Episode 4 The Beechgrove Garden


Episode 4

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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Transcript


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-Not a bad morning.

-It's fine, and I can smell the hyacinths.

-Yes, yes.

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Hello, there. Welcome to Beechgrove.

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I'm just saying, it's not a bad morning but there's still

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a little bite in that wind, you know.

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It's dropping at night-time.

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I think we've got to still be a little bit careful, haven't we?

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-Oh, we do indeed. Now, you've taken me to the flower garden.

-I have.

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I think there's some striking displays here and let's start

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-down at the bottom corner.

-Yes, yes.

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To explain that last year with the spring bedding,

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we had the same idea with the violas, but we planted

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bulbs right through the scheme and you couldn't see those violas.

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-Right, yeah.

-So we've gone for the

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bulbs in the centre and the violas around.

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-That's a nice combination.

-What's that variety? Cos it's rather nice.

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That is Rapture.

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Cyclamineus type narcissus. Lovely reflex petals.

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-How do they get these names?

-Goodness knows.

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That one took my eye earlier on, that little multi-headed one.

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Well, you need to smell that one as well, Jim. Silver Chimes.

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Lovely fragrance. Almost sort of jasmine. Again, a bit like hyacinth,

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-I suppose.

-Yes, yes.

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Then we've got the polyanthus.

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I'm never too sure about mixing the colours.

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I quite like sort of single colours.

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-But the tulip's quite nice.

-Yes.

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It doesn't do it for me, for some reason or other.

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That might be why. I prefer just the contrast, one colour with the other.

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-So the white one there with the yellow centre, that's Concerto.

-OK.

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Now, we've come here and we've got obviously good polyanthus but

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the tulips are still to come.

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But they will work because they're going to be ...

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-That's going to be in flower.

-I think that's quite striking.

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That tulip is Foxtrot, and in that little tub over there,

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it's starting to flower,

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so it's going to be a pink.

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-Apple blossom type pink.

-Yeah.

-But this is the guy.

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This is the daddy of them all, isn't it? Isn't it a belter?

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Well, he is amazing, that tulip.

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But it is a mistake,

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because again what's happening is that we can't see the polyanthus

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and it should have been a compact dwarf variety of tulip, Shakespeare,

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which I know that one quite well because it

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has stripy foliage and it's orange and yellow.

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So I don't know what we've got, but you like that one.

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Well, I certainly do and I would certainly plant it again,

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but I might report it back and hope to get my money back.

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Or get some replacements.

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Great. It's great to see all that colour, to be honest.

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It's just wonderful. Meanwhile, in the rest of the programme...

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I'm in a city centre park which is just about to undergo

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a fabulous face-lift.

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And this is Caragana arborescens Pendula,

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a big long name for quite a small tree.

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It's known as the pea tree and it's a relative of the Laburnum.

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My specialist subject this week is picking out a few trees

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for the smaller garden.

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Well, it's time to get the early potatoes planted.

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You can see what the ground was like before we started here this morning.

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Quite rough.

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The weeds are beginning to grow, so it's the ideal time to do it.

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And the first thing that Mhari did,

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not me, was to fork the ground into sort of smaller bits.

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Then we tramped it, just to firm it up, and now the fertiliser goes on

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for the first row of potatoes. This is ounces to the square yard.

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There we go.

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And it's kind of placement either side of the row where the

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tatties are going. Right, Mhari, let me past and I'll get the line.

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On you go. You keep on going.

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Don't want to stop folk working.

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Next thing to do is to get the line set.

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And we'll be planting the early potatoes.

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And the first one is abbot.

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Now, I've never grown abbot before,

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but Miss B grew abbot on the decking last year and she

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compared it with rocket and thought it was much better than rocket,

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so it's been promoted to the full vegetable plot.

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And we're going to plant them today.

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And you reckon from planting time sort of 12 weeks or

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so we should be harvesting some nice tatties.

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Then we'll follow on, we'll have Maris Bard,

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which is another well-known early potato.

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It goes in next, in the next row,

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and then it will be second earlies and early main crop and so on.

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Now, then, Mhari. Is that straight?

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I'd say so. Perfect.

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We used to say... This is a Scottish phrase -

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a man wi' a corkie and a blunyon would never notice. Right.

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Then we plant them about... Are you going to do the planting, dear?

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-Yeah.

-Good for you. I'll put them out about a foot apart.

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30 centimetres, if you're metricated.

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And we look forward to a handsome crop

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of Abbot.

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From planting, it takes about 12-14 weeks,

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depending on the weather, before you've got a crop worth harvesting.

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Next would be the second earlies,

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and they take a little bit longer,

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so you finish up with a continuous supply of new potatoes,

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which is the whole point. What's the soil like?

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Because it's been freshly done, you see, it's quite easy to handle.

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Very easy to handle, yes.

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And it's more tatties on the decking, but of course,

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here we'll be growing them in containers.

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And I always like to try something slightly different because I

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don't know how many years that I have grown tatties in

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containers, but it's well worth it.

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So this year I'm using this container, which we tried last year.

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Really successful. Very happy with it, and it's still looking good.

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The cost of that is around about £2.70.

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But if you're maybe trying for the first time and you don't want

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to spend too much money, we found these containers,

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and they only cost a pound. Perhaps a little more flimsy.

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I don't know how long they will last, but it's well worth a try.

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Also, because it's slightly bigger,

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I reckon I can get four tubers into this one.

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And variety-wise... Now, Jim, he was planting earlies.

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These are second earlies. It's a variety called Jazzy.

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And they're going to take a couple of weeks longer, so instead

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of 12 weeks, maybe 14, perhaps 15 weeks before we can harvest them.

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Compost is in the bottom, just a few inches,

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then you put the tubers in,

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then we put a little bit more compost to cover the tubers and then

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as they start to grow, you gradually fill up that container.

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So that's Jazzy, and in the catalogue, they actually say

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that's a salad potato and it might be as good as Jersey Royals,

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so we'll definitely have to have a taste test with that one.

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I've also got Elfe, another second early. Never tried it before.

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And Gemson, another second early.

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Also that's meant to be a good salad potato.

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So we will have six containers.

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Also I'm introducing a little bit more fruit.

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Last year, Jim and myself, we introduced a lot into a small bed.

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It's amazing what you can fit into that,

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and all the fruit in there is quite small,

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and I thought this time we'll try some in containers.

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They're also recommended for hanging baskets,

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but a hanging basket is really open to the elements and it's

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quite difficult to get your watering right.

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So I thought instead, and it's a little bit of a tip,

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I've upturned one of the containers using exactly the same container,

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so that acts as a pedestal, and therefore the fruit can trail over.

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I've got a strawberry and the variety is called Cherry Belle,

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so that's slightly confusing, isn't it?

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But the fruits are meant to mature to

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a deep purple colour and also meant to be really sweet.

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I'm introducing as well another raspberry.

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This time it's called Ruby Fools.

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We've got Ruby Beauty in the bed there,

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and it's looking quite healthy.

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That's going to tumble down by about 12 inches, and then

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lastly, all these other containers,

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I'm going to be really busy with lots of crops,

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mainly salad crops, and we want to sow them little and often, so if

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I start sowing now, maybe in about three weeks' time,

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I'll sow some more.

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So we've got things like lettuce, coriander, rocket.

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Also I'm trying a couple of varieties of beetroot.

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I've already sown the beetroot in here and they come in little

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seed clusters and the seed cluster,

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it means that it should contain lots of little seeds,

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but the two varieties I'm trying, I've got Moneta and Solo.

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They're both mono-germ varieties,

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so only one seedling within that cluster,

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and that helps reduce the thinning.

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And we'll compare those when they start to mature.

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I've long held the view that a garden is not really

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a garden without a tree.

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Or three.

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And, of course, if you're going to plant a tree in your garden,

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you want to know what size it'll grow to,

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because it's an investment for a very long time,

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so you've got to do your homework.

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Is it going to be big enough? What's the growth rate?

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How soon will you have to start pruning it? All of these things.

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Well, I'm going to spend a little bit of time looking at some

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of the trees that we've planted in the garden here over the years,

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and one or two new ones to extend your knowledge.

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And here we are by this wonderful birch.

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These would be planted in the late 90's,

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when this garden was starting to grow, so to speak.

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Could you cope with one of these in your garden?

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Perhaps not. We'll find something smaller and a little bit more

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compact. That's the story today.

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In this little ploy,

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we invited all the presenters and the staff to pick

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a tree that they thought would be suitable for a small garden, taking

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into account the shape, the size, the rate of growth, whether it's

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got nice flowers, whether it's got fruit, autumn colour, etc, etc, etc.

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And we put them in a line so that we can compare these very things,

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one with the other.

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And this is my choice. Prunus Snow Showers,

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a lovely little weeping cherry.

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Absolutely at its best at the moment, looking gorgeous.

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Fine for a small garden. It won't take up a huge amount of space.

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It'll come out the way, of course.

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And you see cherries all over the country.

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As long as the drainage is good, it's going to work fine.

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So here it is. It's planted.

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It's ready for the last stage of filling in.

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And into the hole went some mycorrhiza,

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which you see there, a little cupful, spread around so that

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the roots aren't touched with it, and a bit of fertilizer as well.

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So it only remains for me to finish it off, fill the hole in,

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tramp it down.

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Well, this is Chris' choice. This is Cornus controversa Pagoda.

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Chris has chosen this because of its wonderful flowering in the

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spring, and some berries in the autumn,

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but the real key to this plant is its autumn colour.

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Dark red. Absolutely stunning.

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The only tree we could get a hold of had this enormous ball of

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soil around the roots, a really big ball of soil, and a very short stem,

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so staking it in the conventional way was not going to work.

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So what we've done is so-called invisible staking.

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Three pins put into the ground, either side of the ball,

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and then trapping it down, we've put these cross pieces.

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And that root ball won't budge. That's the motive for doing this.

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You've got to keep the root ball still, absolutely still so that

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it's not going to rock about and break new roots.

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And now, I suppose...

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..this is the time when you cut the strings.

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And you get the full benefit of this tree. It's really rather nice.

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Gah! Ha-ha!

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So far, we've been dealing with newly-planted trees for the

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average garden, but there are some trees in the Beechgrove here

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which are good plants for any kind of garden.

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My first choice here is Prunus serrula with its wonderful bark,

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an absolute stunner of a cherry.

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The Tibetan cherry. Now, I'm 5"8 in old money.

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This has been here for 20 years,

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and I reckon it could be accommodated in a lot of gardens.

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It's an absolute cracker.

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This is Carole Baxter's choice.

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It is a Sorbus, a rowan tree,

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and any kind of rowan tree is suitable for a small garden.

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This is a particularly special one,

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and I would agree with her - it's one of the best.

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This is Sorbus vilmorinii.

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And all the good things about it are that it's got beautiful,

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lacy foliage, nice flowers in the spring, berries in the autumn,

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it doesn't get too big, it can be grown in most types of soil.

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So vilmorinii is one of the top of the list trees.

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It's the one by which I would probably judge others.

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We've chosen at the same time here to illustrate another way of

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staking. Here we've got a double stake this time,

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and I'll show you the reason why.

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Mr Callum, sir. We're going to put a crossbar on here.

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Because in windy sites... Our prevailing wind is behind us here

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so it's going to blow this tree, and it could blow it over,

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but using this technique, there's no way it's going to blow it over.

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Right.

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Putting the crossbar in place.

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Why not that side?

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Because the wind blows against the crossbar and onto the main,

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so it's not going to shift it.

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And the tree is on the other side,

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so when the wind blows the tree, it's going to tug away.

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It's not going to get pushed up against the crossbar,

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so it's safe and there's no chafing.

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At all, so we're ready now to put the tie on here. Good, good.

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Once round the tree, and once round the crossbar.

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And if you find that that is not enough,

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you can put another one on, and put it the other way around.

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This specimen has been chosen by the staff. It's a crab apple.

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It's called Royalty. It's very popular.

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It's been around for quite a wee while now,

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and its principal attributes are, of course, the copper foliage

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and the lovely deep pink flowers that come on it in the spring.

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You'll notice we've given it a sloping stake.

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That's another option that some people might prefer.

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So that one's done well, and we now go to...

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George's choice, which is an Amelanchier, Rainbow Pillar.

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This is new to me, not Amelanchier, but this particular variety,

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and George is very keen on it.

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Again, its shape, beautiful white flowers in the spring,

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great autumn colour,

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grows on most types of soil. This is another cracker.

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Get on with it, dear boy.

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We've just finished planting George's choice,

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Amelanchier Rainbow Pillar, and that would indicate from the name

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that it's going to be a poplar shape, isn't it?

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Well, this is another Amelanchier.

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This one's 15 years old, and this is lamarckii, but once again, I'm 5"8.

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This is what it'll grow to in 15 years' time.

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But it's another topper.

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Coppery-coloured early foliage. You can just see it coming through.

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Flowers and good autumn colour.

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Well, this is the last curtain, I suppose.

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This is Brian Cunningham's choice and it is a belter.

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Acer grosseri hersii. It's one of these wonderful maples

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with grey-green foliage.

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And then, when they've all dropped, you've got that wonderful,

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wonderful snake bark effect on the stems.

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Now, the whole lot will need looking at again fairly soon, because

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there's the small matter of pruning to be done,

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but we'll leave that for another day.

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This splendid plaque on a building in George Street in Edinburgh

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commemorates the birthplace

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of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

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The Cale, as its fondly known, first met here in 1809.

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Its purpose from the outset was to draw together people from the

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professional and amateur ranks to encourage and support

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horticulture and gardening across the whole of Scotland.

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And I'm happy to say,

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as honorary president of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society,

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a new chapter in the society's history is just starting.

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Not here, but over at the other side of the city.

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Saughton Park and Gardens is one of Edinburgh's hidden jewels.

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Located in the south west of the city,

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the eight-acre walled garden and surrounding parkland

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has a rich history in horticulture.

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Laid out in the 17th century on Saughton Hall estate,

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the grounds were home to an old country residence,

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later converted to an asylum.

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Patients used the surrounding gardens as an early form of

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horticultural therapy.

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The grounds were eventually sold, and in 1908,

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Saughton hosted the Scottish National Exhibition,

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which attracted more than three million visitors to the park

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and gardens over the six-month event.

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Recently, Saughton, like many other parks and gardens across the

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country, have struggled because of lack of funding.

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So two years ago, the Cale and the City of Edinburgh put together

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a joint bid for heritage lottery funding.

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They've been successful, and they've won 3.8 million,

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and the city has added extra to that great tranche of money,

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so now they can revitalise this park, which is an absolute gem.

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Peter McDougall is a project development officer with the

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City of Edinburgh Council.

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So what's the surrounding population like?

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What's the demographic that we've got here?

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It's amazing. It's a city centre park.

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We're right next to one of the busiest roads in Edinburgh.

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We have lots of ex-council houses round about, there's some

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quite affluent areas, there's some quite poor areas as well.

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We have a higher than average population of people with

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long-term health problems, so there's an interesting demographic.

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So how many locals actually use the park?

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Local people - strangely, 40%.

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Astonishing - I met a chap who just lives across the road there

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last year who'd never been in the park.

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And he's lived here for 20 years, so it's a kind of hidden gem,

0:19:140:19:17

Saughton Park, so the idea is that we start to run events in the

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park, so we hope to try and take that up to maybe about 50%,

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I think, is the target of local people,

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50% of people from further afield.

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Plans for Saughton's horticultural face-lift include creating

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a 140-metre double herbaceous borders in the central path.

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To the garden's south, bedding will be removed and replaced with

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herbaceous planting in an informal prairie style,

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which will allow clear views of a newly-refurbished bandstand.

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Old stables will be turned into a community meeting space,

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and outside will be the Cale's kitchen garden,

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where horticultural workshops will be run.

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A courtyard will accommodate plant fairs and farmers' markets

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while a new cafe will keep gardeners and the public fed and watered.

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Jasmin Cann is a landscape designer and Caley vice president.

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So, what's happening to this bit?

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Well, as you can see, this is the old rose garden.

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A lot of these hybrid teas and floribundas

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are now looking a bit past their sell by date.

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We'll be replacing them with new fresh,

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healthy hybrid teas and floribundas.

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We've just come out of the old winter garden.

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Is it on the plans, are you improving that?

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Yes, we have great plans for the Winter Gardens.

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At the moment it consists of old polycarbonate panels

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that were put there in the '70s.

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We'll replace them with glass so that you can see in and out.

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Over that wall there is a physic garden. What's the plan for that?

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We'll be rebuilding the raised beds so that they're

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completely accessible by wheelchair users to come and garden.

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It's called the Physic Garden because we're obviously going

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to be planting lots of herbs.

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There'll be descriptions beside each plant,

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saying what you can use it for, what its medicinal purposes are,

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what its culinary purposes are, and that sort of thing.

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This is a huge project, so when is the finishing date?

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The end of the summer 2018.

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You have your work cut out, my dear. I wish you luck.

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Thank you, George, thank you.

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With that deadline looming,

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the Caley volunteers and local community are already hard at work.

0:21:350:21:39

Stage one of the restoration is to give the garden

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a tidy up ahead of building contractors arriving in June.

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We've got a plant here, Miscanthus zebrinus,

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which has done what it always does,

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grows outwards, and that means all the young bits are on the outside.

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So the middle sort of dies off naturally,

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it doesn't need itself, and you get a whole lot of dead wood,

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which just comes away in your hand, and really it can be discarded.

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And then, when we're dividing, we're cutting away the middle bit

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so you replant the small bits on the outside so that they then

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repeat what they've done before and start growing outwards again.

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When you're moving a shrub like this, which is well-established,

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it's always best to basically contain the branches because

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it limits the damage you'll do when you're actually digging it out.

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So that's the first task that we've got to do, gather it round,

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and we're going to...

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Hold like that.

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The mantra is, "dead, diseased and crossing".

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Start with the dead wood, take all that out because that can die back.

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Then you find anything that looks diseased and nasty, throw that away.

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Then anything that's crossing the centre,

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so you leave the centre quite open.

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Then you go round the edge and try and cut it back to

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outward-facing buds so it makes a nice bowl-shaped rosebush.

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This is a miscanthus. Miscanthus zebrinus.

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It's a good idea to cut these back

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so that the new, fresh growth can come up cleanly.

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But if you don't cut them down low enough, and leave that sort of

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length up, then what it means is that when you're bending down

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to weed something else,

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you can really easily jab yourself in the eye with one of these.

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And it hurts.

0:23:330:23:35

Once complete in summer 2018,

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Saughton Gardens will become a permanent home for the Caley.

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David Knott is the president.

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The plan very much is for our new headquarters to be here,

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and as we develop the garden, we'll develop the garden through time

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for the benefit of the local community as well.

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We have ambitious plans to develop our core educational programmes,

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our grow and learn programmes,

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our master gardener, and with other therapeutic gardening charities

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like Trellis, to really maximise the potential of this space.

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200 years since the first meeting of the Caley,

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and this is where we are now. Here for the next 200.

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The value now of health and wellbeing,

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200 years ago was only becoming apparent,

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that's why many of these parks and green spaces throughout Scotland

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were developed.

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Now, hopefully as we develop this space, the value of health

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and wellbeing continues to be recognised very much for the future.

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This is the time of year when we're recommending that gardeners

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use a mulch on the garden, on the fruit crops,

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and in the shrub borders,

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to cut down weeding and so on, and to feed the plants.

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It has implications for cost, however,

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and I'm interested in that particular thing

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because I sometimes think people don't realise how much it costs.

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So we've set out a little observation here.

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This is Kolkwitzia, the beauty bush, the same one in each plot.

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There are four different mulches at two different depths.

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So, we start off with a material which I've not used.

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Seen it before - some enterprising farmer's found it. Straw.

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When composted, it makes a very fine mulch. So this is strulch.

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But, to cover one square metre, two inches deep,

0:25:230:25:28

sorry about the mix-up there, five quid.

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Quite a lot.

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This is a commercial bark, which is £4.50.

0:25:320:25:37

This is a finer commercial bark, but nonetheless it's only three quid,

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to cover that square metre to a two-inch depth.

0:25:420:25:45

A square yard, if you like.

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And then, our own composted bark, zilch.

0:25:470:25:52

It speaks for itself.

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The argument has been made.

0:25:540:25:55

Nonetheless, we've dropped down from two inches deep to one inch deep.

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The question is, will that be enough?

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When will it need to be topped up?

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Only time will tell, but I reckon that if you can make your own,

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you'll not be out of pocket.

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Well, you know, I'm not sure how many favourite flowers I have,

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but this is one.

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It's the Snakeshead Fritillaria,

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and when you look at the petals here, perhaps you can see why

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it's called the Snakeshead because of the patterning on them.

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They are gorgeous.

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These ones have been naturalised in the wild area, or the wild wood.

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I also planted them in the lawn in autumn time last year,

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and they're a little bit behind.

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Just starting to see some of those flower buds form.

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And I think that's quite interesting because

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within a garden you can have these little microclimates,

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and here it must be just a little bit more sheltered and warmer.

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Earlier in the programme, I was planting trees.

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I wanted to come back to this one, and an especially important point.

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Here we've a little weeping cherry,

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the very first one that I planted with a single stake, and notice

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that this plant has been grafted right at the top of the stem.

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So we're used to seeing other fruit trees and things

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where the graft is just above ground.

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Here, the stem has been made of the root stock right up to here,

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grafted at the top, and vitally important that that's protected by

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staking at this point here so that there's no stress on the graft.

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Well, I'm glad we've taken a little detour around this corner

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because isn't that looking splendiferous?

0:27:360:27:39

It is absolutely gorgeous. I'd call it a large shrub really, would you?

0:27:390:27:43

-Yes, large or small tree.

-Yes.

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Corylopsis pauciflora.

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-Absolutely stunning. Do you get any smell from there?

-I can't get any...

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-I'm not good at it.

-..fragrance, but it is beautiful.

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You get good autumn colour as well, don't you?

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Well, indeed, and doesn't it go so well here with the Pulmonaria?

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It's a really nice combination, the blue and,

0:28:010:28:03

-what would you call that, lemony lime, I suppose?

-Lemon yellow, yes.

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Anyway, if you'd like any more information

0:28:060:28:08

about this week's programme, it's all in the fact sheet

0:28:080:28:11

and the easiest way to access that is online.

0:28:110:28:14

Next week, Jim, it's all about saving money again.

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It's vegetable gardening on a budget.

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Yes, yes.

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And I shall be doing the old turnip job again,

0:28:220:28:26

looking at some new varieties of summer turnips.

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No salad this week. I haven't recovered from last week's!

0:28:280:28:31

-Until next time, bye-bye.

-Goodbye!

0:28:310:28:34

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.