Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 18: At Longmeadow, Monty gives a masterclass on the summer pruning of fruit and advice on maintaining ponds, and plants up a pot to give colour and interest to last into the autumn months.
Adam Frost travels to Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire to meet a head gardener who has been set the challenge of restoring the gardens to their 19th-century glory. We meet a young couple at a nursery in Devon to find out about the plants that thrive around water, and in Essex we visit a gardener who loves vibrant colours and changes her plants to suit the season.
Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 18
Ponds are a lovely addition to any garden and can provide a rich habitat for a range of wildlife. However, without care ponds can soon become an eyesore with overgrown plants, weeds and water that is unhealthy for fish and other wildlife. Occasional cleaning and regular maintenance are required. All ponds need regular maintenance to prevent them silting up and turning into bog gardens. Small ponds need a complete overhaul to remove debris every five years, while large ponds need thorough cleaning every 10 years.
How to grow shrubby hydrangeas
There are a number of different hydrangea types but they all enjoy similar growing conditions. They vary in size from small shrubs to sizeable, almost tree-like specimens so check the plant label when buying to get one that is suitable for your space. Which hydrangea you choose will likely depend on your preferences for flower colour and/or shape.
Mophead and lacecap cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla (and also Hydrangea involucrata and Hydrangea serrata) change colour depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the soil (pH) that affects aluminium availability. Those with blue or pink flowers tend to be blue in acid soils (high available aluminium levels), mauve in lightly acid to neutral soil conditions, and pink in alkaline conditions. White, red and green-flowered cultivars, remain white or green regardless of soil pH.
Plant your shrubby hydrangea soon after purchase. The best time to plant is in spring or autumn. Containerised plants can be planted all year round as long as the soil is not frozen, too wet, or excessively dry in summer (but you can water them well if you really want to plant them then).
Apply general fertiliser such as Vitax Q4, Growmore or fish, blood and bone after planting established plants is not generally needed. Too much fertiliser encourages excessive soft, leafy growth, with plants less likely to develop flower buds and more at risk from frost damage. Struggling shrubs growing on lighter, sandier soils may benefit of spring application of general fertiliser. Drought stress can also cause this problem so mulching may be more helpful.