The Beechgrove Garden is back! Spring-loaded and raring to grow. The sun always shines in Beechgrove, but how has the sunniest winter since records began affected growing conditions? Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw find out.
Carole and Jim know that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but there is an air of competition as they take on neighbouring greenhouses and pack them full of food and flowers all year round. George visits the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s show in Kincardine. Who has grown the best bulbs, perfect primula or the iconic iris and how? Gardening lights up our lives, but in Glasgow Botanic Gardens they have taken that to a new level. George experiences the eerie elegance of the Electric Gardens.
The Beechgrove Garden episode 1 2015
In the serene setting of Beechgrove, where the main pond sparkles under the sunlight and the bridge lends a picturesque view, four green-thumbed friends embarked on their latest endeavor. Jim, Carole, Chris, and George came together on a splendid spring morning, the air rich with the scent of blooming flowers and the promise of a new start, to launch their latest series. This particular day was even more special as it culminated the sunniest winter the area had seen since climate record keeping began in the early part of the twentieth century, precisely 1929.
George, known in their circle for his penchant for growing a vast array of bulbs, had quite a bit to share about his experiences. His exhibits for the Spring Flower Shows in the capital, Edinburgh, were helped along by the extended sunny period until February. This unusual weather led to an accelerated growth rate for his beloved bulbs. However, since then, the weather, had been notably dull, causing a significant slowdown in the growth of the flora.
Carole, on the other hand, had a different story to tell. Her garden, nestled in a frost pocket, experienced several frosts. Despite this, the temperatures only plummeted to a relatively mild -6ºC for a short period, and there was an absence of snowfall, an experience not unlike that at Beechgrove.
Chris, who resides in the Cotswolds, compared the winter there to the West coast of Scotland. The early autumn was characterised by wet and mild conditions, making for lush, green landscapes. However, as the festive cheer of Christmas faded, the nights grew colder, curtailing the early budding on woody plants. These winter tales, along with lovely photos sent in by viewers, helped weave a tapestry of shared experiences and insights.
Adding to the richness of their horticultural journey, George had the pleasure of attending the Scottish Rock Garden Club’s (SRGC) Show. The grand event took place in the quaint Kincardine Community Hall on 21st March 2015. The SRGC Spring Show offered a golden opportunity for gardening enthusiasts to feast their eyes on a broad spectrum of plants. These ranged from the very rare or recently introduced species to the time-tested favorites that have become staples in many gardens. This blend of old and new not only made the Show a great place to explore the diversity of plant life but also offered a fantastic platform for sharing knowledge and sparking inspiration amongst its attendees.
The Beechgrove Garden episode 1 2015 – Mastering the Art of Growing Bulbs
Introduction to the Vibrant World of Bulbs
Welcome to the magical world of flowering bulbs! These subterranean storehouses of life are nothing short of Mother Nature’s masterpieces. Whether it’s the cheerful display of daffodils in spring or the radiant dahlias in summer, bulbs add color, fragrance, and texture to your garden, making it a source of joy and inspiration all year round.
The Seasons of Bulb Planting
The circle of the seasons plays a significant role in the life of bulbs. Bulbs are typically planted either in spring or fall, depending on the variety. Summer-flowering bulbs like lilies, dahlias, and gladiolas are spring planters, while spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths have their roots set in the ground in the fall. Like two sides of a coin, these two groups of bulbs have their unique benefits, each offering a distinct charm and appeal to your garden.
Preparing for Planting
Before you roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, some prep work is needed. This involves getting your soil ready with organic materials and a special bulb fertilizer. Consider it as laying a soft, nutritious bed for your bulbs to sleep and grow in. This preparation is key to ensuring your bulbs grow healthy and strong.
The Planting Process
The act of planting is not merely a mechanical task, but a meditative ritual. Start with digging a hole or trench, then thoughtfully arrange the bulbs considering their future growth. Ensure that there’s enough space between each bulb, as they need room to spread their roots and flourish. After planting, cover the bulbs gently with soil and water generously, akin to tucking them into bed and reading them a goodnight story.
Staking Bulbs and Planting in Pots
While most bulbs are happy to grow independently, some may need a helping hand for support. If you’re planting bulb flowers that require support, it’s wise to stake them at the time of planting. Bulbs also grow well in pots, making them versatile players in the garden. Just ensure there’s a drainage hole at the bottom and the pot has a layer of coarse material to aid in drainage.
Soaking Bulbs before Planting
To soak or not to soak, that’s a question often asked in gardening circles. It’s not necessary to soak bulbs before planting, but some gardeners prefer to do so. They believe it helps the bulbs to establish more quickly. If you choose to soak, remember that moderation is key.
Post-Bloom Care and Winter Storage
After the curtain falls on the blooming season, there are a few maintenance steps to follow. Summer bulbs, particularly in cooler areas, may need to be dug up and stored over the winter months. Hardy bulbs can stay snug in the ground over winter, but a bit of mulching in the fall will go a long way in protecting their roots.
Conclusion: The Blossoming Benefits of Bulbs
The journey of growing bulbs is as fulfilling as the beautiful blooms they produce. Spring flowering bulbs like crocuses, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and more are often the first sign of life after a cold, bleak winter. On the other hand, summer bulbs like crocosmia, dahlias, gladiolas, or lilies flower when the garden is at its peak, offering show-stopping blooms, decadent fragrance, and texture. Embracing the art of growing bulbs can transform not just your garden, but also your appreciation for the intricate beauty of nature.