Monty Don – Gardeners’ World – 5th April 2019

In this week’s Gardeners’ World, Monty Don turns his attention to the pond at Longmeadow. He adds a splash of colour to the planting with some perennial springtime favourites, as well as giving advice on pond maintenance which can be carried out now without disturbing wildlife. 

Nick Bailey travels to Lincolnshire to meet a family of daffodil growers who are celebrating a hundred years of growing one of our most iconic spring flowers, and we meet a woman in Somerset who is passionate about peonies and shares her tips on how to grow them in borders and in pots.

Why does Rocket have purple leaves?

The programme starts before the opening credits with Monty planting out some Rocket plants. They have been sitting in module plugs for a few weeks. The leaves have turned purple which Monty explains is due to stress in the plant. It’s nothing to worry about and once planted out in the soil, new leaves will be lovely and green.

Around the pond at Longmeadow

Monty has mulched around the plants that surround the pond, to try and keep the ground moist. This is required by the plants selected to border the pond.

PRIMULA WILSONII VAR. ANISODORA – grows 2 to 3ft tall. They like damp soil in a sunny position – ie near a pond. Click here to view on Amazon.
Primula pulverulenta Mealy Primrose. Grow 4m tall.
Primula bulleyana Bulley’s primrose

Peonies feature, Langport Somerset

Susana Applegate has grown Peonies for about 25 years.

They flower from May to end of June. There are five major forms of Peonies. From the simple single, the imperial flower, the semi-double, the bowl and the triple decker.

For best success, don’t plant them any deeper than 2cms below the soil and pick a sunny spot. (As a rule of thumb they like sun for half the day) They also grow very successfully in pots. They are also maintenance free, just cut them back in autumn when the foliage dies back.

Don’t worry about ants on Peonies, they are just eating the nectar off the flowers which are about to open, they are not eating the plant and wont do any harm.

If you’ve never grown Peonies before then Susana recommends starting with this:

Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’
You should get a lot of flowers in a short space of time. – Click here to view suppliers

Back at Longmeadow Monty explains that it’s a myth that Peonies are hard to grow. He plants some to show how easy it is:

Paeonia is ‘Karl Rosenfield’ – this will need support. This is one of the Hurbtious Peonies. Click here to view suppliers

Before you buy, you need to be aware of the 3 types:

  • Tree Peonies – actually shrubs, carry large flowers. Need to be planted deep.
  • Hurbtious Peonies, they need support or they will start flopping about.
  • Intersectional Peonies – which are a mixture of the above two. They are very robust and don’t need any support. They are very expensive, the one below cost Monty £70.
Paeonia ‘Scarlet Heaven’ – flowers quite late in the season. This is one of the Intersectional Peonies. Grows to about 3ft. At the time of writing this is available from Primrose Hall for £127 – click here

Nick Bailey Taylors Bulbs Lincolnshire Daffodil Feature

Narcissus ‘Carlton’, is ideal for planting in long grass and naturalising. It’s been around for over a hundred years. It will gradually spread over time.

When you buy a packet of bulbs they have probably been grown for about 5 years. When planting you should plant, twice the depth of the bulb. They do need a lot of water during the growing season. The biggest mistake people make is to cut back the foilage too soon.

Narcissus ‘Mount Hood’ – click here for suppliers
Narcissus ‘Jack the Lad’

Back at Longmeadow Monty explains how he loves his white Daffodil’s.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ Daffodil – The white Daffodil – click here

Growing Veg in a small area feature

Carrot ‘Nigel’
Kale ‘Cavolo Nero’ (‘Black Tuscany’) – One of Monty’s Favourites.

Gardening Jobs for the 1st weekend in April

  • Cut back herbs – Thyme and Sage can soon get woody, it’s important to cut them back hard at this time of year.
  • Harvest rhubarb – never cut, just give it a nice firm tug at the base.
  • Clear old growth on ferns
Fritillaria imperialist ‘Rubra’ Crown imperial ‘Rubra’ – this is pollinated by birds rather than bees.