The Beechgrove Garden episode 14 2020: ‘Be prepared’ might be a Beechgrove motto as Carole shows the difference between a bed of hardy annuals sown in a prepared bed alongside an unprepared bed. George is always prepared as he takes us on a tour of his Joppa allotment. Meanwhile, in Scone, Brian is hoping to be prepared for garden activities in the school holidays.
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 episode 14 2020
Easily grown from seed, a vast choice of hardy annuals is available to offer long-lasting flowers during the warmer months. These fast-growing plants provide an easy and cost-effective way to give naturalistic planting, plug gaps and fill the border with a summer full of colour.
Spring sowing is suitable for annuals (plants which are sown, flower and die in one year) that tolerate light frosts. A spring sowing differs from an autumn sowing in that it tends to produce a later flowering display. Seed catalogues often use the abbreviation (HA) to describe hardy annuals.
It should be noted that although these plants usually withstand frosty conditions without protection, some hardy annuals may need covering with horticultural fleece or a cloche when a heavy frost is forecast. Half hardy annuals (HHA) need to be sown and grown on under glass, being planted out only in late spring when there is no further risk of frost or the likelihood of cold weather.
Sowing can begin from late March to May as the soil begins to warm up (often indicated by the emergence of weed seedlings). It may begin earlier in milder gardens of the south and west; in colder northern gardens sowing may be later.
Annuals do best on light soils. These are not usually too fertile which and have the advantage over heavier soils, of warming up earlier in the spring. Germination is slower on heavier, poorly drained soils which remain colder for longer after winter.
Lush growth and fewer flowers may result on rich soils. It is worth noting, however, that cornfield annuals tolerate a richer soil and make a good alternative to a wildflower meadow where soil is too fertile.