In Gardeners World episode 23 2015 it’s the Bank Holiday weekend and there’s plenty to be getting on with in the garden. Monty Don takes stock of what has and hasn’t worked at Longmeadow, with a view to planning ahead to the autumn. Meanwhile, James Wong goes behind the scenes at Bristol Zoo to find out more about how the animals are kept fed throughout the year.
Gardeners World episode 23 2015:
Half the battle with hedge cutting is getting the top of the hedge straight. As Monty says an easy way to achieve this is to place a cane either side of the hedge with string tied taut on to each cane at the desired hedge height. Use a spirit level placed on the top of the cut hedge to check levels and start cutting from the bottom up; falling stems should drop cleanly to the ground and it’s easier to see what you are doing. When cutting slope the hedge slightly inwards so that the top is narrower than the bottom to allow more light to reach the lower leaves.
Sow winter salad leaves
There is still time to sow seeds of salad leaves such as mizuna, mibuna, rocket, land cress as well as winter varieties of lettuce for harvesting winter to early spring. Sow the seeds thinly in seed trays filled with free draining compost, water well either from above or below, place somewhere sheltered and prick out young seedlings after they develop their true leaves.
Pinch out wallflowers
Wallflowers are grown as bedding or perennials. Bedding wallflowers are biennial which means they grow their leaves in year one, flower and set seed in year two and now is the time to plant out year one growth bedding plants. To keep the plants stocky and not too elongated, pinch out the tip of the middle stem of each plant with either thumb and forefinger or cut using a pair of sharp secateurs, pinching out or cutting to just above a set of leaves so that the middle stem height is level with the height of all the stems each side of it.
Take cuttings from yew and box
It’s easy to take semi-ripe cuttings from yew and box plants and now is a good time to do it. Select and cut healthy shoots into lengths of 10-15cm (4-6”). Remove the soft tips and the lowest third of leaves. Place the cuttings around the edge of a pot pre-filled with free draining compost, water well, label and place the pots somewhere sheltered. Leave until rooted which can take between 6-9 months. Alternatively take heel cuttings by gently pulling a side shoot away from the main stem leaving a thin slither of the main stem attached as part of the cutting. Continue in the same way as outlined above.