Review - Gardener’s World Easter Special 22nd April 2011
This week’s episode includes a visit to the Eden Project – just how do they prune those huge trees? As well as the usual suspects:
- Planting roses
- Planting Clematis
- Carrots and Parsnips
- Recreating a hedgerow environment
- Propagating your own plants
- Visits a garden in the Lake District
Planting Climbing and Rambling Roses
Monty kicks off the programme as usual as home at Long Meadows and explains how to plant climbers for optimum success.
The importance of aspect
The wall he has chosen is east facing, meaning that it will get full sunshine for only a few hours first thing in the morning and for the rest of the day is quite a cold place although strictly speaking never in full shade. Plants which are suitable for places like this include Honeysuckle, Roses and Clematis.
The rose of choice is ‘Madame Legras de Saint Germain’, a lightly scented almost thornless variety with frothy white / cream flowers. Monty’s rose is barerooted, which has the advantage that they will get started quicker and are also cheaper. It should be mentioned that if you are buying barerooted plants they need to stay submerged in water up until the very last minute you want to plant them.
The mechanics of planting
When planting climbers, don’t be tempted to plant them flush up against the wall or structure you are trying to use. Instead, plant a good foot or so away. With roses particularly, the hole needs to be a good size and the soil loosened at the bottom and the sides to make it a little easier for those roots to penetrate and spread.
Next, a powder microzial is added, this allows the roots to be able to interact with the bacteria in the soil more efficiently, thus speeding up the ‘settling’ process by up to an amazing 2 to 3 years! The microzial itself is a fungus and is great to use when planting woody stemmed plants such as roses.
The rose is placed into the hole with the graft point being just below the surface and firmed in. Next a good bucket of water is poured in and after that the hole filled with soil. Another bucket of water later and it’s time for the top covering. Compost is put around the base of the plant to keep that moisture in and improve soil, but garden mulch can work just as well, it all depends on what you have to hand.
On the matter of mulch
Mulch is available in several different variations and is an extremely handy substance to have in your garden. From mulch bark to compost mulch to garden bulk mulch, they can be used for several different things and are particularly useful at this time of year to help preserve water when those hosepipe bans hit. There are several mulch suppliers from whom you buy small or bulk amounts and delivery costs will vary dependent upon the quantities. But I digress!
Back to Monty and his walled garden where he is also planting a rambling rose, ‘Felicite Perpetue’. The planting technique is more or less the same but as he explains, rambling roses usually flower just once with an absolute mass of smaller flowers whereas the climbing rose can flower for weeks at a time and can produce flowers of all shapes and sizes.
When bought from garden centres these roses are often presented as large and well grown to catch the eye but it is best to cut them back hard when you get them home, heartbreaking though it may be to give the plant a chance to concentrate on growing roots rather than flowering.
Clematis love rich soil and plenty of moisture. To plant your Clematis, first dig your hole. In the bottom of your hole Monty recommends plenty of compost – if you haven’t got any compost or your compost isn’t quite ready, that will do fine nonetheless as will some bark mulch. This addition is more to help retain moisture than for any real nutritional benefit initially.
Pop your Clematis in to a level of around 2” deeper than the pot, backfill and soak.
For the love of composting
I expect a lot of us have had a go at composting and the results haven’t been what we would call a raging success. Monty shares the secrets of great compost..
Almost everything which has ever been alive can be composted, due in part to the carbon basis of every living thing. There are however some things to be avoided for example cooked foods and meat which only attracts rats and takes ages to decompose.
And the secret?
The secret’s in the ratio of carbon to nitrogen. The ideal is 20:1 carbon to nitrogen. This means that you will need far more of your household waste such as paper, cardboard, woody stems and even hay and straw than you will need of your green waste such as weeds, grass clippings etc.
Green smelly sludgy compost? If this sounds familiar add some carbon, give it a turn and you still might just save it.
How is compost made?
Compost is actually made by billions of tiny organisms, amongst them bacteria, nematodes and fungi not to mention worms and slugs. The bacteria will all function best at a certain stage and temperature so will ‘take over’ from each other as the process happens.
It’s not hard to make compost when you know the basics and in fact you don’t need a posh compost heap to do it. Even a dustbin with a few holes will do the trick – simply fill it as fast as you can and turn it every 3 – 5 weeks to make sure those little creatures have a chance to get at ands digest every bit of the waste.
You will know it’s ready when it feels light and almost crumbly and smells damp and really quite pleasant!
I say tomatoes, you say tomatoes
The tomatoes at Long Meadow in the greenhouse have been sown into plug trays and are now ready to be potted on. In fact, they’re probably a little bit past ready, judging by the slightly yellowing leaves.
Monty recommends that they aren’t potted on into huge pots immediately – it’s a false economy of both money and time as the compost will simply hold water whilst the root ball in the centre stays dry. 3” or thereabouts pots are ideal to begin with and you may need to pot them on a good two or three times before they reach optimum size.
Don’t plant out until at the earliest the end of May / Beginning of June as one chilly night can undo all your hard work.
Carrots, Parsnips and avoiding Carrot Fly
For those of you who remember the email from the hapless fellow last week asking about how to avoid carrot fly, Monty explains all...
When planting carrots Monty ‘broadcasts’ them rather than sowing in regimented little rows and there is a very good reason for this. We all know that when we thin our carrots we can smell that fresh juicy smell. The problem is so does that little critter - the carrot fly. He will be here like a shot. Female carrot flies lay their eggs around the root and the larvae very helpfully burrow into your lovely carrots. Broadcasting the seed allows each individual plant their own space and you won’ get the same effect when you pull them up.
Parsnips however are best grown in rows but as we want lovely big roots it is advisable to plant them around 9” apart.
We’ve all got a part of our garden where it seems that nothing will grow. Carol explains how with the right plants and a bit of research we can turn that corner into a hedgerow inspired thing of beauty.
Carol has dug up an old unused path and turned it into another flower bed. Because of where it is it is partly shaded, hot in summer and cold in winter – much like your average hedgerow.
Plants that she has bought and plants here include: Euphorbia Martinii, Ranunculous and my personal favourite, Scabious. Added to this Soloman’s Seal and Longwort, she manages to transform an unused piece of garden into a super place to be.
A DIY Guide to Propagation
Carol gives us a quick ‘How To’ on propagation.
For the most part, flowers and plants which can have cuttings taken from them should have this done when the shoot you take is not flowering. It just means the plant can put more ‘effort’ into growing its roots.
For bushy clumps of plants cut a shoot as close to the bottom of the main stem as you can. Next take a pot which has been filled with gritty compost for good drainage and plant them around the edge (if you’re using tall cuttings, if not it doesn’t really matter).
Add a sprinkling of grit on the top to stop weeds, keep in moisture and also stop the stems of your cuttings from rotting.
Between a rock and a hard place
Rachel visits a garden in the Lake District which despite its practically nonexistent depth of soil is flourishing despite the odds.
Bob Hazeldene and his late wife spent many a year exploring and mountain climbing and Bob explains how he observed plants whilst on their travels, saw where they flourished and has tried to obtain the same plants and grow them in his garden.
He has put in windbreak fences to give them a chance against the gale force winds and built raised beds from the rocks in their garden. By observing their natural environments and placing the plants where conditions are similar he has managed to create an almost tropical garden in the heart of the Lake District.
The Eden Problem
After 10 years of the Eden Project they have hit a problem with some of their taller trees. Due to the limited light availability they have grown taller in a bid to reach the light against their competitors growing around them. So how do you prune a 150ft tree in a greenhouse?
The answer – a helium filled balloon. This has proved popular amongst the employees who say it is as fun as it is functional!
Now they are able to move around up in the canopy and even plant things such as Orchids and Bromeliads amongst the trees to help create a natural looking tropical paradise.
Gardener’s World is on again after a week’s break so tune in for more....
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