Gardening magazine. Jim is growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in his domestic-sized greenhouse, while Carole and George are in the Woodland Garden pruning.
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Well, I think it's rather remarkable summer weather, John.
-Isn't it splendid?
-Changeable, would you say?
-Yes! THEY CHUCKLE
Hello and welcome to Beechgrove.
The weather speaks for itself, but nonetheless there's still time,
-as well as for the ducks, for ourselves.
-Look at that.
-Isn't that just fabulous?
-Part of Chris' new planting scheme here.
-And this is...a horse chestnut.
Aye. And it's a thing called autumn fire,
but, yes, look at the flower now.
-The wisteria's taken away.
-Yeah, it is. Need to watch that, need
-to train it in along the wires, Jim.
And so too with this one.
-What's that? That's James Roof, is it?
It is, in fact, it's an interest in February-March
-when it has these lovely tassels.
But it could get away from us if we don't tie it back.
Aye, it'll get too woody.
Now, sarracenias. I love those. I think these are brilliant.
-You're not so keen on them.
-I like the musk.
-The musk is good. Yeah. And that flat-leaved one.
-Look at that.
-What about here?
-It's making a noise like a brolly today.
-That's an Astilbe tabularis.
-Is it really?
Interesting stuff. Interesting.
-Now, what's madam up to? SHE LAUGHS
-Oh, dear knows!
Trying to get a bit wetter!
What are you doing?
Well, I mean, we've got an awful problem here
-in the pond with the blanket weed.
-It always comes at this time of year.
And we thought maybe in two stages because we've got so many tadpoles.
So I'm just pulling it to the edge of the pond,
get them to escape and then you can pull it out onto the edge.
Well, it's the message you've always said, isn't it?
That... You know, leave all the greenery stuff around the edges
-and let the beasties, not just the tadpoles...
..and anything else move on.
Anyway, in the rest of the programme,
unless we get washed away, of course,
one or two nice things to be done.
If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise.
Yeah, which one's going - that one or that one? Find out later.
And this week I'm boxing clever in a 17th-century formal wall
garden in Aberdeenshire.
Well, some of the plants look bright and cheerful in the rain,
things like the Oriental poppies - and what a size on those heads.
But I want to take a closer look at the red campion here.
Chris and myself collected some seed together and that was sown
back in September 2015.
We had half a dozen different varieties but the one that is
successful is the red campion and that was seed that came from
my own garden.
There are also the odd aquilegia I can see and also some polemonium.
But there you go - something for nothing.
Something else that's absolutely thriving are our hanging
baskets here and you might remember these two baskets are exactly
the same, with the same plants, but they are different in the
sense that this one just had three plug plants within
a plug plant with three plants,
whereas this one had nine plug plants.
And you can see this one is well ahead.
We've got the beautiful bidens in flower,
the white verbena and the lobelia.
But, I mean, both of them are pretty healthy.
Now, you might also remember about the hebes.
We had a bit of a problem because those were planted...well, back last
year in September. They didn't come through the winter,
so we have really basically replaced most of them,
and at the moment you can see
that they have some fantastic foliage colour.
Anyway, moving on into our decking area.
This is all about growing plants in containers
and, well, all of this at the moment is pretty edible.
So I'm going to do a little bit of cropping for George,
starting off with radish. I know we've tried white icicle.
This one here is giro.
That is quite a size.
It'll be interesting to see whether that is woody inside,
whereas we've got a succession of sowing. So there's giro there.
Maybe I'll pick one of those as well.
And we have purple plum, and I think this one, look at the colour.
That is fabulous, isn't it? I hope it tastes as good as it looks.
Those were sown about five weeks ago,
so it just shows you how quickly you can get a crop.
Moving on, nasturtiums, so we're going to get flowers,
but not only can you eat the flowers,
you can also eat the foliage.
I'm going to pick one or two of those, cos get a nice peppery taste.
And we've got a bit of variegation.
Moving on, we've got some lettuce there, nice range of colours,
but I'm going to go right over to this side
and we have got, first of all some nice rocket,
which is called fireworks, there's a red vein through it,
so that's quite attractive.
Going to take some of the younger leaves as well.
And, also, this is a kale salad.
Now, I've got in my pocket, if I can get it, cos I'm pretty wet...
Within there, there is just a little sort of seed cluster,
and you sow that direct into the ground and you will have
maybe six or seven different varieties of kale plant.
Very, very simple.
And that is the result.
We have also...
can take a look at our fruit here.
And they're thriving.
This one is cherry belle.
And at the moment it's putting on one or two runners,
so I'm going to pick these off
because really all we want to do at the moment
is encourage the flowers and the fruit.
It's the same with the framberry.
The framberry promises it's going to look like a strawberry,
but maybe taste like a raspberry, so I'm going to do exactly the same.
You want all that energy basically
going into the main plant
and hopefully that will also produce some flowers.
Looking nice and healthy.
Every year, we grow them in containers.
The only thing I would say is the variety jazzy seems to be
a little bit behind the others.
But fingers crossed we will get a good crop.
And last of all, looking at this container here,
I think this is a great idea,
putting the carrots in the top,
because carrots can suffer from carrot root fly
and they're meant to sort of fly up to about two feet in height,
so hopefully that prevents that.
Coriander. Yes, I must pick the odd leaf off that
cos that has a nice citrus taste.
And look at the colour again of the Chinese cabbage there, Scarlette.
Some of you may remember that our Woodland Garden started
life 21 years ago as the Crooked Garden.
Designed and built by the Hit Squad,
it was inspired by the nursery rhyme The Crooked Man
and was filled with all manner of things crooked,
contorted and twisted.
Over the years, it has grown
into what we now call our Woodland Garden,
but it really is needing a bit of attention now to enhance its
potential as a new haven for spring and summer flowering plants.
And this is our Woodland Garden as you see it today.
Now, it is pretty overgrown and there's one or two little problems,
-even though it looks rather lush and quite pretty.
So there's one or two plants which maybe have outlived their
purpose and we need to take them out.
Others we'll lift to canopy to let some light come flooding in
underneath and then we'll thin one or two branches out as well
and that will let the light in and then we'll have space to plant.
And that's a golden opportunity, to put in some real woodland
gems and things that like the sunshine as well.
Yeah. So, lots to do. Let's get on.
This is a fabulous conifer, Carole.
This is, what, Brewer's weeping spruce?
And it's a brilliant thing,
this wonderful dangly foliage which you've got here.
But I'm going to take one or two branches off.
I want to lift the canopy so that I can see what you're doing at
the back. And what have you got there?
Oh, complete decimation here because this is the Euonymus,
the winged spindle bush,
and you can see it's totally dead,
we hadn't realised actually, so this has got to totally come out.
And then we'll have more room for some other plants.
This one's easy, George.
Trust you to get that job!
Now, that's made a difference, Carole.
-That's let the light in, hasn't it?
-That's much better, George.
I hope we've got enough plants to fill the space.
-George, I cannot believe...
-..how big this garden is now.
-Isn't it amazing?
We lift some branches, we open it out,
take out the surplus plants... What a space.
I think it's fantastic and, as we say, you know,
that is now going to mean that we can do a lot of replanting,
-but we do have a bit of a dilemma, don't we?
yes, a choice to be made, Carole. Come on.
-Let's see what we've to do with this.
These are the beautiful contorted hazels,
or the Harry Lauder walking sticks.
And you think one has to go.
Oh, I think so. We've got three in the garden.
-We don't need three.
They're a bit overpowering to have three, so...which one?
Well, I would go for this one because this one in
particular suckers at the base, so it's quite a nuisance,
and I think this side, then, it'll open it out but you've still
got the shade of the woodland on the other side.
See when we take that out?
What a difference there will be of the view right in here.
-There's only one Brewer spruce left!
-Right. What do we need?
-Saws, my dear. Saws.
Oh, my goodness, George, this is fun.
Oh, look, I found the crooked man.
-Am I safe standing here?
-Is that one coming?
-You got it?
There's a wall in here.
There's the suckers.
You were right.
There we are.
Well, that's all I can do with this bushman.
The rest will have to come out with the chainsaw.
And George, what a difference at the front.
This is meant to be the sunny border. Honestly!
-Even though it's raining.
-Right, so this is the sunny border.
We've got partial shade in there, then we've got to deeper shade
at the back, so these are the three areas.
-We'll take out this Carex.
And I think this, what, Lathyrus vernus, the early spring pea.
Well, we've lots of that on the other side and...
-It's spreading everywhere.
Anyway, we've lots of lovely plants to have a look at.
Yeah, some little jewels to put in there.
Well, this is our collection of plants for the Woodland Garden
and we've got three sections.
So first of all, the ones that really love the shade.
Yes, this is deep shade for the Woodland Garden
and I've got a thing called Vancouveria
and this is one which is like the Epimedium
but it has flat,
I don't know it, George. Unusual.
This is the Turk's cap lily.
And this is one which you can grow
-in quite dense shade.
-And that is a beautiful lily, isn't it?
Cos you get the reflex petals.
OK, semi-shade in this section.
And I think it's quite important that you have white,
whether it's in the flowers or in the foliage. So we've got
Dicentra pearl drops
and the Polemonium there, or Jacob's ladder,
stairway to heaven. I like that.
And the white bounces back any sunlight that comes through
the canopy and it really livens the whole thing up.
-So what's all this lot?
-Right, the nice sunny border,
and I think you can see here, cos
we've got lots of blooms there,
that we're extending the season of flower, because many of the woodland
plants are spring or early summer.
So we've got aquilegias
and a bit of perfume with the perennial wallflower.
Now, this is on the woodland edge
and one of the other classic woodland edge plants is that, Geum.
Yeah, beautiful. Let's get planting.
There we go. On you go.
You go backwards.
-Here we go.
Poor old soul!
So, continuing the planting, we come from the partial shade out here,
through some of the white corydalis and the polemonium,
the variegated one, right into the plants which are evergreen
and are going to be taking us right to the back there.
Now, in order to give us something to draw our eye into the corner,
we've got a small plant of Euonymus alatus Compactus.
That will go bright pillar-box red in the back end,
draw your eye in there. In the spring, to give us an accent plant
for then and make you stop in your
tracks, we've got Magnolia stellata, which is that fellow there.
That'll be really brilliant first thing in the spring.
George, what do you think? I think it's quite a transformation
and it's so nice to have a bit of colour, I think,
in the sunny border.
Ray of sunshine at the front, through to white, wonderful orange
at the back and then the whole of the white
-will just sparkle right through...
-Into the semi-shade and into the
-Dense shade at the back.
It has. We haven't tackled behind us, but that's for another day,
-Another job, another day.
And do you know what? I don't even know if we have to water them in
cos we've got a little bit of rain coming down.
I've got rising damp!
Anyway, it's great.
Well, regardless of the weather,
we're going to check out on the crops and how they're doing.
And these onions and onion sets had
a hard time when we put them out because it was the middle of
that very dry spell, very hot weather,
and the tips all got burned. A classic example.
There's a variety over there that's shot, it's gone to seed already.
Remember, these are biennials,
they shouldn't produce a flower until next year.
And that's the effect of drought and being dried out.
But otherwise, they're looking good.
Not time yet to start tasting, but the little turnips,
we missed them last year. We went on holiday for about five weeks
or something like that, missed them altogether,
so we've done it again
and they're beginning to mature.
They're beginning to look good.
Look at that. Isn't that a little cracker? And that's sweetbell.
And then George has got some of this one here.
This was tiny pal.
Looking very nice.
I think he's going to be grabbing them
towards the end of the programme.
But the daddy of them all... You remember me thinning them
about three weeks ago? And just look at that, this is salad delight.
Stunning. Absolutely super. And about the right time to pick them.
Three weeks and there they are after thinning.
HE SNIFFS I'm salivating already.
Well, I've come down to the Small Space Garden,
we're we've been growing veg since the beginning of the season.
We sowed a lot of these things out at the end of March.
They've been cropping for a while,
we've taken some crops out and we've put other crops in.
I want to show you this one.
This is a lettuce.
Looks like a lettuce, behaves like a lettuce,
that will eat like a lettuce.
And it's a thing called celtuce.
And if we grow this on and just let it grow into a tall plant,
it will produce this thick stem in the middle,
and what we do with that later is that we then peel the stem
and eat the very tender portion that's in the inside.
So remember, if you're growing that, don't throw it out when it looks
as though it's shot, because it's just about coming to its best bit,
so keep that. That will go in the salad.
It's not really a very good day for salad with all this wet about.
Now, down here, we've got some of this mizuna,
which we've... We've cropped it already.
It's now starting to grow away again a bit, but I want to just
trim that back, tidy it up, get all that stuff out of there.
And then what I'll do with this bit is I'll actually put some
sulphate of ammonia on here.
Remember, these leafy vegetables like a lot of nitrogen,
and because they've been growing very rapidly already, we need
to replace that nitrogen and the best source is sulphate of ammonia.
So we'll put a scattering of sulphate of ammonia over the soil,
just tickle it in and then that will get them growing again.
So even although these have been cropped once, they'll crop again.
They'll have the energy to grow again and we'll get
a second crop out of them.
Now, these lettuce which are here were sown as a row of lettuce
earlier in the season. They're very dense, very tight together.
So what I want to do with this lot is just to go through and crop
out one or two of them so that you end up with a gap, then the ones
that are left will get bigger and be croppable as normal lettuce.
These ones, they can go into the salad for later.
Now, this side here was a whole set of seeds which were sown,
this is some of the stir-fry mixes and the Oriental mixes that we get.
Fabulous crop. This is something which will go right on
So if I again just take the knife and just above the growing
points, just take the knife like that, shave them off,
I'll have enough salad as feed Jim McColl for a fortnight.
We've got some peas, which are still producing, and the more
we nibble those back and pinch the tops out, the more shoots we'll get.
So we'll get lots and lots of green salad vegetables.
Don't worry if these things get too big,
if you've been away for a fortnight,
you can still crop them and they'll still regrow,
especially if you feed them.
Now, the turnips are mature and these we'll just have to take
out and we'll plant something else in their place.
But what I did earlier was I got some turnips from my own,
Jim handed me some of his turnips, and there we have
a bowl of turnips, which are just looking splendid.
What I've done with these is I've trimmed them off, you know,
just go round them with your knife and trim them off like that,
take some of the extraneous leaves off,
cut them into quarters, and rather than eating a salad
on a cold day like this, steam them over your potatoes.
They will melt like butter. Seven minutes is all they need.
Working at Scone Palace in Perthshire
I'm surrounded by centuries of Scottish history and heritage.
But I do like to get out and about and visit some of our country's
other great gardens.
And today I'm at the truly magnificent 17th-century
Pitmedden Garden in Aberdeenshire.
It was Sir Alexander Seton, a successful advocate,
who first created the garden here in 1675.
The crisp, tight shapes of the extensive box hedge in here
are integral to the garden's structure,
especially in the Elizabethan knot designs within the four parterres
on the lower level.
The upkeep of all this box is down to Pitmedden's property manager
and head gardener Susan Burgess.
So, Susan, this is beautiful,
miles and miles of box hedge, and how do you cope?
Well, you need to like box-hedging,
I think, to work at Pitmedden. HE LAUGHS
But we cope by having a very strict routine, really,
and we start usually in April and we cut the hedges using electric
hedge-trimmers and I think you can see here from the difference
in the colour, it's a good example whereby the section here that
hasn't been cut is quite irregular and it shows the different
colours of the box hedging that's come through the winter,
and that's really what we want to cut off to give that crispness, that
crisp profile. So where it's gone a nice sort of emerald green
colour, that's where it's just recently been cut, yesterday
-in fact. Unfortunately, it doesn't hold that colour, though.
What we find happens is the leaves tend to scorch on the top.
I think that's probably the effect of these little leathery evergreen
leaves being chopped and you get a little bit of dieback and scorch
with the effect from the blades.
And do you use a petrol hedge-trimmer?
-Or is it hand shears?
We use two-stroke hedge-trimmers
and also we use electric hedge-trimmers.
Cos I was always taught, you know,
the hand shears, but looking around at the amount of box hedge you've
-got, that's a big job.
-That would take a bit too long.
I think originally when the National Trust for Scotland laid out
-Pitmedden Garden in the '50s, they were using hand shears.
But we have moved on from that.
-I think you get a better finish, actually, with a machine cut.
And of course it's much quicker.
This is Tempus Fugit Parterre
and it fits in nicely with the sundial that we've got as the
central feature here, which was carved in the 17th century.
-..and original to Pitmedden.
But here you can see the plants that have been planted today,
these are actually perennial plants and these plants will
hopefully stay in for three years.
This is Sedum spurium Coccineum,
which is a very low-growing, like a rock plant really,
and it spreads nicely to create a mat and it's got really
lovely striking red flowers in the summer
and it keeps low, which is fine
because then it doesn't obstruct or flop over the hedges.
Ah, perfect. Now, I've heard a lot about box blight and this looks kind
of similar to the effects I've been reading about.
-Is this what we've got here?
-Well, we haven't got box blight here.
-This is actually that scorching of the leaves.
So they'll all come off and then it reveals the green colour underneath.
Sadly, the Daisy Parterre tells a different story and that is
where we have got box blight, so shall I show you that?
Box blight, that notorious fungal disease that spread
aggressively up and down the country over recent years,
has resulted in some gardeners ripping out
their box-hedging entirely.
At Pitmedden, spraying with conventional, commercially
available fungicide has kept the box healthy,
but Susan's been keen to explore new and more organic alternatives.
This is the Daisy Parterre, which is presenting us with the
-biggest challenge at Pitmedden at the moment.
-It certainly looks it.
Yes. Sadly, you can see the dieback.
Of course, it's not really helped, if I'm perfectly honest,
by our resident oystercatchers,
who for the last few years
have chosen to nest in the Daisy Parterre.
And, of course, we want nature to take its course
and it is so appealing
for the visitors to see the three eggs first of all and then each one
hatch, but what that has prevented us doing is coming in to spray.
Because you've been working on a regime,
-a new regime that you've been reading about.
We're using an experimental solution to treat the box blight.
And what it does, it's a systemic solution which we spray on,
it's taken up by the plant and it actually is a plant stimulant,
so it helps the plants to strengthen their cell walls,
which reduces any pores that they have, reduces the size of them,
literally, so that the box blight spores can't penetrate the plant.
So it's acting as a barrier.
Well, it acts as a barrier and as a plant stimulant at the same time.
So it's not all bad news, Susan,
-there is light at the end of the tunnel.
-Oh, yeah, definitely.
There's every reason to be optimistic because,
to be honest, Brian, the thought of taking up all our five miles
of boxwood hedging, which is effectively the backbone
of Pitmedden Garden, is not an option,
so we do have to find a solution that will solve this problem for us.
Susan, this has been an absolutely fascinating visit to your
garden, I feel like I've learnt so much and I am looking forward
to coming back again just to see how your regime is getting on.
Well, it's been a pleasure
and you'd be very welcome to come back any time.
I'm back in the Woodland Garden
because I want to take the opportunity to have a look
at our hazel tree stump here
because the last thing we want is for this to start sprouting
again, especially, as we said, we had a problem with the suckers.
So we've taken the drill,
made out several holes and hopefully it's going to stop raining
tomorrow and that is when I will apply the tree-stump weedkiller.
Cover it up afterwards, put a couple of bricks on the top and that's it.
I've just come into the Fruit House, where I'm wee bit worried
about the growth on this pot-grown peach that we have.
And I've found out why.
If you look at the stem there,
you can see what look like a lot of little tortoises hanging on.
That's brown scale.
What do we do?
Well, we're going to brush these off,
take a stiff brush and brush them off, then I'm going to treat
it with a nematode and that should sort out the problem.
Well, you could argue this is
pest of the week two,
George has just dealt with that
awful problem on the peach.
Here we have a little primula
that's been lifted from the garden.
The first signs of a problem
when they start to wilt and there
ain't any reason why they should be wilting other than the fact that...
..vine weevil larvae underneath.
Very easy to spot. There they are.
Picked up from underneath this.
And once again, the sure treatment
is to use a nematode
and there's a specific one for vine weevil.
Follow the instructions carefully to get the best results.
Aren't these iris beautiful?
They're bearded iris and the variety is Kent pride.
Rather unusual colour, a combination of copper and yellow.
and they are grown from rhizome,
so the thing that you have to remember is you need to expose the
rhizome and plant them in an area where they get baked by the sun.
This position is perfect for them.
Normally when I come down to this corner of the garden
I've come to look at the alliums, but not this time.
This is the plant I want to look at. Look at that.
This is Sedum spathulifolium Purpureum.
There's its flower, nice and yellow, but that's what I like,
this texture and colour in the foliage,
the grey and the purple.
And that grey links into this fellow, this is Salix Boydii
and it's an absolute stunner of a plant.
It looks so old, and yet only 20 years.
Well, Jim and George,
what do you think about the lovely display of broom?
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. Now, tell us the history of that.
OK, sown from seed, it was a mixed packet called prairie flame.
When were they sown?
-About four years ago. Amazing.
But you'd do something to them,
-wouldn't you, George?
In time-honoured fashion, I'd be in about them with secateurs.
When they're finished flowering, cut them back and you'll get lots
-and lots of new growth and they'll be just as good next year.
Could I just take that a little shade further?
-See when you cut them back?
You know, for example that there, look at the amount of propagating
material. These are seedlings.
They're new individuals. We could start a little Beechgrove pink.
-We could be in the money.
Talking of pink. Can we try some of these turnips?
-I'm tempted to go for that little guy there.
-Ah, that's the radish.
-I'll go for the turnip.
-Ooh, sweet as a bell.
Mmm. Ooh, lovely.
That is absolutely delicious.
Well, from a very wet Beechgrove Garden,
if you want any more information about this week's programme,
it's all in the fact sheet and the easiest way to access
that is online. George?
Now, this week, earlier, you saw Brian at Pitmedden Garden
and he was looking at the problem with box blight.
Well, next week he's going to be back here and he's going to be
trying out some alternatives to box, some evergreen
little shrubs with small leaves.
-See how he gets on.
Anyway, saturated Beechgrove, let's hope it's going to be better
-next week. Until then, bye-bye.
In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is growing tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers side by side in his domestic-sized greenhouse. They shouldn't work together, but with limited space you have to make it work, and Jim is determined to find a way.
With pruning saws at the ready once again, Carole and George take the Woodland Garden in hand as, at the moment, you can't see the wood for the trees.
Brian visits the meticulous Pitmedden Gardens in Aberdeenshire to find out how head gardener Susan Burgess tackles the problem of box blight, with the six miles of clipped box hedging to maintain.