Episode 15

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Gardeners' World, 2012 Episode 15 of 31

Duration: 30 minutes

At Longmeadow, Monty Don reveals how the garden has changed over the last four weeks and gets to grips with a variety of jobs in the walled garden. He demonstrates how to cut back hardy biennials to encourage secondary growth, shows us how to thin out our borders as well as other seasonal tasks. If edibles are your passion he'll be giving tips on what you can sow, such as carrots and beans, as well as harvesting, cooking and tasting his early potatoes to find his favourite variety.

Carol Klein celebrates the hardy geranium. She discovers how they thrive in a wild nature reserve in Somerset and visits East Lambrook Manor, a beautiful garden that is host to a stunning array of this cottage garden stalwart.

And Rachel de Thame returns to the army barracks in Didcot where the community garden she's helping to create is beginning to bloom.


    The warmth of the summer and the wet of the weather means slugs and snails are out in force. Lush soft green growth in our gardens is providing the perfect place for them to dine. From coffee grounds to crushed eggshells, copper bands to beer traps, there appear to be as many methods of trying to control these critters as there are annoyed, but imaginative, gardeners.

    Last July Gardeners’ World visited John Baker and June Colley at their wonderful hosta garden in Hampshire where not a be-spoiled leaf was to be found. John’s nifty slug and snail deterrent was his homemade garlic spray.

    John’s recipe for garlic spray
    1 x Bulb Garlic
    1 x Litre of water

    Crush the garlic bulb, add to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
    After cooling, strain the liquid and store in the fridge.
    Dilute the solution 1 tablespoon per litre and spray the plants and surrounding soil.

    If you have a top tip, or an ingenious method, for deterring these critters from munching their way through your garden then we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at gardeningdilemmas@bbc.co.uk

    The Royal Horticultural Society has put slugs and snails to the top of their Top 10 Garden Pests list. Follow the link below, it will provide you with a list of biological, non-biological and deterrent measures you can take to control these creatures in your garden. Good luck!

    RHS Top 10 garden pests

    East Lambrook Manor Gardens
    South Petherton
    TA13 5HH

    Margery Fish was probably one of the most influential gardeners of the 1950’s. She developed a grand but informal cottage garden style that reflected the times. Her approach was intimate; she developed a detailed knowledge of the plants she loved to work with. Unlike the highly maintained cottage gardens of Sissinghurst or Hidcote, her garden at East Lambrook Manor was grand yet approachable.

    Carol’s visit to East Lambrook Manor focused on the wonderful geraniums to be found there but there is so much more to see.

    The gardens are open to the public.
    For visitor information and opening times click on the link below:

    East Lambrook Manor Gardens


    Monty was disappointed with the new potatoes he grew last year. Not only did they taste rather bland, they fell apart in the pan when they were boiled. Poor growing conditions can dramatically affect the cooking qualities of a potato and last year was certainly no exception.

    Taste is of prime importance to Monty and this year he has grown six different varieties to compare flavour. Here is the list of what he has grown.

    Duke of York - an old heritage variety famed for its great taste. Tubers are oval shaped with yellow flesh. Good for boiling straight from the garden.

    Foremost - originally called Suttons Foremost, this award-winning variety has an excellent flavour and does not disintegrate or discolour on cooking. It is claimed to have good scab resistance too.

    International Kidney – also known as the Jersey Royal, this variety is officially classed as an early maincrop but more often than not, is harvested early as a new potato. Tubers are kidney shaped with white flesh.

    Sharpe’s Express – this heritage variety has a floury texture and is a good all-rounder in the kitchen. It has a fine flavour too with good resistance to common scab.

    Swift - as its name suggests, this is an early cropper with spuds being ready to harvest in as little as 60 days. It’s a good yielder too and is a brilliant one to grow in containers.

    Winston - released in 1992, this white-skinned variety is a popular one with exhibitors. It has excellent all-round resistance to disease and is one of the first bakers of the season.

    Whilst taste was Monty’s prime consideration, yields varied enormously. Top yielders were Sharpe’s Express, Duke of York, and Winston with International Kidney and Swift being low in yield. Upon boiling, International Kidney, Winston and Swift held together, whilst the others burst or fell apart to varying degrees.
    Monty found a big variation when it came to taste. Sharpe’s Express and Duke of York being dry and powdery, International Kidney was buttery, almost watery. Foremost was a little dry, Swift was good on taste and texture and Winston, Monty liked for its soft melting texture. All in all, none were outstanding, this Monty suggests, was down to all the rain we have had during the growing period.

    If you have grown any varieties of potato that are new to you this season, or have an old favourite that regularly performs well, then do let us know your results, thoughts, and recommendations. Contact us at gardeningdilemmas@bbc.co.uk

    More on potato varieties

    Removing the lower leaves from tomato plants now, up to the second truss of fruit, will let in the light and help ripen the fruit. With an excess of moisture around at the moment, removing these leaves will also allow air to circulate around the plants reducing the risk of blight.

    More on growing tomatoes

    With all the nasty weather we have been having lately - heavy rain and strong winds - now is a good time to check your existing plant supports. Make sure ties and knots have not worked loose and add extra supports if needed. Plants are achieving their maximum growth right now and it would be unfortunate to find prized blooms in a state of collapse.

    More on staking plants

    The ideal time to divide a bearded iris is about six weeks after flowering has finished – now is ideal. Dividing now will give the plant time to re-settle, put down new roots, and recover before the growing season ends.
    Lifting and dividing congested clumps every three or four years will re-invigorate a tired plant which has given a poor floral display. Dividing is also a good way of increasing stock of your favourite plants.

    More on dividing bearded iris


Series Producer
Liz Rumbold
Monty Don
Carol Klein
Joe Swift


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