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Culpepper Community Garden

Eric Robson and the panel are at the Culpepper Community Garden in Islington, north London. Anne Swithinbank, Christine Walkden and Matt Biggs answer the audience questions.

Eric and the panel are at the Culpepper Community Garden in Islington, North London. Anne Swithinbank, Christine Walkden and Matt Biggs answer the audience questions.

This week the panellists suggest fruiting plants that might not be as tempting to light-fingered passers-by as strawberries, offer reasons why one audience member's rosemary plants keep dying, and reel off some plants that would be happy on a hot, windy roof top.

They also advise on best-practice for sharpening tools, diagnose a struggling Wisteria, and help out questioners having difficulties with pigeons and moss in their gardens.

Anne Swithinbank visits the V&A Museum in London to investigate the long-standing connection between horticulture and fashion.

Produced by Hannah Newton
Assistant Producer: Laurence Bassett

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

43 minutes

Fact Sheet

Q – Does the team have any suggestions for delicious crops that won’t be as tempting to passers-by as strawberries and tomatoes?


Christine – Chinese Gooseberries or Inca Berries. 


Matt – Broad beans.  Beetroot.  Cooking apples. 


Anne – Artichokes. 


Q – My rosemary bushes keep on dying after flowering; why?


Matt – They need sunshine and free-draining soil. 


Anne – Planting the replacements into the same spot isn’t recommended as the soil will be depleted of nutrients


Matt – They could have been pot-bound before planting.  Make sure you tease the roots out.


Q – Can you suggest fruits and flowers that will survive on a sunny, windy roof garden?


Christine – Try Alpines like Dryas octopetala.  Thyme would do well too.


Matt – Grow annuals like Godetia, cornflowers, California poppies.  Lavender, sage, bay. 


Anne – Native sea kale


Q – What’s your approach to sharpening tools?


Christine – I send my secateurs back to the manufacturer to get them sharpened


Matt – Always sharpen your hoe.  It’s difficult to get some things sharpened – like hedging shears. 



Banksia prolata (formerly Dryandra longifolia)


Q – I want to stop marauding pigeons in my garden; how can I?


Christine – I have a dog


Anne – Maybe have a little redesign and accommodate plants that can withstand a bit of trampling.  Things like Acaenas that are ground-covering


Matt – Put prickly things like clipped Holly or Eryngium


Anne – I have perennial kale (‘Taunton Deane’ variety) at home and I’d feed that to the pigeons



Q – Our communal lawn has been colonised by a horrible moss.  How can I deal with it?  And how can I encourage more clover?


Anne – Clover is good for lawns as it provides nitrogen. 


Christine – You could plant nicer moss into it.  Moss gardens are very beautiful. 



Q – Our Wisteria only has one branch in blossom, how can we encourage the rest of the plant to do the same?


Anne – It’s all a matter of training and pruning. 


Christine – You can prune a Wisteria hard.  Now is a good time to do it.


Q – What are your most therapeutic garden activities?


Christine – Sitting and watching!


Anne – Planting runner beans







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