The Beechgrove Garden 2021 episode 1: Beechgrove is back in bloom as the team return to Beechgrove’s home turf, and after a year away from the garden, Carole, Brian and head gardener Mairi spring Beechgrove back into growth.
After a year apart, Carole and Brian set up neighbouring patches for some healthy competition, while we watch Mairi as she reclaims Beechgrove after its time on furlough in 2020. George is back chopping down trees in his home garden in Joppa, while Kirsty builds a stylish greenhouse on her brand-new ornamental allotment.
Beechgrove is a hardy annual TV gardening series which sets out to deal with, glory in and celebrate Scottish horticulture and growing conditions. Beechgrove is and always has been a firmly practical, get-your-hands-dirty gardening programme which delights in success but also learns from failures in the garden and never takes itself too seriously.
The Beechgrove Garden 2021 episode 1
How to grow camellias
Camellia are easy to grow, glossy evergreens. They are ideal for containers. Their showy flowers come in whites, pinks and reds and appear early in the season; a time when not much else is flowering. Camellias are best planted in autumn while the soil is still warm to encourage the roots to establish before winter sets in.
Water your camellias regularly when they are newly planted (the first 18 months) and water through the summer months as this is when the flowers are produced. Aim to keep the soil moist and check it with trowel about 10cm (4in) down – if it feels dry at this level, water well.
Feed your camellias in early spring with an ericaceous fertiliser, such as Miracle-Gro Azalea, Camellia and Rhododendron Soluble Plant Food or Chempak Ericaceous Food. Follow the dilution rates on the packet. Excessive and late-summer feeding can also lead to bud drop – do not feed camellias later than the end of July.
Deadhead your camellias when the flowers begin to fade. This keeps the plant looking fresh as spent flowers will turn brown and can look unsightly. However, it doesn’t significantly improve the flowering for the next spring, so it’s something you can do if you have time.
How to grow cauliflower
In the shops, cauliflowers are almost always creamy white, but grow your own and you can enjoy attractive and tasty yellow, green or purple ones. They take up quite a bit of space, need rich, deep soil and need plenty of watering, especially in summer, but they can be grown all year round.
Sow thinly, 2cm (¾in) deep in a seedbed. Final rows should be 15cm (6in) apart for mini caulis or around 60cm (24in) for larger cultivars. Thin the seedlings to a final spacing of 15cm (6in) apart for mini caulis or 60cm (24in) for larger cultivars. However, best results come from sowing in cell trays using any good multi-purpose potting compost. As cauliflowers mature in a rush, avoid raising too many plants at a time.
The main sowing period is March to May, although early crops can be achieved by sowing under glass in January/February or sowing cultivars in the autumn in a glasshouse or coldframe.
Cauliflowers do best in very fertile soil, and digging in a bucketful of well-rotted manure or organic matter before planting, and raking in 150g per sq m (5oz per sq yd) of Growmore or other general purpose fertiliser, will help growth. Firm the soil by treading before planting.
If growth is checked, at any time during growth, they produce small, deformed heads. To avoid problems, water plants well the day before transplanting and make a hole deep enough to hold the plant with the lowest leaves at ground level. Fill this hole repeatedly with water. This will fill the hole with soil and ensure the plant is sitting in a large area of moist soil. Firm the soil very well against the roots.
Carole Baxter – The Beechgrove Garden 2021 episode 1
Carole Baxter is a gardener who was born in 1958 and grew up near Maidstone in Kent. As a child she would help her Father to look after their acre of land and she would earn her pocket money, stone picking in the garden. Carole attended Sussex university where she obtained a Honours Degree in Geography.
Carole Baxter started at Beechgrove Gardens behind the camera as an assistant Gardener. When the Head Gardener retired in 1984 Carole got the job. Two years later in 1986 Carole Baxter was to be the first woman to co-presenter of a gardening programme in the UK.