Gardening magazine. Jim, Carole and George are planting bedding in the Beechgrove Garden. Carole visits a couple with a one-acre mixed garden.
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-Watch the back now, George.
-Can we do a swap?
Hello, and welcome to Beechgrove.
On a late spring morning I'd hoped it was beaming sunshine and all
the rest of it, but the weather, I can tell you, is a bit iffy.
There's some dirty big clouds up there.
Because we're changing the bedding plants and the baskets.
We have a saying in this part of the world -
ne'er cast a cloot till May is oot,
which, translated, simply means,
don't take any layers of clothing off from winter wear because...
until the may-tree is in flower.
That coincides, of course, with the month of May and that's about
the time for us to get our half-hardy bedding plants out.
-So we're getting rid of basically the spring ones...
-..and we're putting in the summer ones for the new display.
And it's amazing, the fact that we planted these up
a couple of weeks ago so they look quite well-established.
Now, what's this lot?
This was the plug that had three plants in one,
-so only three plugs per plant.
-Three different plants.
Three different plants and then we've got the same plants,
but that was nine plugs.
-So this is lazy-man's gardening...
..cos you don't need to think about it. It's a great idea, though.
-And it's looking good, isn't it?
And so, I think, are the fertiliser troughs.
This is my fertiliser observation.
That's one with no fertiliser,
these are the ones with the different brands.
At the moment, nothing different, really.
The last point I would make about this is course the baskets
are up in the air and if it is a late frost, they will be missed.
It's the ground layer that gets it
-and some people got their tatties frosted.
-Didn't they just?
Meanwhile, in the rest of the programme...
Lots of alpine gems in the garden I am visiting this week.
Not only outside, but also undercover.
And I'm having fun at the BEECH - this beech.
But it's not been a bundle of laughs for the gardener
who's been trying to grow plants below it.
It's quite interesting,
I've just been talking about tatties getting frosted
and my next job here is, of course, to cover up these young shaws
in case they get frosted.
But it's a part of the culture of potatoes to do this.
The reason being, of course, if you've got the potatoes growing
within a ridge, they're a lot easier to harvest.
But also, you'll hear us talking to new gardeners especially that if
they've got a spare bit of ground, they don't know what it's like,
grow a crop of potatoes cos it's a cleaning crop.
Cos you see, this is the first cultivation and it coincides with
the first germination of all these young seedlings.
All the roots are all going to be in the top there and they're hopefully
going to get burned off by the sun, which is refusing to appear!
And then in about another three or four weeks,
we will earth up the potatoes again.
This to increase the size of the ridge and, in fact,
to layer the stems, almost.
But don't be worried about covering over these little docks there
because they'll come through.
And you've got a chance then to kill more weeds.
And then by that time the shaws are actually met in the middle of
the row and the weed germination has gone down significantly.
So it is a cleaning crop.
But it's only a cleaning crop if you work the soil regularly,
like what I am doing.
And my next job - cos I've had enough of this -
my next job is a little bit of thinning neeps.
There we go.
Well, this is the first opportunity we've had to have a wee look
at the turnips, salad turnips.
The spring and summer turnips that we sowed in the middle of April.
And purple top Milan, which is this one,
is a variety I've known for long, long years.
But then I looked at the catalogue, there's lots of different varieties.
So we'll have a look at them, compare them,
see what they're like for flavour.
Very good for salads and so on.
I'm thinning them out and I'm expecting them to grow
slightly bigger than golf ball size.
So I need that kind of space between each plant, OK?
So, I'm going to save that one and I'm going to pull that one out,
but I don't want to move the root of this one so I protect it.
And then pull that one out.
That one's for Mr Anderson's salad, right.
So then we measure about the same again.
We can take that one out, we can take that one out and then...
Look, oops, we've got two very close together.
I'm going to get the better one and pull that one out.
And if they need a little bit of firming, by all means do so.
But we're going to have a real feast one of these days,
and for goodness' sake, Mr Anderson,
we're going to have something a bit better in the salad this week.
Today I'm in Newton Mearns, south of Glasgow,
and I'm off to meet Susan, who's got a wee problem
in her back garden where she's struggling to grow
the kind of plants that she'd like to, so I'm off to see what I can do.
Wow, what a day! What a garden you've got, Susan. Very nice.
-But not so rosy as it seems?
You've got a few problems.
This area here in the garden is real...really difficult.
It's mainly this beech tree.
As soon as these leaves come out,
it causes a lot of shade and it makes this area very dry.
The plants grow for a while in the spring and then they tend to
die back and I'm having a lot of problems getting anything
that looks nice in the summer.
Now, we can't see it just now cos the tree isn't in full leaf yet,
but beech trees have actually got such a dense canopy
that they really do block out the light below.
And they're such gross feeders,
they suck out all the moisture.
-We've really got a dry-shade problem, then.
Yes, I think that's probably it.
But I notice you've got a few plants doing well here.
Yeah, there are a few that do not too badly, but they don't tend
to give a lot of variety over the summer.
You've got woodlander plants.
Basically, they come out and perform before trees like this big
beech tree put on their leaves and then shut out the light.
So you've got a lovely little Kerria japonica and your hellebores.
And I've noticed a wee lily of the valley down at
-the bottom there as well.
-That's finally coming.
It's taken us about four years to get to that much, so...
But it's finally coming.
This has given us a big clue.
-We'll maybe stick to that theme of woodlander plants.
-That sounds nice.
I was wondering what you were thinking if we bring in a wee curve
round about here and then we tied it into the pond.
That's going to link these two areas together.
That'll increase our plant space, and we're actually coming out from
the canopy of the tree a wee bitty, which hopefully will allow us
to grow a few more plants at the front as well.
If we incorporate some organic matter into the soil,
that will improve the moisture-holding content,
which will hopefully help the plants survive.
That all sounds really good.
Right, so this is a handy wee trick.
We can lay this out and mark the size of our bed.
-You could use rope, string, whatever.
Then you can actually visually see what your bed's going to look like.
-What a good idea.
-Need a bit more.
So we want a nice curved shape.
-How's that? What you thinking?
-Maybe a wee bit wide.
-Perhaps if it could go in a little bit?
-Yeah, no problem.
-Oh, that looks good.
-Oh, there we go.
Oh, where to start?
-It's tough, isn't it?
-Yeah, it is.
Whoa! Take your legs off.
You can see there's roots there.
Aye, there's heaps of them in here.
We're being careful, but we don't want to damage them.
That's where the feeding roots are, under here.
What can we do with the turf?
Well, it's good turf and we don't want to just throw it away.
I'm thinking what we could do is, you've got this little spot
that you're not needing for a...
-No, I don't do anything in this patch.
Well, if we stack this here...
..in about 18 months' time,
-this is going to turn into a nice little compost.
-Always looking for extra compost.
-Yeah. Well, we all are.
So the way to do it is grass-to-grass and soil-to-soil.
-And that will help it decompose.
And we're just going to stack it up like that.
-What are you thinking so far?
-I think it's looking good.
-I like the shape.
-It's a nice time for our organic compost.
I've gone for this composted bark.
The reason I've gone for this,
it's particularly good for clay soils
cos you can see it's got loads of little bits in it.
What we're going to do is we'll spread this over the surface
of the soil, we'll then fork it in
and that's going to improve the structure.
It's then going to leave some gaps in the soil and that's where
the roots can then go searching for the oxygen.
Once we've got a happy, healthy plant with good roots,
it can then start to draw up the nutrients and, more importantly,
it's going to suck up any moisture that is in here.
And it'll mean there's a lot more moisture actually stays in here
as well cos we're adding some goodness into the soil.
We're just going to give it a light spread over.
We don't want too thick a layer, not in at this point, anyway.
It looks so full of goodness.
I've got Callum bringing me a selection of plants that are
especially suitable for dry and shaded areas like this one.
The first plant we've got is this mahonia.
This is a very good architectural shrub. And can you feel the leaves?
Yes, very spiky!
I know you said you wanted that wee gap plugged in
-because your dog keeps jumping over the fence...
Well, I'm quite sure she's not going to do it now.
No, that'll keep her away.
And the beauty about this thing is it flowers over winter
and the flowers are fragrant.
-So that's going to give you something to look forward to.
I really like this. I think this is such a pretty leaf.
-Gorgeous, isn't it?
-This is a brunnera.
This one's called Jack Frost.
Blue forget-me-not flowers,
and they go really well with that leaf, as you say.
And then these two - we've got Aucuba japonica.
Well, this isn't everybody's favourite
but it's as tough as old boots. It'll pretty much grow anywhere.
It's got waxy leaves and along with the elephant ears,
this bergenia, well, they don't dry out so much.
The reason they've got waxy leaves -
it prevents that water loss through the leaves.
-So that should help them in these dry conditions.
And these young leaves are a really pretty colour, anyway.
-They are, eh? They're gorgeous.
-All right, then, Susan, let's get these planted.
OK, then, Susan, what are you thinking now?
I think it looks really good.
-I'm very pleased with it. Thank you.
So we're still going to have our early-season woodland flower.
It's then going to go into a period where it's more about
the foliage and the textures of the foliage as well.
You're going to get some winter flower and the winter scent as well.
That'll be lovely, yeah.
And I love all the different shapes and textures of the leaves.
-That adds a lot to it as well.
-Good. It's something different, eh?
So here's Callum with the final touch.
We're going to introduce a wee pot into this display.
And if it gets a wee bitty sad
because it's not getting enough light,
then all you can do is just move it around,
put it in the sun for a bit of TLC, bring one of your other pots in.
-Great, and change the plants around for the season, I suppose.
It looks really good.
-It really finishes off the corner.
Jim, we opened the programme and George and I were hanging up
the summer bedding hanging baskets and taking away the spring ones.
-It's going to be the same here with the spring bedding
-coming out the and summer bedding going in.
And we have a situation where there are some of the plants here
-that we can save...
-..notably the bulbs, of course.
But one or two of the others we can save. Let's start with the bulbs.
Yes, OK. Let's start with the tulips. What do you think of these?
Well, I think they're a mess, to be honest with you.
They're very funny. There's one or two decent bulbs amongst them.
But if you had a mind to try and get more out of them,
leave the leaves as they are, put them in a cold frame,
-let them dry out and toast completely.
Then clean them off and see if there's anything worth keeping.
Personally, the shape of those - I'd be saying "chuck them".
-I think I might do so!
-But we might find some with decent bulbs.
On the other hand...
-They're so healthy.
-In good nick.
What would you do with these?
Well, I think you've got a choice.
-If you know somewhere in the garden...
-..put them straight in.
-And you let the foliage die down naturally.
I would be tempted to chuck them in,
-or as we would say, heel them in in a corner...
..in a little trench and leave them till the autumn
-until I find the right place for them.
-Or you could use them again
-as a spring bedding display later on.
-Well, you could.
They're very healthy.
What about the violas, which are looking gorgeous at the moment?
-Two minds, you see?
They're due to come out and go in the compost heap.
-What a shame!
-It is sad. It is sad.
I think you could actually take a few up,
cut the flowers off and plant them in a corner and they may well
give you another flowering later on.
-Yes, they're a short-lived plant, though.
-But polyanthus, we can't throw these away.
-No, that's right.
-And what we've done is... Because we had a mixed bed...
-..we labelled them up.
-Really spoiled the schemes, didn't it?
-Yes, and so you want to make sure
you've got the single colours through it.
So it's a lot of... I think it's like the leeks, isn't it?
-Topping and tailing.
-Well, yes, it is.
I mean, these things can be kept.
-Look, I'm going to go straight in here.
-Go on, then.
And this is what you do with them.
-I'm going to chop that right back.
If you chop that all away, you get rid of it
and you might get rid of a few greenfly, et cetera, as well.
Yes, and then what you've got to look at is to see if
there's maybe one or two rosettes there.
Have you got one already?
Well, I'm just ahead of you, you see?
-So you take...
-Oh, look. I didn't get very much there.
-Open it up, like so.
-And you've got two for the price of one!
Now, once again, you can plant them in a little border
in a shady part of the garden and give them a real good soak
and by September you'll have some cracking plants to plant out again.
-And you can keep those for year after year.
-OK, then we've got the new schemes.
-That's all to be cleaned up.
A little cultivation done to the border,
that will just lose moisture,
in a bit of fertiliser and whack in all the new summer bedding.
-Yes, OK. So in that one it's going to be cut flowers.
-And this one is...
-Yes, all set.
-..new to us,
either new in the catalogue or new to us.
-Hardy annuals and half-hardy annuals.
-So we've got a range of marigolds, for example.
-That's going to be a cracker.
-I know what you're going to do.
-Well, I'm going to nip this off.
-You want it to build up, don't you, the plant?
Good foliage, get it settled down.
If it starts to flower, it's got time for nothing else but flowering.
If you take the flowers away, it'll put on some
and it'll come out here like that very quickly.
I'm looking forward to that one.
Last spring, Jim and I gave this Viburnum rhytidophyllum
a huge pruning.
We took it right back into the bare bones.
But look at the recovery. That's just in one year.
And it's looking absolutely magnificent.
Great flowers, great foliage.
The thing is now almost back into a size that we can handle.
But this shrub is getting out of hand.
This is a thing called...
It's from New Zealand
and it's getting a bit big for the situation.
So I'm going to take the opportunity now of propagating it.
So the idea when you're propagating from a plant of this size
is to just have a furtle about in the inside of the plant.
And you're looking for shoots which are vegetative shoots -
those which are not going to flower.
The ones on the outside have all got it into their head that they're
going to produce flower buds, and that stops them from rooting.
So into the middle and then you'll just cut off a shoot in there.
There we go. Lots of cuttings on that.
And I'll take these to the conservatory
and we'll propagate them there.
So, we've brought our cutting material into the glasshouse.
This is the ozothamnus which we took.
And there... Look, there's the flower buds on the end,
these wonderful purple flower buds,
and that's the piece that we discard. We don't want that.
What we're looking for are the vegetative side growths
like we've got there.
These, we're going to just rip off the stem
and take the leaves off the base of the cutting.
And what you get there is a little wispy bit like that at the base.
Now, what I'm going to do with that is just trim it back. OK?
So that gets trimmed off.
We then dip it into the rooting hormone
and then into what is, as you will recognise...
It's a drinks container.
It's half of a plastic bottle.
So we're going to fill this up round the edges with these cuttings,
just like that, and then we would make sure this was well watered.
What happens then is that we get the other half of the bottle
and we just put that over the top like that.
That's in its own little mini greenhouse.
That is not going to die now if it's well watered.
And that's what we've done to it.
So that can be set aside and be left somewhere shady, perhaps,
and it will grow away quite happily.
I've also done a pot of purple sage.
I picked some of these cuttings up when I was coming round.
We can just use another drinks bottle
over the top of those as well. So there we have that in there.
Now, what you will notice on both of those containers
is that I have put some sand on the top of the pots.
There's the sand there. Look at that.
Every time I make a hole with the dibber
some of the sand goes into the bottom of the hole.
And that's important because that adds oxygen to the base of
the cuttings, helps them to root and the idea is
that within, what, five to six weeks, these should all be rooting.
The garden I'm visiting today was formerly part of
the Dalcross Estate near Inverness.
It belongs to Sue and Hamish Mackintosh,
who've spent the last 20 years developing and cultivating
this diverse one-acre site.
Sue, I'm sure you've seen a lot of changes over the years,
but what was the site like when you came here?
Well, the front garden came to about where we're standing.
The rest of it was just part of the field
and was full of bog willows, whins, broom,
a lot of stones because that's where the farmer
used to dump all his stones off his fields.
So lots of clearing. How did you tackle that?
We cut out all the whins and broom and willows and then brought in
-about 700 tonnes of topsoil.
That is a lot of topsoil. A lot of work.
Both of you are gardeners, so how do you divide up the roles?
Well, I do most of the outside work, the planting and the weeding.
-Apart from the construction,
I spend a lot of time in the greenhouse
and I probably will be spending a lot of time in the polytunnel now!
So you don't get into the greenhouses, Sue?
No, I used to have the greenhouses but since he's retired,
I've just been banished!
OK, well, I think we should start under cover,
so let's go and have a look at one of them
-and we'll see you later.
Wow, Hamish, this is so colourful - all these lewisias!
Now, do you grow them from seed?
We're growing them from seed now but most of these ones I bought.
From seed you tend to get a lot of different colours.
You know, I'm quite familiar with the fleshy one, the cotyledon.
Yep, these were the ones we started with
and then we got a bit more ambitious.
We started collecting a few of these carousel once.
I don't know these. So very, very narrow leaves.
Yep, narrow leaves, very compact.
They keep on flowering for ages.
The other thing I love is that you display everything in clay pots.
-It's a bit more work.
It's quite easy to clean a plastic pot but I think it's kinder.
They breathe, don't they?
They breathe and they can absorb moisture
from the outside and the inside.
So apart from the cleaning, they're a lot easier to look after.
-They look nicer, don't they?
-Yeah. I like these little ones,
and some of these ones will actually die off in the winter time,
and you think, "Oh, God, they're dead!"
-And they come back.
-And they come back in the spring.
Well, I have to say, Hamish, I'm very happy in here.
What a beautiful garden room, and things like the bougainvillea
and all pelargoniums.
But I think the major display at the moment is the streptocarpus,
-and I love them.
-Yeah, I've got about 30 streptocarpus now.
This one I got last year. It's got my wife's name - it's a Susan.
The one here is called Ruth, which I bought because my daughter's Ruth.
-Beautiful, isn't it?
-Yeah, very delicate.
So, tell me a little bit about how you propagate,
because I think there's two ways.
You can either take the midrib out or you can take
-cross-sections of the leaf.
-Which is your way?
I'll take the leaf off and we cut it across just below the veins.
I mainly only use the bottom half of the leaf because the top half
-doesn't root so easily.
-OK, so the bottom is better?
The bottom's better. The nearer it is to the base where it came off
the plant will root a lot quicker than the top.
-And what size a section?
-An inch and a half, it doesn't really matter.
As long as you've got a vein.
-OK, so, quicker from the bottom rather than the top.
-Anyway, you'd get too many plants.
-You'd get too many plants.
-What would you do with them?
-I've got too many!
The other streptocarpus that perhaps people won't know about
is the one there in the hanging basket with smaller leaves.
Yeah, that one's just dipped flowers throughout the year.
I am frightened to re-pot it.
-A really good doer, isn't it?
Anyway, I feel very, very comfortable here.
-I think I could sit here all day.
-I do spend a lot of time here.
Now, Sue, this looks like a relatively new construction
-in the garden.
-Yes, this bit's about two years old.
Hamish made this a couple of years ago.
And lots of lovely plants,
and I want to start off with the trilliums,
which I tend to associate more with a woodland situation.
Yeah, they do like the woodland, but they tend to get
a bit lost down in my woods, so I've put them in the shade here
and they seem to be quite happy. That's Trillium sulcatum.
That's lovely, isn't it, with those three red petals?
Yes, it's a very delicate little flower.
-Gorgeous, and there's a white one there.
-Yeah, I love erythroniums.
There's loads of them around the garden
but these pink ones are especially pretty.
-Which variety is that?
-And I think that looks so nice against the Alpine grit.
It makes it stand out, doesn't it?
And you've got one or two yellow ones.
But it isn't just Alpines, is it, that we can see here?
-No, let's go off and have a look at the ponds.
So, this is our latest project, the bog garden.
Hamish has been building this and we've just planted it up
a week or two ago. There are lots of moisture-loving plants.
Yes, you're lucky to have this environment where the plants
-that enjoy a lot of moisture...
-The roots are in the water, will be thriving.
-Things like the hostas.
And then a series of little pools.
Yes, Hamish has just built that to bring the moisture level up a bit.
-To keep the water in here.
Just because of the tree roots - it needed that, really.
Yes, because it's amazing, isn't it? Just coming up a couple of feet...
-I mean, that's not a bog plant!
No, it's not.
A beautiful yellow tree peony. It's just gorgeous.
-It just flowers every year.
-Every year for you?
Yeah, every year.
And is that the same with the rhododendron, the pink rhododendron?
Yes, that flowers every year without fail. It's always beautiful.
So, again, you've found the right spot for that.
-Yes, just under the tree canopy.
-Yeah, a bit of shelter.
You know, I think today we've caught those blooms
-at their peak, haven't we?
-Yes, they're just beautiful.
Well, this is quite a feature - the pond.
But you've utilised the burn, Hamish.
Yeah, we've just widened it here and made it a bit deeper
and I put in a bit of decking.
I love this bit, like, "I just did this,
"and I put in a bit of decking." I mean, it's a lot of work.
-And there's no liner.
-There's no liner, no.
It's just a natural clay.
-And it keeps that level.
Something else that I've noticed, Sue,
is a way to grow your Clematis montana.
Not up a wall or a fence, but grow up a tree!
I planted it about ten years ago and just forgot about it
and all of a sudden I realised a year or two ago
that it was halfway up the tree and now it's at the top.
And hopefully it's going to be in full flower for our garden open day
on Sunday 28th May.
-And that is your first open day.
-And you're open from two till five?
-Two till five.
And not only can people enjoy all the plants but they can have
-a cup of tea, a nice piece of cake. I highly recommend it.
-So I hope it goes well. Thank you very much.
Well, the last time I looked at the vine it was to reduce
the number of shoots coming from each spur.
Now it's time to look for the bunches.
There is the potential bunch of grapes there and what
I want to do is just to nick out the top.
That leaf is left there to draw the sap
and in the process the grape will start to swell.
One per shoot is enough.
Following on from Brian's drought-tolerant plants,
here's another one very happy in the garden.
It's underneath the juniper, so it's kind of light shade,
the soil is incredibly dry.
This is a polygala called Purple Passion.
It's creeping along, it flowers for absolutely months
and the flowers really look like a pea plant.
Definitely a keeper.
Isn't this exciting? Look at that. That's a fantastic flower.
Not a brilliant name but one of the earliest of the meconopsis
and it has really got lots of promise.
Many more buds to come. It looks superb.
Well, that's us just about finished.
We started off - it was almost raining.
Then we had brilliant sunshine, now it's coming on again soon,
-so let's get on with it. George?
-There's your salad.
-I'm not one for using forks.
-I'm going to try some of this white radish.
-Two different radish.
There's some pea shoots, there's some of your turnip thinnings.
-I mean, it's absolutely brilliant.
And I will also follow your example and have a piece of the radish.
-That's nice. Really, really sweet.
-You're doing awfully well.
Anyway, we're enjoying the Alpine Garden. Lovely gems here.
I like that little yellow flower there, George, on your right.
-What do you call it?
-This is one of the ranunculus.
And that is Ranunculus gramineus.
-Its long, narrow, grass-like...
-It's related to the buttercup.
-It is really lovely.
And then over there we've got this thing called Veronica gentianoides.
-It looks a wee bit like a small gentian...
-That pale blue?
I quite like the white with the hint of, sort of, purple -
the aubretia, against the slate. Rather nice. Anyway...
You've done a good job.
If you'd like any more information...
Before we get hit by the willow!
..all the information is in the fact sheet.
And the easiest way to access that is online.
-And next week?
-Next week we're being allowed out the garden.
We're going off to Gardening Scotland,
the biggest gardening show in Scotland.
And there's going be lots of plants there.
Anything from one bonsai to begonias, clematis to cacti.
So there you go, don't go spending your money at Chelsea,
come to Gardening Scotland! We'll see you there.
-Until then, bye-bye!
It's bedding plant time and Jim, Carole and George are planting out a bevy of beautiful bedding in the Beechgrove Garden. Scotland's number one bedding plant is the begonia, and Carole checks on the progress of her fertiliser observation using begonias as the test plant.
Brian Cunningham responded to a cry for help from Susan Bulleid in Newton Mearns, who has a problematic dry shady spot under a mature beech tree. Brian uses the beech to its best advantage and creates a new woodland garden fit for purpose.
Carole visits Hamish and Sue MacIntosh in Balnabuel, near Dalcross airport. The couple have carved this one-acre mixed garden full of choice plants out of a fissure of land to create many growing environments.