Gardeners World episode 27 2020: With autumn on the horizon, the seasonal planting of bulbs for spring-flowering begins at Longmeadow.
Frances Tophill meets a gardener whose allotment is filled with both traditional and exotic vegetables, and Toby Buckland visits The Newt in Somerset to find out about its chequered garden history and to explore its emergence as one of the UK’s most exciting gardens. There is another chance to see Mark Lane travel to Oxfordshire to look at how ornamental grasses, perennials and annuals can be used in planting design to create exciting combinations, and the team meets a gardener in Northamptonshire who uses the plants in her garden to extract natural dyes for fabrics.
And there is a selection of films from viewers’ gardens.
Gardeners World episode 27 2020
Wildflower meadows are an alternative to lawns and borders, and can provide a display for many months. Choose from annual meadows that provide a one-off show or perennial meadows that persist from year to year.
Wildflower seed merchants supply mixtures of wildflowers and grasses suitable for various soil types and situations. Choose one that suits your local conditions. Where possible, obtain seed of British origin. It is advisable not to take plants from the countryside and repeated seed collection would be likely to have a destructive effect on many species over time. In some cases, it also can be illegal.
Sow during March and April or in September, depending on soil conditions. On lighter soils, autumn-sown seeds generally germinate and establish quickly, although some will not come up until the following spring. This delay makes it advisable to wait until March or April on heavy soils, as waterlogging may cause the seed and seedlings to rot during winter.
Smaller areas can be watered in dry spells until germination but larger areas will need to be left until the rains return. It is worth hand weeding out obvious weeds not in the seed mix during the first summer. For more on cutting your new meadow, see our page wildflower meadow maintenance.
Planting bulbs in grass – Episode 27 Gardeners World 2020
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.
When planting small bulbs, such as crocuses, in areas of grass, lift or roll back sections of turf. Fork over the soil and add a little balanced fertiliser, such as Growmore. If possible, score the underside of the turf with a hand fork to loosen the soil before replacing it. Firm the turf by hand or by gently tamping with the back of a rake.
Success with squash
Squash come in all kinds of shapes and sizes from massive pumpkins to tiny patty pan squashes. There are winter squashes, such as pumpkins and butternut squash and summer squashes, such as yellow crookneck, yellow straightneck, and scallop, which are harvested when immature. They are all relatively easy to grow from seed.
Squashes are easy to grow from seed and can be sown outdoors in the spot where they are to grow, or you can start them off indoors in pots. Sow two or three seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep outdoors in late May or early June and cover with cloches, jars or plastic; leave in place for two weeks, or as long as possible, after germination. Thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one.
For earlier crops or in cold regions sow seeds indoors on their side, 13mm (½in) deep in 7.5cm (3in) pots of compost from mid- to late April at 18-21ºC (65-70ºF). If you don’t have the space to raise squash seedlings, you can also buy young plants from garden centres in spring and these usually can be planted outdoors straight away. Check specific plant information.
Cultivating cabbages – Gardeners World episode 27 2020
Cabbages come in different shapes, sizes and colours, and with a little planning it’s possible to pick them fresh nearly every day of the year. They can be used raw in salad or coleslaw, and as ingredients in soup, boiled, steamed or braised. Different types can be harvested throughout the year.
Cabbages need a sunny site and firm soil. Wherever possible, prepare the soil in autumn by adding well-rotted manure or garden compost and then leave it over winter to consolidate. Before planting cabbages, make sure the soil is well firmed by shuffling along the surface on your heels, then rake it flat.
You should not grow cabbages in the same soil that you grew them (or other brassicas) the previous year. Cabbages are best suited for growing in the open ground, but you could grow one or two in large, deep containers. They are not suitable for growing bags.
Cabbages can be either sown directly in the ground outside, or in seed trays (and left outdoors). If you only want a few cabbages, it is best to sow in seed trays, then transplant outdoors. Use modular trays, and sow one seed per module. Cabbages are harvested by cutting through the stem just above ground level with a sharp knife. Cut a 1cm (½in) deep cross in the stump of spring and summer cabbages and you’ll be rewarded with a second crop of much smaller cabbages.
Plant your own prairie
Mixtures of grasses and flowering perennials have, in recent years come to be known as prairie planting. Most effective in larger areas, the relaxed, naturalistic feel can also be achieved in smaller gardens.
The word prairie means grassland – specifically of the American Midwest. However, the term as a garden style has come to include plantings that consist not only of North American grasses and flowering perennials but many other combinations of plants that require the same growing conditions.
You could design a plant scheme based on a South African meadow or Mediterranean maquis, but in other examples, plants within the same project may originate from varying parts of the world. As long as the climatic conditions and soil conditions are similar, they can be successfully combined.
The methods described are suitable for establishing naturalistic plantings in borders in medium-sized gardens but much larger areas given over to this style have the greatest impact. This style of planting offers enormous opportunities for wildlife, from providing nectar and pollen from late-flowering perennials to shelter for overwintering insects.