Episode 24

Image for Episode 24Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Gardeners' World, 2013 Episode 24 of 31

Duration: 30 minutes

Monty Don presents Gardeners' World from RHS Rosemoor in Devon. He will be finding out how they grow really productive fruit trees in the smallest of spaces and what it takes for a vegetable to earn the RHS Award of Garden Merit. Carol Klein will also be at Rosemoor getting seasonal inspiration from their extensive sedum collection, all nestled within the stunning borders in the garden.

Joe Swift pays a visit to Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire to find out how a ten year experiment in naturalistic planting, by garden designer Piet Oudolf, is shaping up. Have you ever wondered what the life of an RHS volunteer is like? We visit RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate to find out how the volunteers are vital in maintaining such a beautiful garden.

  • Growing apples in small spaces

    Growing apples in small spaces

    Compared to other fruit trees, apples are easy to grow and are certainly very adaptable. You can grow them as little stepovers along the edge of a border, train them flat against a wall as a cordon or espalier or simply grow them in a pot as a small tree. But whichever way you decide to grow them, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.

    The first thing is pollination. To get a good set of fruit, it’s worth growing more than one variety. This may not be necessary if there’s an apple tree growing next door or even better, a crab apple. Few varieties are self-fertile, but even these will produce a better crop if they are pollinated by another variety that flowers at the same time. If in doubt, choose a mid-season variety as its blossom is less likely to be hit by a frost in the spring. There’s also a greater chance that its flowers will overlap with an early or late season variety. For more information about pollination groups, please see the relevant link above.  

    The type of rootstock the tree is growing on is the other thing to consider. This will determine the ultimate size of the tree as well as the age at which it starts to fruit. Trees grown on a dwarfing rootstock tend to start cropping earlier, for example. There are six main types of rootstock:

    • M27                Extremely dwarfing
    • M9                   Very dwarfing
    • M26                Dwarfing
    • MM106           Semi-dwarfing
    • MM111           Vigorous
    • M25                Very vigorous

    The rootstock you choose will also depend on what your soil is like, the variety you’ve chosen and how you intend to grow it. It’s a complicated subject, so it’s well worth seeking the advice of a specialist supplier before you make a purchase. 

    Rootstocks (apps.rhs.org.uk)

  • Apple Days

    Apple Days

    With literally hundreds of varieties to choose from, it can be difficult to know which apple to grow. It’s best not to go by supermarket varieties – ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’, for example, is notoriously difficult to grow. As Monty said, taste is of paramount importance and we’d strongly recommend that you go along to an Apple Day in your area to compare different varieties. Many of them are taking place over the weekend of 19/20 October to coincide with National Apple Day. Check out the link below for a few suggestions.


    Apple Days (www.bbc.co.uk)

  • Garden featured

    Scampston Hall
    North Yorkshire
    YO17 8NG

    Tel. 01944 759111

    The Walled Garden at Scampston Hall is open every day except Monday until 27 October 2013. For more information about the garden and how to get there, please see the link below.

    Scampston Hall (www.scampston.co.uk)

  • Jobs for the weekend: Lift & store maincrop potatoes

    It’s time to lift maincrop potatoes. If the tops haven’t died down yet, cut them off and leave for a fortnight to allow the skins to harden. Then, using a fork, gently dig up the tubers taking care not to damage them in the process. Either leave them on the surface of the soil for a couple of hours or take them indoors to dry in the dark. Store somewhere cool and dry in a hessian or paper sack. 

    More on growing potatoes (www.gardenorganic.org.uk)

  • Jobs for the weekend: Check tree ties

    Before the autumn gales arrive, it’s worth giving tree ties a quick inspection.  As a tree grows and its young stem expands, there’s a real danger of it becoming constricted. Loosen the tree tie as necessary and if you’re using one without a buffer, replace it with one that does. This will help to prevent the stem from rubbing directly against the stake.

    More on tree ties (apps.rhs.org.uk)

  • Jobs for the weekend : Sow green manure

    As you begin to clear your veg patch, consider sowing a green manure. As well as helping to boost fertility and improve soil structure, they are brilliant at suppressing weeds. Simply broadcast the seed over the surface of the soil or divide the area up into square metres and sprinkle the required amount over each section. Rake in and water if no rain is forecast.

    At RHS Rosemoor, they use phacelia which, in mild areas, may overwinter. But even it doesn’t, the frosted foliage tends to lie as a protective mat on the surface of the soil. Other options include Hungarian grazing rye, winter tares and field beans, all of which are totally hardy.      

    More about green manure (www.gardenorganic.org.uk)


Monty Don
Carol Klein
Series Editor
Liz Rumbold
Babs Lewis
Joe Swift


More about this week’s show

More expert gardening advice

Find out more about the gardens featured in the show and get some topical tips.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.