Gardeners World episode 3 2002: As part of his planning for summer, Alan Titchmarsh begins to plant lilies in containers, Joe and Rachel visit a garden that needs to be made child friendly and Chris Bradshaw finds big ideas for small gardens.
Gardening show packed with good ideas, tips, advice from experts and timely reminders to get the most out of your garden, whatever its size or type.
Gardeners World episode 3 2002
Lilies in containers
The pictures of lilies on garden centre racks look glorious – and, for once, the pictures don’t lie. Lilies are glorious. And, if you’re tempted by those garden centre packs, that’s a great way to start.
As a simple rule of thumb, those lilies on garden centre racks are likely to be easy to grow – the bulb companies only put out the easy ones this way. Take a look at the instructions on the back of the ones you especially like the look of, and see if they need acid soil (which is what you have if you can grow rhododendrons) or alkaline soil – and pick the ones that suit your conditions.
Almost all lilies grow well in containers, although taller types require some support. Suitable species include Lilium auratum, L. formosanum, L. longiflorum and L. speciosum. Suitable cultivars include the short-growing (60cm (2ft) tall) Asiatic hybrids (e.g. ‘Apollo’ and ‘Côte d’Azur’) and the ‘Pixie’ series (only 50cm (20in) high).
Ideally plant in early autumn, although bulbs can be planted until spring. Lilies can also be forced into flower for an indoor display. Bulbs commonly sold for forcing include Asiatic hybrids, L. auratum, L. longiflorum and L.speciosum. These bulbs will have been kept in a cool environment in order to flower without natural winter chill being necessary. Forcing involves bringing the pot into the warmth of the house or heated greenhouse, for flowering around six weeks after planting.
Grow beautiful and flouncy annual sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) from seed each year for their fragrance and for cutting, climbing them over obelisks or twiggy supports in borders or in a cutting garden. Try dwarf varieties as bedding.
Pretty, pea-like flowers come in shades of white, pink, coral, red, violet and blue, some combining two colours. Pastel shades are especially popular and petal edges may be wavy or outlined with a contrasting colour (picotee). Leaves formed of two leaflets combine with tendrils on winged stems. Sweet peas are generally climbing to 2m (6½ft), but some are short and bushy to 45cm (18in).
Sweet peas are easy to grow in any fertile soil that drains easily, in full sun. Feed weekly or fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser and ensure a regular supply of flowers by picking or deadheading.