Gardening magazine. Carole and Jim are planting potatoes, Jim is planting trees for a small garden, and George is at Saughton Park.
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-Not a bad morning.
-It's fine, and I can smell the hyacinths.
Hello, there. Welcome to Beechgrove.
I'm just saying, it's not a bad morning but there's still
a little bite in that wind, you know.
It's dropping at night-time.
I think we've got to still be a little bit careful, haven't we?
-Oh, we do indeed. Now, you've taken me to the flower garden.
I think there's some striking displays here and let's start
-down at the bottom corner.
To explain that last year with the spring bedding,
we had the same idea with the violas, but we planted
bulbs right through the scheme and you couldn't see those violas.
-So we've gone for the
bulbs in the centre and the violas around.
-That's a nice combination.
-What's that variety? Cos it's rather nice.
That is Rapture.
Cyclamineus type narcissus. Lovely reflex petals.
-How do they get these names?
That one took my eye earlier on, that little multi-headed one.
Well, you need to smell that one as well, Jim. Silver Chimes.
Lovely fragrance. Almost sort of jasmine. Again, a bit like hyacinth,
Then we've got the polyanthus.
I'm never too sure about mixing the colours.
I quite like sort of single colours.
-But the tulip's quite nice.
It doesn't do it for me, for some reason or other.
That might be why. I prefer just the contrast, one colour with the other.
-So the white one there with the yellow centre, that's Concerto.
Now, we've come here and we've got obviously good polyanthus but
the tulips are still to come.
But they will work because they're going to be ...
-That's going to be in flower.
-I think that's quite striking.
That tulip is Foxtrot, and in that little tub over there,
it's starting to flower,
so it's going to be a pink.
-Apple blossom type pink.
-But this is the guy.
This is the daddy of them all, isn't it? Isn't it a belter?
Well, he is amazing, that tulip.
But it is a mistake,
because again what's happening is that we can't see the polyanthus
and it should have been a compact dwarf variety of tulip, Shakespeare,
which I know that one quite well because it
has stripy foliage and it's orange and yellow.
So I don't know what we've got, but you like that one.
Well, I certainly do and I would certainly plant it again,
but I might report it back and hope to get my money back.
Or get some replacements.
Great. It's great to see all that colour, to be honest.
It's just wonderful. Meanwhile, in the rest of the programme...
I'm in a city centre park which is just about to undergo
a fabulous face-lift.
And this is Caragana arborescens Pendula,
a big long name for quite a small tree.
It's known as the pea tree and it's a relative of the Laburnum.
My specialist subject this week is picking out a few trees
for the smaller garden.
Well, it's time to get the early potatoes planted.
You can see what the ground was like before we started here this morning.
The weeds are beginning to grow, so it's the ideal time to do it.
And the first thing that Mhari did,
not me, was to fork the ground into sort of smaller bits.
Then we tramped it, just to firm it up, and now the fertiliser goes on
for the first row of potatoes. This is ounces to the square yard.
There we go.
And it's kind of placement either side of the row where the
tatties are going. Right, Mhari, let me past and I'll get the line.
On you go. You keep on going.
Don't want to stop folk working.
Next thing to do is to get the line set.
And we'll be planting the early potatoes.
And the first one is abbot.
Now, I've never grown abbot before,
but Miss B grew abbot on the decking last year and she
compared it with rocket and thought it was much better than rocket,
so it's been promoted to the full vegetable plot.
And we're going to plant them today.
And you reckon from planting time sort of 12 weeks or
so we should be harvesting some nice tatties.
Then we'll follow on, we'll have Maris Bard,
which is another well-known early potato.
It goes in next, in the next row,
and then it will be second earlies and early main crop and so on.
Now, then, Mhari. Is that straight?
I'd say so. Perfect.
We used to say... This is a Scottish phrase -
a man wi' a corkie and a blunyon would never notice. Right.
Then we plant them about... Are you going to do the planting, dear?
-Good for you. I'll put them out about a foot apart.
30 centimetres, if you're metricated.
And we look forward to a handsome crop
From planting, it takes about 12-14 weeks,
depending on the weather, before you've got a crop worth harvesting.
Next would be the second earlies,
and they take a little bit longer,
so you finish up with a continuous supply of new potatoes,
which is the whole point. What's the soil like?
Because it's been freshly done, you see, it's quite easy to handle.
Very easy to handle, yes.
And it's more tatties on the decking, but of course,
here we'll be growing them in containers.
And I always like to try something slightly different because I
don't know how many years that I have grown tatties in
containers, but it's well worth it.
So this year I'm using this container, which we tried last year.
Really successful. Very happy with it, and it's still looking good.
The cost of that is around about £2.70.
But if you're maybe trying for the first time and you don't want
to spend too much money, we found these containers,
and they only cost a pound. Perhaps a little more flimsy.
I don't know how long they will last, but it's well worth a try.
Also, because it's slightly bigger,
I reckon I can get four tubers into this one.
And variety-wise... Now, Jim, he was planting earlies.
These are second earlies. It's a variety called Jazzy.
And they're going to take a couple of weeks longer, so instead
of 12 weeks, maybe 14, perhaps 15 weeks before we can harvest them.
Compost is in the bottom, just a few inches,
then you put the tubers in,
then we put a little bit more compost to cover the tubers and then
as they start to grow, you gradually fill up that container.
So that's Jazzy, and in the catalogue, they actually say
that's a salad potato and it might be as good as Jersey Royals,
so we'll definitely have to have a taste test with that one.
I've also got Elfe, another second early. Never tried it before.
And Gemson, another second early.
Also that's meant to be a good salad potato.
So we will have six containers.
Also I'm introducing a little bit more fruit.
Last year, Jim and myself, we introduced a lot into a small bed.
It's amazing what you can fit into that,
and all the fruit in there is quite small,
and I thought this time we'll try some in containers.
They're also recommended for hanging baskets,
but a hanging basket is really open to the elements and it's
quite difficult to get your watering right.
So I thought instead, and it's a little bit of a tip,
I've upturned one of the containers using exactly the same container,
so that acts as a pedestal, and therefore the fruit can trail over.
I've got a strawberry and the variety is called Cherry Belle,
so that's slightly confusing, isn't it?
But the fruits are meant to mature to
a deep purple colour and also meant to be really sweet.
I'm introducing as well another raspberry.
This time it's called Ruby Fools.
We've got Ruby Beauty in the bed there,
and it's looking quite healthy.
That's going to tumble down by about 12 inches, and then
lastly, all these other containers,
I'm going to be really busy with lots of crops,
mainly salad crops, and we want to sow them little and often, so if
I start sowing now, maybe in about three weeks' time,
I'll sow some more.
So we've got things like lettuce, coriander, rocket.
Also I'm trying a couple of varieties of beetroot.
I've already sown the beetroot in here and they come in little
seed clusters and the seed cluster,
it means that it should contain lots of little seeds,
but the two varieties I'm trying, I've got Moneta and Solo.
They're both mono-germ varieties,
so only one seedling within that cluster,
and that helps reduce the thinning.
And we'll compare those when they start to mature.
I've long held the view that a garden is not really
a garden without a tree.
And, of course, if you're going to plant a tree in your garden,
you want to know what size it'll grow to,
because it's an investment for a very long time,
so you've got to do your homework.
Is it going to be big enough? What's the growth rate?
How soon will you have to start pruning it? All of these things.
Well, I'm going to spend a little bit of time looking at some
of the trees that we've planted in the garden here over the years,
and one or two new ones to extend your knowledge.
And here we are by this wonderful birch.
These would be planted in the late 90's,
when this garden was starting to grow, so to speak.
Could you cope with one of these in your garden?
Perhaps not. We'll find something smaller and a little bit more
compact. That's the story today.
In this little ploy,
we invited all the presenters and the staff to pick
a tree that they thought would be suitable for a small garden, taking
into account the shape, the size, the rate of growth, whether it's
got nice flowers, whether it's got fruit, autumn colour, etc, etc, etc.
And we put them in a line so that we can compare these very things,
one with the other.
And this is my choice. Prunus Snow Showers,
a lovely little weeping cherry.
Absolutely at its best at the moment, looking gorgeous.
Fine for a small garden. It won't take up a huge amount of space.
It'll come out the way, of course.
And you see cherries all over the country.
As long as the drainage is good, it's going to work fine.
So here it is. It's planted.
It's ready for the last stage of filling in.
And into the hole went some mycorrhiza,
which you see there, a little cupful, spread around so that
the roots aren't touched with it, and a bit of fertilizer as well.
So it only remains for me to finish it off, fill the hole in,
tramp it down.
Well, this is Chris' choice. This is Cornus controversa Pagoda.
Chris has chosen this because of its wonderful flowering in the
spring, and some berries in the autumn,
but the real key to this plant is its autumn colour.
Dark red. Absolutely stunning.
The only tree we could get a hold of had this enormous ball of
soil around the roots, a really big ball of soil, and a very short stem,
so staking it in the conventional way was not going to work.
So what we've done is so-called invisible staking.
Three pins put into the ground, either side of the ball,
and then trapping it down, we've put these cross pieces.
And that root ball won't budge. That's the motive for doing this.
You've got to keep the root ball still, absolutely still so that
it's not going to rock about and break new roots.
And now, I suppose...
..this is the time when you cut the strings.
And you get the full benefit of this tree. It's really rather nice.
So far, we've been dealing with newly-planted trees for the
average garden, but there are some trees in the Beechgrove here
which are good plants for any kind of garden.
My first choice here is Prunus serrula with its wonderful bark,
an absolute stunner of a cherry.
The Tibetan cherry. Now, I'm 5"8 in old money.
This has been here for 20 years,
and I reckon it could be accommodated in a lot of gardens.
It's an absolute cracker.
This is Carole Baxter's choice.
It is a Sorbus, a rowan tree,
and any kind of rowan tree is suitable for a small garden.
This is a particularly special one,
and I would agree with her - it's one of the best.
This is Sorbus vilmorinii.
And all the good things about it are that it's got beautiful,
lacy foliage, nice flowers in the spring, berries in the autumn,
it doesn't get too big, it can be grown in most types of soil.
So vilmorinii is one of the top of the list trees.
It's the one by which I would probably judge others.
We've chosen at the same time here to illustrate another way of
staking. Here we've got a double stake this time,
and I'll show you the reason why.
Mr Callum, sir. We're going to put a crossbar on here.
Because in windy sites... Our prevailing wind is behind us here
so it's going to blow this tree, and it could blow it over,
but using this technique, there's no way it's going to blow it over.
Putting the crossbar in place.
Why not that side?
Because the wind blows against the crossbar and onto the main,
so it's not going to shift it.
And the tree is on the other side,
so when the wind blows the tree, it's going to tug away.
It's not going to get pushed up against the crossbar,
so it's safe and there's no chafing.
At all, so we're ready now to put the tie on here. Good, good.
Once round the tree, and once round the crossbar.
And if you find that that is not enough,
you can put another one on, and put it the other way around.
This specimen has been chosen by the staff. It's a crab apple.
It's called Royalty. It's very popular.
It's been around for quite a wee while now,
and its principal attributes are, of course, the copper foliage
and the lovely deep pink flowers that come on it in the spring.
You'll notice we've given it a sloping stake.
That's another option that some people might prefer.
So that one's done well, and we now go to...
George's choice, which is an Amelanchier, Rainbow Pillar.
This is new to me, not Amelanchier, but this particular variety,
and George is very keen on it.
Again, its shape, beautiful white flowers in the spring,
great autumn colour,
grows on most types of soil. This is another cracker.
Get on with it, dear boy.
We've just finished planting George's choice,
Amelanchier Rainbow Pillar, and that would indicate from the name
that it's going to be a poplar shape, isn't it?
Well, this is another Amelanchier.
This one's 15 years old, and this is lamarckii, but once again, I'm 5"8.
This is what it'll grow to in 15 years' time.
But it's another topper.
Coppery-coloured early foliage. You can just see it coming through.
Flowers and good autumn colour.
Well, this is the last curtain, I suppose.
This is Brian Cunningham's choice and it is a belter.
Acer grosseri hersii. It's one of these wonderful maples
with grey-green foliage.
And then, when they've all dropped, you've got that wonderful,
wonderful snake bark effect on the stems.
Now, the whole lot will need looking at again fairly soon, because
there's the small matter of pruning to be done,
but we'll leave that for another day.
This splendid plaque on a building in George Street in Edinburgh
commemorates the birthplace
of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
The Cale, as its fondly known, first met here in 1809.
Its purpose from the outset was to draw together people from the
professional and amateur ranks to encourage and support
horticulture and gardening across the whole of Scotland.
And I'm happy to say,
as honorary president of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society,
a new chapter in the society's history is just starting.
Not here, but over at the other side of the city.
Saughton Park and Gardens is one of Edinburgh's hidden jewels.
Located in the south west of the city,
the eight-acre walled garden and surrounding parkland
has a rich history in horticulture.
Laid out in the 17th century on Saughton Hall estate,
the grounds were home to an old country residence,
later converted to an asylum.
Patients used the surrounding gardens as an early form of
The grounds were eventually sold, and in 1908,
Saughton hosted the Scottish National Exhibition,
which attracted more than three million visitors to the park
and gardens over the six-month event.
Recently, Saughton, like many other parks and gardens across the
country, have struggled because of lack of funding.
So two years ago, the Cale and the City of Edinburgh put together
a joint bid for heritage lottery funding.
They've been successful, and they've won 3.8 million,
and the city has added extra to that great tranche of money,
so now they can revitalise this park, which is an absolute gem.
Peter McDougall is a project development officer with the
City of Edinburgh Council.
So what's the surrounding population like?
What's the demographic that we've got here?
It's amazing. It's a city centre park.
We're right next to one of the busiest roads in Edinburgh.
We have lots of ex-council houses round about, there's some
quite affluent areas, there's some quite poor areas as well.
We have a higher than average population of people with
long-term health problems, so there's an interesting demographic.
So how many locals actually use the park?
Local people - strangely, 40%.
Astonishing - I met a chap who just lives across the road there
last year who'd never been in the park.
And he's lived here for 20 years, so it's a kind of hidden gem,
Saughton Park, so the idea is that we start to run events in the
park, so we hope to try and take that up to maybe about 50%,
I think, is the target of local people,
50% of people from further afield.
Plans for Saughton's horticultural face-lift include creating
a 140-metre double herbaceous borders in the central path.
To the garden's south, bedding will be removed and replaced with
herbaceous planting in an informal prairie style,
which will allow clear views of a newly-refurbished bandstand.
Old stables will be turned into a community meeting space,
and outside will be the Cale's kitchen garden,
where horticultural workshops will be run.
A courtyard will accommodate plant fairs and farmers' markets
while a new cafe will keep gardeners and the public fed and watered.
Jasmin Cann is a landscape designer and Caley vice president.
So, what's happening to this bit?
Well, as you can see, this is the old rose garden.
A lot of these hybrid teas and floribundas
are now looking a bit past their sell by date.
We'll be replacing them with new fresh,
healthy hybrid teas and floribundas.
We've just come out of the old winter garden.
Is it on the plans, are you improving that?
Yes, we have great plans for the Winter Gardens.
At the moment it consists of old polycarbonate panels
that were put there in the '70s.
We'll replace them with glass so that you can see in and out.
Over that wall there is a physic garden. What's the plan for that?
We'll be rebuilding the raised beds so that they're
completely accessible by wheelchair users to come and garden.
It's called the Physic Garden because we're obviously going
to be planting lots of herbs.
There'll be descriptions beside each plant,
saying what you can use it for, what its medicinal purposes are,
what its culinary purposes are, and that sort of thing.
This is a huge project, so when is the finishing date?
The end of the summer 2018.
You have your work cut out, my dear. I wish you luck.
Thank you, George, thank you.
With that deadline looming,
the Caley volunteers and local community are already hard at work.
Stage one of the restoration is to give the garden
a tidy up ahead of building contractors arriving in June.
We've got a plant here, Miscanthus zebrinus,
which has done what it always does,
grows outwards, and that means all the young bits are on the outside.
So the middle sort of dies off naturally,
it doesn't need itself, and you get a whole lot of dead wood,
which just comes away in your hand, and really it can be discarded.
And then, when we're dividing, we're cutting away the middle bit
so you replant the small bits on the outside so that they then
repeat what they've done before and start growing outwards again.
When you're moving a shrub like this, which is well-established,
it's always best to basically contain the branches because
it limits the damage you'll do when you're actually digging it out.
So that's the first task that we've got to do, gather it round,
and we're going to...
Hold like that.
The mantra is, "dead, diseased and crossing".
Start with the dead wood, take all that out because that can die back.
Then you find anything that looks diseased and nasty, throw that away.
Then anything that's crossing the centre,
so you leave the centre quite open.
Then you go round the edge and try and cut it back to
outward-facing buds so it makes a nice bowl-shaped rosebush.
This is a miscanthus. Miscanthus zebrinus.
It's a good idea to cut these back
so that the new, fresh growth can come up cleanly.
But if you don't cut them down low enough, and leave that sort of
length up, then what it means is that when you're bending down
to weed something else,
you can really easily jab yourself in the eye with one of these.
And it hurts.
Once complete in summer 2018,
Saughton Gardens will become a permanent home for the Caley.
David Knott is the president.
The plan very much is for our new headquarters to be here,
and as we develop the garden, we'll develop the garden through time
for the benefit of the local community as well.
We have ambitious plans to develop our core educational programmes,
our grow and learn programmes,
our master gardener, and with other therapeutic gardening charities
like Trellis, to really maximise the potential of this space.
200 years since the first meeting of the Caley,
and this is where we are now. Here for the next 200.
The value now of health and wellbeing,
200 years ago was only becoming apparent,
that's why many of these parks and green spaces throughout Scotland
Now, hopefully as we develop this space, the value of health
and wellbeing continues to be recognised very much for the future.
This is the time of year when we're recommending that gardeners
use a mulch on the garden, on the fruit crops,
and in the shrub borders,
to cut down weeding and so on, and to feed the plants.
It has implications for cost, however,
and I'm interested in that particular thing
because I sometimes think people don't realise how much it costs.
So we've set out a little observation here.
This is Kolkwitzia, the beauty bush, the same one in each plot.
There are four different mulches at two different depths.
So, we start off with a material which I've not used.
Seen it before - some enterprising farmer's found it. Straw.
When composted, it makes a very fine mulch. So this is strulch.
But, to cover one square metre, two inches deep,
sorry about the mix-up there, five quid.
Quite a lot.
This is a commercial bark, which is £4.50.
This is a finer commercial bark, but nonetheless it's only three quid,
to cover that square metre to a two-inch depth.
A square yard, if you like.
And then, our own composted bark, zilch.
It speaks for itself.
The argument has been made.
Nonetheless, we've dropped down from two inches deep to one inch deep.
The question is, will that be enough?
When will it need to be topped up?
Only time will tell, but I reckon that if you can make your own,
you'll not be out of pocket.
Well, you know, I'm not sure how many favourite flowers I have,
but this is one.
It's the Snakeshead Fritillaria,
and when you look at the petals here, perhaps you can see why
it's called the Snakeshead because of the patterning on them.
They are gorgeous.
These ones have been naturalised in the wild area, or the wild wood.
I also planted them in the lawn in autumn time last year,
and they're a little bit behind.
Just starting to see some of those flower buds form.
And I think that's quite interesting because
within a garden you can have these little microclimates,
and here it must be just a little bit more sheltered and warmer.
Earlier in the programme, I was planting trees.
I wanted to come back to this one, and an especially important point.
Here we've a little weeping cherry,
the very first one that I planted with a single stake, and notice
that this plant has been grafted right at the top of the stem.
So we're used to seeing other fruit trees and things
where the graft is just above ground.
Here, the stem has been made of the root stock right up to here,
grafted at the top, and vitally important that that's protected by
staking at this point here so that there's no stress on the graft.
Well, I'm glad we've taken a little detour around this corner
because isn't that looking splendiferous?
It is absolutely gorgeous. I'd call it a large shrub really, would you?
-Yes, large or small tree.
-Absolutely stunning. Do you get any smell from there?
-I can't get any...
-I'm not good at it.
-..fragrance, but it is beautiful.
You get good autumn colour as well, don't you?
Well, indeed, and doesn't it go so well here with the Pulmonaria?
It's a really nice combination, the blue and,
-what would you call that, lemony lime, I suppose?
-Lemon yellow, yes.
Anyway, 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, Jim, it's all about saving money again.
It's vegetable gardening on a budget.
And I shall be doing the old turnip job again,
looking at some new varieties of summer turnips.
No salad this week. I haven't recovered from last week's!
-Until next time, bye-bye.
Carole and Jim are also both planting potatoes; Jim is planting new blight-resistant varieties in the main veg plot, whereas Carole tries cheap and cheerful potato bags on the decking.
The typical size of a UK garden is 14sqm, which provides little space for planting trees. Jim has asked the team to each choose their best tree for a small garden and is planting them all in Beechgrove to compare and contrast.
Saughton Park is a faded, hidden garden gem in the south west of Edinburgh. The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or the Caley, as it's affectionately known, has taken up the challenge of renovating this once-grand park and garden. George will visit the project on a regular basis during its design and build.