Gardening magazine. Jim and Carole are in the Beechgrove garden taste-testing turnips, while George visits Drummond Castle Gardens in Perthshire.
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Hello and welcome to Beechgrove,
and it's that time again, isn't it?
Here we are getting stuck into this lawn.
-You're doing it the energetic way, aren't you?
I think I got the short straw, but, yes, it's a good workout.
My rake is very different.
It's got very soft, rubberised teeth,
-you see, for gathering the stuff up.
-Just collecting it up.
-But that's the machine for a big lawn.
So what we're doing is this scarification, trying to take
out the thatch, which is kind of all the dead stuff, the moss.
That's the thatch. It's dead grass and moss as well.
And this has been a bad year because of the wet start and so on,
and we really need to get that torn out
and let the air in about it.
-I was going to say, it builds up, doesn't it?
-Yes, it does.
-And then the moisture can't get through.
-Well, absolutely right.
This stuff is absolutely super for putting in hanging baskets.
-It's excellent for that.
-Yes, or it can go in the compost heap.
There's no doubt about it.
Following on from the scarifying, of course,
we then put on a fertiliser, specially designed
and specially formulated for autumn. So that goes on afterwards,
and hopefully the lawn will come through the winter
and start next spring with a bit of a...
Boost to it. Would you do hollow
tining or anything like that and top dressing?
Well, I don't know how many people do.
You can spike or hollow tine, which is quite a specialised business.
I'm not so sure that people would do much of that.
And if you've got bare patches,
you can also sort of re-sow, can't you?
Yes, and there are mixtures for that very purpose.
Now, then, later in the programme, Chris is going to have a
look at the roses that he planted earlier in the series.
Today I want to show you something really special,
OK? But if you want to see it, you'll have to come back later.
The story of the salad turnips is quite a long one for such
a short season crop.
Remember we started it all last year,
had a look at the new varieties,
and then we were off for about five weeks
because of various other things, and missed the cropping completely.
We started it again this year. 10 varieties in total to begin with.
And, erm, what happened?
The pigeons decimated it.
But the interesting thing is immediately we re-sowed and
here we are looking at the varieties that we were able to re-sow.
This is the result of the re-sowing. They've matured in eight weeks,
so you keep that succession going, don't you?
Well, that's one of the points.
I mean, so many of our salad vegetables we do do that, with
lettuce and spinach and so on.
Here's another one you can add to it.
You'd probably get three or four sowings through the summer,
-because they mature quite quickly.
But the whole point is are they worth growing?
-You see, I remember Purple Top Milan and Snowball from way back.
These two are new. So will we do one of each?
OK, well, if I try the Purple Top Milan.
I mean, I think it looks nice, doesn't it? With the purple top.
Yes, and... Well, it's not what they look like. It's how they taste.
-And quite peppery, I think.
-That's really nice.
Snowball - juicy, not so peppery.
-Now, let's each try a new one.
-Can I try Tiny Pal, then?
Cos, again, I think that looks a nice turnip.
I don't think Market Express is all that new,
but I don't know it, you see?
So I just want to try it.
The common denominator is that they're very juicy.
-This is very juicy, but actually quite watery.
-Not so peppery.
I prefer Purple Top Milan.
-What about your two?
-Well, I would say the same.
Snowball - I know it, super, absolutely.
And Market Express - about the same, to be honest.
There's not all that difference. Personal preference.
And you don't have to cook them, Jim.
That's the important thing. Shred them there into the salad.
Considering the rose garden was only planted out this spring,
it's developed and established remarkably well,
and most of the plants are really coming into their own,
and are having a great flowering flush.
Rosa Surrey here, with its wonderful pom-pom pink blooms.
Burgundy Ice, just look at that. Lovely, open flowers.
It's worth remembering that care of those blooms this year will
actually help to reinforce the growth of the plant,
so where you have faded blooms like that stem there,
don't allow them to then develop hips
because if the plant starts to put energy into the hips
and inevitably the seeds,
you're starving the plant of developing energy towards the roots,
and creating a good canopy.
And, of course, you can
also take the blooms to put in the vase in the house.
And there is an old trick with these to extend the vase life.
Choose the cultivar first very carefully, because the more
fragrant the rose is, the less length of time it has in vase life.
So the first thing to do if you want a rose which lasts a long
time is choose one that's not fragrant.
The second is to...
..cut a stem which is long enough, so at least as long as your vase.
30cm or so as a minimum.
Cut just above a leaf so that you've got a good head like that,
and also a good sized bud. You see, that one's just starting to open.
And then I've got three on that side, which,
given a little bit of time,
a few days, those will also start to open, so a good single display.
Now, the problem with roses is that as soon as you make a cut...
..air gets into the end of the stem, and that little bubble of air,
over time, that bubble of air travels up and eventually gets
lodged behind the very head of the rose that you're trying to exhibit.
And then what happens is the rose just nods its head and falls off.
So to avoid that happening,
here's a trick that my mum, who's a florist, taught me.
Take your gardener's pin
and put a pin through the head of the rose.
You can take it out again, but what you've basically done is
created a little vent at the top, so when the bubble gets to the top,
it oozes out, and the liquid can still get to the
bud of your rose so your rose doesn't flop.
The other thing you can do is to make the final
cut in a bucket of water, so plunge it in a bucket of water, cut
beneath the water level, like that, and keep the stem in the water.
Put your finger over the end like that.
Drop it into your vase.
And that means there's no air bubble in the stem.
All of that will mean that the fabulous roses in the garden
last much longer when they're in the house.
Now, rather inevitably,
with a new rose garden there are some pests
and diseases that start to gradually creep in.
Most plants, it has to be said, here have done really well, but this one,
which is Moonlight, one of the shrub roses, has started to display
one or two incidences of mildew, so what do you do about it?
Well, there is a variety of, of course, horticultural fungicides
around that you can spray your roses with,
or you can reach for something that's a little bit alternative,
a little bit, if you like, on the granny's tales side of things.
Now, what you could try is going to your local health food shop or
pharmacy and picking up a bottle of the essential oil of tea tree.
..getting a sprayer. There's about 500ml of tepid water in there.
And put about
half a dozen drops into your mister.
Put the lid on, give it a bit of a shake.
And then mist it
onto your rose.
We'll see just how successful it is
at coping with the mildew on these roses.
And one of the other things that's worth just keeping a very
close eye on - over on the boundary of the rose garden,
the weeping standard roses are really coming into their own.
This is Super Excelsa doing what it does best.
You know, it's a good, fine head, starting to become good
and pendulous, and a bevy of flowers.
But one thing to note about the standard roses is just
look at these suckers starting to come off of the main stem.
You can see them all the way down here, right down to the base.
The vigour of them is extraordinary,
and it gives you some indication that if you allow them to persist,
what will happen is they will take all of the energy out of the plant,
your Super Excelsa is compromised, and eventually you'll just
end up with a suckering shrub on the corner of the garden.
So go in at the base and prune them
out as close to the trunk as you possibly can,
all the way up.
And that way, every ounce of energy that this rose is able to
harvest is pushed towards the cultivar, Super Excelsa,
and away from these pesky suckers.
Well, we're back here, Jim, at the box alternatives
and our trees that we chose.
-I have to say, the hedging looks quite good.
Even the berberis is starting to recover from the rabbits.
But you had the idea that because we've got this bare soil,
-that we should do something with it over the winter.
-So sowing some green manures.
I mean, in the old days, it would have been a sin to leave
a piece of ground like that vacant for several months.
When, with a very cheap ground cover of grasses or whatever,
we can not only tidy the place up and make it look smart,
but we actually add to the organic matter going into the soil.
-Because the top gets mown.
This is a rye-grass, and it makes a huge root system, of course.
And therefore when you turn the whole thing in, you have
-enriched the soil.
-So we've each decided on something.
-You've gone for the rye-grass.
-The Italian rye-grass.
-It looks like grass seed, of course.
-Well... Well, it would, wouldn't it?
I've got Hungarian rye.
-Now, the reason I've gone for this is it's particularly hardy...
-..for the winter.
-And we get the cold weather.
The important thing is,
-though, that we need to sow it round about now, don't we?
Well, it's got to be established obviously before the weather
really deteriorates, but it never stops growing, really.
-And interestingly, Brian and George have both chosen clovers.
A red clover, a sweet clover.
Now, that tends to sort of fix the nitrogen.
-You can have it as a longer-term crop as well.
And the fifth space is for Caliente mustard,
-which has got some magic properties.
-Yes, I'm quite interested in that.
Never tried it, but it's meant to be what they call a bio-fumigant.
So once you cut it, and you want to chop it up quite small,
and once you dig it into the soil, it lets off this natural gas,
which prevents some sorts of pests and diseases.
Anyway, we've measured it out.
This area's roughly about sort of three metres squared.
-So we just broad cast it in.
-You're very good at that.
-Just rake it in, Jim?
-This should germinate quite quickly.
I would have thought so.
The soil is warm and it's wet, so I can expect that it will.
This'll prevent the weeds from taking over.
Well, you could always take the strimmer over it, you see,
-something like that.
-So we'll have to wait and see. Next spring.
And whilst you shouldn't have any left in the container
at the finish, you've got to be sure that you cover the whole bit.
Well, you do have to be a bit careful, don't you?
Sometimes we say divide it into two.
And go one way, and then sow the other way.
-But this is a bit of an awkward...
-It's quite a small area.
And then simply rake it in.
Job done, I think.
Blue skies and breeze pretty much epitomises the feel of this
part of the garden,
the heather section, the top of the stream head,
and one of the plants which really contributes to that
kind of mountaintop feel is the sorbus,
this newly-planted Sorbus Joseph Rock is this particular cultivar.
What's fabulous about a plant like this is that it's got all
the energy and vigour of a young plant, and that's very positive.
But it does in itself bring a few challenges,
and that's that as a young plant it produces lots of side growth,
and so right now we have to decide what is this plant going to
contribute, long-term, to this garden?
If I allow it to maintain these side shoots, they will thicken,
the canopy will broaden low down,
and there is a risk that the shade cast by this tree as it
matures starts to then compromise the heathers
and other conifers in this garden.
So what I want to do is to lift this canopy and produce a standard tree.
That just simply means a lollypop on a stick.
What we have to do is to decide where are the essential cuts
going to take place. I don't want to push all of the canopy up.
So probably starting at around about that sort of level.
Sharp secateurs right back in against the trunk of the tree.
And you start to see that good, strong stem being exposed.
And you can see straight away - good, clear stem,
and a modest canopy starting to form at the top.
Now, there's another sorbus on the other side of the garden
that's playing a slightly different game.
It really is one of those common dilemmas in a garden is just
what to do with a young tree once you've planted it.
You know, there is a sense that you've taken the trouble to
put it in the ground and then you have to leave it
and just let it do its thing. This is Sorbus aucuparia.
In fact, it was a seedling tree.
And you can see that it doesn't know
how many stems it wants to produce.
We've got one which is a good, strong, vigorous stem.
And that's producing a fine canopy at the top,
so it could be a standard, but then it's also got these co-dominant
stems over here, almost as vigorous, and staring to produce,
naturally, a multi-stem.
Multi-stem just simply means you have multiple stems
coming from or just above ground, and that generally reduces
the overall size of the tree, so it's great for a small garden,
while having exactly the same root zone,
so it's a really good way of suggesting a copse
when actually it's only one tree in place.
In order to convince this tree to develop as a multi-stem, you
have to start taking out some of these lower side shoots.
You can start to see these rather handsome legs now becoming
exposed, and you don't have to worry about pruning young
trees at this time of the year.
Their burst of energy and rising sap is now over,
so the tree is starting to think about summer and autumn,
it's closing down, so pruning is safe to do.
You won't get an awful lot of sap weeping out.
That's going to be a great contribution in this part.
The third of the sorbus trees in this part of the garden is
a real beauty.
This is hupehensis, which we grow for its blushed fruits in autumn.
But this young tree is developing something of an issue.
Now, if we explore what that issue is, you
start to see that we have a vigorous stem here which is becoming
dominant, but it's only dominant
because of this bad pruning cut down here, which is in fact,
effectively, something that happened in the nursery some while ago.
The compromising growth that that bad pruning cut had
means that this bud below has started to grow,
and we end up with a situation of two stems, equal vigour,
and competing against one another, creating the canopy of the tree.
Now, if we leave it like that, it can create big issues,
as demonstrated back here.
Because this tree, albeit much older, had two stems growing up,
and you can see that they're competing against one another.
A crease has formed here.
Now water will trickle down and gather in that cavity,
along with any leaves and other detritus.
Rot could start to take place, which means that in a high-winded
winter, the tree can literally split open and is destroyed.
you have all sorts of rubbings evident in the canopy too.
So what you have to do is to really take control.
What I'm going to do is to take that stem out altogether.
Now, this looks dramatic, but it's necessary because now this one
will become the dominant stem and the canopy will develop as normal.
Now, you might look at this pruning spur here and think,
"Well, that's pretty untidy."
But I've left it long on purpose
because any regrowth which comes here
I can very quickly prune out, and had
I cut it any shorter, what would
have happened potentially is that death
could occur in this tissue, which would then compromise that one.
So I've deliberately left that stem long.
And I'll look at it again next spring
and then carry out any more formative pruning.
Apart from that, the tree is looking pretty happy and the fruits
are already starting to fall, promising a good autumn crop.
When we last saw these runner beans, I was very much afraid that we
would never get a harvest, we wouldn't get a plateful
out of them, but they've fairly come away in the last month or so.
They're beginning to crop really well,
and I'm very taken with the flower colour of this.
Celebration is the name of the variety, and that wouldn't
look out of place in the back of a herbaceous border, would it?
Absolutely stunning colours.
And producing some really nice beans already.
They're not championship size or anything about it,
but they will be tasty, I bet.
Really taken with that new runner bean
and thank goodness they started cropping.
to the old broad beans. We've made a lot of play about Oscar.
This is a variety where all the pods develop at the same
time and you basically pull the plant down to the ground
and strip at your leisure.
The pods are actually rather small.
I've had a taste of the raw bean and, you know,
I wasn't all that taken with it.
Whereas at the other end of the row is the variety Sutton,
which I've grown for years,
and I will be sticking to the Sutton
because not only are the pods twice the size, but the beans are twice
the size, so there is a lot less shelling to do to get a plateful.
Now, then, to potatoes, and the last time we looked at potatoes
we were talking about blight,
and the fact that we'd grown two blight-resistant varieties,
and this is one that I'm starting to lift. This is called Athlete,
and there are some nice looking potatoes there. Quite nice size.
They're doing beautifully.
So that's one that can be grown when blight is a problem.
The next row here was Kestrel,
and that was badly affected by blight,
and just a warning because some people think that taking
the shaws off means that you have to take the crop up.
The crop is still in there. The row has been shored up again.
The soil has been pulled up, just
so that the rain doesn't wash the soil away and the tubers get green.
And they'll stay there for a month. Easy peasy.
All round the countryside, you'll see fields like that.
This is the other variety that we're really interested in,
and this is Carolus. Also said to be resistant to blight.
It's certainly yellowing now, but that's just its age and its type.
But there is no sign of any blight.
So we're going to taste Carolus and Athlete at the end of the programme.
I'm looking forward to that.
And as a matter of interest in the passing, this is a sarpo variety.
And it is said that all of the sarpo varieties are free of blight,
are resistant to blight.
It doesn't mean to say they don't get it. This is the variety Kipfler.
And it certainly has a bit of blight through it,
but it hasn't harmed the actual vigour of the plant.
Today, I'm visiting Drummond Castle in Perthshire.
And I've come to see what is perhaps one of the most spectacular
historic gardens in the whole of Scotland.
The Drummond Castle estate has a long association with
the earls of Perth.
It's essentially a 17th-century Scottish Renaissance garden,
and the grounds were remodelled in Victorian times when the new
and exciting plants of the era were introduced.
Edith Barnes has worked here in the garden at Drummond
for the past 35 years.
For the last three of those, she's been the head gardener.
These terraces look absolutely spectacular, Edith.
-The colour is fabulous.
-Yes, it's great for this time of the year.
Yeah. And that's all part of the design, of course, isn't it?
Yes, it is. We've got an Italian parterre garden here.
We've got three terraces.
We're walking along the middle just now,
we've got a top terrace above,
and then out to the bottom, which is the full of the main garden.
Ah, right. And the views, which you get from here...
When you come along here and you just stop at this bit,
-which is really... This is the central axis, isn't it?
And then we look down there and that view is just spectacular.
There's nothing to beat it in Scotland, is there?
No, I don't think there is.
We've got the saltire cross going through the centrepiece of
the garden, and everything radiates out from that symmetrically.
So that's the centre point, and then it goes out.
So there must be so much history attached to this, really.
So here we are, what? Right in the middle of what is the saltire.
Right, so we got the avenues running that way and that way there,
-with the white.
-In the foreground here, we've got Stachys lanata.
That's the lamb's lug, isn't it? Common lamb's lug.
That's correct, yeah.
And the further out ones are Anaphalis triplinervis.
These are common garden plants,
but here you've just use them in
scale and they just create the effect that you want.
And then, to continue the Scottish flag,
-you've got the blue of the lavender.
So we've got it all together here.
Now, you have got a lot of boxwood here.
-Have you got a problem with box blight at all?
As you can see, we've got brown patches in all our box
and this is the second time it's hit us.
We've been kind of following this up on Beechgrove.
We've been to other gardens and seen it. So what are you doing?
Well, we're spraying it with fungicide at the moment,
and there's going to be a period of time before we get on top of it,
and we're going to do a programme of thinning the hedges down to
let the air circulate through the boxwood.
And do you think it's a problem with not getting the air through it?
Yeah, well, you've had such a wet, damp, warm summer,
so it's a greenhouse for the fungus,
so we need to let air get through that to try and kill off the fungus.
But the roses are looking good.
The box blight apart, the roses are looking good.
Yeah, roses are looking wonderful just now.
And, of course, we've got red and pink here beside us,
but the majority of the garden is red and yellow roses
because the red and yellow is in the family crest of the Drummonds.
And, of course, the roses have to be at their best because the family
comes for the glorious 12th, the famous grouse, start of the season.
And all the guests have to see the garden at its best.
Now, this is the pretty pretty side,
but in every garden, there's a working side.
Where's your working side?
-Over behind the hedge.
-Behind the hedge is behind the scenes.
This I have to see.
So, George, this is the walled garden for the castle and this
is where we hold all our plants for replacement for the main garden.
We've got our roses here, which if anything untoward happens out
and about, we manage to replace.
And we have our acers over here, which is
for planting out in the maple bed.
-We've got honey fungus at the moment out there.
So we've held these so that once we've got rid of the honey
fungus, we can plant these, and it's an instant impact.
-They are big enough.
-Yeah, they're big enough and ready to go.
-Cut flower down here?
-Yeah, we've got cut flower beds down there.
We use them up in the castle. That's part of my duties too,
to take up and arrange the flowers.
We've got... In the greenhouse over the back, we've got pot plants
and those go up into the bedrooms as well, and some in the main hallways.
-See, this is it. This is a working garden.
-It's a working garden.
This is where it all happens.
This is the dynamo that generates the energy for the whole place,
isn't it? With fruit and vegetables and everything else in here.
I mean, it's the whole kit and caboodle.
Yeah, we can feed them all when they come. We manage to keep them happy.
-And that was the purpose of the walled garden.
-Of course it was.
-That's cracking, isn't it? Look at that verbena.
It's absolutely stunning.
Now, the butterflies love that, don't they?
Yeah, butterflies, bees, everything, which is nice.
Well, Edith, what a wonderful end to a splendid day.
It's been thoroughly enjoyable.
But you will not get a chance to sit
-and look at the garden like this very often, do you?
-No, no chance.
-There's too much work to be done.
-My team of gardeners are always on the move.
-How many do you have?
We've got two full-time and four part-time gardeners.
We split the garden into four parts
-and each gardener has a set area to do and keep.
I mean, the standard of maintenance here,
the standard of presentation and design, is just superb. Just lovely.
-Thanks very much.
-No, thank you, George. Thank you.
Last time we looked at the onions,
I was bending over the tops to cut the water supply to the leaves,
starting the curing process that will give us onions that are as
hard as golf balls and they'll keep all winter, no problem whatsoever.
The next move is to break the root system by just easing them
out of the ground like that.
But with our weather and the weather we've just had recently,
doing it like that is going to cause them to be wetted
and then they'll dry out, and then wetted,
and they'll dry out again,
so at this juncture, in our climate, there's no harm at all in actually
lifting them, cleaning off the roots like so,
and laying them on an open
tray like that, and then into a cold frame or into the polytunnel.
Must stop them getting wetted on the top.
And they get toasted in the cold frame with the lid over the top,
but plenty ventilation.
And I tell you, you'll have cracking onions right through
until February, March next year.
There we go.
This is just a wee reminder of when you should prune your autumn
flowering heathers. This particular one is a Calluna.
Now, on the very first programme,
way back in March, I took the hedging shears over the old
flowering spikes, and this is the result - it's just full of flowers.
This is becoming a bit of a habit, isn't it?
We started with the turnips. We're ending with the tatties.
Yes, and these are the two varieties that we grew because they are
blight resistant, and indeed they have been blight resistant,
-but they could be blight resistant and taste awful.
-So this is a test.
-And they look different.
That's obviously waxy. That's Athlete. And that's very floury.
-Are we going to test it first?
-Yeah, can we try this one first, then?
-This is the waxy one.
-The waxy one.
Boiled in a little bit of salt.
I mean, they would go a nice bit of butter, but that would mash them.
I like that.
That's very nice. Very nice indeed. OK, floury.
-Do you like a floury tatty?
-Well, yes. Scots are said to like floury.
That's a generalisation that's really not on.
But that with fresh herring or something like that...
I probably prefer that. The floury one is very sort of dry.
I think you need a bit of gravy or something with it. Or butter.
-But on that tasting, I, funnily enough, prefer Athlete.
-So do I.
-That makes a change.
I wonder if we agree with all of the produce.
Well, all the hard work's coming to fruition, isn't it?
With all that stuff there now.
Yeah, it's really good and some of the blueberries.
And also look at the flowers around us,
the sweet peas are really superb, and I know you love the dahlias.
This time of year, when it comes to dahlias, I think they're sublime.
But anyway, if you'd like any more information about this week's
programme, including the turnips and the tatties, it's
all in the fact sheet and the
easiest way to access that is online.
-Next week, Jim.
-Back in the garden, and guess what? Tasting again.
-Tomatoes this time.
-Till we see you then, bye-bye.
They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well, this week in the Beechgrove Garden, Jim and Carole munch their way through the veg plot as they taste-test turnips, a new broad bean and some blight-resistant potatoes.
Chris takes a look at the new rose garden and has a new take on some age-old remedies for common rose problems. George visits the grand Drummond Castle Gardens near Crieff in Perthshire. The formal garden and parterre are among the oldest in Scotland and reputedly some of the finest in Europe.