Gardening magazine. Jim investigates the mysterious death of a hedge, while Carole makes a second visit to Ardersier in Vegetable Gardening on a Budget.
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Hello there, and welcome to Beechgrove on a gorgeous summer day.
Light winds, light clouds,
and let's hope they don't accumulate -
-we want it to be dry for the rest of the programme.
I'm going to christen you the queen of the miniature garden,
because you've got all this stuff here in the decking,
the raised beds and the lot,
and now we're into a fruit garden in miniature.
We are, fruit garden in miniature.
Also I've even added some fruit in containers.
But we really want to have a look at this bit, don't we?
Well, indeed we do. Start with the raspberries.
-Well, it's amazing, first of all, what we can fit in the space.
We've got two varieties here.
So, ruby beauty - and it looks like we're going to get a good crop.
-And then this is an autumn fruiting one - little red princess.
And we've a problem, haven't we?
Well, we have a problem, but unless you let this happen,
you don't know the problem exists, do you?
We can retrieve the situation.
What we're talking about is it's suckering all over the place.
Yes, I mean, look at the blueberry, there.
So, I mean, we've kind of left it just to show what can happen, but...
If I was growing that one, I would probably grow it in a tub.
-You'd contain it?
-That would hem it in...a bit.
That's one way of hemming it in, or just keeping on top of it.
So, look - the suckers underneath the apple here.
I mean, you can just tug at them, can't you?
And that just pulls it out.
And I'd be doing that right the way over.
Obviously, a little bit more careful by the blueberry,
cos it's maybe gone underneath now.
Yes, indeed. Now, the apple's doing rather well.
-Some lovely nice apples there - fiesta.
Coming along here. But it's needing some attention.
It's a good variety, isn't it?
Step over. So that just shows that, again,
you can grow it in a small space.
-It's almost like a little hedge, which is lovely.
But, look, that's the leader, and that, basically, needs tying in.
And you want to catch that, don't you, when it's nice and soft?
Otherwise you're going to end up breaking it, so I'm...
Moving swiftly on, then, to the blueberries.
Now, they like a very acid soil.
We're talking about pH 4 or something like that.
And they're looking good now,
-but when they were planted we put in a plug of ericaceous soil.
How long do you think that will last before the pervading situation takes over?
Well, it will be interesting to see.
I mean, if the foliage starts to go maybe a little bit yellow,
then can we add perhaps a little bit of sulphur or some pine needles,
just to try and get that acidity to go down?
Yes, or the alternative again is to put them in pots, isn't it?
That's true. But little wonder, here -
which is a very compact form -
-I mean, look at the prospect of that. Lots of fruit.
-Yes, it's good.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the programme,
wait till you see the garden Anderson goes to.
He owes me a pint - it was me that was meant to do it!
It's an absolute stunner!
And if you're looking for a novel way of making an old pallet
productive, join me here, in Ardersier, later.
Well, I admit I keep going on about the weather,
but it is important in the growth of plants.
So many people are commenting
on the fact that there's a lot of green growth.
Heat and plenty water and the plants will respond by producing.
So, I've started to summer prune these cordon apples.
This is discovery,
and look at the length and the quality of the growth there.
Well, I've already started pruning it,
because if it goes into that it's not going to go into the fruit.
And the other bonus here
is if you cut these back to about three or four inches,
the bottom of that shoot, next year, it will produce a fruit bud.
That's how you get the continuum.
So, all over the bush, cutting all these off,
and that will then expose the young fruits.
Just look at that.
And the next thing I would point out
is something that we call the June drop.
Well, we're about to have a fortnight's holiday,
so just keep this in mind when we've gone.
Except it's not a June drop in Scotland -
it's more often a July drop.
The plant itself will physiologically drop
some of the fruits that are set,
and you can see the difference here. That one's going to go,
and that one's going to go.
Sometimes there's too many.
Third job to be done, once the June drop is over - or the July drop,
wherever you live - you go back and look at clumps like this.
Far too many in the one space,
so there's a thinning process to be done,
perhaps taking the misshapen ones
or the in-between ones that are not quite so big.
That one might come out. Funnily enough, see this biggie here?
That's got all the sort of qualities of what we call a king fruit.
It's a different shape from the rest, and it's dominating the rest.
Maybe, in fact, biggest is not always best,
and you'd take that one out.
So you have a bit of work to do when we're away.
A recent Allotment Society survey reckons that you can save nearly
£1,500 a year growing your own fruit and vegetables
as opposed to buying it in a supermarket.
Now, of course, not everybody can have an allotment or even a garden,
so I've come back to Ardersier to find out the progress that's been
made at a land-sharing produce partnership.
Ardersier near Inverness is the home
of trained horticulturalist
and busy working mum Mari Reid.
She recycles everything
and her mission is to grow as much produce as she can,
while spending the least amount of money.
She's run out of room in her own garden, so she's struck up
a fruitful partnership with friends and neighbours.
She shares her gardening skills with them
in exchange for using a bit of their land
to grow food that they can all share.
At nearby Loch Flemington,
Mari and Mary are already reaping the rewards
of the produce they planted together in Mary's garden,
back in April.
Well, you know, I can't believe the difference in, what, eight weeks?
It's really been fabulous.
I mean, look at the peas, for example.
And do you see - you can see the difference between the height of
these ones and these over there?
We actually fleeced this end.
Mari told me that the fleece raises the temperature by five degrees.
-It's a big difference, isn't it?
-And, I mean,
that way, you're going to maybe create a succession as well...
-That's what we were hoping, yes.
-..which is good. OK, fleece.
-Have you been spending money on it?
-No, not a penny.
There was a roll of fleece lying in my mother-in-law's shed,
-so she said, "Take as much as you need."
-And you've utilised it.
-So I've been using it, yes.
-So you always find something, don't you?
I always find something, somewhere.
Now, I remember the last time I was here I was fascinated by the way
that you were sewing the carrots,
because you sewed them and then you put the black polythene on.
-Yes, we did.
-Yes, to keep the heat in.
Keep the heat in and about the germination.
-It's obviously worked really well.
-Yes, really well.
-How long did we have it there for?
-I think about three weeks.
And a few times you had to take it off so the rain could go in.
Yes, I was slightly concerned they were getting a bit dry,
and without wanting to water them
I lifted it slightly when it was a bit rainy,
just to add a bit of moisture to it to help them germinate.
Well, it obviously worked, and as soon as it germinated
-you took that off.
-Yes, we did, yes.
OK, cropping - have you been cropping anything?
-All sorts of things, all sorts of things.
-It's been great.
We've had fantastic radishes, we've been eating pea shoots.
-So much salad, so many varieties.
-Yes, lettuce everywhere.
Just wherever there was a space, there was a lettuce planted in.
I mean, and you've mixed them up, too, just to confuse Mary!
Yes, completely confused me.
The main lettuce crop is over in that direction,
and then suddenly I find it in amongst the strawberries as well,
in different varieties.
Again, though, using all the space.
I just think that's brilliant.
Mari, talk us through some of the money-saving tips that you've got on the plot.
Well, here I use some hazel twigs for supporting the nets,
but you can also use elder or you can use cotoneaster -
anything that's soft and bendable.
-Which is great, isn't it?
-Yes, it's very good.
And I use some birch twigs for supporting the peas,
and it works well.
Also used some netting that was left over from fencing,
so the hens don't get in, or any other animals.
-Keep the pigeons off?
-The pigeons off.
Well, they're not touched, so hopefully it's working.
-And the pipe?
-I got that from a recycling centre for free.
-I asked if I could have them.
-I mean, we use those at Beechgrove.
-I think it's great for support.
We also gave you a little bit of a challenge to be kind of creative
-as well on the plot, so...
-Well, I tried my best.
Made this lovely arch for the runner beans.
Again, it's just some birch and some hazel
and it's formed into a nice shape.
It looks really bonny. Also, you've added some flowers to the plot.
Yes, I have added some flowers,
just to bring in the pollinators and make it look pretty.
I had the seeds sent from a friend, so they were free.
I want to say perhaps the most expensive is maybe the two little mini greenhouses for the tomatoes.
Well, they're not actually.
They were 50p, reduced to clear in a garden centre.
-You've got an eye for a bargain!
-I do, yes.
"I'm having those," I said.
I didn't know what I was going to do with them at the time.
But there you go - they come in handy.
I think this system that we use is working quite good.
We used the pots, recycled the pots. We cut the bottoms off them so
the roots can get out and we also put the horse manure underneath.
And if you look - look, you can actually see. Look at that...
-..the roots are actually coming out.
Yes, the roots are coming through to the manure.
-Yes, and that way they will get a good feed from the manure and they will grow well.
So, do we just let them...? Or do we just leave them...?
You just let them grow,
but the only thing you need to do is to take the side shoots off.
So you just snap the shoot, just like that - take it off.
Mary's children, Florence and Angus,
have volunteered to thin the carrots.
So, guys, see we have carrots? See how well they've grown?
But, you know what? They're a bit too thick,
and I was wondering if you could help me thin them out a little bit
so the other ones get a chance to grow.
So, if we pull some of these thicker ones -
-would you like to do it, Florence?
-Yeah? That one, there.
Yes. Wow, look at that. Well done, Angus.
-This is a pretty thin one.
-That's a good one.
Yes. And, look, there's more here.
-Look, that one there.
-This one. Like this one?
Yes, gently. One at a time, OK?
-So shall we have some tasting now?
Shall we give them a wee wash?
Oh, look at that! Lovely carrots.
Wash them well and then we can have a wee taste.
They're nice and fresh and crunchy.
Crunchy. They are, aren't they?
-Will I taste a little bit, see?
They are delicious.
Down in Ardersier, Mari's been doing the hard graft in Rosemary's
beach-side garden in exchange for a share of the fruit and veg.
So if we have a wee look, Aaron, to see if there's any potatoes.
Even when Rosemary's not at home,
Mari and her family are free to come and go in the garden.
Look at that one.
That's almost ready to eat.
This we planted about eight weeks ago.
-Remember, you planted them?
Do you think they've done quite well since then?
Done really well, haven't they?
But I think we maybe wait for another week before we harvest,
or at least a week or two.
With Mari's expertise,
Rosemary's garden is just bursting with produce.
OK, more money-saving tips. Where do we start here?
Well, my favourite one at the moment is the pallet over there.
It was lying here - cost nothing.
I got seaweed for nothing,
and I put seaweed underneath and topsoil on top
and then I planted the seeds, the wee plug plants of lettuce, through,
and they're doing really well.
They look healthy. The other thing that I like about it,
-it's a bit like putting straw on strawberries.
Because those leaves are coming through the pallet,
they are going to stay nice and clean.
It's almost to the point that you won't need to wash them,
-but I suppose you'd better!
-Yes, it is better, yes.
What about the polystyrene cups?
Well, the polystyrene cups were left over from a coffee morning,
and I just made a hole in them and planted the kale in it,
-and it keeps them warm, nice and light...
-..so that's good.
And this thing, my husband broke the spade.
I said to him, "I want a leek planter",
-so he made a point on it...
-It looks like it's been well used.
-So, so far this has cost you nothing.
-Yes, that's correct.
But then I went online, on an online recycling site,
and I got a job lot of tools, nets, watering cans,
-You filled the boot.
I was delighted!
Now, I think this is quite a novel way of planting this up.
-It looks really attractive.
Yes, I just thought sun rays would look quite nice.
I did try to be a little bit creative.
So one day I went to the woods with the kids and I made an obelisk
out of twigs, and I think it's quite nice.
And it's for supporting my sweet peas and also the net.
Now, your biggest spend on the plot is £23 on asparagus crowns.
I know! Well, I'm hoping I'm going to get my money back on that
in years to come, cos asparagus is a crop
that lasts quite a few years.
So, yes, I'm looking forward to harvesting it.
-Yes, it's starting to grow well.
-It's doing really well.
The seaside situation is happy.
And another thing I've been doing, I've been keeping a record of
all the salads and rhubarb that I've been harvesting since April.
And, yes, in April I had, like, £1 for a meal.
OK, so when you say £1, obviously it's cost you nothing...
-Cost me nothing.
-..but that's how much it costs in the supermarket?
-What's this one - June, salad, £5?
-That must have been...
-I got a huge bag!
I mean, that would have made at least five bags of salad,
at a pound in the supermarket.
So how much does that come in total?
-£45, just for you?
-Just for myself. Yes.
So, if we included Mary and Rosemary,
-we could say that's £150 or something.
-Definitely. Easily, yes.
-It's really great.
-Well, as the season goes on,
-you'll get more and more...
-We'll just get more and more.
As you can see, they're really doing well.
-What about the rhubarb - another £5 there?
I harvested quite a bit of it, and I cooked it down
and put it in the freezer for making crumbles in the winter time.
-Because this is just the start.
Wait till you start harvesting the tatties and the carrots...
-You name it.
-So will you keep a record?
-I will try.
-And I'm coming back in August.
-Yes, it will be lovely to have you.
-And we will reap some of the harvest and see how we get on.
-And that will be fun to see it then.
-Yes, that will be great. Thank you.
From time to time, we draw attention to the hedges
that we have around the place.
This western hemlock, a star of the show - it's an absolute cracker.
But we all know about yew as well - very reliable,
long-lasting and so on.
And Chamaecyparis lawsoniana varieties
are usually very good hedges.
Look at that for a start off. Wonderful.
And then, like drawing a line...
Now, this is the second time this has been planted with lawson cypress
and they don't like it.
I think it's water - I DID think it was water,
until I talked to my pal here, Allan Brownie.
You came along asking if we'd check for water, which we did.
Without actually dowsing, it just changed our thought.
We did look for water, see if it was a water problem,
-and it's not a water problem - it's an energy problem.
Like a power line through here?
The same idea. But it's not a power line, it's just a different energy.
It's a natural soil...?
Yes. And, as you can see - Jim, he's working across there,
and all energy lines have different widths,
and you'll find the edge of an energy line with the dowsing.
-And it'll show you the edge, the middle, the edge...
So it starts here and it'll finish somewhere...?
That's right - just where Jim is at the moment.
When you find the edge of a line, the rods will just start moving.
That's the edge. All energy lines are different widths,
so once you come to the middle, the rods cross,
and once you come to the other edge, they move again.
So, you find the width of it - there are different widths.
But that green one there is overlapping, and that one's OK.
That's right. We've also got another energy line coming this way -
we're on a crossroads, and this is the centre.
-We're right on the centre here, this one.
That's astonishing. It really is astonishing.
It's quite fascinating for us, as dowsers,
-being invited along to see this.
Now, my reaction, of course, is that we will try once again.
We will dig these up, we'll give this bit of ground a real doing
with some muck and all the rest of it, and plant the same ones back.
What can you do to ensure that they're going to grow?
We're going to re-divert these lines away from here, over the top,
so the energy's not flowing through here any more.
-And we'll just tidy that energy up.
I'll give you two years -
-they're going to have to be up this height.
-Less than that.
-Thanks, Allan. THEY LAUGH
Now, it's been a wee while since we've been into the 8x6 greenhouse,
and it's all about displaying plants,
making it look rather bonny,
and the good news is this Eucomis,
or the pineapple flower,
and I think you can see why, look...
There, there is the prospect of a flower at last.
Because these were bulbs that we bought in, actually, last year,
we didn't get anything, then they were dried off over the winter,
repotted, and it really is great news.
So, what else have we got that I've used?
The Oxalis - I love these plants,
and, again, these were dried off over the winter.
You start them off again
and the purple form, I think, is particularly pretty.
They actually close up at night-time
and I think they are like little butterflies.
So, that's the purple one.
We've also got iron cross,
and I think that is really
attractive as well, sort of the two
tones of the colour on the leaf.
I've also gone for some new things.
Look at the begonia, here.
Fantastic, the way that is swirling.
The other thing, do remember at this time of year
that we are feeding all these house plants every 10 to 14 days.
Also, look at the lovely begonia -
crackling white fire is that one.
OK, you could use that in
a hanging basket, but it's also nice
as a display plant.
And do you remember as well the plant that I got from
The Kalanchoe, there - Dorothy -
looking absolutely stunning,
and I think she's going to flower for quite a while.
And it's all about... I was saying a bit about display,
so we've got the tiered benching.
The other thing, though, to give you a little bit of height,
here's a good example of having a pot on an upturned pot.
Obviously, the most difficult thing
is actually getting the watering right.
And also, apart from some of our ornamental plants,
I've got some other plants that look nice but we can use them.
We've got this eucalyptus called the lemon bush.
I do wish that we had smelly telly,
because that is just like lemon balm.
And, evidently, you can use a little bit of that on a brulee.
I think that would be absolutely delicious.
And, finally, I have got some chilies,
and these are so pretty as well.
This one is masquerade, beautiful purple fruits on it,
and it's meant to be very, very hot.
Hidden away in the Perthshire hills is the garden at Craigowen,
by Ballinluig, south of Pitlochry.
This five-acre site has been created and developed by Ian Jones
and his family over the past 30 years.
Ian's passion is rhododendrons,
but his stunning collection of over 600 species and hybrids
has been a hard-won achievement on this hillside location.
So, how high are we above sea level?
We're 600, 650 feet. Where we're standing now, anyway.
And in the Perthshire hills, you get a lot of rain
and the water runs down the hill and into your garden, doesn't it?
It certainly does, and it's been getting worse over the years.
They're vicious, actually.
And you've got to be able to take it away, as we all know.
Drainage is absolutely fundamental
and I learned, because of under soil ponding,
rhododendrons start to exhibit some degree of stress.
Hill drainage is a complex issue.
You've got to get your run-off right.
You've got to get your ring main right.
You've got to get your filter system right.
You've got to get your depth right. It takes a bit of doing.
So you eventually drag the water off the site,
or run it off the site, and that improves the topsoil, doesn't it?
Yes, it does. It gives it a chance.
It also gives the plants a chance.
The rhododendrons are nurtured in a nursery bed at the top of the site.
When they outgrow this space
they are moved, by machinery and by hard graft,
down into the spacious woodland glades at the bottom of the site.
This is the move they've made. They've been brought down here.
What a space they get now, don't they? Look at that!
Well, they've got more space than they have nearer the house,
in the more formal garden.
We've arranged for drainage,
which is not the same complex drainage pattern down here,
by mound planting.
Yes, these all look as though they're up on little molehills.
-But that's essential.
-Yes, I'm afraid so.
Without that, we'd have a lot of rhodies under stress.
So planting on a mound like this keeps the root system dryer,
they're not sitting with their feet in water, and the growth which
you're putting on is quite exceptional, some brilliant growth.
The answer is we've learned from experience
and it is working, I'm glad to say.
Now, because they've got all this space, you can see right round
them, you can let the things develop to the shape that they should be.
But is this their final move?
Well, I rather doubt it,
but that's a matter for the next generation, I think, George.
The next generation is Ian's son, Simon,
for whom this garden is just about a full-time job.
As part of a team with Nicky Maddox,
Simon has developed the extensive herbaceous planting at Craigavon.
These lupins are absolutely spectacular, Simon.
That's fabulous, isn't it?
Yes, they're fairly going for it this year. Quite high.
And then we've got quite a decent selection across here,
just adding that nice bit of colour at this time of year.
Just really mixing in very nicely with the tree peonies
and, as you can see,
we've really tried to cover as much earth as possible.
Makes life a little bit easier when it comes to weeding,
cos with the netting, which is fantastic for holding up the taller
plants, it just gives them that bit of support for when the wind comes.
The daylilies are fabulous, aren't they?
Yeah, fantastic golden yellow colour.
You get that lovely light in the evening -
just looking down, they just catch your eye in the bottom corner, here.
The whole thing is just a mass.
Yeah, it's just starting to get going,
and it's certainly enjoyed this spring.
It should be a very nice showing once it gets into full flow.
The whole design of this garden, Simon, is just fabulous.
-It's really kept those nice flowing lines.
Not too many straight edges, you know?
And, of course, it changes
cos the rhodies keep on growing out to the edge
and so you're always changing the edge of the borders
and creating more work.
-Is this what you brought me up to see?
Yeah, we've got a couple of interesting things up here.
So here we are, what, 650-feet-up in Perthshire,
and there's a plant from Morocco -
the Moroccan broom, Cytisus battandieri -
how does that happen?
And it's not doing very badly at all.
It's flowering very well, it's growing nonstop.
As you can see, this is a very sunny spot here.
It's very sheltered, very dry soil, up next to the house, here.
And it was here originally.
It's not something that we would have thought of planting,
but it's doing very well.
-A microclimate for it - that's it.
-Why move it? Why move it? Yeah.
Now, what's this over here? Cos this is another surprise.
From Morocco to California.
-For goodness' sake! Carpenteria californica.
All in the space of 10 metres.
No, it's very healthy here.
Again, something we wouldn't even think about planting up here,
but it was here when we arrived.
As you can see, it's right in front of this window here,
which is our guest bedroom, which kind of ruins all these nice views.
So I've done a lot of hacking back
and it still comes back and flowers, and it's just fantastic.
It's amazing what we can grow
-if we just get the right position for things.
-Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
So, just when you think you've seen it all, what have we got?
A pond, and all these wonderful primulas all the way around.
It takes my breath away.
This whole garden is just so exuberant.
It's nice having all the different areas, you know?
And each area has its own little specialties.
But my favourite bit's always the end of the day when I finish work!
Honestly, I've had a fabulous day, so thank you very much indeed.
Thanks for sharing it.
Thank you for coming. We've enjoyed having you.
In Mr Anderson's absence,
but with his permission,
we're going to take one of his fig airlayers to the next stage,
and here it is.
You remember the story?
Get it up into the light.
Isn't that incredible?
Look at the root system there is there.
Now we have to gently ease the ball and remove it, like so.
Look at that! Isn't that staggering?
about a five-inch pot.
In here it goes...
And whilst I can still see,
I'm going to put a cane in there, at the back.
Hold the two together, plenty of compost.
I might remove the fruit, I think.
I don't think the fruit is important at this juncture.
There we go.
Give it a real press down.
The two things that will complete this job at the moment
are give it a thorough soaking,
and keep the plant in the shade...
..so that it is not stressed.
Yes, I think I'm actually going to take that fruit off.
That will reduce the stress even further.
Give it a little bit of a tie.
Always tie it above a leaf so that it doesn't slip.
Don't tell my Scout leader.
It's a granny knot!
Right, this is the last bit we do.
Put it on the floor, in the shade...
..and give it a real good soak.
Now, this wild flower area looks really bonny at the moment.
We've got things like the gorgeous orchids,
the ragged robin and then further behind me are the oxeye daisies.
However, I am doing a little bit of management
and taking out some of the really invasive weeds,
so things like the dockens,
the rosebay willowherb.
Now, this one is ragwort,
so, especially if you've got horses,
you certainly need to get rid of that one.
And then in this little patch at the moment
I'm seeing quite a few brambles,
and, OK, these will be all right on the edge of the site,
but I certainly don't want them to smother the beautiful flowers here.
Do you think people will make the connection between
that gorgeous peony and the fact that we are sat in the June garden,
which is all about peonies and irises?
It is, and isn't it looking gorgeous?
And, I mean, OK, that's a pale pink, that particular peony, but,
I mean, look at the white with the yellow centre...
-Yeah, and the maroon one behind me, yeah.
-I know, gorgeous.
-And then the iris as well.
-Such a contrast.
But we don't know some of the varieties, unfortunately.
Well, I think the labels were lost at some stage, which is very sad.
It is a shame, but maybe we'll find out.
Take some photographs and go to an expert on that one.
But, you know, 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.
And I think George visited a really nice garden, didn't he?
Oh, I'm jealous.
What a cracker of a garden!
Anyway, we're going on holiday for two weeks.
-Something to do with Wimbledon or something?
-Strawberries and cream.
-Well, but where's the Pimms?
"Where's the Pimms?" I'm saying.
We'll be back with you on the 20th of July.
-Until then, goodbye.
In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim is investigating the mysterious death of a hedge. He suspects foul play, and has a water diviner on hand to search for clues.
Carole is in Ardersier for the second visit to see how Mari Reid and her friends are getting on in Vegetable Gardening on a Budget. Recent research suggests that we could all save £1,500 a year by growing our own. Mari and her friends are putting that theory to the test.
Jim takes the high road to Ballinluig, where Ian and Christine Jones have created a hidden gem of a garden at 600ft above sea level.