We catch up with Frances Tophill, who is thrilled to have her own allotment this year. She shares her plans for the season ahead and makes a start on getting it shipshape. We pay a visit to the alpine house at RHS Garden Wisley to find out from the experts how they care for some of the smallest and most colourful spring gems.
The programme starts with Monty mulching the grass borders with pine bark which he says is slightly acidic which is great for grasses.
Monty is planting grasses in the new paradise garden between the tulips he planted a few weeks ago.
Monty grew over 100 of the above Stipa tenuissima grass plants from a packet of seed which cost about £2.50 six months ago. Had he bought the plants it would have easily been over £250.
There is a good selection of these seeds on Amazon.co.uk – click here.
“Don’t just grow your own, sow your own.“Monty Don
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey. Alpine Feature.
An alpine is anything that grows above the tree line on a mountain. They make ideal patio type plants because they tend to be small due to the conditions they have to endure
Alpine squill is ideal for growing at home. Give it as much drainage as possible by adding grit into your soil.
Lewisia cotyledon is perfect for a sunbaked wall you want to brighten up.
Back at Longmeadow
Creating a pot for Mothering Sunday
It was lovely to hear Monty call it Mothering Sunday instead of the awful commercial “Mothers Day” which seems to be in common usage now.
Fill the pot with fresh peat-free compost. Don’t be tempted to recycle compost because the goodness will be gone from it. (You can always put used compost on the compost heap).
Monty used Euphorbia x martini as the centre piece for the pot.
WARNING: When handling any type of Euphorbia best to wear gloves as the sap is caustic and it will burn your skin. If you get any sap on your skin was immediately.
Monty advises to keep the planting in contains simple with just one or two colours – they one he’s doing here is just yellow and green with a few red highlights.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Monty is harvesting it for the first time this year. It was planted about a year ago. It will only go on for another month or so, so make the most of it while in season.
Spinach and Rocket
If planted now you should be able to harvest right through into summer unless it gets very hot. He plants them a handspan apart, no closer.
With Rocket you could be harvesting 10 days or so after planting out.
Both mustn’t dry out but they also like good drainage so are ideal for raised beds.
Jobs for the weekend
- Dig in green manure
- Pinch out sweet peas
- Prune hydrangeas