With the Wimbledon tennis championships just around the corner, Joe Swift meets the gardening team responsible for the spectacular floral displays at this world-renowned event.
Carol Klein is in Cornwall meeting a couple that grow a huge range of gloriously scented honeysuckles from all over the world. She compares our native varieties with the Mediterranean and American hybrids, and learns which of them are most suited to our own gardens.
And Monty Don is at home at Longmeadow, with some timely seasonal tips for getting the very best from our flowers and vegetables.
Planting under trees
As spring turns to summer, deciduous tree canopies knit together reducing the amount of light and rain getting to plants below. Tree roots will also be the dominant force underground, taking the lion’s share of moisture and nutrients at the expense of other plants. This presents problems for many gardeners but it doesn’t have to.
By using a selection of plants which enjoy reduced light levels and less water, you can have a delightful shady summer garden.
Monty has a clay soil which has been improved over the years with lots of organic matter. This means he can use a selection of plants (Hydrangea arborescens subsp. discolor 'Sterilis' and Anemone hupehensis 'Hadspen Abundance') which need more moisture than may be available in other gardens. Below is a list of plants which work well under trees but also consider improving soil to increase the selection available to you.
Plants for under trees (www.rhs.org.uk)
Plants for free from softwood cuttings
Talking cuttings from the fresh, soft growth produced this year can bulk up plant supplies very quickly as they will root readily. Younger plants are more vigorous and will strike (create roots) more readily than more mature material. However, don’t let this put you off as it can be a great way to rejuvenate or save an old or damaged plant.
Monty took cuttings of lavender and rosemary, but the technique works for many plants in the garden including sage, fuchsia, penstemons, potentilla, hydrangea, philadelphus, dianthus and more. The link below gives detailed instructions on how to take the cuttings and care for them.
Softwood cuttings (www.rhs.org.uk)
Roseland House, Garden and Nursery
Tel: 01872 560 451
Charlie & Liz Pridham built their garden on contaminated soil which limited their palette of plants. They didn’t let this stand in the way of creating a beautiful garden, however. They observed that honeysuckles thrived where other plants died and set about collecting specimens from all over the world.
If you would like to visit their garden and see the honeysuckles, follow the link below for details.
Roseland House & Garden Open Days (www.roselandhouse.co.uk)
Wimbledon Tennis Gardens
The All England Lawn Tennis Club
London SW19 5AE
Tel: 0208 944 1066
Joe Swift met Head Gardener Martyn Falconer and helped him get the grounds ready for the annual tennis championship. Joe helped prune the Virginia creeper Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Veitchii' and met Head Groundsman, Neil Stubley, who revealed that the iconic lawn tennis courts are in fact made from scratch each year using a mix of rye grass cultivars.
The grounds are open to those visiting the tennis during the tournament but you can also book tours of the grounds at other times of the year, just follow the link below for more information.
Jobs for the weekend: Thin apples and pears
The June drop is a natural process where healthy trees drop fruits and reduce the overall number occurring on a tree. Trees with over-laden branches can become damaged and if there’s too much fruit in bunches you will have many small fruits rather than a few well ripened, large fruits.
Help nature along by thinning to two fruits per bunch, this way remaining fruit will ripen properly and you’ll enjoy your harvest all the more.
Fruit thinning (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Sow biennial flowers
Mid-summer is a good time to sow biennials such as foxglove and wall flowers. These plants develop their roots and top growth in the first year, and then are ready to flower the following spring and summer.
Sow now directly outside or in a seed tray. Scatter the seeds thinly, cover with a fine layer of compost and then put them somewhere cool to germinate.
Sowing seed outdoors (www.rhs.org.uk)
Jobs for the weekend: Tackle gooseberry sawfly
Gooseberries, redcurrants and white currants are particularly susceptible in the summer to sawfly attacks. The adult lays its eggs in the centre of the bush at the base and when the larvae hatch they start eating their way up the plant. If you are not careful they can completely defoliate it before you realise anything’s wrong.
Prune away all the new growth from the heart of the bush leaving an open goblet shape. This will improve ventilation and means you can see any damage before it gets too bad. If you do see sawfly, remove it from plants immediately.
Gooseberry sawfly (www.rhs.org.uk)
|Series Producer||Christina Nutter|
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|