperatures down,
cos as I've said on many an occasion before, once the temperatures,
day temperatures, get up above 25, they get up, you know,
80 and plus, that will affect fruit quality,
so you leave the doors open, you provide a little bit of shading
if at all possible, especially through the hot of the day.
And, most important of all, we often tell people
when they are doing a greenhouse,
never ever slab the whole thing.
You need water-absorbent surfaces, because once you start,
and let me get the water started...
Once you start, you want to lash plenty of water about.
And finish up walking out the door and spraying the plants themselves.
Because this cold water, as it evaporates,
helps to reduce the temperature.
And once you do spray it over the tops of the plants
in this kind of condition,
that humidity around the trusses
will actually allow the pollen to swell
and you get a good set of fruit.
So, do you hear me?
Plenty water lashed about during the hot days.
Before we leave the subject of tomatoes, we've had a lovely letter,
a big, long letter from a viewer in Horsham in Sussex.
And he's having problems with his tomatoes.
He sent us pictures and all the rest of it.
But he's berating himself wrongly in some respects.
He talks about the history being that the previous season's crop
was badly affected by blight, and he blames himself
for not cleaning the greenhouse before he planted it.
The blight comes in through the ventilators, dear boy.
You could do nothing about it unless you would keep them shut,
and as we know, that's not a very good thing.
But his photographs are also interesting.
And I've got one printed out here.
Look at that.
Now, he says, "What's causing this mould?"
This is a physiological problem. That is phosphorus deficiency.
Phosphate deficiency. Now, NPK is nitrogen, phosphorus and potash.
Phosphorus is slow to move.
It's a curmudgeonly kind of element,
but it's necessary there, to get good growth in the crops.
So you have to examine what the compost is that you've put them in,
is there NPK in it, and if not, why not?
And you should start feeding,
because that's all that's wrong with the plants.
It will probably grow out of it. But get your feeding right.
There you go.
I'm up in the fruit cage,
and this is where we've got the mini apple orchard that we established.
Lots of different varieties and different rootstocks,
some vigorous, some not so vigorous, some very dwarf.
Now, we've had a couple of problems in here.
One, rabbits got in over the winter period,
and they gnawed round the stems.
So what they did was, they've taken off the bark, and, really,
it looks as though they were going to kill the whole tree.
But what we got the garden staff to do
was just to put some ordinary clingfilm round them.
Good idea if there is a wound on the stem.
And then that enclosed it,
helped it to heal much faster, and that is indeed what has happened.
So that we've now got these wonderful extension shoots here,
which we wouldn't have had
if the stems had been completely girdled
and, therefore, it had been killed.
But there's another problem as well.
And that is that we've got canker here.
Now, apple canker is a common disease across apple-growing areas,
particularly where it's damp.
And that's what's happened here.
We've got canker in the stems,
and what we can see is dead bits going right back, like that.
And if we cut this out, just there, OK?
But before I go and prune any more of this,
what I've got to do is, I've got to sterilise these secateurs.
Now, I've got here some methylated spirits,
and all that I need to do
is just to pour some meths over the blade, like that.
Give it a rub.
I've got something here to rub it with. There we are.
Just give it a rub like that and then I can go and prune elsewhere.
Because if we don't do that,
we transfer the spores from the secateurs
onto the next tree that we prune,
and that is NOT what we want to do.
It's a bad enough disease without helping it to spread.
Now, there's a better job round here.
Right, so I've come round to the gooseberry cordons.
These are the ones which we're growing
in a tall, slender form like that, single shoot, lots of side shoots.
At this time of the year,
the thing that we would expect to find here
would be gooseberry sawfly.
Now, these are the larvae of the sawfly
that you're particularly looking for.
Little caterpillars which will defoliate
the whole of the gooseberry bush, almost overnight.
What we recommend you do is that you make a note
in your diary of when that happens.
So let's say, for example, it happens in the middle of June.
Well, you make a note in your diary, and then the following year,
you order up some nematodes
which are specific to attacking the gooseberry sawfly.
And you apply them a fortnight before the date
when you noticed it happened. And that will kill off the sawfly.
And it will actually, then, this wonderful biological control
will keep the gooseberries pristine and clean.
At this time too, as well as looking for the sawfly larvae,
we would be thinking about summer pruning.
This is where we take off the long extension shoots
in order to let the vigour go to the fruit
and also to let the sun get into the fruit.
So these shoots which are sticking out here,
there's one there, for example,
that, I just take back to two or three buds.
There it goes. That comes off like that.
This one comes off like that, as well.
And then round this side, we've got one which we can take off.
And you go round the whole bush like that until, eventually,
it's almost like a pillar of growth.
The light gets in, the fruit ripen quickly, Bob's your uncle.
Last autumn, when the Beechgrove Roadshow
came to Strathkinness in Fife,
I visited this garden just a couple of miles north at Blebo Craigs,
belonging to Julia Young and her family.
And eight months later,
this place is bursting with late springtime colour.
But the unique central feature of this ever-changing mature garden
is this former quarry,
which, a couple of hundred years ago,
was supplying much of the sandstone
used to build St Andrews and the surrounding villages.
Julia, it's great to be back.
Coming here at a different season,
it means we're going to look at different plants.
Very different plants and things, yes.
And I want to start off with a fairly common plant,
the marsh-marigold, which is quite happy in the water situation.
They're lovely. Very happy.
They come early and they're cheerful and yellow.
It's a good marginal plant.
And then, you know, we move up to a bog-loving plant, really -
so, in other words, the roots like the moisture - the rodgersias.
-You've got loads of those.
Look, it's seeded itself all round the pond
and you have season-long colour.
After the flowers die down, you get lovely autumn colour in it.
But at the moment,
you're just enjoying that foliage and the bronze tints to it.
-The fish, I can see one or two fish. They're happy?
-Very happy, yes.
They all go down to the bottom of the pond for the winter,
and as soon as sort of March comes, I get edgy if they haven't appeared,
and I think they've all died.
And this year, they were about two weeks later in coming up
because it's all to do with water temperature.
-Yeah, it's been quite a cold season.
-But they're all back.
-And happy to be fed again.
-Happy to be fed again, yes.
And then moving up the canopy,
we've got to mention that rhododendron, because what a colour!
You can't not mention the rhododendron and things.
And you've got quite an array of them,
because they flower for a long time.
I've got them staggered right through till July.
So that's a long flowering period, isn't it?
They are mostly down in the glen which you didn't see last time.
-Oh, let's go and have a look at that, then.
OK, Carole, so this is what I was telling you about.
This is my glen, or my half-glen.
I visited Ardvorlich on the shores of Lochearn
a couple of years ago and thought, "I want a glen."
-That was your inspiration?
-That was my absolute inspiration.
OK, and then you went about planting.
-So, obviously, you've got one or two rhododendrons.
-That one's looking good just now.
-Decorum cordatum, isn't it gorgeous?
-A rather delicate colour,
as opposed to the bright one.
The in-your-face. That's right.
And then the greens, the shuttlecock fern.
They spread like mad, but, again, they keep the bank together
quite well because once I'd cleared the bank,
it began collapsing.
Now, you have lots of bluebells in the garden,
but it's not the native, it's the Spanish.
Yes. Well, I've got plenty of room.
They spread, they're colourful,
I've got blue, I've got white,
-I've got pink.
-I think it's fine in this environment, isn't it?
-In this landscape.
-It is, yeah.
And then there's also a pink flower, is that a Valerian?
It is, yes. A sort of, a woodland Valerian unlike the usual...
-So that enjoys the moisture.
-Absolutely loves the moisture.
And the shade.
Now, I think you need to explain to me
a bit about your cardiocrinums here
because you've left the old flowering spikes.
Yeah, well, they are very spectacular, aren't they?
I had five.
It took some years till they were ready to flower,
and just before they were going to flower, about five days,
a deer came in and took one out.
So I thought, "Right, I've waited long enough,
"I'm going to leave the seed heads up."
-And it gives you that sense of scale.
-Scale, I know.
So, deer, you mentioned, how do you deal with deer?
Well, I tried various things that I found online,
and ideas that people gave me.
But what I've ended up with, as you might see,
is miles and miles of blue string.
I wrap it round trees, and thread it through things at different heights,
and it's a deer discourager.
But it doesn't hurt the deer?
No, no, it doesn't hurt them,
it just discourages them from coming this way.
Makes them take a different route.
So I bet you've got miles of string.
I've got about three miles left.
-What a wonderful show of Candelabra primulas.
-Aren't they great?
You've caught them at their absolute prime.
You know, you've got the dark, dark pink and then the paler,
and then really pale. I just love them, and they spread.
Have you let them naturally sort of set seed?
That's just what I've done.
I just let them set seed, transplant seedlings,
-and then when they're big clumps...
-Oh, you divide them up.
I divide them.
But I'm always going to run out of space to put them,
-there are so many.
-I could take some home, then.
The magnolia, as well.
-Lots of buds still to come.
-It's been in about five years.
And this is the best it's been.
I've especially got one that flowers late. It's called Yellow River.
So that it doesn't come into bud until after frost...
-Yes, the risk of frost.
Cos it's such a shame to lose the flowers.
That would be so soul-destroying.
And then the flowers of the meconopsis,
that beautiful blue. I would have thought it would be a bit dry there.
You might have thought that,
with all the trees taking up the moisture.
I mulch a lot with leaf mould.
And that holds the moisture in terrifically well.
Shall we go and look at a completely different bit of the garden now?
-I'd love that.
-OK. Let's go.
OK then, so this, here, is the original cottage garden...
..that has been a garden for quite a long time.
-How old is the house?
-Gosh, 200 years?
And this is the original garden,
so have you kept the lawn, basically?
I've kept the lawn.
I've kept the shape the same,
the big trees, the big shrubs, and I've done all the other planting.
-And it's a lot of planting.
-A lot of planting.
The wallflower, the perennial wallflower, Bowles's Mauve,
-just stunning at the moment.
Gorgeous, and it's been out
before the other stuff in the garden came out.
Gave us colour.
I think it's a fairly short-lived plant, so, you know,
I'd suggest taking cuttings.
I'm not patient enough to do cuttings.
I can make it last three years.
Well, you say that,
I think you are a pretty patient gardener, cos, I mean,
the things that you have done from the cottage garden
to the unique quarry to the glen, it's just magical. Thank you.
Yeah, it's what I do, I love it.
On next week's programme,
I'm going to be looking at the mulching trial,
you know, different types of stuff that you've got to buy
and replenish every now and again.
To be frank, this is my kind of mulching, ground cover.
Here is simple periwinkle, look at that.
In this area it's taken a couple of years to completely cover it.
That suits me fine.
Geranium phaeum is one of the British native geraniums,
but this one grows in deep shade in woodland,
and at this time of the year, it looks absolutely magnificent.
Look at the dark markings on the leaves down there.
The whole thing
just exudes brilliance.
Now this is the variety Samobor,
so it's just a little bit different
from the native species.
Well, this is rather bonny looking foliage.
It's the variegated form of the field maple.
But when you look at the whole plant,
we've a huge problem because it's reverting back to the native form.
Loads of green foliage.
We have tried to keep it under control in the past,
but this reversion is a huge problem for us, so,
in my opinion, we should either replace this plant
or find something else suitable in the garden.
But the one thing we could do is maybe try some material here
and take one or two cuttings.
What do we have to lose?
Well, I think it's salad sampling time, George.
-And it's looking very colourful, if I may say so.
-Look at that.
Isn't that just brilliant?
-I think you've been into my 8' by 6' greenhouse.
-That would be Oxalis.
-I'm going to try that.
Right, well, if you taste it, it's actually...
-A wee bit acid in there.
-The white, of course, is the...
-Do you not like it, Jim?
I think you're improving, Jim. Um, George.
-But that, I mean, the white radish is brilliant.
That's fine, yes.
When's the book coming out?
-Anyway, what about the bog garden?
I think the astilbe there, which I believe is Kvele,
the foliage is lovely, isn't it?
-That is the normal species there, Jim.
That's just europaeus.
But the wee one took my eye, I'll tell you that.
-That wee one down there. What is it?
Anyway, while we finish the salad,
if you'd like any more information about this week's programme,
it's all in the fact sheet
and the easiest way to access that is online.
-Next week, George?
-Next week, we're in the shade.
We're going into the Woodland Garden, you and I.
-I bet you have the loppers again.
I shall stick to my little greenhouse, I think.
-Until next time... ALL:
In the Beechgrove Garden it's fire and water as Carole and George don waders and climb into the pond to clear the blanketweed, while Jim also wages war on weeds with a new flamethrower.
Brian and George plant up a new alpine wall with blue and white plants that will create sky beyond the alpine mountains. Carole is in the water again as she visits Julia Young's unique garden in a quarry at Blebo Craigs, near Strathkinness, as Julia has a small rowing boat to weed and plant around the quarry.