Episode 10

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Gardeners' World, 2012 Episode 10 of 31

Duration: 30 minutes

Monty Don returns to Longmeadow with inspirational ideas and plants gathered at the Malvern Spring Show. He has tips and advice for planting ferns for dry places and then turns his attention to the pond where he shares ideas on different types of water lilies and how to plant them.

Carol Klein delves into the quirky world of moisture-loving ferns, discovering them in the wild and admiring their variety when she visits a restored Victorian grotto in Wales.

There is also a catch-up on the novice gardeners at Didcot army barracks, as they continue to develop their cut-flower garden.


    The aim when planting up a pond is to cover at least one third of the water’s surface with aquatic plants. This will create a good balance of light and shade, which will prevent the water from over-warming in summer; this can cause problems with algal blooms.

    Monty has already planted the marginal plants around the edge of the pond and they will provide some shade, but waterlilies, when their leaves begin to unfurl, will provide the rest of this important canopy.

    Waterlilies are deep-water plants and are hungry feeders. Before sinking them into the water it is best to re-pot them into larger baskets. This will allow the young plants to grow undisturbed for several seasons before needing further attention. Monty uses a low nutrient aquatic compost to pot them into and tops-off with grit to hold the compost in place.

    When introducing young waterlilies into a pond it is important not to plunge them into the full depth of the pond in one go. Monty props the baskets up on brick filled pots. As the plant develops and the leaves unfurl, the basket can be lowered in stages until the full depth is gained.

    Monty’s waterlily selection:
    Nuphar lutea
    Nymphaea 'Marliacea Chromatella'
    Nymphaea 'Odorata Sulphurea Grandiflora’

    You do not need a large pond to enjoy growing waterlilies. Smaller cultivars are available and are more suited to growing in mini ponds or in a half barrel. For more information on growing waterlilies, cultivars and their sizes click on the link below.

    RHS Waterlilies


    Ferns have been around for over 400 million years, long before flowers first evolved. There is something primal in their look, the way they unfurl. Both the plants and the dank places they inhabit appealed to Victorian collectors who spent fortunes on creating caves and grottoes to house their collections. Carol on her visit to Dewstow Gardens, Monmouthshire, explores this magical world.

    For the most part, ferns do enjoy these damp shady conditions but there are those that are drought tolerant and adaptable to dry shade, even arid conditions. Below we’ve listed some ferns suitable for moist shady areas of the garden and Monty’s choices for dry shade.

    Moist shade:
    Athyrium filix-femina (Lady fern)
    Athyrium niponicum var. pictum (Painted lady fern)
    Matteuccia struthiopteris (Shuttlecock fern)
    Osmunda regalis (Royal fern)

    Dry shade:
    Asplenium scolopendrium Marginatum (Crispy hart's tongue fern)
    Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata the King' (Scaly male fern)
    Polystichum setiferum (Soft shield fern)
    Polypodium vulgare (Common polypody)

    The British Pteridological Society. All about ferns

    Dewstow Gardens and Hidden Grottoes
    South Wales
    NP26 5AH

    The spectacular ferns and grottoes to be found at Dewstow Gardens are open to the public.

    For opening times and details please click on the link below

    Traditionally sweet peas were sown under glass in late autumn, overwintered, and planted out into their final growing position the following spring. Monty has decided to conduct an experiment. Last October he did a traditional autumn sowing into pots and did a second sowing, again into pots, at the end of March.

    The weather has been so foul and the ground so wet these past few weeks that Monty has put off planting out his sweet peas. But this week he gets them in. Each of the two sowings he plants around a separate wigwam. He also sows directly into the ground at the base of a third.

    Monty’s non-scientific experiment will hopefully show whether flowering times and flowering lengths are affected by the time of year they are sown. For those gardeners who prefer to sow in the autumn, is there any real advantage to sowing, protecting, and tending plants through the winter months?

    If you have not sown sweet peas, sow some now - it is not too late - they may come into flower later in the season but should continue on to give you beautiful scented blooms right to the end of the growing season.

    More on sowing sweet peas


    The military garden at Vauxhall Barracks is really beginning to take shape. With all their annuals sown, the group get their dahlias and gladioli into the ground for a hit of summer colour. And as an inspirational treat, the families visit local cut flower grower Rachel Seigfried at her garden in Oxfordshire to pick up some tips on how best to tend their cut flower garden.

    Rachel Seigfried’s top tips for growing cut flowers:

    Seeds and weeds
    When direct sowing outdoors sow your seed in rows or in a pattern so that you can tell the difference between your seedlings and any weed that may germinate.

    Successional sowing
    Sow flower seed at intervals over a period of weeks so that you can enjoy the blooms all summer long.

    Feed and water
    Regularly watering your flowers will give longer stems and better blooms. Rachel also uses a liquid comfrey feed which she makes herself.

    Staking your blooms
    Good stakes are needed to keep your flowers upright and looking their best – staking will really help to keep those stems standing to attention.

    BBC Gardening guides: Growing cut flowers

    Young salad crops sown under frost protection can now be planted out into their final growing positions. To avoid ‘famine and feast’ seed can now be sown directly into the soil at the same time. This way as one crop is maturing another is germinating and beginning to grow. As harvesting begins sow yet another row and this will ensure a regular crop of salads throughout the growing season.

    More on succession sowing

    Despite the cold wet weather, the season is warming up, and potatoes should be showing good top growth. When they have achieved about 10cm it is time to ‘earth up’. This simply means drawing up the soil between the rows into a mound over the stems, it does not matter if you bury the foliage it will grow through again. Earthing up increases the length of underground stem so improves crop yield. The process also buries competing weeds and helps prevent blight. Earthing up can be done two or three times at two to three week intervals. The trough created between the rows will hold and channel water down to help swell the tubers.

    More on earthing up potatoes

    Now that we are well into the growing season, plants in containers will be busily drawing out nutrients from the surrounding soil. A weekly or fortnightly liquid feed for hanging baskets and pots will provide plants with all the nutrients they need to keep on growing and flowering throughout the season.

    More on plant nutrition and feeding


Monty Don
Carol Klein
Rachel de Thame
Louise Hampden
Series Producer
Liz Rumbold


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