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Hull - City of Culture 2017

Eric Robson and the panel visit Hull, the UK's City of Culture 2017. On the panel this week are Matt Biggs, Bunny Guinness and Matthew Wilson.

Eric Robson and the panel visit Hull, the UK's City of Culture 2017. On the panel this week are Matt Biggs, Bunny Guinness and Matthew Wilson.

The experts offer advice on growing Birds of Paradise from seed, suggest flowering plants that go well with ferns, and suggest things to plant in a clay-bottomed pond.

Also, Matt Biggs meets Jeanie Webster who has managed to transform a local wasteland into an urban paradise.

Produced by Dan Cocker
Assistant Producer: Laurence Bassett

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

43 minutes

Fact Sheet

Q – My ‘Bird of Paradise’ plants are too big.  Can I take seeds from the flowers to start new plants?


Matthew Wilson – This is the Strelitzia reginae


Q – I’ve a small front garden that I can’t grow spring bulbs in due to cats.  Can you advise on deterrents please?


Bunny – It’s often squirrels rather than cats – especially with Crocuses


Eric – You could put holly leaves down


Matt – Chicken wire over the top until they’re more settled


Q – I’m keen on Ferns.  What flowering plants can I use with them?


Bunny – I’ve got them mixed with Arum ‘Marmoratum’.  White flowering Roses too. 


Matthew – I’ve got Dryopteris erythrosora with a grey-leafed Hosta (‘Halcyon’) and a blue Hydrangea called ‘Zorro’ underneath a big Hawthorn. 


Q – We’re having a school potato growing competition and we want to grow ‘Pink Fir Apple’.  Will it work in Yorkshire? If not, what should we try instead?


Bunny – They should be fine – give it a go. 


Matthew – ‘Charlotte’ or ‘Anya’ are good for growing in bags. 


Q – We’ve developed an environmental classroom – what would the panel put in such a space to inspire newcomers to gardening?


Matt – I saw some of yours today like Echium wildpretii.  Some lovely palms too.  And a young olive tree. 


Matthew – Things with a backstory are good.  Like Metasequoia glyptostroboidesGinkgo biloba.  Woolemi Pine.  ‘Monkey Puzzle’. 


Q – Best plants to establish in a large wildlife pond with a clay bottom please?


Bunny – Use a subsoil across the bottom rather than topsoil to encourage a natural look.  Use coir rolls around the edge filled with things like the ‘Water Iris’, ‘Water Forget-Me-Not’, and ‘Water Mint’


Matthew – I would add ‘Flowering Rush’ (Butomus umbellatus). 


Q – I have a large bronze Phormium tenax (possibly ‘Purpureum’).  I want to reduce its size.  When/how should I do this?


Matthew – It’s quite hard to get root out with them.  Split them into small pieces and pot them up in good compost. 


Q – My daughter has an area of the garden for her fairies.  What can she plant there please? (No pink!)


Matthew – Geranium ‘Crane’s Bill’. Perennial Geraniums like Geranium phaeum ‘Album’.  And Geranium macrorrhizum ‘White-Ness’.  Deschampsia cespitosa


Bunny – Dwarf apple tree in a pot.  If you can get one impregnated with Mistletoe that’s magical. Nigella and Forget-Me-Nots.


Matt – Get one of Mabel Lucie Atwell’s books and plant the plants from them. So she can see them growing!


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