Showing posts with label Beechgrove Garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beechgrove Garden. Show all posts

The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017

Jim is planting a selection of swedes and turnips for later in the year.Meanwhile, Chris is attempting to create a rose garden at Beechgrove, but how will it cope with exposed Scottish conditions?

Carole is in Ardersier for Vegetable Garden on a Budget, with recent research suggesting that a family of four could save roughly £1,500 a year growing their own vegetables. Mari Reid lives and gardens in Ardersier and has come up with a clever way of helping others to grow their own by using community-minded land or garden share.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.5 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017

 Carole and Jim are also both planting potatoes; Jim is planting new blight-resistant varieties in the main veg plot, whereas Carole tries cheap and cheerful potato bags on the decking.
 Jim has asked the team to each choose their best tree for a small garden and is planting them all in Beechgrove to compare and contrast.
 Saughton Park is a faded, hidden garden gem in the south west of Edinburgh. The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or the Caley, as it's affectionately known, has taken up the challenge of renovating this once-grand park and garden. George will visit the project on a regular basis during its design and build.

It was not a bad morning weather-wise at Beechgrove but temperatures are still dropping at night so be careful with your tender plants. Carole and Jim were looking at the splash of colour shown by the spring bedding. Last year the display consisted of varied spring bedding with the bulbs planted throughout the entire scheme which did not really work because the bulbs obscured the bedding
plants. This year the bulbs are in the centre of the display and the spring bedding has been planted around the perimeter. Narcissus ‘Rapture’ (a cyclamineus Narcissus) looked lovely with its reflex petals. Narcissus ‘Silver Chimes’(Jonquilla) is a multi-headed variety which is highly scented like jasmine or hyacinth.
Carole was not too sure of the mixed colours of primula but they seem to work well with Tulip ‘Concerto’. Tulip ‘Foxtrot’ is a late flowering variety with apple blossom coloured blooms. It is already flowering in pots but it is later flowering in the bed. It coordinates well with the white Polyanthus. The daddy of all the bulbs was a Tulip that we don’t know the name of. We had ordered Shakespeare but Carole wondered if the bulbs had been wrongly named as she knew ‘Shakespeare’ as a compact tulip with stripy leaves and yellow to orange blooms. This variety turned out to be too tall to show off the blue polyanthus underneath but is a real show stopper... whatever it is.

The typical size of a UK garden is 14 square metres which means that many people have limited space in which to garden so it is really important that you choose the right tree for the job for proportion and decorative value. Each of our 5 presenters has chosen their favourite tree for a small garden to add to the trees already at Beechgrove. Criteria for their choices included shape and size, rate of growth, pruning regime, autumn colour fruit etc. Into each of the planting holes went mycorrhizae to aid root establishment and a bit of fertiliser. Jim also demonstrated a range of staking techniques. There are two main reasons for staking young trees, particularly if they are tall specimens and if the site is exposed. Firstly, to anchor the root ball preventing it from moving about. Secondly to keep the main stem vertical, whilst realising that swaying of a stem does help to strengthen and thicken it. Presenter’s trees for a small garden choices: Jim: Prunus ‘Snow Showers’ – a lovely little weeping cherry suitable for most gardens, with an estimated height and spread of just 3 x 3 metres in 20 years. Th is tree will grow in most sites but does not tolerate very wet soil. Chris: Cornus controversa ‘Pagoda’ – spring flowers,autumn berries and stunning autumn colour foliage. This is a slightly more vigorous form of the more common variegated form C. controversa ‘Variegata’Height – up to 10 m spread to 8metres. Carole: Sorbus vilmorinii – beautiful lacy foliage, springflowers, autumn berries and can be grown in most soil types. Eventual height and spread in 10 – 20 years – 2.5 – 4m. Garden staff: Crab Apple ‘Royalty’ –Malus Royalty is an ornamental crab apple with attractive solid dark red flowers. The autumn fruits are a deep red colour, whilst the bronze leaves are impressive from spring to autumn Height – 3 – 4 m after 5 – 10 years. George: Amelanchier ‘Rainbow Pillar’ – white flowers, autumn colour and grows on most types of soil. A lovely new introduction from Ohio which will grow to 5 m in height and 2.5m spread. Brian: Acer grosseri var. hersii – a snake bark maple with grey green foliage and beautiful snakeskin bark. fast-growing tree with year-round interest. Reaches specimen size quickly. Growth then slows. Eventua height and spread – 7 – 9metres.
Staking methods:
1. No apparent staking, the root ball being anchored below soil level. Three wooden pins are put into the soil around the rootball and then these are attached to horizontal cross pieces. This is mainly used for bigger specimens.
2. Double upright stake to 30cm above ground - 30-40cm apart (with crossbar 30cm above
ground from prevailing wind side.)
3. Oblique stake.
4. Single upright stake to 30cm above ground.
5. Single upright stake to start of ‘head’.
6. Double upright 30-40cm apart with crossbar to start of ‘head’. (Crossbars to be screwed to the
Other trees already at Beechgrove suitable for small gardens are:
The Siberian Pea tree – or Caragana arborescens.This is a very small, weeping tree and so is ideal for any small garden and makes a very attractive feature tree. In May it has with yellow, pea-like scented
flowers that are popular with bees. It is very tough and will do well in poor soils, semi shade
and has good drought tolerance once established. Caragana will reach 3 x2 m (or less) in 20 years so is perfect for smaller gardens. Another of Jim’s favourites is Prunus serrula – the Tibetan cherry which has been in the Beechgrove garden for about 20 years and still really well contained and could be planted in any small garden. Again, it is a good all-rounder, growing in most soil types and
positions. Ultimate height and spread in 20 years is 8 –10m. It features wonderful peely red bark.
Another topper in Jim’s opinion was Amelanchier lamarckii (the Snowy Mespilus). This is small, tough and graceful, and is ideal for an exposed or difficult position. April brings a profusion of star-shaped, white flowers with bronze tinged young leaves, followed later in the year by striking red autumn colour. Height and spread in 20 years is only 4m x 3m.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.4 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017

 To dig or not to dig, that is the question on Jim and George's lips in the Beechgrove Garden. Two side-by-side veg plots, both preparing to grow, but one has been dug over and the other untouched.
 Scone Palace is overrun by rabbits like many Beechgrove viewers' gardens. Head gardener Brian Cunningham sets up an observation to try and find out if there really is such a thing as rabbit-proof plants.George is no shrinking violet when it comes to floristry and as Jim would say, every day is a school day. This week, George goes back to school, not just any school but flower school in Edinburgh, where he learns tips and tricks to put together some unique arrangements with spring flowers.

At Beechgrove we keep our collection of Camellias indoors over the autumn and winter period until it is time to let them go out for their summer holidays outside. This week they were looking amazing.
Camellia ‘Donation’ is a reliable variety up with us and the first to flower in early March at Beechgrove and good value too as it’s still flowering. George commented that Camellias were also flowering in sheltered spots outside in Edinburgh.‘Ballet Queen’ was looking gorgeous – rather like the frills of a ballerina’s tutu. George described ‘Jury’s Yellow’ looking like whipped cream.
With lots of potential buds on these plants the display is set to continue. It will be another month before they can be moved outside as there is still the potential of early morning frosts.
We have had these Camellias for 4/5 years now and the discussion was whether they needed to be potted on. Keeping potting them into bigger and bigger pots is not the solution as they become too unwieldy to move. Jim suggested treating them like semi-bonsais and keeping them in the same pots and refreshing the compost. After flowering they can be removed from their pots and the old compost removed. Their roots would need to be gently teased out. They could then be re-potted in the same pots with new compost. They need to be kept well-watered to prevent bud drop.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.3 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.2 2017

    Winter hasn't been too cruel this year, but Carole is still hoping to find out how hardy the plants are that she deliberately left in the ground last year to test their resilience.Meanwhile, George takes a look at his winter stem border that's full of plants that have been shining out in the darker months. Undercover, the glasshouse is a hive of activity at this time and Jim is sowing for Scotland.
  Chris continues to work on the pond area of the garden, planting a range of grasses on the banking, but it's perhaps a little too early for the waders. Carole visits retired doctor and artist David Hawson, who has created a fascinating topiary garden in Monymusk.

  Welcome to Beechgrove for the second episode Jim, Carole and George were talking about the hawthorn hedge which had been hacked back quite severely over the last two winters. One side during the winter of 2015/16 and the second side over last winter. The regrowth has shown that it is possible to be quite severe with this hedging and it will still grow back. There has been a bit of a change in temperatures since last week. Temperatures had reached 18-19°C in some places at the weekend, but it was feeling much cooler today. However, the increased temperature had brought out the cherry blossom and an amazing red colour of Peach blossom too which George would grow purely for the blossom itself. Promise of a bumper crop to come soon we hope.

Greenhouse Work

   Jim’s first task of the day in the greenhouse, was to plant some onion setts into cells in trays. He wanted to put an end to the argument that onions which are planted as setts don’t keep well over winter. He illustrated this by showing some of his own onions which he had grown from setts which had been overwintered perfectly well in his garage. He explained that the secret is in drying out the harvested onions so that all moisture is removed before storing them. It has nothing to do with growing onions from setts or seeds. Jim prefers to grow from setts as seedlings are more difficult to deal with.
  The planted onion setts will be put into a cold frame and then planted out into the vegetable plot in mid-May. By growing from setts it also means that the onions will be 6 weeks ahead of anything grown from seed. Jim then moved onto plug plants. A new variety of Salvia called ‘Vista Red’ had just arrived by post ad were in good nick. He removed the plug plants from their packaging and planted each into a cell tray. As the plug plants were already quite moist you can leave the watering for a day or two after planting, they also need good light to get established. Lots of plugs will be arriving at this point of the year and can be treated in exactly the same way. Jim had a bit of fun with some broad beans.
  He experimented with the positions of the seed when sown to see if this made any difference to germination. He had 3 cell trays with seeds in each tray being sown in different positions – end down, other end down on the flat, and on their side. All the seeds were then watered with a larger holed rose head on the watering can to avoid disturbing the seeds. Finally Jim pricked out some ‘stretched’ plants and potted them on. These had grown tall and leggy as they had been left for too long in the greenhouse. He potted up some leggy French marigolds, burying the long stems a bit deeper into the compost. They will be watered in and will need a bit of time before they get going.

Featured seeds and plants:
Broad bean ‘Oscar’
Broad bean ‘The Sutton’
Courgette ‘Romanesco’
Onion ‘Sturon’
Pot Marigold ‘Key Lime’
Salvia ‘Vista Red’

The Beechgrove Garden ep.1 2017

 The best sign of spring is when the Beechgrove Garden returns and Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson, Chris Beardshaw and Brian Cunningham are all back in the garden dispensing sage advice to keep growing.
 At this time of the year, we are normally bemoaning winter storms - so what do we have to talk about after one of the mildest winters on record? Jim and team look at the signs of spring and see if it really has come early this year. Jim also takes a look at the progress of the overwintered veg, while George has already set himself a challenge to produce a weekly salad.
Carole has been in search of early signs of spring as she takes an up close and personal look at the tiny world of snowdrops. She also visits Helen Rushton in Rothienorman to discover why these tiny beauties excite such passions.

 Hello and welcome to the first programme of 2017.
 The sun was shining on this the first day back to the Beechgrove Garden. First off a quick review of winter weather and conditions, as expected over the winter period the weather has varied across the country. In Edinburgh George had a mild winter until November. Then the frost and cold hit in February. Brian said that the strong winds managed to avoid Scone Palace this winter so there was none of the usual tree damage so far. Chris found that in Gloucestershire it had been a mild November. Then it turned cold in January with hard frost and temperatures of -5°C to -6°C most nights. Chris reckoned that the cold weather in January had kick-started everything into growth.
 The weather for Jim in Aberdeen-shire had been relatively mild with only one outing of Jim’s snow shovel. Carole also in Aberdeen-shire reckoned temperatures have only been down to -4°C with some cold winds and temperatures at Beechgrove have only been down to -6°C. The plants as a result were displaying a‘concertina effect’ where crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils were all flowering at the same time.
 Signs of spring in Cornwall is heralded by the ‘Magnolia bloomometers’. These are 6 giant Magnolia campbellii trees, situated in six of Cornwall’s greatest gardens and when each tree has more than 50 blooms, spring is said to have finally arrived in this part of England. This year the 28th February was when the 50 blooms emerged. It is then usually a walking pace northwards for signs of spring.
 We approached some Beechgrove friends to find out what was heralding their spring this year. At Glenarn near Helensburgh on the West Coast there Sue and Mike Thornley reported that there were no magnolia flowers as yet; but there were rhododendrons in bloom. Richard Baines at Benmore also has had many rhododendrons in flower already some two weeks early.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.1 2017
The Beechgrove Garden ep.1 2017

The Beechgrove Garden ep.26 2016

It's the final programme of the series and Jim, Carole, George and Chris are battening down the hatches, preparing the garden for the winter but also making plans for spring.

Carole is starting her Christmas wrapping early as she shows how to wrap up tender plants around the garden that need extra protection.
George and Jim are in the fruit cage, where it's a good time to take stock and do some remedial fruit work.
Carole also visits Huntly Cot, a unique garden near Temple in Midlothian. At its centre is a heart-shaped heather garden, with a natural spring burn, perfectly in tune with the garden's moorland setting.
The Beechgrove Garden ep.26 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.26 2016

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

The Beechgrove Garden ep.22 2016

In the Beechgrove Garden Jim is in the veggie plot still managing to crop late veg and it's also hedge cutting time of year and Jim sets about the conifer hedge and the pleached lime.

Carole is with Mieke Guijt and family in rural Aberdeenshire helping her once again to garden on a budget. This week Carole encourages Mieke to lift and divide plants from friend's gardens and in this case, the friends are Beechgrove.
Continuing the budget theme, Carole then visits Mari Reid in Ardersier, whose whole garden is full of money-saving ideas while still managing to be penny-pinching pretty.

On a blue sky autumn day, Jim and Carole were admiring the late flowering Hydrangea which
Carole thought looked like raspberry ripple ice-cream.
It is called Hydrangea paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’.Moving into the Vegetable plot there was lots of
lovely veg to admire there.The chard was looking good in different colors. The courgettes and marrows were also continuing to crop well.
The runner beans were still cropping like mad and bonus of different colour flowers.
Moving onto the tattie patch, Jim was keen to come to a conclusion with this year’s tatties and
the blight story. He has been growing some varieties that are said to be resistant to potato blight. Jim and Carole dug up the new blight resistant variety ‘Carolus’. The shaws did show symptoms of blight but there was a decent crop underneath and that’s of course what matters. That and the taste. Amongst the other crops, they looked at the beetroot. The leaves were looking a bit scabby probably because of the dry weather recently but there was a heavy crop in the ground. The carrots were also looking good with lots of healthy foliage. These were covered to keep off the carrot fly. There were different color varieties including – ‘Yellow Bunch’, ‘Sweet Candle’ and ‘Scarlet Horn’. We have been trying growing some carrot fly resistant varieties which in order to test the resistance, had not been covered. Unfortunately there weren’t rabbit resistant and the rabbits had eaten all the tops.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.22 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.22 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.21 2016

Jim is thinking ahead and planting overwintering veg that will be ready to crop in the spring.
2016 is the 50th anniversary of Keep Scotland Beautiful. To mark that, Carole takes a look around Colourful Carnoustie, a relative newcomer to the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign.
George visits social enterprise group Seedbox in Ballogie near Aboyne. The group have asked Beechgrove to help them tame two huge and very old Yew trees.

On a muggy and sultry day weather-wise at the Beechgrove Garden Jim, Carole and Chris decided to have a look at the stumpery created by Chris in 2013.
The idea was to use tree stumps from the huge conifer hedge that was felled to create a feature in an otherwise difficult corner of the garden - shaded under the canopy overhung with lots of shrubs and trees and in which nothing much grew. 3 years on, the tree stumps were starting to rot down on either side of the central path. Planted with a range of ferns and other shade loving plants and bulbs, it is now looking verdant – lots of shades of green - it really works.
The added benefit of a stumpery apart from the low maintenance aspect is that it can be a wildlife haven.
They then moved on to a more recent Chris project - the Fungal Valley created earlier this year and designed to become a productive area for growing mushrooms. There were 2 different types of habitat here for mushrooms to flourish.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.21 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.21 2016

Holes were drilled into birch logs which were filled with dowels impregnated with fungi mycelium. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms were used. Bark was then spread on the ground for wine cap mushrooms to grow in this habitat. There was nothing much to see yet but Chris was optimistic for the future. Jim raised the point of maintenance. The Fungal Valley is in the shade from nearby trees. However it does need to be kept moist and humid to encourage suitable conditions. It especially needs to be irrigated in summer weather. There should be something to harvest in 18 months’ time.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.20 2016

Jim, Carole and George begin a series of bulb plantings by naturalising some unusual bulbs in the new lawn.

  Chris, with advice from Jim and Carole, takes on an emotional job as the decision is made to cut down and replace the 15-year-old cryptomeria tree in Beechgrove.
Jim visits a special garden that he has been hoping to see for years, Portmore near Eddleston.
  It was a lovely sunny summer’s day with temperatures of 23°C even in the shade at Beechgrove this week. Jim, Carole and George were on the New Lawn in the Old Orchard, thinking about autumn –
specifically autumn lawn care.  It is time to feed grass now with an autumn lawn care fertilizer
which is low in nitrogen and high in potash and phosphates, which will help strong roots to
develop, and which in turn will produce heal thy leaves.
  Don't be tempted to use a spring fertilizer. These contain high levels of nitrogen, which encourages soft, sappy leaf growth that's vulnerable to disease and could be damaged by frost.
The fertilizer will have to be watered in if the sunny weather continues.  Otherwise the grass will
be burnt by the fertilizer. You can either spread the fertilizer by hand with ½ being spread horizontally and ½ being spread vertically across the lawn.  This ensures good coverage.  Or you could use a mechanized feeder which many garden centers will loan out to you if you buy the fertilizer from them
The Beechgrove Garden ep.20 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.20 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2016

A sparkling summer bedding display dazzles the eye this week in the Beechgrove Garden. More colour comes from Calla lilies and Black Eyed Susans in Carole's 6 x 8ft greenhouse, and it is tasting and testing time for Jim's tomatoes. Chris dons his waders and is planting in the pond.

On his second visit to Tillycoultry allotments Jim looks at the communal greenhouses on the site, and finds out about the tuition sessions which help the 'plotters' use a range of garden machinery.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.19 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2016

Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Chris Beardshaw are on the road to Gairloch to find out what grows and possibly also what doesn't in wonderful Wester Ross.

Challenged to come to Gairloch by local resident, Helena Bowie, the Beechgrove team are ready to answer Helena's and the Gairloch community's gardening problems in a Beechgrove Gardener's question time event.
To set the scene for gardening conditions in the area Jim also visits the world renowned Inverewe gardens where the Gulf Stream is used to such advantage. Despite its northerly location it boasts a range of exotic plants from around the world right there in wild Wester Ross and is the epitome of gardening on the edge.
Carole also visits self-sufficient, vegetarian octogenarians, Chrissie Rennie and Bob Mapstone who garden in idyllic South Erradale.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.18 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2016

In the Beechgrove garden, Carole takes a look at and tastes both peas that are sweet and sweet peas. Carole has been running an observation on varieties of peas and their support systems, and it's time for harvest and analysis. George returns to his roots as he visits Athelstaneford village near North Berwick. Twelve village gardens are gearing up for an open day, and George takes a tour around as many gardens as he can.

Jim visits Douneside House in Tarland to meet head gardener Stephen McCallum, who leads a progressive horticulture apprenticeship scheme in the stunning surroundings of Douneside House gardens.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.17 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2016

Jim brings us up to date on how the crops in the veg plot are doing, whilst Carole checks up on the progress of more tender veg inside.

Chris battles with the bog garden at Beechgrove, replanting this previously overgrown area with wet soil loving plants. At North Kessock, just north of Inverness overlooking the Moray Firth, Carole marvels at a virtually vertical rock face lying on bedrock, which David and Penny Veitch have transformed over almost 30 years into a haven for alpines and scree plants.

Thank goodness for a decent day weather wise at Beechgrove this week.  Jim, Carole and George were looking at the flower scatter seed mixes.  Last year there was a colourful display provided by
a commercially available scatter mix – which was sown over the whole bed in successive months over the season. The results inspired each of the presenting team to create their own scatter mixes this year.  They each chose 6 seed varieties (see below) and these were sown onto 6 individual plots including the control in mid - May (Programme 7).  There have been mixed results in the plots but
each of the plots had been invaded by an extremely invasive weed – spurge.Brian’s plot looked
a little sad with very little flowerother than the spurge. Carole’s plot was not supposed to have any pink flowers in it.However she thought that Silene from last year’s mix had overwintered and germinated in her plot and a couple of the other species toodue to the wet weather this year.
Jim’s had a Scottish theme with lots of blues and whites in it.
The Control was Miracle-Gro 1kg Flower Magic Flower Seeds with Feed and Coir Mix Jug
Seed mixes
Jim –
Agrostemma, Echium ‘Blue
Bedder’, Linaria ‘Fairy Bouquet’, Reneta
odorata (Mignonette), Papaver rhoeas,
Nemophila ‘Baby Blue Eyes’
Brian –
Zinnia elegans ‘Benary’s Giant
Lime’, Verbena bonariensis, Nigella
papillose ‘African Bride’, Antheum
Rudbeckia hirta ‘Prairie Sun’,
Pennisetum rippelanium.
Chris –unidentified secret mix
Poppy ‘Ladybird’, Eschscholzia
‘Golden Values’, Gypsophila ‘Monarch
White’, Lagunis ovatus, Limnanthes
douglasii, Lineria ‘Flamenco’.
George –
‘Sunset’, Larkspur ajacis ‘Sublime Mixed,
Amberboa muricata, Calendula ‘Citrus
Cocktail’, Californian Poppy ‘Sun
Shades’, Bupleunum rotundifolium ‘
Green Gold’

The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.16 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2016

Chris has been left to his own devices in the Beechgrove garden and he is planting up an exotic border with plants that are surprisingly hardy and yet look like they have just arrived from the jungle. Jim and Carole aren't far away and yet could also be on safari as they are involved with a big game garden at the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital.

Jim and Carole track the progress and ultimately the finish of this therapeutic garden designed especially for children. A no-water water feature surrounded with large architectural and exotic planting and making their way to the dry river bed are some life-size giraffes and a family of elephants that are rooted to the spot and available to touch as they are made in box hedging.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.15 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2016

The whole Beechgrove team are taking the road to the ancient Highland fishing port and market town of Nairn. Taking advantage of the particular microclimate of the Moray Coast, the gardeners of Nairn have much to show to the Beechgrove team.

To set the scene for this special programme the team will be visiting some glorious gardens and finding out what conditions are like horticulturally in Nairn. Jim, Carole, Chris and Brian will also be hosting a Beechgrove Gardeners' Question time and attempting to answer as many Nairn gardening queries as possible.

Jim, Carole, and Chris were not in the garden this week but were on the road infirst of three 
special Beechgrove Roadshow programmes this summer.  
It was the beginning of Julywhen the team visited Nairn and the first stop on their tour was 
The Bandstand to admire the stunning views across the Moray Firth to the Sutors of Cromarty and to the hills of Sutherland behind, and to give some background as to where they were.
People still come to Nairn for holidays nowadays but in the 19th century Victorians flocked to the town as they believed that the sea water here had medicinal properties.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.14 2016

The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2016

Jim, Carole and George investigate some neglected mature shrubs. Jim looks at the flowering quince, while Carole and George tackle the berberis and the pyracantha.

Continuing to trace the path of a gardener's training, Jim visits Elmwood College in Cupar to find out about apprenticeships in the lovely college gardens.
Carole visits the impressive Braco Castle garden in Stirlingshire, which features a range of rhododendrons that are designed to have a very long season of flowering.

The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2016
The Beechgrove Garden ep.13 2016

Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015

The team enjoy the autumn colour in the Beechgrove garden. Carole and George plant various combinations of bulbs and spring bedding plants to see which of these make the most attractive displays, while Jim has a big clear-out in his greenhouse.

The programme catches up with Brian Cunningham at Scone Palace Garden to review the progress made to the David Douglas trail, and Carole also visits Tillypronie Garden near Tarland and delights in the swathes of heathers.

Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015
Beechgrove Garden ep.25 2015
Jim,  George  and  Carole  were  in  the  Secret Garden on a lovely day and the sunny weather was bringing out the autumn colours. There is a fabulous planting combination here of a  tree  called 
Cercidophyllum  japonicum under planted with Kniphofia (Red hot pokers).
Cercidophyllum japonicum is a favourite with our presenters and was talked about endlessly at the 
Rothesay Roadshow on Bute. In the autumn when the first frosts hit it starts to smell of candy floss or strawberry jam. The Corylopsis (above)  which  George  gave  a hard prune last year was also starting to show some  leaf  colour  as  was Bergenia  cordifolia or ‘elephant’s ears’ (below).     

Show bulbs 
George was outside the greenhouse. It is time to start planting bulbs for entering into the spring flower  shows.  If  you  fancy  having  a  go  at  it, George explained that the best thing to do is to 
work back from the show date to find out when to  plant  them.    Approximately  12  weeks  is required for the bulbs to grow and be ready in time for the show. George   planted   up   some   hyacinths   and commented that these are garden hyacinths and not  prepared  bulbs  for  flowering  at Christmas.  
These will flower for shows at Easter time. 
He used deep pots, such as old rose or clematis pots, so that the roots will have plenty of depth to grow in.   He filled the pots  with a compost made of bracken and wool with some added grit 
for drainage. The bulbs were really packed into the pots onto the top of the compost with their noses above the compost. George  noted  that  you  need  to  read  the information about the class you are entering.  For example  George  planted  three  bulbs  of  the hyacinth ‘Ann Mary’ in a pot as three bulbs is the number required to display together to enter for this particular class.  The pots were then put into a plunge bed and covered with about 6” of used compost (from old grow bags etc). This weighs down the bulbs and keeps them positioned in their pots.They  would  be  left  in  the  plunge bed  until January.   George   being   the   old   romantic suggested  Burns  Night  (25th  January)  for the Aberdeen show in March or Valentine’s Day for the  Caley  (Edinburgh)  show  at  the  end  of 
March/beginning of April. With the Narcissi he planted as many bulbs as would fit into a pot.  The aim was to get all of these to flower and be in perfect condition on the day of the show.