Gardening magazine. Jim and Carole are in the fruit house harvesting cherries, while Carole visits two passionate growers who are entering the Dundee Flower Show.
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We're going to have a feed in here today, are we?
We certainly are, it's amazing.
Hello there, and welcome to Beechgrove,
on a beautiful summer's day.
We happen to be in the fruit house for a very good reason.
We've got fruit to the left of us, fruit to the right,
all over the place.
We want to talk about some of this outstanding... We do.
I mean, it's amazing how two weeks, been off for two weeks,
and what a difference. Starting with the cherry, Jim. Yes, yes.
Sweetheart, the variety.
We had to have protection on these to prevent them being...
Look at the bowl in here. And just look at them behind me. Yes.
They are stunning, once again...
They look great. And that's the variety...
Sweetheart. How nice of you!
THEY LAUGH And then the grape.
Yes, well, that's the best crop of grapes I've seen
on here for several years now.
Again, what the conditions have done and the pruning and so on has
all been spot-on and we're looking forward to a real cracking vintage.
We are. And I think the training is quite important, isn't it? Yes.
Because after a bunch of grapes, one leaf,
then the sideshoots, two leaves,
and you've got to keep it under control. Absolutely.
Basically, it's the same as summer pruning cordon apple trees.
In other words, you want to take the excess growth away
and put the energies into the fruit, so you've got a decent size. OK.
More fruit... Yeah. Look at this fig in the container. Yeah...
Rouge de Bordeaux. Two years.
Oh, yes... Ah-ha. And absolutely super.
And look, those are ready. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gorgeous.
So figs, import, works.
That works. Definitely.
We're still in France. Versailles.
Yeah. With the whitecurrant. Yeah... That's rather nice,
but I have to say, I probably prefer the red one,
which is totally laden...
Yes, indeed. Stunning. And that one is Rolan.
Yes. It's going to be rolling in my direction shortly, I can tell you!
Brilliant. And again, it shows what you can do
with a compact growth in a pot,
you restrict the root and you still get the crop. Yes.
And what about the gooseberry?
This is a little Japanese gooseberry.
This is Hinnonmaki Red.
Quite tiny, the fruit. Yeah.
I was picking blackcurrants at home yesterday, outside,
and these are not even colouring up with me. Mm-hm.
They're a very nice, a musky sort of colour to them. And not quite ready.
Not ready. They're still a wee bit... Can I go for a cherry?
Yes, yes. Meantime, on the rest of the programme... Mm!
What's the well-known saying? "Know your onions"?
Well, the person I'm visiting certainly does.
And now, a wonderful old wreck of a plough, but it's still in good
nick and I reckon that ten hours of real hard work by the people
who know what they're doing would bring it back to normal.
It takes a bit longer for a garden.
We're about to see one that's ten years into the restoration.
What a wonderful display.
We've got pristine bedding plants,
not a weed in sight... And just take a look at the lawn, as well.
It is totally immaculate.
It's the kind of garden that would be ready for judging.
But we're not actually looking at this part of the garden.
I'm heading for the vegetables,
which in a few weeks' time will be ready for the shows.
Alistair and Mary Gray from Brecon are passionate show growers.
Amongst his accolades, Alistair is World Champion Tatty Grower.
Look at... This is how we grow our potatoes for exhibition.
They're grown in a peat mix, which has our own mix of fertiliser
and calcified seaweed in it.
Each bag holds 20 litres of peat.
I plant the potato about three quarters of the way down the bag.
Just one potato? One potato.
Sometimes the potatoes have one eye, sometimes two. Now, why's that?
The reason for that is that some varieties throw...
a lot of potatoes, but not the size we want.
So we cut down the eyes to one eye, and this doesn't throw
so many tubers. But we get bigger tubers.
Now, it's a lot of work,
and the plants are looking incredibly healthy at the moment.
You've still a few weeks to go to the show. Mm-hm.
When do you do the lifting?
We roughly know how many weeks each variety takes to mature.
So, we have to decide we're going lift a bag...ten weeks,
11 weeks, whatever the case may be, lift a trial bag over it,
take out their tubers,
and if we're happy with what is in that bag,
then we come and take the tops off the rest.
Take them into the garage,
or some place undercover, and just let them
sit there for a week to ten days. It leaves the skin to harden.
Mm-hm. And easier to wash.
It's a huge amount of work and preparation,
but that saves you a lot of time.
Absolutely. You just wouldn't have enough time, cos it's show time...
No. ..for lifting. OK, well, that's your tatties. Yes.
Can we go and have a look at your onions? Absolutely, no problem.
Alistair, these onions are just amazing.
How come you get them like this? Uniform. What's the variety?
The variety's called Kelsae.
And instead of growing them from seed, we grow them from pips.
And that assures that you get the quality like this.
All come the same, all the same shape.
Now, they're huge at the moment.
Are you expecting them to grow quite a bit more?
Erm... Looking for them to be up to about 20, 21 inches round.
OK, well, I see you've got a tape measure in your hand.
Let's just see what we've got at the moment.
Roughly... Nearly 17?
17 inches round. And that can go up another four inches?
Yes, no problem. What's the secret there, then? Just water.
The bed already has its fertiliser in, so it gets
normal feeding of any kind. We just give them water.
Dundee Flower Show is the 1st of September. Yes.
So, when do you have to lift these?
I will have to have these up at least four weeks before show day.
But you can lift them earlier. Mm-hm.
Once you get them up to the size you require.
Once they come up to the size I want, I lift them,
I cut the roots off, cut the top off, leave about three or four
inches from the top, wash them, dust them with talcum powder.
Talcum powder? What does that do?
Talcum powder helps to keep the skin dry. And then...do you need several
the same size for the class that you're going into?
Yes, we're looking for three, sometimes five, sometimes sixes.
Once I've got them all lifted and at the same size,
I set them in the garage, up on our shelf, and then put them into sets.
And when it comes to show time, you lift out the three you want,
or the four you want, or the six you want... It's just amazing.
What else can I have a look at, though? Er, some leeks?
Another incredible sight. Just like the onions, the leeks are amazing.
Variety? Variety called Pendle improved.
Grown from pips instead of seed.
Now, I think a lot of people won't know what a pip is.
A pip is a vegetative state which we take out and root.
When we're in a show we get the very best of leeks,
set them up for seed again, throw the seed head,
we don't want that, we cut the seed off,
throws this vegetative state, which we then
take out and root, and everyone comes the same.
And it's a long process, isn't it?
That's done from the middle of November onwards. Incredible.
And we don't show them until September.
So what are you doing at the moment?
At the moment, we're just looking after them,
keeping them clean, keeping collars on.
You extend the collars as they grow bigger, put on a longer collar,
measuring every week. Hence the book?
Hence the bookie, hence the bookie, for measure.
We record the sizes in my book.
When it comes to show time, we decide which ones we like...
We just look at our book
and we pick out three which have got the same measurements,
lift them, and we know they're all going to match.
Just like the tatties, then, it's all about the preparation.
It's all preparation, yes.
So please, please, can we maybe take off the collar of one of them?
Cos I'm dying to see what it looks like. Absolutely.
Wow. That is just pristine, isn't it? It's amazing, isn't it?
Do you think maybe that one might go to the Dundee Flower and Food Festival?
Some of these will go to the Dundee flower show. How many? I need three.
Three, exactly the same size?
Exactly the same, everything the same, measurements, length,
everything. It's absolutely incredible.
I wish you the best of luck. Thank you very much, Carole.
Fingers crossed for you. Fingers crossed. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
From show vegetables to pot plants and show blooms, I've headed off
to Meigle to find Bruce McLeod, also preparing for the upcoming shows.
This is my coleus collection in here. Beautiful.
Been growing for various shows, some of them will make the Dundee show.
There's growing in different size pots,
there's some in the six inch pots.
So you have to have it in a six inch pot for the show? For the class.
For some of the classes, it's restricted to six inch pots, but to
get the size on the coleus, you put the six inch pot on top of another pot.
So that roots down. Yeah, to increase, the roots go down into there,
and it increases the growth you get on the coleus. And that's not cheating?
It's not cheating, it's still in a six inch pot.
And it's just a pot below, it's growing in a six inch pot.
OK, and what about the staking that you're doing here?
The staking, it's put in there early on, just to support the plant.
Obviously, as the plant gets bigger, they're slightly brittle.
And if you get a bit of wind coming through the polytunnel or birds
getting in here, it's just put them in early so they're hidden.
Just like herbaceous staking? Like herbaceous staking.
Now, Bruce, do you have your eye on one of these plants to get a first?
I would think the Bronze Pergoda, the big one, or the Winsome, the smaller one at the back.
They're shaping up just now. They look stunning, absolutely stunning.
But you also grow begonias, can we have a look at them? You can.
What are you hoping to achieve with these beautiful begonias?
These ones here are grown in the pots, they're shown as pot plants.
Now, what you try to achieve here is,
you've got three main stems coming off the tuber.
And you allow two side stems to come away,
and you're looking to achieve probably 27 blooms maximum.
27 blooms? And they're so sturdy. And they vary in size.
So, Bruce, it must be all about timing with the blooms.
It's all about timing. You're looking...
These blooms here are too far on for Dundee.
That's about the size of your bloom.
And you'd be looking for the size of...
How do you know? I mean, how many weeks are you talking about for that?
You're probably looking at probably five, six weeks for that.
And you just take off... You sacrifice that beautiful bloom.
And you just let one come on, it's all about timing. OK.
And what about the size of the blooms eventually?
The size of the blooms eventually about to this size. Dinner plates?
Small dinner plate. Anything else?
No, really, that's about all you do with them.
I've got another lot out here for the begonias for Dundee, it's a mixed begonias.
Let's go see them.
This is the mock-up of the display, the new
section at Dundee for display begonias, on a 1.2 by 1.2 square area.
So, again, that's crucial, the size?
The size, yeah, you're restricted to the 1.2.
You go outwith that size, you'd be disqualified.
And I've tried to get a mix of begonias here from the cane stems,
begonia Xs here and here. Your Non-Stops along the front.
Bedding begonias here and here, and your Flamboyants right on the front here.
Now, Flamboyants are absolutely great, aren't they?
Because they really produce lots and lots of blooms.
And they just keep flowering as well.
So, do you hope, for the show, that you won't see any of the pots? You shouldn't see the pots.
Well, very little of the pots at all because the Flamboyants, hopefully,
will go down over the pots and there'll be more red than green.
So, fingers crossed for both yourself and Alistair.
The Dundee Flower and Food Festival is the first,
second and third of September? It is.
So we hope that you come away with lots of firsts.
But no pressure, because the cameras are coming.
Well, let's hope we do well. I'm sure you will. Thank you so much.
From Bruce's display, of all those lovely begonias, and also his coleus collection,
we're here in our eight by six greenhouse, and I've another coleus here.
Grown from seeds, so a lot smaller. Love the name.
Chocolate Covered Cherry. And the colour is beautiful.
I also want to take you back to two weeks ago
when we had a look at the eucomis.
And the flower head then was right down in the centre of the crown.
Look how it's grown. The flowers, though, are still to open.
And then we're back to begonias. I'm pretty sure Bruce had this one
in his display. Escargot.
It's a Begonia rex, and what I want to show you is how we can maybe make
more of these by propagating by leaf cuttings.
And there's two ways to do it.
So the first one is, look for a nice, healthy leaf.
And I'm going to say that one's a pretty good one. Cut that off.
Turn it upside down.
And what we're doing is, we're looking at the main veins here.
So make sure you've got a nice, sharp knife.
And I'm just going to do a few little cuts. Right the way around.
And the whole idea is that where I'm cutting,
that should hopefully produce another plant.
Then turn it up the other way.
I'll make a hole first of all for the little stalk. Pop it in there.
You'll also see that the compost is nice and moist.
And then what I need to do is... Excuse me.
..put a few pebbles on the top.
That just weights it down, because you want to make sure that this
is in contact with the actual compost.
And then what we need is maybe a polythene bag or a little
lid over this. And then keep it out of the sun.
And then hopefully, within a few weeks, we're
going to get little plantlets appear where I've cut it on the main stem.
So then there's another way to do it as well, and I've already
slightly prepared this one, so I've taken out the stalk.
And this one, I'm again going to look for a main vein.
And I want to cut it roughly the size of a postage stamp.
A square or even a little triangle.
And then that gets put into the compost.
You could, if you wanted to, lay it flat,
but I prefer to actually pop it into the compost.
And again, it's exactly the same as that one,
we would cover it with polythene.
And a little small plant should appear by the main vein.
Well, playing catch-up in the vegetable garden.
And the bad news is, in the tatties, in the variety Maris Bard, we've got
a bit of blackleg, which is a bacterial disease.
What we want to do is to rogue out the plant, all the bits
and pieces and burn it, get rid of it. But I'm heading for the early potatoes,
because they're ready to be picked. And en passant, again.
Runner beans are awful slow,
I don't know whether we're going to get much of a crop.
But this variety, Sunset, and that variety over there,
Celebration, are a rather lovely flower, aren't they?
Almost useful for putting in a flower border.
But the variety of early we're lifting is called Abbot.
And I've never grown it before.
That lot there came from the first shore.
And as I dig down, there's going to be a few more
that look quite nice. Can't wait to get them.
Digging carefully, so I don't want to spear them. And up they come.
Pick the little ones as well because they're a nuisance if you don't.
These were planted in the middle of April.
It looks as if the first shore was the best. Oh, no. Here we are.
Another seam. There's another one.
They'll be boiling anyway, this lot. For sure.
Abbot. Quite a nice looking wee tattie. Just about the right size.
Jim, this is our collection of half hardy and hardy annuals.
Kind of new to us, we like to try all them out.
Then, if we like particular ones,
we can fit them into a bedding scheme in another year's time.
That's the kind of idea. Yeah. Keeping an eye open.
Well, I tell you what, French marigolds have always been
a favourite of mine, and you've got a selection of three here.
They do very well. So, what do you think of Strawberry Blonde?
She's in the middle.
I've seen a lot of better ones than that, I can tell you.
I like it when it first starts because it's like a lovely red.
And then I think it goes rather wishy-washy.
I will not take this conversation any further.
The... That one's a goody, though. It is.
So that's a crested type, French Solan.
And I like that. It's really bright.
You introduced that one, I think. Not so happy.
Yeah, well, I wanted to grow it as a pot plant,
but it landed up outside here. Because I'd never seen it before.
I wanted to see what it would do.
And that's part of the same process, isn't it? I quite like the phlox.
That's Sugar Stars. The big snag here, of course,
is when you see it in a row like that, all you see is foliage.
And there's a little bit of flower.
It might be better when it's mixed in a border with other things.
But I love the colour and the shape of that.
And maybe keep nipping it out. Yeah, exactly.
I like the colour of this one, the pot marigold. Beautiful.
Snow Princess. I've got this one at home and it's all over the place.
it's going like the clappers. But it's a cracking...
Yeah, and you take a close look at
that bloom, the way it whirls around... Yeah.
This is a funny one, though.
That's what it's meant to be. The butterflies like it.
The butterflies AND the bees love it. A Gilia.
Nothing like that, but it is a Gilia.
It came out of this packet. So to speak!
SHE LAUGHS No chance. It did.
That one is capitata. It IS nice. But anyway...
I would grow that again, for sure.
But I think we should have a look at the sweet peas.
Aren't they lovely? The perfume!
You can smell it from halfway along the path there. It's very powerful.
It's gorgeous. And the system - well,
I'm going to say I picked this system a few years ago.
It works. Very easy, scrambles up it.
Much easier than growing for cordons.
Oh, absolutely, not so much work involved.
And you get a great crop of flowers. You do.
They've been tapped three times.
What are you going to have? I'm going for this one.
Queen of the Isles, what do you think of that?
I think that's a beauty. Very nice.
Well, if I may say so,
going down the same sort of drill...
I like this one. Uh-huh. What's the variety?
Green Fingers, of course. Ah, yes, of course.
Well done, you. I think you planted that.
VOICEOVER: When Philip and Marianne Santer
bought their dream home, Langley Park,
near Montrose, they knew they had a big job on their hands.
It took six years to make the house habitable!
And then they turned to the series of walled gardens.
What had been a productive market garden was completely overgrown.
The two of them, with their gardener, Paul,
set about taming the wilderness.
And you tell me you're not gardeners. No.
What in heaven's name possessed you to do it?
Oh, we just loved it. We fell in love with it.
And we thought it was paradise, and...
Yep. We just... ..try and improve it.
Well, for a kick-off, what a view.
East-facing, lovely slope. Yeah.
That's Montrose over there. Yeah, and there's three gardens,
there's one down there with the view,
which looks over the view, and there's one ABOVE this one as well.
What a challenge! Quite a lot of work.
Let's have a look at it, then. Keeps us busy. Yes.
Well, I'll tell you what, the borders are looking pretty full.
You've got trees... Fruit trees on the walls.
Are they all doing reasonably well?
Mad. Yes. We get so much fruit, it breaks the branches off.
Unbelievable. We make plum gin, and... Plum brandy. Plum brandy.
Oooh! I like that.
And we give lots of stuff away to the neighbours,
one of the perks of being next door. SHE LAUGHS
And tell me, Marianne, how do you choose your plants?
Well, we tend to just buy whatever we like,
and we tend to put them in
wherever we like as well, we think, "That'll look fine there."
And whatever's cheap. SHE LAUGHS
That's the budget part of it, yes. It is, yes.
Now, here's a Philadelphus that's growing like the clappers.
It looks really healthy,
but to be honest this is the first year it's had any flowers on it.
So, I've been having a word with it,
and told it if it doesn't flower, it's getting out.
And it's come up with flowers.
You're only half right. Yeah?
Shift it. Ah. If it's too big to shift, propagate it
and try it in another part of the garden.
Well, we HAVE got them in other parts that are doing well.
And we've got these gorgeous geraniums
the climate and the soil loves, because there's another one,
there's several all around the garden, they're doing really well.
The sandy loam in Angus is amazing soil,
some of the best soil in Scotland. Yeah.
How do you like our capercaillie then, Jim?
I'll tell you what, I'm really surprised and chuffed,
because you've been planning the garden and buying all these
wonderful plants after looking at catalogues - not! -
and you haven't forgotten
the still life. And that's a belter. Really is super.
There was no planning involved in that whatsoever again.
We went to the local auction, saw the bird coming up
and thought, "That might look all right in the corner of the garden."
I wouldnae have been surprised
if you said it just fell off the back of a lorry. Not quite! No, no.
But I'll tell you what, the setting is absolutely delightful,
there with the mint and so on, isn't?
It's grown really well, and the bees absolutely love it. Yes.
You've made the same mistake as we did at Beechgrove, we've got
a similar kind of brick facility,
and we chose the wrong brick and it keeps falling to bits.
Ah, well, we didn't choose ours.
Ours came on Facebay for nothing.
Free for picking up, so we didn't get a choice. Surprise, surprise!
Well, Jim, we've got this huge Ceanothus.
This has been the moment of the day, I can tell you,
this is fabulous.
Well, it IS amazing, but our fantastic gardener Paul
wants to hack a bit off it. What do you think?
That sounds like an offence to me.
"Hacking" is not the word, my dear.
It is "pruning". SHE LAUGHS
And I support Paul -
if I was going up and down with a mower every week
I would be cursing the boss.
It can be pruned from underneath.
Quite often it pays to go in behind the bush, and look out the way,
and I think you would want to take off the branches from ground level
that are actually obstructing the path.
So just so he can get the mower through? Well... Well, yes,
but on the other hand,
it actually helps with maintenance. Right.
I'm at that phase at home at the moment -
I'm lifting the skirt, so to speak,
so that I can get underneath with the blower to blow the leaves out,
to get in to weed and so on, because ground-huggings,
some will completely blank at the weeds and some don't,
they allow it to come through.
You wouldn't spoil this fantastic Ceanothus, it really is a stunner.
And it needs a little bit of regulatory pruning.
And I would do it quite soon.
And then it will all have healed up by the time autumn comes.
Well, I'll allow him that.
I'm sure he'll be delighted! He will, yes. Yeah.
I tell you what, you guys have made a huge difference in ten years,
because as I understand it, this was derelict when you started.
You've got a great range of plants, it's good.
It was, but it's been a big learning curve.
You know, we made so many mistakes in the beginning,
put things in the wrong place, but we are there now.
But that's how you learn, isn't it? Exactly.
The other learning curve, I find, is that
if you go round a well-stocked garden, it's like a world tour.
So we've stopped in South Africa.
Yeah. The Cape figwort, Phygelius capensis, absolutely stunning.
A tribute to your growing methods, dear boy,
and this wonderful soil that we've got. Thank you.
But it always seems a shame to me, it's so pretty underneath,
and yet, you know, you can't actually see that
when it's growing out like this.
Is there anything we can do about that? Well, yes, you can.
This guy is going to get on his hands and knees,
or Paul, underneath,
find if there are any suckers that are rooted into the ground,
cut them off, pot them up, keep them growing until they are a decent
size, and see that bit of bare wall with all that rotten wood on it?
Nice bit of trellis and train it up the wall,
and then you can see these beautiful clusters.
Oh, that would be a good idea. Can I put it on the wires?
Yes, yes, yes, but you can't leave it, you've got to train it,
just as these espaliers have been trained. Well, there we go.
It's been a magic day,
despite these wee showers of rain that have sort of come along there.
So, I must thank you very much indeed. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
We are always very surprised when people come along and enjoy it
so much, because we didn't know what we were doing when we started.
Some say they are just being nosy. Probably!
But most are saying they are looking for more info -
every day is a school day. Definitely, yes.
The conservatory is looking really colourful at the moment, starting
off with the bird of paradise - aren't those blooms fantastic?
And it was actually repotted last year,
because it hadn't flowered for us.
Also, the agapanthus, OK, you can grow these outside,
but in a pot, here we've got the blue and the white forms, brilliant.
But the last one I want to look at is the tree lily,
that must be at least two metres
in height, the variety is Manisa
and the perfume is absolutely divine.
Well, I'm back on the fruit theme again.
And here am I with a blackberry, the variety is Helen,
but the most important thing about it is, it is thornless,
it's going to have a nice crop of berries on,
and it's easy to handle, unlike some, I have to say!
These stems are very prone to wind damage,
so one of the times when you're passing and you see them,
make sure you've got a bit of string and just tie it up
so that it's going to be safe.
And right on my line of view is Malus 'Royalty',
one of the trees we planted earlier in the season,
and I was very disappointed with the shape of the head of it,
the top, so it got the Anderson treatment
and it's looking rather nice now, I think you'd agree.
Well, I tell you what, this has been a very productive programme,
hasn't it? Hasn't it just? Eh, what?
I think I've got the best basket here, with all the fruit.
Well, that's a matter of opinion, you see, because we've got such
a variety of vegetables, the early tatties and so on.
You've been lifting those, you've got the squash, cucumbers,
absolutely fantastic. But what do you think of the Bog Garden as well?
Still looking great.
There's still a lot of interest, the primulas are still going on,
but we talked about them last time. What else have you been...?
Two that I would pick out, the ligularia, lovely flowering spikes,
and tall growing, and the same with the inula there.
Yes, I do love these astilbes, because you get them quite dwarf
and tight, and then you get these that really become
quite majestic, I love the colour of them as well.
Yes. So, no, it's pretty nifty.
But 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, we are on our travels.
We are indeed, and I can't wait, because we are off to Orkney,
and I think it's the best time of year,
I've experienced it before, so I'm looking forward to it.
I hope the weather's OK! Well, we're doing a roadshow,
so there's a question and answer session... Sure.
One or two nice gardens. I'll take my wellies, just in case.
Until next week, in Orkney, bye-bye. Goodbye.
SOMBRE PIANO MUSIC
Gay Britannia - a new season marking the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.
Across the BBC.
Life is a way more than a bowl of cherries at Beechgrove this week as Jim and Carole harvest bucketfuls of ripe cherries in the fruit house.
Carole visits two passionate showers and growers who are entering the Dundee Flower Show. Alistair Gray in Brechin is a show vegetable grower and winner of the 2016 World Potato Championship, while Bruce McLeod in Meigle grows champion chrysanthemums.
Jim visits Philip and Marianne Santer at Langley Park near Montrose. With little previous gardening experience, they have reclaimed the long-neglected garden to create a haven of colour. To their amazement and delight, the garden has been attracting visitors to what they call their little piece of paradise.