Jurassic Coast

Eric Robson hosts this week's programme from the Jurassic Coast, with Anne Swithinbank, Bob Flowerdew and Bunny Guinness.

The panel of experts offer horticultural advice to audience members struggling with growing sweet potatoes and miserable-looking Monkey Puzzle trees, and they suggest evergreen hedging plants.

They also discuss winter-flowing Hawthorns, what to do about a Chafer grub infestation and how to eradicate Jerusalem Artichokes.

Chris Beardshaw makes a very special visit to the home and garden of national treasure Mary Berry.

Produced by Hannah Newton
Assistant Producer: Laurence Bassett

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Sun 23 Jul 2017 14:00

Fact Sheet

Q – Where and how would you grow a sweet potato?


Bob – You need to start early.  Pop a supermarket one in a pot of damp sand somewhere really warm and that will force it. Then pot the slips from that.  Grow them in buckets somewhere warm and train the stems up.


Q – We donated a Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana) to a wildlife garden.  Unfortunately, it is not thriving.  What can we do to save it?


Bunny – It looks like it hasn’t been soaked well enough. 


Anne – The soil probably isn’t good enough yet as the site is quite new


Bob – It can’t be saved unfortunately. Next time plant more than one as you need male and female plants to get the best out of them


Q – Could the panel suggest a hedging plant that is evergreen, medium-growing and quick to establish, sturdy, suitable for a coastal area but not Holly?


Bunny – A Taxus Yew would be good. Euonymus japonicusElaeagnusEscallonia


Bob – Sea Buckthorn.  Junipers too. 


Bob – Fuschia magellanica ‘Riccatoni’


Q – How would you tame winter-flowering Heathers?


Anne – If they’ve never been pruned you can’t go in and hit the old wood hard.  You could clip the new growth or take them out or start again


Bob – You could try layering it over and then you can cut away the old stuff once that’s rooted


Q – If you moved house and you could take one plant/feature with you what would you take?


Bob – I have a plant that’s a very rare cross between a Poncirus (hardy citrus) crossed with one of the oranges.  I’m going to cross it again with a Satsuma.  Feature: I’d take my polytunnel


Anne – I would take my entire kitchen garden


Bunny – I would take my evergreen Oaks.  I would take my mud hut too.


Q – I think we have Chafer grubs – our borders and pots are overrun with them – what can we do?


Bob – You should get chickens


Bunny – You should try nematodes but you need to it when it is warm


Q – How do I eradicate Jerusalem Artichokes?


Bob – You could keep digging them up or hoeing off the shoots as they appear and eventually you will defeat them.  If you can fence the plot you could put geese in there; geese love them.


Bunny – if you’re turning the plot into lawn then just sow the seed and mow them out; they won’t compete with a a lawnmower


Q – I need a robust, quick-growing tree/shrub that will grow up to 6-7m (20-23ft), that will withstand strong winds and will provide shelter from a balcony that overlooks our garden.


Bunny – Evergreen Oak, if you’re willing to clip them. 


Bob – If you need to move quickly then put in posts and climbers instead of trees. 


Anne – Viburnum odoratissimumCeanothus ‘Trewithen Blue’. 


Bob – Juniper ‘Skyrocket’


Anne – Euonymus japonicus with a Japanese Honeysuckle too.

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