Showing posts with label blossom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blossom. 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
stakes).
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 2016 ep.5



In the Beechgrove garden, Jim is hoping that the soil is now warm enough to plant tatties in the main veggie plot, while on the decking garden Carole is also planting tatties on a tiny scale.
Chris and Carole are going on very different fungal forays in Beechgrove this year. Chris is creating a whole Jurassic Park fungal valley with ancient timbers and all manner of edible mushrooms. Again on the other end of the scale, Carole tries out some windowsill mushroom-growing kits.
George visits Alan Shamash's impressive hillside garden full of an extensive collection of rhododendrons in Kirkudbright.
It was a gorgeous sunny spring day at Beechgrove this week. Jim and Carole were in the Fruit House looking at the cracking, cherry blossom.
The variety is ‘Sweetheart’ and it was laden with blossom. It has been a reliable variety at Beechgrove and there was lots of promise for a bowl of cherries in the summer. A few bees and butterflies have already been into the Fruit House to pollinate the blossom.
Jim explained that if the blossom was sprayed with water, this would ripen the pollen grains.
This variety was self-fertile so would pollinate easily. You could also use a paintbrush to pollinate each of the flowers.

The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.5
The Beechgrove Garden 2016 ep.5

Windowsill Gardening: Part One


Carole was starting a 3 part mini-series on how to go about productive gardening in the tiniest of all spaces, by growing crops on your windowsill.
First up there were sprouting seeds. Carole explained that these can be grains, nuts or pulses. Examples were red clover, alfalfa, and mung beans. The resultant sprouts can be eaten raw in salads or sandwiches or added to stir fries. To get them to grow, the first stage is to soak them overnight in water. This can be anything from 8-24 hours (check seed packets for recommended time). Carole had chickpeas, sunflower seeds and lentils soaking in bowls of water. These are then easy to grow as not much equipment is required –only a jam jar, an elastic band and a pair of tights. Approximately 1 tablespoon of the soaked seeds should be put into the jar. These then need to be rinsed and drained twice a day to stop the seeds becoming mouldy. Once they start to sprout, they can be eaten raw or cooked.
Carole also showed a couple of other systems you can buy –a jar with a sieve lid and 2 tiered growing systems. She then moved onto mushroom growing kits for growing white and chestnut mushrooms. These are made up of a trough, a lid, a small bag of compost and straw holding the mycelium of the mushrooms (the growing parts of the fungi). Carole explained that the straw needs to be white before starting to grow as sometimes when you get the kits it is not, so she advised placing it in a warm place ( up to 25C) to allow the mycelium to grow on.
You then need to pierce the compost bag and soak it in ½ litre of water.


Fungal Valley


Whereas Carole was growing her mushrooms intensively on the window sill, Chris has a bigger project in mind for a damp and deeply shaded area near to the stumpery which he created 3 years ago: a fungal valley for Beechgrove so that we can grow and harvest our own mushrooms outside at Beechgrove. Fungi in the wild occur mostly in wooded areas because of all of the rotting wood and leaf litter, and many fungi have a mutually beneficial association with tree roots.
At Beechgrove Chris found an example of these beneficial mycorrhizal fungi in the more wild and unmanaged part of the garden. There are around 15000 species of fungi resident in the UK, and if you delve just over an inch below the surface of leaf litter in a wood environment you can find them really easily.