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JULY 2016

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Unlock the Secret Garden Get even more from your magazine subscription with our exclusive, subscriber-only area on discover more on page 3 Sweet peas P Fruit & veg problem-solver P Cuttings P Colour schemes P Low-maintenance P Wildlife gardening P Exotic herbs

REVEALED Our new sweet pea named by you!

Expert guide to

sweet peas

INSIDE MONTY SHARES his easiest-ever cuttings guide JOE DESIGNS low-maintenance borders with style ALAN SHOWS simple steps to take for wildlife this summer CAROL CREATES colour schemes to stimulate your senses


July 2016

WE LOVE... We love July...

for the massed choir of colour


Plant partners Colourful and contrasting double acts

10 Plant for all seasons The Indian bean tree’s changing looks


Joe’s plant for a purpose The best no-fuss dahlia


Seasonal pot A pink, perky pot of coleus and begonias


The Full Monty Monty mourns the demise of digging


Have your say Art in gardens and a plea for basic pots

22 Over the fence Do teens have a future in gardening?

24 26 28 47

Spotter’s guide: beetles 2 for 1 gardens: family-friendly Clippings Gardening news and views Sweet pea competition result Revealing the name of our new variety



32 Garden with fying colours Carol shows six colour schemes to stimulate your senses

Carol shows how to use colour in the garden

38 Low-maintenance plots Follow Joe Swift’s guide to gardens that are low on work but big on style

54 Evening retreat 68 Space-savvy gardens Nick Bailey tackles a shady courtyard

72 Go wild and wonderful with Alan Help garden wildlife this summer with Alan’s simple steps


Create a stunning night garden with scented fowers and soft lighting


48 Expert guide to sweet peas How to get your best-ever fowers

62 Taking cuttings: demystifed Monty’s tips for success with cuttings

79 Your pruning month It’s time to trim spring’s soft growth


102 Factfle: Wool carder bee Learn about this solitary bee

104 Summer pond life


How to cut sweet peas


Monty reveals the secret to successful cuttings

July 2016


Turn your plot into a midsummer night’s dream with scents and soft lighting




Claim your fve free bearded iris

p62 p38 p72 p32

p47 Cover photo: Our new 25th Anniversary sweet pea – turn to p47 where we reveal its name. Photo: Sarah Cuttle

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30 SUBSCRIBER OFFERS 10% off at Cuckooland and a tour of Highgrove with Alan

45 OFFER Scented wallfowers Huge savings plus free delivery

83 OFFER 20% of at Bakker Fab savings on plants and more

107 OFFER Birds & Bees


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132 TRAVEL Luxury cruise

How to grow healthier veg

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See Joe’s ideas for low-maintenance, but stylish gardens


108 Fresh from the garden 111 Taste of the East

Grow herbs for exotic favours

117 10 crops to get started now


Alan encourages the birds and the bees into his garden


your planner for July

How to save our butterfies


135 Show & Tell 152 Crossword 153 Next month

154 Tales from Titchmarsh Why are chefs angrier than gardeners?

122 Summer problems: solved Part 1 of 2. This month identifes fruit & veg pests and diseases

128 Gardeners’ Question Time July 2016

Harvest summer fruit

90 Flowers 93 Greenhouse

119 How to revive potted plants 120 The Big Question The crops to follow early potatoes

87 Monty’s month

Divide and pot up begonias


Pots of favour for your kitchen windowsill

95 Back-to-basics 96 Fruit & veg 99 Alan’s job of the month How to make more irises

100 Around the garden


We love


r u lo o c f o ir o h c d e ss a m e th r fo July has come around again and with it a certain middle-aged weariness. The frst youthful fush of summer has passed in an enthusiastic rush of roses and green foliage, and our gardens are having a quick breather before the next rush of colour. They won’t sit down for long – remember the annuals you lovingly sowed in May and nurtured in June, protecting them from marauding slugs? July is when they burst into maturity and add their voices to the massed choir of our great British gardens as we slide joyously towards autumn. Words by James Alexander-Sinclair




I have learnt from the internet (which is always right) that the larkspur is not only the ofcial fower of July, but also denotes fckleness – which seems a little unwarranted. Larkspurs have long been a cottage garden favourite as they come in a variety of colours and make keen fower arrangers go weak at the knees: they’ll easily last a week or so in a vase. They’re closely related to the delphinium – that towering border magnifcence – and have the same shaped fowers, which are poisonous if eaten (unless you happen to be a sheep). P Care Sow seeds outdoors in April-May – or under glass from February. Germination increases if you put the seed packet in the freezer a week before sowing. Best in freedraining soil in a sunny position. P Height x Spread 90cm x 30cm

July 2016

We love July

July 2016


t n e r e f if d e t a e r c n “ We ca e s u e w y a w e h moods by t g calm or colour, generatin senses � ts imulating our 32

July 2016

carol on colour

Set the mood with colour Stimulate your senses with colour-themed border planting . Carol Klein reveals six beautiful schemes guaranteed to stir different emotions in your garden

In late summer, orange rudbeckias and yellow helianthus are enhanced by the blue tones of asters

July 2016

who loves your pla nts for themselves and their special idiosyncrasies, or maybe design is the most important element in your gardening world. Whichever category describes you – and most of us fall somewhere between these two – colour in your garden will be a vital factor. It’s unavoidable; whether deliberate or accidental, all our plots have colour. We can create different moods by the way we use colour in our gardens, gener at i ng fe el i ngs of c a l m a nd restfulness, or stimulating our senses and energising us. Our gardens can be inv igorat ing – even shock ing – or immensely soothing through colour. The predominant colour in just about all gardens is green. As Gertrude Jekyll reminds us: “Green is also a colour”. It is usually the backdrop against which other colours are set. A green plot can be a tranquil space and since there is an infinite range of greens, and an endless variety of leaf shape and texture, the green element in a garden can constantly provide interest and subtle change. There are many famous gardens that combine green with just one other colour. The White Garden at Sissinghurst is one much-emulated example. Gardeners’

World is visiting Sissinghurst during the current series and hearing from head gardener Troy Scott Smith about his vision for The White Garden, and how he plans to maintain and develop Vita and Harold’s vision for this iconic space, always with colour in mind. Many people assume that restricting a planting scheme to white and green makes it easier to put plants together. In fact, any single-colour garden is fraught with problems and can often be more difficult than combining several colours within one area. For example, with so many different whites, how can t hey be combined w it hout a pure, sparkling white making a grey-white look ding y? W hat about the volume of white? Will the big blobs of white peonies knock out the clouds of tiny f lowers t hat decorate t he immense stems of Crambe cordifolia?

Effective combinations Fans from all over the world make the pilgrimage to v iew Hidcote Ma nor Garden’s Red Borders. Red can be a d i f f ic u lt colou r to use. H idcote’s gardeners use dark blues and deeppurple foliage to tone down the reds. But if you yearn for discord and want to create strident combinations that wake


erhaps you’re the sort of person


When picking, cut stems long, then plunge the bunch in cold water


sweet peas


As we reveal our 25th Anniversary sweet pea, Jodie Jones chats to the experts about displaying these pretty blooms


Judging by the thousands of entries we received to name our anniversary sweet pea, this cottage-garden favourite is more popular than ever. Whether you favour the pure-white simplicity of our own newly crowned ‘Gardeners’ Jubilee’ (see previous page), or prefer frills, stripes and bicolours in every hue except yellow (still an elusive goal for breeders), they all make wonderful cut flowers. They need to be picked regularly to remain productive, so perhaps the best advice is to choose colours that complement your interior decoration, because you will be filling your home with posies all summer long.

Beautiful displays made easy Depending on the type of sweet peas you’re growing, and how vigorous the plants are, you’ll be dealing with different stem lengths. Spencer hybrids and modern grandifloras tend to have long, straight stems, while old-fashioned types are usually short and less likely to be straight. It doesn’t matter which you’ve got, as there are stylish ways to display them all.  Arrange long stems in vases filled with a single variety for bold impact, or mix a range of colours together for a more informal look.

 Boost the perfume (many of the newer hybrids are only moderately scented) by tucking in a stem or two of a highly fragrant variety such as the 18th-century bicolour ‘Matucana’ or newer ‘Albutt Blue’.  Create a mixed arrangement with similarly loose and romantic flowers – old-fashioned roses, Alchemilla mollis and nigella (flowers or seed heads) will all work well with sweet peas.  Arrange short stems in an informal way that makes the most of their romantic nature. The trick here is to stick to small containers, in which the lack of stem length won’t be an issue.  Make the most of short-stemmed blooms with special bud vases. Alternatively, improvise with clean jam jars, mini milk bottles or small tea cups.  Group small arrangements to increase the effect. For dinner with friends, you could place jars full of sweet peas in a line down the centre of the table or set one beside each place setting.  Place a mirror plate beneath vases of sweet peas – their reflections will double their impact. July 2016

sweet pea guide

Expert tips We spoke to expert growers, gleaning top tips for long-lasting sweet pea displays.

When to cut Rachel Siegfried runs a cut-flower farm, so it is her business to know the perfect way to cut sweet peas. “The best time of day for cutting is first thing in the morning or, failing that, in the early evening,” she says. “You should really avoid picking sweet peas in the heat of midday, when they will potentially be stressed and dehydrated, since this will reduce their vase life.” Do this every two to three days, thoroughly picking over every plant, removing any spent flowers and stems that you missed last time. According to Roger Parsons, National Collection holder, the perfect point at which to pick a stem is when the lower three flowers are fully open, but the top flower is only just unfurling.

How to cut With sweet peas, perhaps more than any other flower, the more you pick, the more you get. Like all annuals, their raison d’être is to set seed and guarantee a new generation; the gardener’s challenge is to stop this happening. Cut stems as long as you can, collecting them in one hand as you work. When your hand is full, plunge the bunch into a bucket of cold water, placed nearby in the shade, then continue to pick. Cheat a bit of extra length by cutting short stems right back to the plant, including a few tendrils to add to their romantic air of informality in the vase.

How to revive

There’s a display style to suit every sweet pea

July 2016

Lady Ursula Cholmeley of Easton Walled Gardens has found that if sweet peas start to set seed, perhaps because you went on holiday and they weren’t picked for a while, you can sometimes encourage the plants back into productive life. The trick is to strip off every flower stem, from the earliest development stage to Try Ursula those that have gone to Cholmeley’s tip seed. Then water each to stop sweet plant thoroughly and peas setting seed feed with a liquid seaweed solution. “It doesn’t always work, but I have had some success with this technique. There’s no harm trying.”


Taking cuttings can initially seem a bit mysterious, but here Monty shares some simple steps to success in this money-saving art


ike most people , I’ve always


wanted more plants than I could afford. So I have always liked propagating plants – sowing seeds w it h insoucia nce a nd div iding w it h abandon. But for a while I was rather wary of cuttings. It seemed to be a method that required techniques and skills that I did not have – or at least did not feel that I had. It also seemed to be rather a faff, involving misters and polythene bags, hormone rooting powder, special compost mixes and, last but not least, the rather alarmingsounding ‘bottom heat’. It was all too much. I wanted to flow not fiddle. My garden was not, heaven forbid, a laboratory but a studio where creativity and intuition always trumped precision and experiment. I noticed, however, that my eldest brother – and I have two older brothers, both of whom, like me, were brought up to garden from a young age – was always raising lots of cuttings from a wide range of plants and whenever I visited him in his garden he would give me a tray of plants raised in this way. All were healthy, many would have taken a few years to reach the stage they were at if grown from seed, and he obviously had them in abundance, otherwise he would not have dished them out to his upstart little brother. For my part, competitive sibling rivalry kicked in and I reckoned that if he could do it then so could I. This was about 30 years ago and since then I take cuttings whenever I can. Some ‘strike’ – that is, form new roots – fast and easily, some are reluctant to root, and if they do so at all, they take their time about it. But for a whole range of plants, and in particular shrubs, it is the easiest and best way to propagate them. Cuttings also have the great advantage of replicating exactly the parent whereas seeds will always combine the qualities – and not always the best ones – of both parents. So if you have a much-loved plant or if a friend would like one exactly like yours, cuttings provide replicas quickly and reliably. At first it might seem that there are a series of points in the process that you might get wrong, which will inevitably trigger failure, but it really isn’t like that. There are so many factors involved beyond your control that many cuttings taken with painstaking attention to procedure would in fact have struck had they been merely pushed into the soil next to the parent, while others would never have made it even had the most expert hand done the deed. All the advice that

A cut above

e h t e v a h s g n i t t “ Cu f o e g a t n a v d a t a gre g n i t a c i l p e r y l t c a ex ” t n a l p t n e r a p e th July 2016

monty’s garden

Delphiniums in the Jewel Garden

follows will merely help maximise your chances of success, but it is important not to be precious about it. See how it goes. There will be failures but there will certainly be successes, too, and once you get into the swing of it you’ll soon realise there is a huge range of plants that will take from cuttings – from delphiniums and oriental poppies, to yews and roses. Some are outrageously simple, like willow, which roots almost perversely quickly (I once cut down an overhanging branch of a crack willow, sawed it into thick logs and left them on the ground for a couple of weeks and all had rooted where they made contact with the soil). Most need a little more care but once you demystify the process it’s really not hard.

Race against time

Monty looks for good material for cuttings in the Writing Garden

July 2016

From the second you remove a section of the plant from the parent it starts to die. It’s then a race to encourage the offspring to grow new roots quickly enough to sustain it. If the roots grow quickly the top section will need less mollycoddling because the roots will provide moisture. If cuttings are slow to root or the plant material is very young or fragile then it will wilt irreversibly faster than the roots can form and you will lose it. So foliage that is thicker or more mature will always last longer without roots than fresh new leaves. However, these cuttings will mostly take longer to root. Tender foliage can be very delicate and temperamental but generally roots very quickly. This tendency leads to most stem (not basal) cuttings being grouped into three broad divisions: soft, semi-ripe and hard. All have pros and cons. Softwood cuttings are taken from fresh growth that is, as the name suggests, still f lexible and easily damaged. They can be taken at any time but the best material is usually found in spring and early summer


Wild and wonderful

A garden thatÕs home to wildlife doesnÕt have to turn into a wilderness of weeds, says Alan Titchmarsh Ð itÕs all about working with natureÕs needs. Photos by Jonathan Buckley


or me there are two things that go


which the garden is managed take into hand-in-hand: gardening and account the needs of animals, birds and nature conservation. A garden, for insects as well as the plants themselves. me, is every bit as much about All too often you will hear pundits rattling wildlife as it is about plants. My interest in on about t he impor ta nce of nat u re growing things began as a direct result of a conservation on a wider scale, for this is fascination w ith nature; I joined the where the headlines lie – in global issues, W harfedale Naturalists’ Society in my national catastrophes and controversial hometow n of I l k ley, topics. But t he most Gardening and Yorkshire, at the age of practical conser vation eight and I am still a are taken closer nature conservation measures member. Birdwatching to home and on a smaller are comfortable trips, nature walks and scale – often by gardeners rambles on the moors, who make little fuss. The bedfellows down by the river and in patchwork quilt is my the local woods were a weekly treat and it oft-used analogy: if we all looked after our seemed only natural to cultivate a garden own tiny patch, then it – joined with all the that brought nature right up to my doorstep. other tiny patches – would go towards the That feeling – and the belief in our creation of that massive quilt that is the responsibility for the stewardship of the British Isles. Look after the pennies and the natural world – has never left me. pounds will take care of themselves – the But having a garden that plays host to same is true in the management of our wildlife does not mean that it has to look like gardens with wildlife in mind. a weed-ridden wilderness. I like an orderly garden as much as the next man or woman. Natural evolution Gardening and nature conservation are Some folk take a degree of convincing, of not mutually exclusive; quite the course. They see a garden as something reverse, t hey a re comfor table to be tamed; as a place where man is bedfellows, provided the plants the master and everything else that that are grown and the way in walks, crawls, flutters or swims is

July 2016

making a better garden

Densely planted borders provide shelter for a host of wildlife and attract vital pollinators

July 2016


FLOWERS JULY STEP BY STEP Cut back geraniums


HARDY, HERBACEOUS geraniums can start to look messy this month, when the majority of the flowers have finished and the stems become leggy and flop flat on the surface of the soil. Take your courage in both hands and cut the stems back and your plants will produce new shoots and foliage, which may go on to yield a second flush of blooms in autumn.

Keep pots well watered PLANTS LOSE lots of moisture from the surface of their leaves, and if grown in pots they can dry out at the roots in just a day or two. This leads to wilting and stress in the plants, stunting their growth, causing yellowing of leaves and flowerbuds to drop. The process of water loss occurs all through the summer, even on drizzly, overcast days, and will happen more quickly in bright sunshine on hot days, when humidity is low, and in windy conditions. Stop compost drying out in pots by always giving them a thorough soaking when watering rather than sprinkling lightly more frequently.

1 Use a pair of hand shears to roughly cut back the stems by about half their height. Add this soft material to the compost heap.

Boost your plants with slowrelease fertiliser

Apply slow-release fertiliser granules


BY MIDSUMMER, plants growing in containers will have consumed the majority of the nutrients in the compost or soil mix that they are growing in. Many brands of compost used for potting up bedding plants in May and early June contain sufficient nutrition for only six weeks of

growth. To provide plants with a continuous supply of food (just when they need it), it’s worth applying slow-release fertiliser granules. Follow the application rate suggested on the packet, either scattering thinly on the surface or into small holes poked into the compost with a bamboo cane.

Water pots regularly, even on drizzly overcast days in summer

Cut off remaining spent flowers and prune back weak stems to the base of the plant to channel energy into stronger stems.

3 Use secateurs to cut each of the remaining stems to just above a leaf or ‘node’. Aim to leave two to three nodes on each stem.



Look out for... MILDEW This fungus reduces plant vigour, and spoils the look of leaves and flowers. Remove affected parts and spray with fungicide. July 2016

WHAT TO DO NOW ✔ CHECKLIST  Walk around your borders with a notebook and camera to record the planting you want to change next year

 Save seeds from

Deadhead bedding WITH SO many flowers being produced in summer, it is tempting to leave your bedding plants to their own devices. However, if you pick off the blooms as soon as they start fading it will keep the show going for longer. Plants produce flowers in order to bear seed, and as the

blooms fade they create chemicals that will encourage the ripening of the seed and suppress the development of further flowers. By removing old blooms you stop that process, and your plants will then be spurred into forming new flowering stems and buds.

perennials, cleaning off chaff before storing or sowing them

P  lant autumnflowering bulbs

D  ivide water irises R  emove small side buds from tuberous begonias to get bigger flowers on the ends of stems

Don’t allow sap-sucking aphids to thrive on plants

Use water to remove aphids

W  ater bedding plants thoroughly to prolong good performance

 Train fuchsias as standard plants

WATCH Kevin Smith’s guide to watering pots at gardenersworld. com/watering-plants

Remove old blooms as soon as they fade to encourage more flowers

CLUSTERING AROUND the tips of young stems and flower buds, as well as the undersides of leaves, aphids (greenfly and blackfly) will suck sap from your plants. This not only weakens plants, it can also lead to sooty mould, a powdery black fungus that thrives on the sticky honeydew produced by aphids. Most aphids can be blasted off plants using a jet of water, after which they can be picked up by birds, animals and insects.

STEP BY STEP Dry your own lavender LAVENDER’S FRESH, calming scent comes from oils produced in all parts of the plant, but especially in the flowers. Cutting the flower spikes before individual florets open is essential for the best scent.

1 Select stems with long, welldeveloped spikes of flowers that are ready to open. Cut just below the first leaves. 2 Make neat bunches by holding the stems just below the flower heads. Cut them to an even length and pick off all leaves. 3 Tie the stems together with soft string or raffia and hang the bunch in a cool, dry place to retain the oils as they dry off.

July 2016






Gardeners’ Question Time

Our experts tackle your gardening problems, including rose foliage damage, ‘catfaced’ tomatoes and poisonous oleander dilemma

Gordon E Treacy, Shropshire Knapweed and leucanthemum daisies enhance perennial meadows

A ANNE SAYS If you want

an annual wildfower meadow, choose feld poppies, corn cockle and corn marigolds, which will need annual soil tillage. But you could sow them mixed with grasses and perennials (knapweeds, meadowsweet, clovers, sorrel), enjoy them in the frst year, then let the perennials and grasses take over. Scour soil and keep adding annual semi-parasitic yellow rattle to reduce grass vigour. Perennial meadows are best cut every summer but I vary this as thick tufts and long stems provide valuable wildlife habitats. Prepare the seedbed as for a lawn and don’t add fertiliser, or grass will fourish at the expense of fowers. You’ll need to divide the area into square metres and sow the seed at the recommended rate.


wil dflo wwe r m ea do

Yellow rattle’s roots grow into nearby grass roots, stealing their nutrients


A BUNNY SAYS Rich soil, such

as garden topsoil often hampers the creation of a wildfower meadow, causing the grass to grow too vigorously and swamp wildfowers. Establishing yellow rattle can help as it parasitises grass and so weakens it. Wildlife expert Pam Lewis has established many meadows and she recommends putting a layer of weed-suppressing membrane over the existing soil and then a covering of 15-20cm of limestone chippings to sow/plant into. Though I would prefer to remove the topsoil and use it elsewhere. Hand weeding after rain is an easy way to remove the odd unwanted pernicious weed.

Q What are the

bees doing to my roses?

Lucy Lloyd, Worcestershire

A BOB SAYS Please do not

be worried for your plants. This is the work of one of our most delightful solitary bees; they belong to the genus Megachile and, for obvious reasons, are known as leaf-cutting bees. They’re taking their amazingly accurately measured, carefully cut and shaped pieces of rose leaf to make thimble-like cells in which they hatch their young. They glue these together, usually in holes in rotten wood, underground, or in bug hotels. The leaf pieces are not just blocking the ends the tubes but will have been formed into a whole series of cells behind. Please do not disturb them as these bees are not at all common anymore. Perhaps you could simply plant a whole load more roses then their damage will be more thinly spread and less obvious. Your roses will only suffer insignifcant superfcial harm anyway.

Leaf-cutter bee damage is offset by the bees’ value as pollinators

July 2016


Q How do I create a wildflower meadow in a small space?

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