Next Episode of The Beechgrove Garden is
The Beechgrove Garden has been on air since 1978 and remains a firm favourite with audiences in Scotland. It consistently outperforms what is being screened by BBC Network in the same slot. At the heart of the series is a 2.5 acre home garden, situated on a cold, inhospitable slope west of Aberdeen, deliberately chosen to reflect Scotland's harsher climate. Horticultural advice in gardening magazines and on UK network gardening programmes is rarely suitable for most of the UK outside the South East of England. Beechgrove shares with its viewers the weekly challenge to work with the Scottish conditions to produce maximum yield of as many varieties as possible of fruit, flowers and vegetables.
With snowdrops flowering before Christmas and daffodils out in January, spring seems to have come early to Scotland. How quickly we forget the destruction of the gales in December. December 8th saw a record-breaking gust of 165 mph on Cairngorm summit. The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh are still reeling from the destruction that the gales left in their wake, meanwhile Cathedral Grove next to Dunkeld Cathedral lost many of its precious veteran trees.
The Beechgrove Garden is calm now and full of sprightly spring bulbs, but has had its fair share of damage. In this first programme of the 34th series, Jim McColl, Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Carolyn Spray are assessing the winter damage and the unaccustomed spring warmth's effect on the garden. Then it's time to don the gardening gloves and get gardening again.
Carole and Jim have been in Beechgrove throughout the winter and we uniquely begin with a glimpse of winter and winter work in the garden, from taking hardwood cuttings to forcing bulbs for early spring showing. Jim and Carole then follow on the tasks that they started in the winter. Jim very excitedly unveils the new propagation greenhouse at Beechgrove.
Jim has also been to visit Inverness Floral Hall and Gardens, who are hoping to become a 'Botanic Garden' this year under the influence of new head gardener Sarah Speakman. Jim finds out what it means to the garden and to Inverness to have this title and is impressed by the stunning temperate and tropical displays in this gem of a garden.
In the Beechgrove Garden, Jim and Carole are reviewing some of the trails that they began in the autumn. Did the winter flowering pansies do what they say on the tin and flower all winter? Did the newbies, the garvineas, make it through the winter at all? Did the dwarf narcissus that claimed to flower in February actually do so?
Jim and Carole were also in the garden on Valentine's Day in the second of the looks at Beechgrove in winter. On their special day, Jim was sowing sweet peas and starting off the previously dormant begonia tubers, and Carole was planting a bare root 'edible hedge'. Who says romance is dead?
Meanwhile, back in the garden in early April, Jim is taking cuttings from those same begonia tubers and nipping out the tops of the now sprouted sweet peas.
George is once again taking his precious bulbs to show at the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society's prestigious Spring Show in the hopes that this time he might win more medals than 'the wife'.
In the Beechgrove Garden, everyone is looking for an inside job as the garden is covered in an unexpected blanket of six inches of snow. Jim takes cover in the propagation house to prick out his brassica seedlings while George is putting in the work inside the fruit house to optimise the Beechgrove fruit production this year.
Lesley tackles another common garden design challenge and shares her 'Off the Peg' design solutions, this time for front gardens. Lesley 'clothes' a square blank canvas of gravel front garden to create something both pretty and practical that gives us all more than a little kerb appeal.
After George's runaway (almost) success with growing veg for showing last year, he is having another go. He and Lesley are starting off growing 'sweet candle' and 'purple haze' carrots that George hopes to end up with award-winning dimensions.
George is also visiting the fascinating Linn Botanic Garden Cove by Helensburgh, which contains extensive collections of temperate plants. Notable is the fern collection as well as carpets of wild garlic and bluebells in the wooded areas, and a bamboo garden with some three dozen species from four continents. It's a relatively small garden and despite being ravaged by three winter storms where 40 trees toppled, George finds that the garden is spectacular at this time of the year.
In the Beechgrove Garden, what is technically a flower that has not yet bloomed, a rich source of vitamin C and until a few hundred years ago women were not allowed to eat as it's said to be too powerful an aphrodisiac? This week, Carole is planting both Chinese and Jerusalem artichokes.
Jim is once again on the quest to find a viable alternative to using peat in the garden and trailing another range of new 'peat free' alternatives, growing a range of plug plants to see if the likes of old tyres, recycled waste or sheep shearings work as well as the traditional but too precious peat.
Lesley tackles another common garden design challenge and shares her 'off the peg' design solutions, this time for front gardens. This week Lesley explains what to do with a new build house front garden once the builders have gone.
Meanwhile, Carole is visiting the much older St Andrews Botanic Garden, which dates from the around the 1800s. Carole meets some of the people who are working to keep this historic, educational gem of a garden going, while having a look around the rock garden and the displays of rhododendrons.
Jim is in among a crowded Beechgrove border. These acid loving lovelies are enjoying the conditions so much that they are taking over and need a bit of taming. One of them is a huge juniper that is now straddling and obscuring the path, and Jim tries his hand at a little topiary that may turn into some drastic pruning.
Lesley is in the potager garden, a mini garden that aims to be both pretty and productive in a very tiny space. She is starting off edible flowers and salads, both in the potager borders and in the bite-sized barrel greenhouse.
Carolyn visits Lorna Sinclair in Edinburgh. Lorna has a tricky problem with Japanese knotweed, which is starting to invade her garden. Carolyn talks to plantlife expert Deborah Long to find out why it is such a problem and what can be done to eradicate it.
Japanese knotweed is a hugely invasive plant that was brought into Britain from Japan in the mid-19th century as it is very pretty, but has since spread all across the UK through water courses and railway lines. It is estimated that it has cost the Olympic site £70M to eradicate it. It's a headache for developers, landowners and house owners, and DEFRA has estimated that the cost of a national eradication programme could cost £1.56b. In the light of that, what can Carolyn do with Lorna's problem?
Carolyn also visits Angela Davey in Wormit in Fife. This is a one-acre Edwardian landscaped garden with panoramic views over the Tay. Special features include rhododendron walk, rockeries, informal woodland planting schemes using native and exotic plants, providing year-round interest. Original raised paths lead to a granite grotto with a waterfall pool, and the granite features again in the shape of raised vegetable beds made out of granite sets. A real gem of a garden.
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