Episode 4

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Gardeners' World, 2012 Episode 4 of 31

Duration: 30 minutes

With the garden growing apace, Monty shows us how we can take advantage of the new growth of all sorts of perennials, and begins by taking cuttings from emerging Delphiniums in his border and also from a pot grown plant. He also demonstrates the best way of planting Clematis against a wall to ensure a profusion of summer flowers, keeps on top of the seasonal seed sowing and explains why, at this time of year when growing space and plant protection is at a premium, a coldframe can be an essential bit of kit for any gardener.

Carol travels to Southern Ireland looking at wild primroses and meets a remarkable man who has spent the last 35 years conserving old 19th century Irish primroses as well as breeding new varieties.

We find the secrets of growing successful Clematis from a woman whose passion for them has led to her collecting and growing over 100 of them in the harsh climate of her Northumberland garden.

And Joe continues his garden design series with an in depth analysis of how the clever use of natural and artificial vertical elements from plants to pergolas can enhance the look of any garden.



    Clematis and their groupings can be confusing. Flowering time determines how and when to prune. There are three basic groups; Group 1 includes the early flowering species and their hybrids, they include Clematis alpina, C. armandii and C. Montana. Group 2 contains the large ‘dinner-plate’ flowering hybrids that flower mid-season in May and June; these include popular varieties like, Nelly Moser and The President. Group 3 are the mid to late season flowerers and include large late-flowering clematis and the delicate viticellas.
    If you have a clematis and do not know to which group it belongs, then take note of when it flowers as this is the key. The link below will help you identify the group and therefore when and how best to prune.

    Monty plants
    Clematis paniculata. Group 1
    Clematis 'Alba Luxurians'. Group 3
    Clematis 'John Huxtable'. Group 3

    More about clematis, groups, and pruning

    The Garden Cottage
    NE61 3UA

    Contact: Heather Russell

    The garden is open for group visits by arrangement from mid May to mid August 2012. Please check website details below.

    The Garden Cottage


    Primroses are the iconic flower of the season. They announce that spring is truly underway. Primula vulgaris, the common primrose, is a native wildflower; it inhabits the shady side of hedgerows and loves growing in the moist, cool, edges of woodlands. It has long been known that members of the primula family are quite promiscuous and often cross-pollinate with each other, throwing up new naturally occurring hybrids. Gardeners and plantsmen have taken advantage of this ability and have, over the years, produced a wonderful array of varieties and forms. These range from old-fashioned double flowered ones, Hose-in-Hose, frilled Jack-in-the-Greens and dainty Gold Lace forms to the bold and showy modern polyanthus and primulas popular in spring bedding arrangements.
    Keen gardeners will need to search out the specialist nurseries supplying the obscure, but the bright and cheerful are overflowing garden centres right now.

    More about primulas

    So much of gardening is about thinking ahead and if you want a summer garden filled with the scent of sweet peas then sow some now for they are very easy to grow. 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 sowing into pots, these have successfully overwintered and are now fine bushy plants – he’s pinched them out twice. This week he’s done a second sowing, again into pots, and later when these two sowings are finally planted out in late April, he will do a further sowing directly into the ground.
    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 them in the autumn, is there any real advantage to sowing, protecting, and tending plants through the winter months?

    More on sowing sweet peas

    A coldframe can bring many benefits. They are good for hardening off vulnerable young plants before planting them out into the garden, for overwintering tender plants, and for protecting young seedlings in the spring. A coldframe can be used all year round and as Monty says, ‘you’ll use every inch’. They need not be expensive and, with a minimum of skill, spare wood and polythene can be put together into a perfectly serviceable and invaluable piece of garden kit.

    More on coldframes

    Plants that are grown in containers either indoors or out will be starting to grow. Remove the top couple of inches of nutrient depleted compost and replace it with fresh to invigorate the plants.

    More about compost and top-dressing

    Now that the seed sowing cycle is under way it is important to move seedlings on to the next stage as soon as the first true leaves have developed. Pricking them out into individual pots allows each seedling to develop its own root system. Once grown on and hardened off plants can be planted out with their root systems intact.

    More on seed sowing and pricking out

    Water conservation needs to be uppermost in our minds. Any water saved and stored now can be made use of later when the summer heat begins to parch the soil and when our plants will need it most. It is surprising the amount of water that runs off the smallest roof and you don’t need a designed for purpose water butt. Any container with a sufficiently wide opening to dip a watering can will do.

    More on collecting and storing water


Monty Don
Carol Klein
Joe Swift
Louise Hampden
Series Producer
Liz Rumbold


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