Notes from BBC Gardeners’ World May 18th 2018 #GardenersWorld

Monty elevates his cottage garden borders this week by adding plants to give height and drama and rejuvenates the design of the grass borders by adding evergreen plants grown from cuttings.

Carol Klein’s plant of the season is the delicate but easy to grow dog’s tooth violet, Joe Swift travels to the Trelissick garden in Cornwall to meet a very special garden volunteer, and Adam Frost returns to Leicestershire to monitor the progress of the new-build garden. We also meet a woman who grows a national collection of polemoniums in her back garden, and we reveal the garden of the fourth finalist in our Every Space Counts competition.

At Longmeadow Monty adds height to the cottage garden by planting:

Verbascum ‘Jackie’ Mullein – soft powder pink and peach – free draining soil, don’t last more than 2 or 3 years. Grows 3 or 4 ft tall

Alcea rosea ‘Halo Apricot’ (Halo Series) Hollyhock – a biannual – prone to rust, the best defence is good air flow and drainage.

Delphinium ‘Magic Fountains Lavender’ (Magic Foundtains Series) – you think of these being blue but they come in a range of colours, this one is a light purple.  These are true herbaceous perennials, so they will last quite a long time and get bigger as they grow. Easy to grow except for one problem, early in Spring the slugs love the new shoots. Likes good drainage and food. Needs supporting, cut back after flowering. Will then reflower in August / September.


Polemonium (the Jacob’s Ladder) Trimdon Couty Durham National Collection Feature:

Dianne Nichol-Brown, had been a member of Plant Heritage. Over 70 in the collection, only 3 of which actually set seed prolifically, these being Polemonium caeruleum the native British wild flower which grows from Northumberland down to Derbyshire.  The other one is pauciflorum, which is yellow and Polemonium boreale Northen Jacob’s Ladder.

The make good cut flowers.

Flower throughout summer

Easy to grow, in shade to the full sun just need a moist soil.

Dianne’s favourite Polemonium is Polemonium foliosissimum.    Foliosissimum means very leafy. Nice purple flowers throughout the summer.

Dianne propagates the Polemonium’s using a mix of Coir Block which she drops into 6l of water and peat-free compost. She fills a seed tray with this mixture.  She then just uses the seed which she collects from the dried flowers. Sprinkle over the seed tray, cover with a little more compost and a sheet of glass. Gemination is then about 14 days. You can then pick them out.

The flowers are edible and can be added to salads.  The attract wildlife into the garden and bee’s love them.

Back at Longmeadow

Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’ Irish yew – they give good height

Yew, hates sitting in a heavy wet soil so if you have clay you’ll have to add grit.

A reminder not to cut back your daffodils – let them die back naturally for another 4+ weeks minimum.


Carol Klein’s Erythronium Feature

They like the shade of woodland, one of the true delights of spring. They are called a true Cinderella plant. They have to do everything before the overhead plants become established, they then go to sleep until the next spring.  They bring simple elegance to the spring scene.

Erythronium ‘Hidcote Pink’ – one of the last to flower and are scentted.

Erythronium oregonum

Erythronium revolutum Mahogany fawn lily

The bulbs have contractile roots, which pull the bulb down to the right depth so that they get the right nutrients. The generic name for Erythronium is ‘dog’s tooth violets’. Nothing to do with violets, they get their name from the shape of the bulb which looks a bit like a dogs tooth.

Erythronium californicum ‘White Beauty’ Fawn lily – distinctive red markings of its petals.  Doesn’t set seed, instead of this divide the clumps of bulbs.


Back at Longmeadow

Monty’s vine is doing well, he pruned it hard in February. Cut back hard.

Quality and quantity don’t mix with desert grapes.

Only have 3 side shoots from main stem bearing fruit. and each side shoot has a maximum of two bunches.

Monty is growing Black Hamberg

Trelissick Cornwall 

A 375 acre estate, at the heart of which is a beautiful woodland garden full of year-round interest and colour. The grounds offer views over the River Fal.

Oliver Goulding is no ordinary volunteer, despite having cerebral palsy, limited mobility and hearing he has been a volunteer at Trelissick for over six years. He loves the plants and lovely scenery. He loves gardening which has fueled his creativity and he’s done some brilliant music icon portraits of Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie and also plays the guitar. He feels much happier when he’s outside gardening.

Well worth a visit.

Back at Longmeadow

What Garlic does Monty Don grow?
Monty is howing his garlic which he planted last September.  He planted Elephant Garlic and hard neck and soft neck garlic.  It likes heat, rich soil and moisture, so give it a soak at least once a fortnight until June / July when they die back and the goodness goes into the bulb and they’ll be ready for harvesting.

Not too late if you haven’t already planted your peas – plant now for fresh peas in 8 to 10 weeks time.

Just over a month ago Monty sowed some Edamame bean ‘Summer shell’ which in Monty’s words is a fancy name for Soy. They are easy to grow if it’s not cold, the slightest frost will kill them. They’ve grown from seed well in toilet rolls. Grow them in rows or a grid, 6 to 9 inches apart. Sow until middle to end of June.  Should be ready to harvest mid to end of July.  Best to start them off undercover to get them going quickly now.

Camassia cisickii – Cusick’s camass – Monty planted last September to add colour and stretch out the flowering season. Lovely blue flowers with bright yellow spots.

Clarkia purpurea ‘Burgendy Wine’  – for the jewel garden. Monty is potting up the seedlings. A great tip is to mix some of the soil from the garden with the bought potting compost. It contains the bacteria, fungi and microorganisms from the garden and helps the young plants get ready to be planted as it avoids the plant being stressed by these new organisms when it’s first planted out.

Garden Jobs for the weekend

Cut back some of your dahlias – take off top growth down to the first pair of strong leaves.

Tidy up ponds – remove any dead material, leaves. Make sure you leave on side of the pond for a couple of days.

Remove Lilly Beatles

It was Nigels tenth birthday!   He didn’t want any over the lovely Danceline tulips (white with red highlights) and settled for a biscuit.

No Gardeners World next week as Monty is at Chelsea and they’ll be a special programme on Sunday night.

Beth Chatto
At the end of the programme, Monty paid tribute to the great “Beth Chatto who died earlier this week at the ripe old age of 94. He had met Beth many times and of course, Carol interviewed her just a year or so ago for Gardeners World.  She enriched the lives of so many of us gardeners with her writing, teaching and incomparable garden so let’s celebrate a life that was supremely well-lived. ” Beth Chatto OBE VMH 1923-2018.

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