Capability Brown's Unfinished Garden

Capability Brown is known as the founder of landscape design. Three hundred years ago he created some of the most magnificent landscapes in England. He travelled the length and breadth of the country, improving more than 200 of the greatest estates in the land, for some of the most influential people in the 18th century.


But there is one plan that never got off the drawing board. The only land he ever owned was in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, but he died before he could carry out any plans for his own garden. Today it is a piece of flat land, bisected by the A14 dual carriageway.

Landscape designer and Gardeners' Question Time regular Bunny Guinness travels across England to some of Capability's finest landscapes - Blenheim, Burghley, Milton Abbey and Castle Ashby - to understand what he might have created. Rediscovering plans and letters, and using the latest technology, Capability Brown's unfinished garden is brought to life.

Capability Brown's Unfinished Garden
Capability Brown's Unfinished Garden

The Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2016

Leaves are falling in the Beechgrove Garden but that's not necessarily a bad thing as Jim uses them to make lovely leaf mould. He also shows the steamy secrets of his new hot box composter.


Carole makes her last visit to Mieke and family in rural Aberdeenshire where they are gardening on a budget and this week they learn how to shred material to make economical but pretty paths.

Jim knows very well that gardening is good for you but this week it's especially so as he marks the 10th anniversary of Trellis, which is designed to support therapeutic gardening as he visits a really restorative nursery and garden, Solstice, in Banchory-Devenick.

Welcome to the Beechgrove Garden for an autumnal penultimate programme as days are shorter and we have already seen some ground frosts in our area. Across the country these first frost dates can vary by up to two months - for example gardens in the glens of the Highlands may have been experiencing these since the end of September but in Blackpool these don’t happen normally for another month. The Scilly isles, Cornwall West Wales and the smaller Scottish islands may not experience these conditions till December.
A month ago Jim repeated a little exercise we did last year in the polytunnel – planting overwintering veg for harvest in late winter and spring next year. They did very well last year but last winter was quite mild at Beechgrove.
The Pak choi did particularly well, so this year again we have a range of vegetable plants which
have been planted both in the polytunnel and in raised beds outside to see how they do.
The varieties included brassicas such as red cabbage and kale as well as leeks and chard. What progress they have made in the last month, because of the cover over the top of them which is a giant cloche acting as a giant umbrella to allow us to grow them as hard as we possibly can. For those who don’t have a tunnel they can be grown outside as they are sold as hardy, but they should be protected against pigeons and rabbits by fleece. Do remember to put slug bait down and water well.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2016

Jim, Carole and George are on the road again as they visit Strathkinness, the Best Kept Small Village in Fife, for the final Beechgrove Roadshow of the series.


The villagers invited Beechgrove to enjoy the horticultural highlights of one of the sunniest places in Scotland. In the village hall the community gathers to try and test the gardening know-how of Jim, Carole, George and Brian Cunningham (head gardener at Scone Palace), as they find out what grows and possibly what doesn't in the area and answer as many questions as possible in a Beechgrove Gardener's question time.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.24 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.23 2016

There's a wee chill in the air in the Beechgrove Garden and Jim decides to take the Camellias inside after their summer holidays outdoors.


 Carole and George are thinking ahead to spring, taking half-hardy perennial cuttings and planning a spring bedding display. Jim takes a final trip to Tillicoultry Allotments and this time it's harvest thanksgiving. Jim also visits Gordon Castle garden near Elgin, where the team are restoring one of the oldest walled-kitchen gardens in Scotland.
 What a cracking day it was this week in the Beechgrove Garden – a lovely sunny autumn day, but of course with autumn arriving so do the lower overnight time temperatures. At Beechgrove a low of 5.2°C has been recorded, meanwhile, George and Jim have had temperatures down to 7°C in their own gardens. For Carole and Bob, the sound man, it has been as low as 3°C. It was therefore time to bring in the Camellias for winter protection into the unheated conservatory. They were a nice shape because they had been pruned earlier in the season.
 A regular ericaceous feed and sequestered iron has kept them healthy and stopped the yellowing of the leaves. Regular watering over the summer months also prevents bud drop in the spring.
Camellias must have plenty of water throughout April to October, the critical time for watering is when next year’s flower buds are forming, drought anytime in this period will result in poor flowering in the following spring. Ideally you should use rainwater which is slightly acidic.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.23 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.23 2016