Episode 31

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Gardeners' World, 2012 Episode 31 of 31

Duration: 30 minutes

In the last of this year's series of Gardeners' World, Monty has plenty of advice on the jobs we can be doing now and over the winter in the garden. He also reviews some of the plants which have thrived and those which have not during this extraordinary summer.

On Walney Island in Cumbria, Carol explores the diversity of wild plants which thrive in its maritime climate and discovers a very special hardy geranium which grows nowhere else in the world.

Rachel travels to Swansea to meet passionate gardener Andrea Gordon, who, despite being blind from birth, has a garden overflowing with plants.

And Joe meets 92-year-old Walter Partridge who not only produces an abundance of vegetables on his immaculate allotment in Grantham but is also the bee-keeper for the site.

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    Dogwoods are a great way of adding colour to your garden in winter. Their brightly coloured stems shine out of the border when everything else is looking drab and grey. And if you underplant them with snowdrops and winter aconites, they’ll look even more spectacular. Monty planted Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ – a superb variety if you want a splash of red. Cornus alba ‘Baton Rouge’ is even brighter. For lime-green stems, you can’t beat Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’. But if you want something with real drama, look out for ‘Midwinter Fire’ or ‘Winter Beauty’ – both forms of Cornus sanguinea. Their branches graduate from orange-yellow at the base through to red at the tips like living flames.

    More on Cornus

    Even though the days are getting shorter, there’s still plenty to be getting on with in the garden over the winter. Here’s a checklist of jobs worth staying on top of whilst we’re off air. And if there’s anything you want to check up on, take a look at our library of clips.


    Continue to gather up autumn leaves and either compost them or turn them into leafmould. Mowing over them first will speed up their breakdown.

    Get your tulips in the ground while the soil is still workable.

    Cut buddlejas back by half.

    Decide on what you want to grow next year and order your seed.

    Buy bare-root plants, especially if you’re thinking of planting a hedge or some roses. You’ll save yourself a fortune!

    Lag outdoor taps.

    Mulch borderline hardy perennials to help insulate the roots.

    Raise pots up off the ground to improve drainage. And to stop them freezing, wrap fleece or bubble wrap around them.

    Take root cuttings.

    Bring forced hyacinths into the light once they’re 5cm (2in) tall.

    Wash and put away all your seed trays and pots.

    Give your greenhouse a thorough clean before insulating it with bubble wrap.

    Check tree ties and loosen as necessary.

    Clean and sharpen your tools before putting them away for the winter.

    Get your lawnmower serviced.

    Prune wisteria.

    Shake snow off conifers to prevent the branches being damaged.

    Take hardwood cuttings.

    Put out fresh food and water for the birds on a regular basis.

    Clean out nest boxes.

    Prune late-flowering clematis (Group 3) on Valentine’s Day.


    Stake Brussels sprouts, especially if they are growing in an exposed position.

    Lift and divide old clumps of rhubarb.

    Sow peas and broad beans.

    Net brassicas as a way of deterring hungry pigeons.

    Mulch root veg with straw to help prevent the ground from freezing.

    Check stored produce for signs of rot.

    Complete winter digging.

    Lime your soil if your brassicas suffer from clubroot.

    Order onion and shallot sets.

    Take down runner bean supports and put away.

    Buy seed potatoes in January and set them to chit.


    Prune apples and pears.

    Plant raspberry canes and other soft fruit as soil conditions allow.

    Remove and destroy any mummified fruit left hanging on trees.

    Prune grape vines.

    Check stored fruit for signs of rot.

    Cut back autumn-fruiting raspberries right down to the ground once they’ve lost all their leaves.

    Prune gooseberries and currants.


Monty Don
Carol Klein
Joe Swift
Rachel de Thame
Series Producer
Liz Rumbold


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