Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 1: Monty and team share the best practical gardening advice, meet passionate plants people up and down the country, and provide inspiration with visits to some of the UK’s most remarkable gardens.
At Longmeadow, Monty embarks on an exciting new project, sows perennial seeds and gives a tree planting masterclass. Adam Frost visits a garden in Suffolk, where an imaginative selection of evergreen planting creates structure and interest all year round, and Frances Tophill celebrates a national collection of cyclamen in a garden on the edge of Dartmoor.
At Exbury Gardens in Hampshire, we meet the head gardener who shares his love of camellias, and we visit an extraordinary garden in Kent inspired by the famous borders at Great Dixter. Viewers also share what they have been getting up to in their gardens.
Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 1
Ornamental grasses fall into two main groups, evergreen and deciduous. Deciduous grasses need cutting back annually so that they will look their best. Evergreens just require a tidy-up. Deciduous grasses, which turn a golden, straw brown rather than necessarily lose their leaves, need different treatment from those with are evergreen. There are three plants in this clump. The dead leaves and flowering stalks have been left uncut over the winter. It is now ready for cutting back, before the new growth comes up in spring.
The grass is now half-way cut back; it is easier to see what you are doing, and to avoid damaging any young green shoots coming up through the lower part of the clump. You can now cut the clump back to a few centimetres from ground level, leaving a hairy tuft through which the new growth can come up easily without getting tangled with the old stems. Pick out any dead leaves or debris from the crown of the plant, and remove any weeds.
Trees – buying and planting specimens
Specimen or semi-mature trees are an expensive investment, so careful selection and planting are imperative for good establishment of plants in your garden. Purchase and planting is best done between November and March.
These have been lifted from the ground while dormant, with little or no soil around their roots. Various plants may be available bare root, including fruit trees, hedging plants and some perennials. They are generally cheaper than plants in containers, but are only available in winter/early spring, while dormant. Bare-root and root-balled trees are only available in autumn and early winter and they should be planted immediately.
If adverse weather conditions such as frozen or waterlogged soil delay this, they can be heeled in (temporary planting in more favourable soil perhaps in a raised bed to prevent the roots drying out) until planting is possible. Take care to avoid disturbance of root-balled trees in particular, covering roots with straw or bracken for protection.
Cyclamen – Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 1
A delightful tuberous perennial providing colour often when little else is flowering, particularly in late winter or early spring. Hardy cyclamen species and cultivars are ideal for naturalising under trees, on banks or in a shady border and planted in association with other early-flowering woodland plants such as snowdrops, winter aconites and primroses.
Evergreen shrubs form the backbone to a garden and, whether large or small, there is usually one to suit the space. They provide structure, all year interest, and being very easy to look after, are labour saving. Not only are there green leaved shrubs, but also silver, gold and variegated shrubs, which offer numerous decorative possibilities.
Grey mould – Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 1
Grey mould, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea, is a very common disease, causing a soft decay of plant tissues accompanied by a growth of fuzzy grey-brown mould. It affects many plants, especially those grown under glass where conditions are humid. It is also a common disease of soft fruit, such as gooseberries, strawberries and grapes.
Botrytis cinerea is an ubiquitous fungus, whose airborne spores are always present. It thrives as a saprophyte (a micro-organism living on dead organic material), but can also infect living plants under certain conditions. On green plant parts a wound or other stress is usually needed for infection, but on flowers and fruits it can infect without wounds, particularly under humid conditions.
It is also able to cause latent infections, where the plant is infected but symptoms of the disease may not be produced for a considerable time. In some fruit crops the fungus enters flowers and colonises the developing fruit, but does not break out and cause a rot until the fruit begins to ripen and the sugar content rises. This is very noticeable with strawberries. It can also cause latent infections in primulas, where research has shown the fungus is seed-borne and develops with the plant, only breaking out after considerable growth has occurred.