Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1 – As the seasons shift and the vibrant colors of autumn paint the landscape, it’s crucial to address the myriad tasks that gardens demand at this juncture. Whether you’re someone just starting on your gardening journey or a seasoned green thumb, guidance from experts is always invaluable. This ensures that the love and effort you invest in your garden yield the most beautiful results.


In our upcoming episode, the dynamic duo of Carole Baxter and Scott Smith delve deep into preparing your garden for the colder months ahead. They showcase a meticulous method to insulate a greenhouse. This essential step safeguards those cherished plants from the harsh bite of the impending winter. Carole, with her keen eye for perennial beauty, introduces viewers to a selection of evergreens. These plants, resilient and robust, ensure that your garden borders maintain a lush vibrancy throughout the year.

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

In addition to this, Carole will embark on a journey discussing tulips. These elegant blooms, with their myriad hues, act as a prelude to the splendor of spring. They serve as a heartwarming reminder of the cyclical nature of life, ensuring that even in the midst of winter, the promise of vibrant colors and renewed life is never too far away.

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

Scott, with his extensive botanical knowledge, sheds light on a natural phenomenon that has piqued human curiosity for ages: the reason leaves undergo a dramatic transformation in hue during autumn. Delving into the science and splendor of this change, he offers insights that both educate and fascinate.

Last but not least, Kirsty Wilson, with her deep-rooted passion for wildlife, provides a hands-on demonstration. She’ll guide viewers through the construction of a luxurious five-star bug hotel. This is not only an innovative garden feature but also a haven for beneficial insects, ensuring that the ecosystem in your garden thrives.

Join us for this enlightening episode, where gardening meets art, science, and a profound love for nature.

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

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1 Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

Covering all the jobs in your garden that need to be done at this time of year, with all the usual expert instruction to help everyone, from beginners to experts.

In this episode, Carole Baxter and Scott Smith insulate a greenhouse to protect precious plants from the winter to come, and Carole looks at a range of evergreens to bring year-round interest to your borders. She also talks tulips, a wonderful way to remind us all of the colourful spring to come.

Meanwhile, Scott explains why leaves change colour at this time of year, and Kirsty Wilson demonstrates how to give the wildlife in your garden a hand by building a five-star bug hotel.

Winter-Proofing Your Greenhouse for Optimal Plant Protection

Insulating your greenhouse during the winter is absolutely vital for protecting your plants from frigid temperatures and damaging drafts. Proper insulation regulates the environment inside, preventing precious specimens from freezing or dying off when cold weather strikes.

Why Insulating a Greenhouse is Crucial for Winter

During the colder months, the interior of an uninsulated greenhouse can drop to near-freezing temperatures at night. This puts tender plants at high risk of damage, stunting their growth or even killing them outright. Insulation acts as a barrier to block cold outside air from entering and warm air inside from escaping. It helps maintain a stable, moderate temperature range ideal for overwintering plants. As gardening experts Carole Baxter and Scott Smith demonstrate in this winter’s episode of Beechgrove Garden, a well-insulated greenhouse allows you to safely grow plants that would perish outdoors in your winter garden.

Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023
Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023

A Step-by-Step Guide to Insulating Your Greenhouse

Insulating a greenhouse is a straightforward process that anyone can tackle in a weekend. Follow these key steps recommended by the pros:

  • Inspect your greenhouse for drafts and gaps around doors, vents, and glazing. Seal any cracks with caulk or weatherstripping to reduce air leaks.
  • Install insulation panels, such as polystyrene sheets, on the interior walls and roof. Secure them in place with battens. For added effectiveness, use horticultural fleece over the insulation.
  • Add a layer of insulating bubble wrap to greenhouse doors and windows. This second barrier further prevents warm air from escaping.
  • Consider lining the floor with polystyrene sheets or using special thermal ground cover blankets. This protects plant roots from the cold ground.
  • Install a propane or electric heater optimized for greenhouse use if extremely cold temperatures are expected. Maintain the interior above 45°F/7°C.

Cost-Effective Insulation Materials

The good news is that insulating a hobby greenhouse need not be expensive. Here are budget-friendly options to consider:

  • Recycled polystyrene sheets – Sturdy and effective; can often be found for free.
  • Cardboard panels – Readily available and easy to install.
  • Straw bales – Provide great insulation and can be reused as mulch later.
  • Bubble wrap – Versatile and adaptable for covering gaps.
  • Old blankets/comforters – Repurpose what you already have at home.

With the right preparation, your greenhouse can continue nurturing plants through the coldest months. Proper insulation allows overwintering of specimens that would perish outdoors.

Evergreen Shrubs and Trees: Creating Year-Round Interest in Your Garden

Gardens often look bleak and barren during the winter months, especially after flowering plants and deciduous trees lose their greenery. An excellent solution for adding beauty and interest during this fallow period is to incorporate evergreen plants into your landscape design. As Carole Baxter discusses in this episode, evergreen shrubs and trees maintain their leaves or needles all year long, providing color when other plants are dormant.

Why Evergreen Shrubs and Trees are Ideal for Winter

While most trees and shrubs drop their leaves in autumn, evergreens keep their foliage intact throughout winter. This persistent greenery offers myriad benefits:

  • They provide year-round screening and privacy for your garden.
  • Their presence adds color and texture when deciduous plants are leafless sticks.
  • Evergreen foliage and needles catch and hold winter snow for striking effects.
  • Varieties with colorful winter berries give pops of visual interest.
  • They offer shelter and food sources for birds when other plants sleep.
  • Certain evergreen flowers continue blooming even during colder months.

Top Evergreen Shrub and Tree Picks for Winter

Here are some of the best evergreen shrubs and trees to provide winter color and interest:

  • Boxwood – Classic evergreen shrub with dense, rich foliage that provides structure.
  • Mountain laurel – Large shrub producing beautiful spring flowers and showy winter berries.
  • Japanese holly – Spiny-leafed shrub often trained into striking shapes; red winter berries.
  • Common juniper – Rugged native shrub with schemes of blue, gray, or green needle-leaves.
  • Mugo pine – Slow-growing pine shrub perfect for rock gardens; withstands cold and wind.
  • Eastern red cedar – Majestic native conifer with soft green needles; provides great privacy screening.
  • Blue spruce – Iconic spire-like conifer with shimmering steel-blue needles; easily grown.

Take your garden’s winter appeal to the next level by incorporating evergreens with Carole Baxter’s recommendations. Their year-round greenery guarantees visual interest when everything else is bare.

Daffodils, Crocuses and Tulips: A Preview of Spring During Winter’s Gloom

As the deep chill of winter sets in, visions of spring’s vibrant blossoms seem far away. Yet certain bulbs can be planted in fall to ensure bright blooms emerge right when you need them most—in the middle of dreary winter days. These flowers provide hope that warmer weather is coming soon. As Carole Baxter discusses, tulips are one of the most beloved options for a burst of spring radiance during the darker months.

Why Tulips are Treasured Winter Blooms

With their cheery cups of red, pink, yellow, purple and white, tulips are practically synonymous with spring’s arrival. But timing your planting properly allows them to open their petals when you have few other flowers—during the winter:

  • Their vivid colors and variety of bloom forms perk up any winter garden.
  • The saturated hues and cheery shapes provide delight after months of gloom.
  • Watching them open reminds that spring is just around the corner.
  • Cut tulips brighten indoor arrangements when little is blooming outside.
  • Many are fragrant, perfuming the air with notes of citrus and spice.
  • Deer and rodents rarely bother tulips, so you can enjoy every bulb.

Expert Tips for Growing Tulips to Flower in Winter

Follow this advice from gardening pros for a gorgeous winter tulip display:

  • Select early and mid-spring blooming tulip varieties to open from January through March. Darwin Hybrids and Single Late Tulips are great choices.
  • Plant the bulbs in fall at twice their height deep and 5-6 inches apart in well-draining soil enriched with compost.
  • Choose a spot with full sun to part shade. Morning sun is ideal for preventing petal scorch.
  • Water the bulbs well after planting and provide occasional irrigation during winter dry spells.
  • Apply a 2-4 inch mulch layer over the planting area to insulate bulbs from extreme cold.
  • Once the ground freezes, cover beds with evergreen branches for added protection.
  • Resist cutting or deadheading blooms so leaves can fuel the bulb for next year’s show.

Follow these tips for a true preview of spring during winter’s gloom, with cheerful tulips as the stars of the show. The blossoms will lift your spirits until milder days arrive.

Demystifying the Magic of Autumn’s Changing Leaves

One of the most dazzling natural spectacles of the year unfurls across the landscapes of North America every autumn. As Scott Smith explains in this episode, the annual transformation of green summer leaves into vivid hues of red, orange, yellow and purple is scientifically fascinating. Understanding the biology behind this colorful display allows you to fully appreciate the magic.

Why Leaves Change Color in Fall

While the shifting length of days and cooling temperatures trigger the process, leaves changing from green to other shades is the result of intricate chemical changes within the leaf:

  • Chlorophyll, the pigment that makes leaves green, starts to break down as days grow shorter in fall.
  • Vibrant carotenoids like xanthophylls and carotenes, present all along, are revealed when chlorophyll fades. These create yellow and orange shades.
  • Red and purple anthocyanins form in some species as sunlight and sugars concentrate in the leaves.
  • Abscission cells grow, cutting off water and nutrients to the leaf and eventually causing it to detach from the branch.
  • The precise combination of pigments left behind determines the final colorful display.

How Weather Impacts Autumn Foliage Displays

Weather conditions leading up to and during fall have a significant impact on the intensity of leaf colors that develop:

  • Cool nights and bright, sunny days increase anthocyanin production, boosting reds. Cloudy periods result in more muted tones.
  • Warm, wet weather can cause leaves to fade and brown before achieving peak color.
  • Drought stress also diminishes the brilliance of the annual show by causing leaves to drop early.
  • Freezing temperatures destroy tender leaves before they change fully. However, a light frost intensifies existing pigments.
  • Very wet or windy conditions can quickly strip trees of their colored leaves at peak maturity.

Supporting A Spectacular Display in Your Yard

You can enhance the fall foliage extravaganza in your own yard by:

  • Planting native deciduous trees and shrubs that are renowned for their fall color like maples, oaks, tupelos and sumacs.
  • Providing adequate moisture before and during the color change period to avoid drought stress.
  • Mulching around trees to maintain soil moisture and nutrient levels.
  • Allowing leaves to accumulate as natural mulch rather than blowing or raking them away.

By understanding the scientific processes behind nature’s fall frenzy of color, you can fully appreciate autumn’s painted landscapes and cultivate an eye-popping leaf show of your own.

Attracting Winter Wildlife to Your Garden with DIY Habitats – Beechgrove Garden in Winter 2023 episode 1

As temperatures drop and natural food sources dwindle, birds, beneficial insects and other wildlife face immense challenges surviving through winter. However, as Kirsty Wilson demonstrates, you can give local fauna a helping hand by creating specialized shelters in your garden. Providing winter habitat helps sustain vulnerable species when they need it most.

Why Local Wildlife Needs Support During Winter

Many birds and insects that enrich our landscapes face scarcity when winter strikes:

  • Migrating birds have depleted resources after long journeys and can starve without adequate food and shelter.
  • Insects must escape freezing temperatures but have few protected places to overwinter in dormancy.
  • Native wildlife competes fiercely for limited natural winter provisions like berries and seeds.
  • Essential pollinators like bees may not survive to resume their roles come spring without help.
  • Loss of winter refuge also leaves adult wildlife and offspring more vulnerable to predators.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Multi-Chamber Bug Hotel

One excellent way to bolster your garden’s winter wildlife is constructing a bug hotel:

Gather Materials

Grab old wood, bamboo, straw, pinecones, leaves, sticks, cardboard and string. Ask neighbors for cast-off materials or check yard waste sites.

Select a Dry, Sheltered Spot

Choose a location protected from wind, rain and direct sun. Near trees, fences or sheds is ideal.

Build the Frame

Use pallets, old wood, sticks or bricks to assemble the exterior frame. Make it at least 12 inches wide and deep.

Add the Chambers

Fill the frame with varied natural materials—rolled up cardboard, straw, dead leaves, sticks, bamboo—to create small chambers and tunnels.

Make a Living Roof

Top the hotel with sod rectangles, moss or branches to provide insulation and camouflage.

Maintain the Hotel

Avoid disturbing the hotel in winter when insects are dormant within. Clean out chambers in spring.

Monitor Guests

Observe bees, beetles, spiders and other beneficial creatures using your hotel for winter refuge.

With a small investment of time and materials, you can create winter sanctuary for precious pollinators. Your DIY bug hotel may make the difference for their fragile populations surviving until spring.

The Science of Changing Leaf Colors: Nature’s Brilliant Biochemistry

As days shorten and temperatures cool, a remarkable transformation occurs in the leaves of many trees and shrubs. Green pigments fade and disappear, revealing vibrant yellows, oranges, reds and purples. This annual fall spectacle results from intricately orchestrated chemical changes within leaf cells. Scott Smith outlines the key biological processes underlying autumn’s painted foliage.

Chlorophyll Breakdown Exposes Hidden Pigments

Chlorophyll, the dominant pigment in leaves, absorbs red and blue light to power photosynthesis. But production of this vital green pigment slows as winter nears. Chlorophyll molecules degrade and colorful carotenoids, previously masked, shine through. These create the vibrant yellows and oranges of fall.

Sugars and Light Drive Anthocyanin Synthesis

The crimson and purple hues result from production of anthocyanin pigments. These form only when sugars are abundant and light levels high, typically in autumn. The precise mixture of anthocyanins determines the final red tone.

Why Some Trees Turn Color and Others Don’t

Several factors influence whether a tree develops fall color. Bright foliage requires chlorophyll to break down, revealing carotenoids. Production of anthocyanins depends on excess sugars and light. Evergreens retain their green year-round thanks to durable chlorophyll that persists through winter.

Weather Conditions Modify Autumn’s Palette

Temperature, sunlight, precipitation and soil moisture in the weeks preceding fall significantly impact the transformation. Warm sunny days and cool nights create ideal conditions. Early frost, drought and heavy rain or wind can cut the show short.

Top Trees for Spectacular Fall Color

Certain tree species are renowned for outstanding displays of vibrant fall foliage. Here are top picks for electrifying color from Carole Baxter:

Sugar Maple

The classic maple of New England and Eastern Canada famed for brilliant orange-red leaves. Other maple species like red and black also shine.

Red Oak

A widely distributed oak famed for its russet-red fall canopy. Pin oak and black oak also develop striking reds.


This native tree brings amazing color range—yellow, orange, red and purple—sometimes all at once.


A Southeastern native that reliably ignites red-orange each fall. Slow growing but worth the wait.


After sweet orange fruits appear, the oval leaves turn vivid orange-red for a dramatic two-act show.

American Beech

Beech trees hold golden bronze leaves well into winter, providing fall interest for months.

Southern Red Maple

More cold tolerant than sugar maples with similarly brilliant red and orange autumn foliage.

By selecting trees inclined to color transformation, you can brighten your landscape with fall magic each year. Their vivid foliage will electrify any yard or garden.

Support Wildlife in Winter by Providing Food, Water and Shelter

As Kirsty Wilson demonstrates, a bit of planning and effort in your garden can help local wildlife survive the toughest months. You can save lives by providing essential provisions that become scarce when temperatures plummet. Here are tips for supporting birds, pollinators and other creatures through the winter.

Install Shelters for Roosting and Nesting

Give wild visitors places to take refuge from freezing winds and precipitation:

  • Birdhouses allow chickadees, wrens and other cavity nesters to roost in dry security.
  • Brush piles provide cover from predators and insulation for small mammals.
  • Bug hotels with diverse natural materials offer crucial habitat for overwintering native bees and beneficial insects.

Provide Reliable Winter Food Sources

Supplement natural food supplies by intentionally cultivating winter fare:

  • Leave seed heads on flowers, grasses and perennials for foraging birds. Black oil sunflowers are also greatly loved.
  • Hang suet feeders to provide energy-dense nourishment.
  • Let fallen leaves accumulate to allow insects and larvae to remain protected in the leaf litter.

Offer Fresh Water Year-Round

Install a birdbath heater or recirculating heated fountain so birds and small animals have liquid water even when frozen. Refresh frequently to keep clean. Locate near shelter for easy access.

With forethought, you can create an essential waystation for birds, pollinators and small wildlife to shelter, feed and hydrate through winter’s austerity. Your efforts may preserve vulnerable populations until spring’s renewal.

Conclusion: Embracing Winter’s Challenges in the Garden

The onset of winter weather brings unique challenges in the garden that require forethought and vigilance. But armed with practical tips from the experts at Beechgrove Garden, you can continue nurturing plants despite the cold while supporting local wildlife. Insulate greenhouses, select winter-friendly plants like evergreens and spring bulbs, and create shelters for birds, pollinators and other creatures. Understand what happens inside leaf cells to produce autumn’s colors. Approach winter as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Your efforts will allow your garden to not merely survive, but truly thrive, during the dormant season. The nourishment and beauty you cultivate will set the stage for an even more glorious spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I insulate my greenhouse for winter?

Seal cracks, install insulation panels and bubble wrap on walls and roof, line floors, and add a heater to maintain temperatures above 45°F/7°C.

What are some good evergreens for winter interest?

Top choices include boxwood, mountain laurel, Japanese holly, common juniper, mugo pine, red cedar, and blue spruce.

Why do leaves change color in autumn?

When chlorophyll breaks down, carotenoids and anthocyanins are revealed. Weather impacts the precise palette.

How can I help wildlife survive winter?

Provide food like seeds and suet, fresh water, and shelters such as brush piles, bird houses, and bug hotels.

What bulbs can provide winter blooms?

Early-blooming tulips, daffodils, crocuses and other bulbs planted in fall provide a welcome winter pick-me-up.

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