Monty Don is mulching the borders in preparation for spring and potting up dahlias for the year ahead. Carol Klein celebrates her plant of the month – the daffodil – while Frances Tophill is brushing up on her horticultural skills as a volunteer at Andromeda Botanic Gardens in Barbados.
As part of the programme’s 50th anniversary, Nick Bailey reveals the plant he thinks has had the most impact on British gardens over the last half century.
Dahlias make great cut flowers and add a welcome splash of colour to the garden in late summer. If you’ve never grown them before or have some tubers in storage, then now’s the time to kick-start them into action. Monty Don shows you how.
Mulches and mulching
Mulching is generally used to improve the soil around plants, but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy appearance and can reduce the amount of time spent on tasks such as watering and weeding. Mulches help soil retain moisture in summer, prevent weeds from growing and protect the roots of plants in winter.
Mushroom compost can often be bought cheaply in bulk for use as a soil conditioner or mulch. It is usually available as ‘spent’ mushroom compost, referring to the fact it is the compost left over from mushroom farming.
Rose pruning: general tips
These general tips for rose pruning will help you improve the health and lifespan of any rose.
Peas are grouped by harvesting time and the shape of the seeds; round peas tend to be hardier than wrinkled varieties. Water well when the flowering begins and two weeks after. Add a mulch around the base of plants to preserve soil moisture.
Apart from dwarf cultivars, you will need to provide some support for the plants to scramble up. One of the easiest way of supporting taller varieties is adding trellis, bamboo canes and netting. Dwarf varieties can be supported with pea netting or pea sticks (twiggy branches). After flowering, plants need sufficient water for the pods to swell properly. Check the soil moisture at root level to find out if the plants are getting enough water.
Ornamental grasses: cutting back
Ornamental grasses fall into two main groups, evergreen and deciduous. Deciduous grasses need cutting back annually so that they will look their best. Evergreens just require a tidy-up.