Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 19: Monty gets going on a new planting project, gives advice on planting for east- and west-facing borders, starts reaping summer vegetables and sows seeds for autumn harvests. Sue Kent finds inspiration for her own garden when she explores the glorious Aberglasney Gardens in Wales, while Nick Bailey travels to Scotland to investigate a disease affecting trees and shrubs in both woodlands and gardens.
Alternative stream – Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 19
We meet a gardener in Kent who fills every space in her garden with the different textures, colours and shapes of foliage, and we visit a school in West Yorkshire where their garden has been planted for the benefit of wildlife and bees.
Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 19
Watering is key to growing plants well, so here we look at how to get it just right. This not only means providing the water our gardens need, but using it wisely. Water is a precious resource and supplies in the UK are under pressure from the effects of climate change, population increase and the need to protect the environment, such as river levels for wildlife.
Water in the mornings, if you can, as this is when the sun comes up and plants will start to use water. The foliage and soil surface is also likely to stay drier for longer than evening watering, discouraging slugs, snails and mildew diseases. Plants start to transpire in sunlight, drawing water from the soil, through their roots, up their stems and out through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata. Evening watering is also fine, as the cooler conditions mean less water is lost to evaporation.
Watering in the heat of the day is not a good idea as much water is lost through evaporation from the surface of the soil and the plants will use water more efficiently if watered in the cooler parts of the day.
As gardens get smaller, planting apples trained as stepovers is one of the best and most attractive space-saving ways to grow fruit. As the name suggests, the stepover is a low-growing, horizontally-trained tree that can literally be ‘stepped over’. Stepovers can be planted along an edge of a path or a bed, and make an excellent divider on an allotment or fruit garden.
The stepover apple (horizontal cordon) is a modified training method of the oblique cordon. It is best suited for spur-fruiting apple trees. It is necessary to start training on very young trees. Choose a maiden whip that is supple and can be bent over. A maiden whip is a one-year-old tree with either no side branches or only sparsely branched. The main stem must not have been pruned to encourage branching.
Make sure that the selected cultivar is grafted onto a M27 rootstock. Although M9 and M26 rootstocks are suitable for conventional cordon training, they would be too vigorous for stepover training.
How to grow ferns
Low-maintenance and tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, ferns complement any shade plant combination. From tiny specimens grown in walls to the royal fern at six feet tall, there’s room for ferns in every sized garden.
The majority of ferns produce their spores in small heaps or lines on the undersides of the mature fronds. The royal fern, Osmunda regalis, is a notable exception in that it bears its spores on the conspicuous modified ends of the fronds. The spore heaps (sori) are pale green when unripe and those of most ferns become a deep brown or black colour as they ripen. If they are a pale rusty brown, the spores have probably already fallen. However, as spores ripen in sequence (from tip to stem), it is often possible to find both ripe and unripe spores on a single frond, especially in mid to late summer.
To collect spores, place a small piece of spore-bearing frond in a dry paper envelope and keep for a day or so in a warm, dry place. Any spores present will then have settled in the bottom of the packet as a dust-like brown, yellow or black powder.
What is bolting? – Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 19
Bolting is the term applied to vegetable crops when they prematurely run to seed, usually making them unusable. A cold spell or changes in day length initiates this behaviour. It can affect a wide range of vegetables including lettuce, spinach and fennel.
Bolting is triggered either by cold spells or by the changes in day length through the seasons. Although bolting is only seen on crops approaching maturity, it is initiated much earlier.
Annual crops will flower naturally in the first year, whereas biennials do not usually flower until the second. In annual crops, bolting occurs before they are ready to gather and, in biennials, when an over-wintering organ (carrot roots for example) flowers before the winter.