Gardeners World episode 25 2020: Adam Frost is in his garden, catching viewers up on his new patio project and discussing his plans for the autumn.
Arit Anderson travels to Somerset to meet landscape designer Dan Pearson, to find out about the design and planting principles he has used to create his own garden. In London, film director and musician Don Letts and his wife show how they have combined their different tastes for plants and culture in their town garden.
There is another chance to see Frances Tophill meeting a gardener who grows most of the vegetable ingredients needed for Thai cooking in her back garden, and the team visit two enthusiasts with a passion for air plants at their nursery in Lancashire.
And there are more tips and ideas from viewers’ gardens.
Gardeners World episode 25 2020
Perennials in borders often put on strong lush growth that makes them vulnerable to collapse, especially after heavy rain or strong winds. Staking them early in the season will help avoid disaster. In particular; tall plants and hybrids with large flowers require additional support.
Plant supports should be ideally inserted in spring, before plants have made too much growth. The plants will then grow through the support and hide it from view. Later staking is difficult as plant growth is more advanced and can easily be damaged. It may be necessary to continue tying the stems or raise the level of the used supports as the plant grows.
However, emergency staking is often necessary. Badly bent or snapped stems should be cut off cleanly. Regrowth may follow and the cut flower stems can be enjoyed in the vase. Otherwise, make-shift supports should be set up as soon as possible to minimise further damage and prevent flopped plants smothering neighbouring plants.
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term (per- + -ennial, “through the years”) is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and biennials. The term is also widely used to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically perennials.
Perennials—especially small flowering plants—that grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials. However, depending on the rigors of local climate, a plant that is a perennial in its native habitat, or in a milder garden, may be treated by a gardener as an annual and planted out every year, from seed, from cuttings or from divisions. Tomato vines, for example, live several years in their natural tropical/subtropical habitat but are grown as annuals in temperate regions because they don’t survive the winter.
Grow your own colourful chard in a pot
Chard is an attractive and versatile vegetable – its glossy leaves and dazzling leaf stalks make it stunning to look at as well as tasty to eat. Tender baby leaves will brighten up salads, while larger ones can be cooked like spinach and their crisp leaf stalks are a colourful addition to stir-fries. Sow in July and you’ll have leaves to pick throughout autumn and winter.
Keep the plants well watered. Chard doesn’t usually suffer from troublesome pests or diseases, although keep a watch out for slugs. After 8-10 weeks, the leaves should be big enough to harvest for salad, or wait until they grow larger for cooking. Pick individual leaves from each plant as you need them, cutting them right at the base of the stalk. The plants stop growing in winter but, if the container is in a sheltered spot, they should survive mild winters to produce a fresh crop in spring.
Parsley also gives useful autumn pickings, and its rich green leaves make a good foil for the vivid chard stems. Whereas spring-grown plants often struggle with pests and disease, those bought now should stay healthy. Choose small young plants (not ones whose roots are already circling round, tightly bound in the pot) and tuck them in 15-20cm (6-8in) apart around the edges of large containers. Alternatively, give them a deep pot of their own with the same nutrient-rich compost.
How to grow Lemongrass
Widely used in oriental cooking for the swollen base of its edible stems, lemon grass makes a fountain of gently arching foliage that can eventually reach 1.5m (5ft). Due to its tropical origins, this herb cannot stand frost, so should be grown in a container allowing it to be moved indoors after spending summer outdoors in a sunny position.
Start seeds in small pots in spring. Sow thinly on the surface, pressing them down gently to ensure they are in good contact with the compost and water from beneath by placing the pot in a saucer of water. Germinate in a heated propagator.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, arrange three in a small pot filled with multi-purpose compost and place on a bright, frost free windowsill.
When roots show through the bottom move into a larger pot – it may be necessary to do this several times, plants eventually ending up in a 20cm (8in) pot, before the lemongrass is ready to be placed in a sunny spot outside in early summer.
Cymbopogon, also known as lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, oily heads or fever grass, is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family. Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus) are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). The name cymbopogon derives from the Greek words kymbe (κύμβη, ‘boat’) and pogon (πώγων, ‘beard’) “which mean [that] in most species, the hairy spikelets project from boat-shaped spathes.”
Air plants in Gardeners World episode 25 2020
Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are from Mexico and South America. They are so-named because they use their short, wiry roots to attach themselves to branches, cliff-faces, even electricity and telephone lines, rather than rooting in soil.
The most important considerations when cultivating airplants are their requirements for air, light, water and warmth. Plants can be placed outside in the summer in the UK to benefit from the brighter conditions, rainfall and increased humidity. Return them under glass or bring indoors in early autumn. Tillandsia have leaves coated in specialised water-absorbent cells called trichomes which in some species are so dense they give the plants a silvery, frosted appearance. The trichomes are their primary method of obtaining moisture from rainfall or fog.
Airplants are often grown on gnarled wood, or shells and rocks to which they are glued for support. The ornamental appearance of Tillandsia and their colourful, exotic-looking flowers make them intriguing and popular plants to grow in the home and conservatories.
Bulbs for lawns
Drifts of daffodils, snowdrops and crocus in open grass are one of the classic signs of spring. Although they look like the work of nature, they are simple to create and will last for many years.
Naturalising bulbs is a great way to brighten up lawns, verges and wildflower areas in spring. In areas of grass, choose bulbs that complete their growing and flowering early, such as crocus. Most daffodils also do well in grass, but leave at least six weeks after flowering before mowing, and ideally leave until foliage goes yellow and straw-like.
Naturalised bulbs can also give interest to areas of the garden that otherwise might not bloom. Under deciduous trees, where the conditions are too dry and shady for most plants, you can use spring- or autumn-flowering bulbs because they are in growth when the trees have few leaves to cast shade. Suitable choices include anemones, crocuses, scillas and hardy cyclamen, such as C. hederifolium and C. coum.
Tree planting advice in Gardeners World episode 25 2020
Planting new trees and shrubs is not a difficult job, but one to get right, if you want your new plants to have the best start in life. The most important considerations are root health, weather, soil conditions and aftercare.
Planting is best done between October and April. Avoid planting in waterlogged (water sitting on the soil surface or pooled in the bottom of the hole) or frozen (too hard to get the spade in) soil. Container-grown plants can be planted any time of the year, but are easier to care for if planted in autumn or winter, as they need less watering than ones planted in spring or summer.
Bare-root and rootballed trees and shrubs are only available in autumn and winter. They should be planted immediately, but if this is not possible, then they can be heeled in (temporary planting in the soil to prevent the roots drying out) until planting is possible.
Drought stress is common with newly planted trees and shrubs. Even in a cool, wet summer, the rain rarely replenishes soil moisture stores fully. The soil may be dry around the roots even when the surface appears moist. Dry, windy conditions are especially likely to lead to water shortages. With experience, it is possible to detect the dull, lifeless foliage indicative of drought stress but by then the tree has already been damaged. Ideally anticipate water loss, and irrigate to prevent damage.