Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 7: Monty continues his revamp of the dry garden, repots succulents and plants up a window box ideal for a shady spot. Adam Frost goes back to basics and gives advice for viewers who are starting a garden from scratch, and Frances Tophill visits a garden in north London which has growing produce sustainably at its core.
We meet a gardener in Manchester who has combined his love of pottery and plants, and an aeonium enthusiast from Shropshire shares her collection of over 300 varieties. There’s also another chance to see what Gardeners’ World viewers have been getting up to in their gardens.
Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 7
Home composting is the most environmentally-friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste, plus it produces compost that can be used as an excellent soil improver. Composting is useful in all gardens. Only in the very smallest gardens will it be difficult to find space for a compost heap and material to fill it. Owners of such small plots could consider worm composting instead. Although councils offer green waste collections, the RHS encourages home composting because it does not involve heavy transport, with its associated environmental costs.
Composting is done all year, as and when suitable materials are generated in the garden or home. However late summer to early winter is the peak time for making compost.
It is important that the site is not subjected to extremes of temperature and moisture, as the micro-organisms (bacteria and fungi) that convert the waste to compost work best in constant conditions. Position the bin in light shade or shade; it is often more convenient to use a shady area of the garden. An earth base allows drainage and access to soil organisms, but if you have to compost on a hard surface, then add a spadeful of soil to the compost bin.
Bins retain some warmth and moisture and make better compost more quickly, but even an open heap (not enclosed in a bin) will compost eventually. Any of the compost bins on the market should produce compost as long as they exclude rain, retain some warmth, allow drainage and let in air. Bins less than 1 cubic m (1.3 cubic yd) in size are much less effective than larger ones.
Begonias – Gardeners’ World 2022 episode 7
Used in containers, hanging baskets and bedding schemes, begonias provide continuous colour throughout the summer until the first frosts. They are easy to care for and all grow well in partial shade. Tuberous begonias are ideally suited to growing in containers and hanging baskets, whilst fibrous rooted begonias make an attractive addition to summer bedding schemes. Begonias for the garden have different cultivation needs so the notes below will help guide you to success.
Cultivars which are usually derived from Begonia × tuberhybrida are a favourite of gardeners for their bright colours and long flowering season. Male and female flowers are borne separately on the same plant, the male flowers being the showiest. Selections and hybrids of B. boliviensis such as Begonia ‘Million Kisses’ are also available and are excellent free flowering plants for baskets and pots.
Understanding pH and testing soil
When designing and planting your garden, you need to know whether the soil is acid or alkaline, as different plants thrive in different soils. The soil pH is a number that describes how acid or alkaline your soil is. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral. An acid soil has a pH value below 7.0 and above 7.0 the soil is alkaline.
It is especially worth checking soil pH before designing or planting a new garden, making vegetable plots, planting fruit, when growth is disappointing, or where yellowing of foliage occurs. Lime is added to increase soil pH (make it more alkaline) and acidifying materials are added to decrease soil pH. Testing can be done at any time, but if carried out within three months of adding lime, fertiliser or organic matter, the test may give misleading results.