Gardeners’ World has a full hour of gardening this Easter weekend and Monty gets going with a new planting project, as well as giving plenty of tips on getting our lawns and plants into tip top condition for the season ahead. And Monty has a surprise guest visiting for Easter, Rachel de Thame. 

If you have dry shade, dappled shade or deep shade, Carol Klein is on hand to show us the spring planting partners which grow happily together, Adam Frost meets a woman who has created seven individual gardens around her home in Worcestershire, and Joe Swift and Florence Headlam are on a Walsall allotment helping out on a community growing project for children with special needs. 

Monty and Rachel de Thame in the Paradise Garden

The intensity of the beauty of small things

Monty Don

Rachel said that being very ill had heightened her senses and awareness of every small detail in the garden. Last year she was too ill to do any gardening but still got great pleasure and stength from being out in the garden with the plants.

Open Doors Special Needs Project

The project has around 40 children who come and use the site from around the Birmingham area. It’s one of the few places the special/additional needs children can access the outdoors in Birmingham. It’s been going about a year. The children respond really well to being outside and growing their vegetables.

Creating a Sensory Garden

They have used bark clippings for the paths as they wear well with lots of children walking on them – always a good idea as relativley cheap and a great way to encourage more microbes and wildlife into the garden.

The children really loved creating the sensory bed, mixing the soil, sand and compost before planting Mediterranean plants such as lavender, rosemary, sage and chives.

They plant several varieties of Thyme as the scent is heady when the children touch the leaves.

There has been a lot of research showing the benefits of being outdoors and gardening to mental health. It helps children with a range of conditions to develop in a low-pressure environment.

Creating a secret den with Willow

Put the willow in about 30cms deep to create a living structure.

Willow is a lovely tactile plant to work with. The poles will take root and grow and will then need pruning back each year to maintain the shape.
Create the roof of the Willow Den by weaving the branches together and tying them together.

Monty Don Grass Lawn Tips

To grass lawn tips and a quick cheat:

  1. Don’t cut the grass too short. If the grass is healthy there won’t be a chance for the weeds to get in.
  2. Bare patches on your lawn? Put a fork in to loosen up the ground and then ideally sprinkle on some sharp sand to improve the drainage. Then scratch over and then sprinkle with grass seed – thinly, you won’t get better grass by oversowing. Water every day until it starts to grow. Don’t mow until it’s two inches long.
  3. Sort out your lawn edges – it’s a bit of a cheat but quickly makes any lawn look better.

How to deal with shade in your garden.

Shade offers us the opportunity to grow all sorts of wondrous plants.

Carol Klein
Adiantum capillusveneris. Maidenhair fern
Muscari ‘Baby’s Breath’ Grape hyacinth
Erythronium ‘Jeanette Brickell’ Dog’s tooth violet
Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Shadow’ Silver spear
Omphalodes cappadocica Navelwort
Trillium rivale
Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus‘ Spring pea
Easy to grow from seed and grows well in dappled shade

Adam Frost visits Morton Hall in Worcester

Set in 8 acres of beuitiful countryside, they have used clever succession planting to extend each of the seasons.

Arts and Crafts idea of individual gardens. Anna has created 7 separate gardens in the grounds but each interconnected with tricks of the trade such as the natural landscape and matching colours.

The gardens will be open to the public later in the year under the national gardens scheme.

Back at Long Meadow Monty and Rachel are planting a new dyer’s bed

The intention is to plant the bed entirely with plants that can be used to make dye.

Woad, which makes blue. Apparently you shouldn’t let it flower if you want to use the leaves to make blue dye as the flowering weakens the dye.

Isatis tinctoria – Woad
Hypericum x hidcoteense ‘Hidcote’ St John’s wort
Alcea rosea ‘Halo Cerise’
Rubia tinctorum Dyer’s madder
Calendula officinalis Common marigold – gives a subtle orange dye.

Back at Long Meadow

Monty is putting up the support for his runner beans using bean sticks rather than canes. The should be spaced about a foot apart.

Monty is sowing peas outside.

He thinks a double or triple row is best use of space. He is sowing ‘Alderman’, ‘Eddy’ and ‘Blauwschokker’ which grows 4 or 5ft tall with lovely purple pods.

Pea ‘Ezetha’s Krombek Blauwschokker’

Jobs for the weekend – 3rd Weekend in April

  • Take Dahlia cuttings
  • Prune early flowering shrubs – like honeysuckle
  • Pot up tomatoes – it’s too cold to plant them out as yet.

You can find my full Monty Don, Gardners World reading list here and you can find the full list of Gardeners World programme’s I’ve written notes for here.