Gardeners’ World 2022/23 Winter Specials episode 3: Adam Frost demonstrates how to build a rose arch, mulches his beds and plants a blackcurrant to train up a fence. Frances Tophill visits RHS Wisley in Surrey to witness the seasonal colour that heathers can provide in the winter months. Carol Klein immerses herself in a sea of roses at Hanham Court Gardens near Bristol, and there’s a touch of the Mediterranean in Devon as Toby Buckland harvests a crop of home-grown olives.
There’s a catch-up with three sisters from Dorset as they plant up their new borders and a visit to a spectacular display of tulips in Norfolk, as well as a chance to see what viewers have been getting up to in their gardens.
Gardeners’ World is a BBC television program that offers practical gardening advice and inspiration. The show is presented by a team of expert gardeners, including Monty Don, Carol Klein, and Joe Swift. Each episode covers a range of gardening topics, from design and planting ideas to tips for growing vegetables and dealing with common gardening problems. Gardeners’ World also features beautiful gardens from around the UK and showcases the latest gardening products and techniques. The show is aimed at both experienced gardeners and those who are new to gardening, and it offers something for everyone who loves plants and the outdoors.
Gardeners’ World 2022/23 Winter Specials episode 3
How to grow ornamental grasses
Grasses are easy to grow, versatile and beautiful. With their fountains of elegant foliage and plumes of feathery seedheads, they bring drama and movement as they sway in the breeze. They’re a great asset in any setting, from traditional to contemporary, formal to relaxed, mingling well among other plants or as stand-alone features. Every garden should have plenty!
Ornamental grasses come in all shapes and sizes, and thrive in a wide range of conditions, so it’s important to choose one that suits your planting site. Check plant labels carefully before buying to ensure the plant’s habit will suit your planting site, as well as whether it will thrive in the conditions your garden provides. For more information, read our advice on assessing the microclimate of your garden.
Ornamental grasses are relatively easy to grow and make a beautiful addition to any garden. Here are some tips for growing ornamental grasses:
- Choose the right type of ornamental grass for your climate and garden conditions. Some ornamental grasses are better suited to certain climates and soils than others, so it’s important to choose one that will thrive in your specific location.
- Plant your ornamental grass in a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Ornamental grasses prefer soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH of around 6 to 7.
- Water your ornamental grass regularly, especially during the first few weeks after planting. Ornamental grasses need regular moisture to establish their root systems and grow healthy and strong.
- Fertilize your ornamental grasses once a year, in the spring, using a balanced fertilizer. This will help them grow lush and full.
- Prune your ornamental grasses in the spring, before new growth begins. This will help them maintain their shape and encourage new growth.
- Protect your ornamental grasses from extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds, heavy snow, and freezing temperatures. Some ornamental grasses are more sensitive to these conditions than others, so it’s important to research the specific care requirements for your type of grass.
- By following these tips, you can successfully grow and maintain beautiful ornamental grasses in your garden.
Mulches and mulching
Mulching is the practice of covering the surface of the soil in a garden or landscape with a layer of material. This material, called a mulch, can be organic (such as bark chips, straw, or leaves) or inorganic (such as gravel or plastic). Mulching has several benefits for plants and gardens, including conserving moisture in the soil, regulating soil temperature, reducing weed growth, and improving the overall appearance of the garden. Mulching is a common practice in gardening and landscaping, and can be done at any time of year. However, it is most often done in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and plants are actively growing.
Mulching is generally used to save water, suppress weeds and improve the soil around plants but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy appearance and can reduce the amount of time spent on tasks such as watering and weeding. Mulches help soil retain moisture in summer, rain to penetrate the soil in winter, prevent weeds from growing and protect the roots of plants in winter.
These break down gradually to release nutrients into the soil and help improve its structure. Layers will need replacing when the material has fully rotted down. Among the best materials are garden compost, wood chippings, processed conifer bark, leaf mould, well rotted manure, straw (for strawberries), spent hops (poisonous if eaten by dogs) and seaweed.
Non-biodegradable mulches do not boost the fertility or structure of the soil, but they do suppress weeds, conserve moisture and some have the added advantage of looking decorative. Slate, shingle, pebbles, gravel, stone chippings and other decorative aggregates are often used as a mulch across beds. Sea shells, tumbled glass and similar materials can be used on the surface of containers, but it is best not to use any materials made from plastic. Dark coloured material will warm the soil in the sun whereas light coloured mulch such as white gravel will reflect sunlight and keep roots cooler in strong sunlight.
Sheet mulches or woven landscape fabric can be used for new beds or borders. After laying, slits can be made in the fabric, allowing direct planting through it. The downside is these mulches do not look very attractive, but they can be camouflaged with gravel, bark or others materials. To allow rain and irrigation water to reach the roots always choose a permeable sheet as a waterproof layer may cause surface runoff and drainage problems elsewhere.