This episode comes from the Malvern Spring Gardening Show at the Three Counties Showground. Monty Don, Joe Swift and Carol Klein go behind the scenes to meet the show garden designers and the nursery men and women who make this event so special. Monty takes a sneak peak at the floral marquee before the show opens and then he searches for the perfect plants to add to his cottage garden, as well as checking out some of the ideas for sustainable gardening at the show. Carol hunts for rare and unusual plants being showcased at Malvern and discovers what it takes for smaller growers to get their plants to the show in peak condition. Meanwhile Joe will be in the show gardens on the lookout for design tips that could help us all transform our gardens.
Best in Show
Peter Dowle’s garden “There’s a place in the woodland…where East meets West” was a hit with the judges, winning a Gold medal and Best in Show. Taking inspiration from Japanese tea gardens, Peter has created a tranquil oasis using an eclectic mix of plants from around the world. A curved, moss-covered bench provided Monty, Carol and Joe with a lovely sheltered spot out of the wind.
Primula sieboldii is found in moist meadows and light woodland in East Asia, so if you want to have a go at growing them in your own garden, you need to mimic these conditions. A damp area where the soil remains moist but never floods would be ideal. In these moist conditions, plants will tolerate a certain amount of sun but on drier soils, light shade is the best way of ensuring the roots don’t dry out. Add plenty of organic matter to increase the water-holding capacity of your soil.
In sheltered gardens, rosettes of lush, green leaves can persist through the winter. If they look a bit tatty, resist the urge to cut them back in the autumn. Instead, give them a mulch for a bit of extra protection. Once established, their creeping roots will allow them to form large clumps.
Jobs for the weekend: Cloche strawberries
As the flowers develop on your strawberry plants, it’s a good idea to cover some of them with cloches. This will encourage them to ripen early which, in turn, will give you a staggered harvest rather than one big glut in mid-summer. Leave the ends open so that the bees can pollinate the flowers.
Jobs for the weekend: Sow sweetcorn
You can’t beat the flavour of home-grown sweetcorn. And now’s the time to sow some. Monty likes to sow one seed per module and then pots them after about a fortnight. These are plants that need warmth right from the start, so make sure you wait until the nights have warmed up before you plant them out.
Jobs for the weekend: Harden off tender plants
It’s really important to harden off any plants that have been raised under cover, and that includes plants bought from the garden centre. A cold frame is ideal for this, but if you don’t have one, a sheltered corner will do. After a week or so, the plants will have acclimatised and after then, can be moved to their final position.
|Presenter||Rachel de Thame|
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|