Notes from Gardeners’ World March 8th 2019

Winter is over and this week marks the first programme in the 2019 series of Gardeners’ World with Monty Don and Carol Klien.

This week there’s advice on how to plant spring flowering perennials for instant impact and recommendations for planting bare root roses full of fragrance in borders and pots. Monty will also begin planning the vegetable garden for the year ahead. 

Carol Klein visits Norfolk and the stunning Winter garden at Bressingham where she celebrates the beauty of conifers and discovers their perfect planting partners.   

We find an inspirational and small garden in Kent bursting with colourful flowers and foliage, most of which are grown in pots. 


The programme starts at Long meadow with Monty in his Spring Garden the snowdrops have finished but the hellebores are coming to their very best.

Monty has a lot of Oriental hybrid hellebores. He has discovered over the years that their offspring (and the self-seed very readily) are always worse than the parent and if your not careful you’ll end up with a lot of ordinary muddy colours. Now Monty adds some fresh, really good hellebores each spring to refresh the gene pool.

Harvington White Speckled Hellebore

Paradise Garden Update

Last year Monty planted some Crab Apple trees. Since then while the programme has been off the air he has planted Acuminata tulips which have long very delicate petals.

Tulipa acuminata Horned tulip
Tulipa acuminata Horned tulip

Monty is adding fragrance and colour to the garden today by planting roses, some going into the ground and some into pots.

The first rose is a damask rose called Madame Hardy which he has bought as a bare root rose. It’s quite a big rose, five foot tall with lots of flowers.

Rosa 'Madame Hardy'
Rosa ‘Madame Hardy’

If you buy roses like this it’s really important that you don’t let them dry out, so he keeps them in an old bag until he’s ready and puts them in a bucket of water to soak for a few minutes prior to planting.

Monty says that when planting roses the graft point needs to be buried and inch under the soil.

Buying barefoot roses gives you access to a much wider range of plants and they are less expensive and Monty has found that they are good strong healthy roses. However, if you are going to buy bare-root roses you need to do it now, the bare-root season ends in the middle of March.

The next rose is Munstead Wood, a David Austin rose.

If you are putting roses in pots, it’s important you pick the right rose. For this Monty has selected Rosa Pompon de Bourgogne.

Monty uses a terracotta pot and a mix of compost, grit and garden soil which adds bacteria and fungi to the mix to keep it healthy.

Small garden feature

We now look at a wonderful little garden in Kent.

Back to Long Meadow for a feature on planting seeds

Early Chilli Jalapeno – spicy but not too hot.

Chilli’s are a slow plant, so you need to be sowing them if you want a decent crop towards the end of summer. The need about 20 Degree C heat to germinate. So place in doors above a radiator or on a heated mat – which Monty considers a good investment if you are planting a lot of seeds.

Tomatoes take about two months from seed before you can plant them out in the garden. From seed they will need pricking out in about 3 weeks time.

Next Monty sows rocket which only takes about 4 weeks to be ready to plant out. It’s also a plant which likes cold weather. Does need heat to germinate, so can go into a cold frame.

Carol Klein visits Bressingham Winter Garden near Diss in Norfolk

While most gardens are dull and drab in winter the Garden at Bressingham is full of colour and exciting shapes. The key plants there are the conifers.

The garden is full of vibrant reds, purples and yellows.

The yellows in the Witch hazel are taken up by the green in the conifers

The greens contrast well with the red of the dogwood.

Apple tree pruning with Monty Don

Given the current weather, Monty recommends getting on with the pruning of your apples and other fruit trees as quickly as possible. Pruning now will stimulate growth. He takes out all the upward facing shoots as they don’t produce fruit. He also removes any branches which will rub together and let in disease. The aim is to create space between the branches – “enough so a pigeon can fly through the tree from any direction”, said Monty.

Jobs for the weekend

  1. Split up and divide self-seeding plants which otherwise form in natural clumps. You can then spread the plants around your borders to create a stunning display.
  2. Plan broad beans.
  3. Cut back late flower clematis right down to the lowest bud.

I hope you find my notes useful. I’d love to hear what you think, do please leave questions and comments below.

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