Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 24: Monty is at Longmeadow with plenty of seasonal advice to keep us busy and our gardens colourful. Will Young shows us around his south London courtyard garden and reveals why it has become an absolute joy in his life, and Joe Swift helps him create some seasonal pot displays for sunny and shady spots.
We also visit an inspirational garden in Essex filled with beautiful summer flowers, and its owner explains why it has become increasingly important for her health and wellbeing. And we get plenty of ideas and tips from our viewers’ own gardens.
Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 24
Many garden plants can be enjoyed as cut flowers and foliage in the home, offering cheaper and diverse alternatives to florist flowers. Borders can be adapted to provide cutting material throughout the year. Alternatively, dedicate a part of the garden to growing cut flowers.
When adapting existing borders, plant larger groups of annuals, perennials and bulbs suited for cutting to allow for picking without affecting the overall appearance of the border. Do not forget to incorporate a few well-chosen shrubs and grasses with interesting foliage. Use bulbs to extend the picking season.
If space allows, dedicate a part of the garden to growing just cut flowers. The advantage of a cutting garden over picking from borders is that it avoids depleting beds and borders, as well as providing a more productive planned area for the cut flower gardener.
Plant or sow in rows; this makes weeding, staking and picking so much easier. Take the final spread of plants into account and allow access between the rows. If planted too close together, plants will fall into each other, get tangled and may be damaged, making them less suitable for harvesting. As taller plants are often grown for cut flowers, robust supports are usually needed.
Cut flowers need a fertile, weed-free soil. Annual applications of organic matter (one or two bucketfuls per square metre/yard) especially to sandy and clay soils help retain moisture and improve soil structure. In dry summers watering may be necessary to achieve good stem length.
Hardy annuals – Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 24
It may seem rather a long way off to be sowing summer-flowering plants in autumn, but the forward planning will be rewarded by an impressive early display. Many annuals can be sown in autumn and will overwinter successfully.
Autumn sowing is suitable for annuals (plants which are sown and flower and die in one year) that tolerate frost. Some of these annuals can be sown directly in the ground, and will withstand most frosts. Others are not quite so robust – they can be direct sown, but covered with cloches or horticultural fleece when frost is forecast. Alternatively, they can be sown in pots and kept frost-free over winter.
The benefit of sowing in autumn, and not spring, is that you’ll have a much earlier flowering display.
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.
Containers – Gardeners’ World 2021 episode 24
Containers filled with seasonal or permanent plants are extremely versatile. They can brighten up a corner of the garden, provide handy herbs by the kitchen or make the entrance look welcoming. Yet, life in containers can be tough for plants, so choose the right compost and carry out regular maintenance to ensure they put on a good show.
Containers are the perfect home for colourful annuals and half-hardy perennials – both of which are sometimes called ‘patio plants’ or bedding. Most shrubs, climbers, herbaceous perennials, grasses and even trees can be grown in containers. Fruit and vegetables can be successful too, as can some roses.
Raspberries are one of the most popular summer fruits and are very easy to grow. Different training techniques mean raspberries can be grown in gardens of any size and in containers. Raspberries thrive in moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly acidic soils pH 6.5-6.7, which are well-drained and weed-free. They dislike waterlogged soils and shallow chalky soils. For best results, plant in a sheltered, sunny position. They will tolerate light shade, but the yield is likely to be reduced.
In early March, apply Growmore or naturally slow-release general fertiliser, fish, blood and bone for example, at 30g per sq m (1oz per sq yd), then mulch with well-rotted organic matter. If the growth is weak, apply sulphate of ammonia at 30g per sq m (1oz per sq yd) or dried poultry manure pellets at 90g per sq m (3oz per sq yd).
Keep raspberries well-watered during dry periods, but avoid overwatering. Avoiding drought stress is especially important during fruit set and development. Apply water preferably at ground level; drip irrigation systems or a leaky hose is ideal. Keeping the foliage, flowers and developing fruit dry helps to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.