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FREE 40 TULIP BULBS worth £23 *Just pay £5.65 postage

October 2017



✔Make ✔ Make compost in small sm gardens ✔Prune now for ✔Pru healthier plants heal ✔ Plant a scented ✔P lavender hedge lav


for pots

Join Hugh’s war on garden waste ON T E ST

Blower ower vac vacs

Discover the real taste of apples

Follow Monty’s guide to growing the best fruit for flavour PLUS Find your local varieties with our apple map of the UK




Bring out the best in your pla ants with Alan’s guide to boosting your soil

Carrol reveals her simplest way y to make new plants – it only takes minutes

Give ttired flowerbeds a face elift with Adam’s 5--step action plan

Discover more from Gardeners’ World Magazine Get more tips and ideas from the team to feed your gardening habit, online, on screen and in print

We’ve had a chuckle e in the office this month at the evocative names given to apples from centuries past: ‘Hoary Morning’, ‘Bloody Butcher’, ‘Knobby Russets’ and no end of ‘Droopers’ . They don’t make – nor name – them like that any more...

 When Monty met...

We brought together the programme’s biggest names,, Monty and Alan, earlier this summer, to talk about life on and after the programme. Watch the results on our Facebook page.

Supermarket shelves groan with apples, 12 months of the year, but if you find more than half a dozen varieties, you’re doing well. The names of those they do stock were dreamed up in a marketing department for fruit bred to be highly sweet and lunch-box shaped. Is this the best we deserve?

 Bite-sized Monty

Watch short videos of Monty’s tips for picking, storing and juicing apples. Go to for this, as well as guides to pruning and training trees for bigger crops.

Pruning made easy As tthe weather cools, it’s the perrfect time to prune for better resu ults next year. If you’re unsure of w where to start, find step-bystep p guides in our 132-page guid de, Your essential guide to p pruning g. Just £7.99 at mags dire

Well, new research has emerged this summer that shows heritage varieties not only taste better but are healthier for you, too. So do yourself and your family a favour this autumn and find a spot – even just a pot – for one of the varieties that Monty recommends and we feature in our UK map of local apples (starting on page 28). It’s yet another way that gardeners can reduce food miles to metres, while rediscovering real flavours and saving old varieties at risk of being lost forever for our kids to enjoy, too. Share your favourite apple names with us – and enjoy this harvest month!


 Share your 2-for-1 snaps

Make the most of October’s soft light by snapping your favourite gardens in our 2-for-1 entry scheme – you’ll find 417 UK gardens to choose from. Post your pictures on social media with the hashtag #GW2for1 and we’ll share the best on Facebook and Instagram.

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH US AT: GWmagazine gwmag gwmag gardenersworldmag

Our promise to you... Every month we bring you the very best of our discoveries – from inspiring gardens and amazing plants to shopping tips and advice on how to keep your garden blooming. If you ever feel we can improve, let us know. After all, it’s yourr magazine.

How to get in touch For our contacts contacts, turn to p page 142

October 2017

Lucy Hall, Editor Keep in touch with us on Twitter @GWmag and @lucyhall_GW

You decide! Have your say on the Calendar 2018 cover by voting for your favourite image from our shortlist. One of them is by a reader – can you guess which? Find out how to vote on page 25. PS To celebrate the 90th birthday of the National Garden Scheme, we teamed up with the charity to launch its Photo Competition. See the winners on display at the Garden Museum – turn to p25.



October 2017



We love October... for vibrant autumn hues


Plant partners Late-flowering lovelies and friends

10 Expert’s choice Garden chrysanthemums


Container know-how


The Full Monty


Have your say


Over the fence

Make an elegant acer display A few words on the wonders of weeds Rat controls and walking the High Line Fake grass: an eco no-no or time saver?

22 Clippings Clocking cuckoos and saving names

25 GW Calendar 2018

Vote for your favourite calendar cover

BE INSPIRED 28 My Eden project Monty shares his fruity success and the varieties we should all be growing

35 Rediscover apples Everything you need to know about growing apples in your garden

47 Composting in small spaces Joe Swift shows how to make free compost in even the smallest plot

124 No-waste veg guide


Monty shares the secrets to bountiful fruit harvests

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall reveals ways to grow and cook for zero food waste



Discover the right apple for your plot

52 Supercharge your soil Healthy soil means healthy plants. Follow Alan’s guide to boost yours

58 Five steps to better borders Borders looking tired? Adam Frost shares simple steps to rejuvenate them

64 Eight months of colour Gorgeous recipes for bulbs in pots to bring colour throughout three seasons


Plants for free Carol shows how to make more of your favourite trees and shrubs


Pruning guide We take the mystery out of pruning to help you get in shape for autumn

89 Blower vacs on test Make clearing leaves a blast



The best blower vacs


Follow Hugh’s tips to banish food waste


October 2017




p72 p47 p81 p104


p124 p89



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Take the easy route to free shrubs

on long-flowering shrubs

115 SAVE £22 on prosecco 131 GARDEN ESSENTIALS Save £80 on garden storage


116 The woodlouse spider Watch out for this fanged friend lurking under logs and leaf litter

118 Make a hanging bird feeder Fashion this quirky bird feeder out of old terracotta pots and a bit of twine


GROW & EAT Grow and eat Fresh ways to use yourt chilli harvest

136 Gardeners’ Question Time

LAST WORDS 142 Crossword 161 Next Month The winners of our Garden of the Year competition

162 Tales from Titchmarsh Alan waxes lyrical about the Isle of Wight

128 10 crops to start now

Q&A Rotate your crops

133 134 Garden doctor

Give lawns some TLC now to get your grass in shape for next year October 2017

your planner for October 50 THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

97 Monty’s month Bringing tender plants indoors

101 Back to basics 103 Flowers 107 Alan’s job of the month Naturalising spring bulbs


Red, hot and healthy chillies

108 110 111 112

Fruit and veg Test your skills Greenhouse Around the garden



Plant bulbs in pots now for spring surprises


We love s e u h n m u t u a t n ra ib v r o f I am not one to fall easily off the precipice of cliché – although I admit to an occasional strangulated simile – but when it comes to October it is very difficult not to be drawn into the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” trap set so expertly by John Keats nearly 200 years ago. It so perfectly describes this month that anything I do will pale to quivering embarrassment in comparison. Maybe I should leave it to him. “The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.” Words by James Alexander-Sinclair

You would be forgiven for doing a double take at that plant name but, be not afraid, it is not a contagious disease but the artist formerly known as a sedum. Botanists, eh? Don’t you love ’em? The glorious thing is that if you were a bee (or a butterfly) then you wouldn’t give a tuppenny fig what it was called but you would realise that it is a really good source of late nectar – the plants are busy with buzzing bees for many weeks. It also looks good through the winter, especially if we get a good hard frost.  Care Tends to flop in summer, so cut back a third of the stems in May (the Chelsea Chop) to make it lighter and prolong flowering. Divide in spring.  Height x Spread 50cm x 50cm



STAR OF THE MONTH Hylotelephium telephium ‘Purple Emperor’

October 2017

We love October

October 2017




October 2017

We love October

Plant partners

A fabulous autumn finale As the days get shorter there‘s still time to enjoy these late-flowering blooms and their perfect pairings  Nerine bowdenii and Nerine

bowdenii ‘Pink Surprise’

Nerines are always a lovely surprise and as subtle as a flock of parrots on a hen night. You think you are snuggling down for winter when, bang!, there’s an eruption of screaming pink to dazzle autumn.  Nerine care Hardy down to -10°C (protect with fleece or bring pots into a frost-free greenhouse if lower temperaures are forecast). Good at the base of a hot wall. Sow seed when ripe or divide after flowering. Plant bulbs in early spring, but they might not flower in the first year. Needs full sun to thrive, and watch out for slugs.  H x S 50cm x 10cm (Nerine bowdenii)  H x S 70cm x 10cm (Nerine bowdenii ‘Pink Surprise’)

 Viburnum and phormium

 Viburnum plicatatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ and Phormium tenax This viburnum is well known for its clear white flowers and the way that it grows in tiers as elegantly layered as a society wedding cake. Less well known is its amazing autumn colour – look at that red! My interesting phormium fact is that the Maoris used the leaves to create armour. Viburnum plicatatum tomentosum ‘Mariesii’  Care Full sun and free-draining soil. Propagate from softwood cuttings in summer. Prune carefully to preserve its elegant structure.  H x S 3m x 4m Phormium tenax  Care Good in a large pot and hardy down to -10°C. Sow seed or divide in spring.  H x S 3m x 2m

 Salvia elegans and

Restio tetraphyllus

 Salvia and restio

October 2017

Salvia elegans  Care Can survive winter in warmer areas but best to take cuttings just in case – they are easy to strike. Protect from waterlogging and mulch in spring.  H x S 70cm x 40cm Restio tetraphyllus  Care Brownish flowers in spring. Good in containers. Divide in spring. Hardy down to -10°C.  H x S 1.5m x 60cm


Salvias are another plant that flower right up until the first frost – very impressive, especially as the performance started in about May. Here they are teamed with the dense, evergreen Australian tassel cord rush, which gives a good backdrop against which the salvias can happily cavort.


Expert’s choice

Garden chrysanthemums


With myriad colours and habits, these favourites will keep blooming well until winter, says Graham Rice All over the world, there are chrysanthemums in flower every day. These are special greenhouse varieties, grown using sophisticated techniques to ensure there are always plants in bloom and ready to pick as cut flowers. In the garden, flowering occurs in a much narrower window and now’s the time for hardy outdoor varieties to come into their own. They’re grown pretty much in the same way as other hardy perennials, without the need for the special breeding and techniques that cut-flower growers use. Plants labelled Korean, rubellum and outdoor spray chrysanthemums all come under the banner of hardy garden chrysanthemums, but don’t worry about the names of the different groups. A few start to open towards the end of August, but it’s September and October, when so many other perennials are winding down, that are the peak months, with many continuing into November and a few even into December. The flower types vary from single and anemonecentred to double and dainty pompons, but they’ve all got things in common: they’re easy to grow as long as drainage is good, they love the sun and they last well when cut to bring indoors. I wouldn’t be without them.  Position Best in full sun, or with a little shade. In low light, growth is leggy and flowering is poor.  Hardiness All are hardy in most parts of the country, assuming plants are never waterlogged.  Height x Spread 10-150cm x 10-150cm  Care Rejuvenate the plants every two or three years by lifting, dividing and replanting the strongest growth every three years.  Where to buy Order now for delivery in spring. Halls of Heddon,, 01661 852445; Norwell Nurseries,, 01636 636337; Woottens of Wenhaston,, 01502 478258

PLANT DIRECTORY Find the perfect chrysanthemum by using our plant finder at

Chrysanthemums Chrysanthemum ‘White Gem’

Feed/mulch Flowering/deadhead Cut back


The white petals are rolled into tubes, leaving a flattened ‘spoon’ tip. H x S 50cm x 45cm

October 2017

We love October

C. ‘Leo’ Buds open in bright coppery tints and mature to pale yellow, 4cm-wide flowers. H x S 56cm x 30cm

October 2017

C. ‘Ruby Mound’

C. ‘Anastasia’

Hardy, deep-red, fully double flowers may need staking in exposed conditions. H x S 50cm x 50cm

Neat, purplish-pink, flat-topped pompoms cover unusually small foliage. H x S 60cm x 60cm


k now-how


Displayed in a large pot, Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ brings its glorious autumnal colours, elegant form and lacy, filigree leaves right to the back door, so you can enjoy nature’s final hurrah without leaving the kitchen. This plant makes a

wonderful stand-alone statement and a brilliant foil to glossy evergreens. Even its winter silhouette has a quiet beauty. Acers are a worthy investment, but to ensure this small potted Japanese maple thrives for many years, follow our easy-care guide.

Get it right  Japanese maples are ideal for growing in pots as it’s easier to give them the conditions they need to thrive. However, they are vulnerable to frost, so insulate the pot with bubble wrap (below) in the colder months.  Use John Innes No.2 or ericaceous compost as Japanese maples prefer slightly acidic soil. Guard against over- or underwatering and ensure the pot is well drained.  Position in a sheltered area, avoiding draughts and direct afternoon sun.  Repot every two or three years to keep it healthy. Feed in spring and summer with a slow-release fertiliser (right).  To enhance the fine-cut leaves, choose a plain container in a complementary tone.


FIND more container ideas at gardeners


October 2017

We love October

TRIMMING Don’t be tempted to indulge in drastic pruning. Just carefully remove any dead or crossing branches between November and January.

ALL-ROUND INTEREST Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’ ticks all the right boxes for form, colour, texture and interest. Even a small garden can make room for this compact tree.

MULCHING A mulch of bark chippings or grit will help keep the plant’s roots cool and moist. Replace this and a little compost annually, scraping off the top 10cm.

CONTAINER A gently fluted pot like this one makes a good visual anchor for the fountainshaped acer. For similar, try, from £69.

October 2017


We love October

The Full Monty Weeds may be the scourge of gardeners, says Monty, but you have to give them their due

our gardens but, surprisingly, many weeds To every weed there is a garden, need us gardeners, too. My own love/hate allotment, plot or bed and, for all relationships are serial but regular. Some are the best efforts and vainglorious drearily predictable – couch grass in the aspirations of gardeners, the weeds always Jewel Garden, ground elder in the Walled win. It is their garden and our plants are – Garden (and the Jewel Garden and the Grass ever so slightly – cramping their style. Borders…), hogweed in the Writing Garden Versailles, Sissinghurst, Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Orchard, lesser celandine in the Spring Kew are but momentary obstacles in their and Cottage Gardens, wood sorrel in the new conquering march. Weeds can play the long Herb Garden and duckweed in the pond. game just as easily as they can run amok That is not even mentioning the elders that when we take an all-too-brief holiday. root in the unlikeliest of places and become I have more than a sneaking respect for quite substantial woody shrubs before they this. Were it not for their tendency to get noticed – nor the ubiquitous nettles, rampage and overrun given the slightest docks, thistles and dandelions that are as chance then many would be prized as constant as the Herefordshire rain. garden specimens, shown at Chelsea and Some weeds are welcome. I often leave garlanded with medals. Hogweed can solo nettles, thistles or even docks that are stand proud beside fellow umbels ammi or growing strong simply out of respect. They orlaya, until it seeds and horribly overstays have beaten the system. Good for them. Cow its welcome. Lesser celandine would be parsley is brought in by floods and sweeps treasured as it shines like yellow stars through the Spring Garden every year like a covering the ground – if it did not go on and glorious frothy tide. Corydalis was a wellon and on covering. Ground elder would established component of the Box Ball Yard be a perfect low-level in summer, establishing white froth in a border such a strong foothold that Cow parsley sweeps the spaces between the if only it could restrain its invasive tendencies. through the garden like 64 box plants were filled The white flowers of by its delightful yellow a glorious frothy tide bindweed would be a flowers and glaucous joy if it were to twine foliage. The new Herb elegantly up its given support, not smother Garden still hosts it to a much lesser degree every damn thing in the border. but it grows eagerly in the bricks and cobbles Of course, Japanese knotweed was along the margins. Years ago we planted introduced as a fine garden-worthy plant wild strawberries under the hedges, and by the Victorians in the mid-19th century within months they had made themselves at – and by 1855 it was widely available home. But not only do they act as ground from nurseries. Now, it is Britain’s most cover, inhibiting more annoying weeds, but ineradicable and feared weed – and yet I also bear delicious, albeit tiny fruit. like the irony that because it cannot So what do you do? Rage against the reproduce from seed it is thus uniquely growing tide in a valiant but hopeless vulnerable to attack by disease or predation attempt to stem it? Or perhaps just accept because it has no evolutionary wriggle and even enjoy plants that might be classed room. In other words, its days as an allas weeds, but which have their time and conquering weed are surely numbered. their place, even in our precious borders. The truth is we gardeners love to hate our weeds. All groups and tribes are defined as much by whom they choose to omit as by those they include. My suspicion is that we know, even subconsciously, that weeds belong to gardens. They are a sign that we Monty on TV are cultivating the land. Leave a garden entirely alone and in time – some 50-150 Gardeners’ World years – it will revert to woodland and most of the weeds will have disappeared under Monty shares his advice at 9pm the competition and canopy. It seems on Fridays until 27 October. A that not only do we need weeds to new series will return in spring. measure what we do and don’t want in


o every weed there is a season.

October 2017


side of the fence Write to Have your say, Gardeners’ World, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT or email and you could win National Garden Gift Vouchers

Raising the game I was delighted by September issue’s Your feelgood garden, and Gardening for all abilities. I have ME so I have adapted my garden to suit my needs. Mark Lane is so right when he advises pacing yourself; it’s easy to overdo things. And his tips are essential for making things easier, too. I was finding my borders difficult so I made changes – using a raised bed to grow summer flowers from seeds and cuttings. In only a few months, I transformed a bed of bare soil to one that was packed to the brim with colourful blooms. I now have a feelgood garden – a place that helps me even on my bad days. The soft leaves, scented rose, sweet peas and the bright colours create a vibrant mood that boosts my energy. It’s the natural medicine I need to help me feel better. Claire Hawkins, by email

Claire finds that her raised bed lifts the spirits

New York’s High Line garden takes raised beds to new levels

A walk on the West Side While reading the August issue of GW, I saw your feature City breaks for garden lovers. I was particularly interested in your Picture Editor Sarah’s recommendation of the High Line in New York, especially as I was soon to visit this city. After consulting a map of New York we found the Line, which runs from West 30th Street to Gansevoort Street in West Manhattan. It took about 50 minutes to go around the whole of the Line, and we

saw various plants in flower and lots of trees. The line is about 10 metres above street level, thus providing a welcome oasis from the bustle of New York. And the best thing is, it’s free. Peter Chappell, by email We say It’s fantastic that our feature inspired you to take a walk on the High Line – thank you very much for sharing. Have other readers visited beautiful city gardens? Do write in and tell us.

Sticky situation Having a lot of whitefly in my greenhouse this year, I hung up several sticky yellow flytraps to help reduce the numbers. Unfortunately, I caught more than I bargained for. I found a long-eared bat firmly stuck by one of its wings. I was afraid to try and remove it myself as the wings are so delicate I was worried that I might tear it. Luckily a local vet managed to free the bat. It had never occurred to me that these sticky strips could be so dangerous. Can I urge anyone using them to close the greenhouse doors at sunset to prevent bats from getting in. I took my traps down, so if readers have any other tips for dealing with whitefly, let me know. Linda Smith, by email

Whitefly thrives in the warmth of a greenhouse

The toxic issue of rat poison


the country now have populations of rats that cannot be controlled by standard baits available to the public, due to resistance. Unsuspecting gardeners could well run into problems trying to get control with bait that is endangering wildlife. You also printed a letter recommending the use of pepper powders. May we point out that under the Control of Pesticides Regulations (1986) pepper powders are not ‘Approved for Use’ in this way by the Government. There is much gardeners can

do to reduce the risk of rats moving into gardens, sheds, garages and homes as winter comes. This includes taking care not to have food available to them after dark, from bird feeders or chicken coops. All holes in buildings should be blocked to prevent entry – crushed chicken wire works well. If control is required, simple rat traps can be effective without the risk of poisoning the local wildlife. Finally, if you bring in a professional pest controller, make sure that they are properly

certificated and insured. Iain Turner, Director, National Pest Technicians Association We say We accept we could have offered a stronger note of caution on the use of rodenticides and reiterated that instructions must be followed to the letter. However, regarding the use of pepper powders as a deterrent, it is our understanding that only products marketed as such require government approval; therefore, homemade pepper mixes are not subject to the 1986 pesticide regulations to which you refer.

October 2017


The advice you offered on how to control rats in compost heaps (Have Your Say April, July 2017) using poison was of little use to readers. It’s too easy for untrained users to poison non-target animals and birds, unless they follow the product instructions to the letter. Improper use of anticoagulant rodenticides has become a very serious issue for our wildlife. A 2011 report [from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology] reported that 84 per cent of barn owls were found to have rodenticide residues in them. Moreover, large parts of

We love October

No holes barred I was interested to read in GQT (August issue) how to prevent foxes and badgers digging up holes in the garden. We have both visitors, probably because my wife feeds them. Despite my fears, especially about badgers, neither has ever caused damage in the garden – famous last words? David Donoven, by email

are as safe and disease-free as possible, not just for your bees, but for other bees around. Sarah North, by email

Wasp appreciation Considering the bees’ needs

Does feeding badgers stop them digging the garden?

CORRECTION We’d like to apologise for an error on p54 of the September issue: the correct website address for Horatio’s Garden is

I read Monty’s feature Why do bees matter? (September issue) and as a beekeeper I agree with some of what he says, but I think it could lead readers to think that there is nothing to keeping bees, when in fact there is a lot to take into account. I live in south-west England and due to the monocrop agriculture, bees need to be fed in June. I’ve also had to feed mine because

this year’s poor summer has reduced bees’ food stores (in some areas by over 50 per cent), resulting in them eating winter stores. It’s important to inspect colonies weekly to check for diseases and levels of Varroa mite. You also need to protect bees from predators, such as wasps and the Asian hornet. As a beekeeper you have a duty of care to ensure that bees

Well done Monty for giving wasps a fair hearing (The Full Monty, August issue). I think we should learn to love these stripy assassins. They are doing me a favour by clearing up the rotten fruit on my pear tree. Sharon de Botte, Hampshire

Unsung heroes of the garden

OCTOBER CROSSWORD SOLUTIONS – see page 142 for your puzzle

ACROSS 1 Cotinus 7 Heaths 8 Reeds 9 Stokesia 12 Odora 13 Astilbe 15 Salads 18 Parsnip 20 Spurge 21 Runners 22 Mentha 23 Horse

DOWN 1 Carrots 2 Trefoil 3 Nyssa 4 Shoots 5 Cage 6 Choi 10 Splendens 11 Axe 13 Aspera 14 Taranto 16 Apples 17 Aerate 19 Posy

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Let us know what you think and win a £250 Amazon voucher! Would you like to have your say in the development of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine? Every year, we carry out research on behalf of BBC Worldwide that invites readers to share their views about this magazine and other BBC Worldwide titles. This essential research is used by BBC Worldwide and the editors to shape future content and strategy for the magazines. We would really appreciate your time to help us with this research. To take part in the research and be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 Amazon Voucher, please visit: The survey will take less than 10 minutes and is being conducted according to Market Research Society guidelines. All of your responses are completely confidential. Terms and conditions: The prize is one £250 Amazon voucher. One winner will be drawn at random after the closing date of 23.59 on 31st December 2017. Open to all residents of the UK and the Channel Islands aged 18 years or over except employees of BBC Worldwide or the BBC, their contractors, members of their families and anyone connected with this prize draw. Only one entry permitted per person. There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable. No purchase necessary. The prize draw is subject to the laws of England and Wales. Promoter: BBC Worldwide Limited, Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, London W12 7FA. Your data will be used for the purposes of administration of this prize draw and in accordance with BBC Worldwide’s Privacy Policy ( ). Where consent has been provided, BBC Worldwide may send email marketing messages from which you may unsubscribe at any time.

We love October

Over the fence

Is fake grass a boon for busy gardeners? What’s the case for an artificial lawn? Is one ever acceptable in a ‘proper’ garden?

How can I stop my clay border getting waterlogged?  You could put a land drain in the bottom, but only if you have somewhere suitable to drain it to. Your clay may drain slowly – try digging a bucket-sized hole in the clay, filling it with water and seeing how long it takes to drain. If it takes less than half a day you can probably just add grit and get away with it. BobTheGardener

 Improve the soil slowly. Dig well-rotted manure into the topsoil, and in subsequent years mulch with organic matter. Worms will also take it down lower and improve it gradually. My father farmed on clay for years, with the help of lots of manure and sensible management. Don’t work it when it’s wet. Dovefromabove

 The only other suggestion is to put a raised bed in. purpleallim

 Clay soil will not be a problem if you plant densely. Work in lots of compost/mulch. Consider plants for short periods and plants that will be staying as fillers. Close plantings will keep the soil less compacted and less likely to dry out in drier weather. Borderline

 Make a pond! Especially if the rest of the garden is more favourable. josusa47

ime is a currency nowadays. I could spend an hour cutting my grass, or an hour playing ‘shops’ outdoors with my daughter, and this is where the world of artificial grass could come in to save the day. The time aspect is a massive thing for me. Everyone knows that if a garden is looking a bit tatty around the edges, it can be tidied up no end by cutting the grass, but how about the garden looking that neat and tidy all the time by opting for an artificial lawn? No dragging the lawnmower out every week, or getting rid of grass cuttings. No worrying about weeds finding their way through, or There’s no having to water worry about it after weeks of sun beating weeds with down on it – just a beaut if u l, an artificial green, pristine lawn lawn ready to go every time you step outside your back door. My nan is always asking me how to stop her dog ruining the lawn, and patchy yellow spots in the garden are not something you’d be proud to show the neighbours when they pop over for a cuppa. But an artificial lawn solves the problem by rolling out the green carpet for them. Artificial grass can be quite expensive, depending on the size of space you are covering, and if you are going to do it then scrimping and buying the cheap stuff can do more harm than good. But for me the positives outweigh the negatives, and as a home investment you’ll never look back. As long as you have plenty of real plants for wildlife and real gardening to get involved with in your garden – as you’ve got to get some soil between those fingers somewhere along the way – then I say artificial grass could be the future and we should all try to embrace it.

ardening is about cultivating

plants – and that includes the lawn. A lawn should not be a lifeless layer; a real lawn is easy on the eye and a green space with an environmental benefit. It produces oxygen, takes in carbon dioxide and slows down rainwater run-off to prevent flash flooding. Change your mindset, see weeds as wild flowers and your lawn will be transformed into a beneficial habitat, a pretty carpet, patterned with daisies, clover and speedwell (all sources of nectar for insects), and you will soon have blackbirds searching for worms, green woodpeckers probing the surface for ants and pied wagtails and robins catching insects. With a push mower, you can have a good workout, with no need to go to the gym, and the lawn clippings can be mixed into the compost heap as an activator to break down woody material. Artificial lawns don’t offer anything to the environment; they’re just for your convenience. As for the time it takes, if you mow little and often, preferably twice a week during active growth, mowing the lawn doesn’t take long at all; you won’t have to lift a Daisies, clover heavy grass box either. and speedwell If you are provide a source worried about urine patches, of nectar for just stand by insects with a bucket of water to pour over the grass when a dog wees, or train them to go in one place. The trouble with artificial lawns is however hard you try, they don’t look real. They’re too uniform and consistently green, the light doesn’t shine through as it does with real grass, the surface they create is dead flat. Slap bang in the middle of your personal paradise is an lifeless green space. You’ll be planting artificial trees next!

Lee Connelly, the Skinny Jean Gardener, hosts his Weekend Tea Break podcast every Friday

Matt Biggs has been gardening professionally for over 20 years and is a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s GQT

GARDENERSWORLD. COM/FORUM features lots of lively debate. To join this thread go to clay-border-problem HAVE YOUR SAY What do you think about artificial lawns? Do they make life easier for gardeners or are they a threat to wildlife? Write in and tell us at the address on p16


October 2017

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aking new plants from insurance for any tender plants that don’t cuttings you’ve gathered in make it through winter. you r ow n ga rden is thrilling. Putting strong, Why cuttings? young plants into your garden that have Why not just sow seed? It’s the easiest way been g row n ‘to order’ is fa r more to make more plants, it’s almost always satisfying than buying plants and a lot successful and you can produce hundreds cheaper, too. Being thrifty is second of plants. Cuttings take more care, you nature to many gardeners, but producing make fewer plants and, unless you’re an a plant for free – nurturing it as a cutting, absolute whizz, it’s a slower process. But potting it up and preparing it to take its seedlings aren’t clones of their parents. place in the garden – is particularly They may well be lookalikes, but the progeny of some plants g r at i f y i ng. I n t he vary enormously. process, you lea r n Softwood cuttings canCuttings are a reliable more about the plant, root faster – you’ll way to get ident ica l it s nat u re a nd it s You might want to needs than you could soon have an army plants. make a new hedge, with from any textbook or of young plants plants such as box or television guru. lavender, or perhaps September is t he perfect time to take softwood cuttings. edge a formal bed uniformly with a Many plants, including shrubs and tender coloured leafed sage or penstemon. If you perennials, have produced fresh green grow lavender from seed the results will growth over summer, which can be used be haphazard. To make sure your hedge now to make new plants. These types of becomes a thing of beauty – consistent in cuttings root faster than hardwood flower colour, habit and even scent – then cuttings and you’ll soon have an army of it must be grown from cuttings and these young plants, ready to plant out when cuttings must all come from one plant. spring arrives. These can also act as Taking cuttings also makes it possible to

Instead of buying flowers, such as salvias (pictured), save money by making new plants from cuttings

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September 2017


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Every issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine is packed full of practical, trustworthy and timely advice from your favourite gardening experts, including Monty Don, Carol Klein, Alan Titchmarsh and many more... The Direct Debit Guarantee This guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits. If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine or your bank or building society, you are entitled to a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society. If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine asks you to. You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may also be required. Please also notify us by letter when cancelling or phone us on 0844 848 9707*.

October 2017

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Clippings The latest gardening news plus some great seasonal buys

Nature is the best classroom

Nine of the UK’s 10 leading garden centre chains have pledged to ensure that none of the flowering plants they sell will be grown with beeharming neonicotinoid pesticides. The 10th, Homebase, said it will continue to be vigilant and remains committed to taking responsible action, working closely with suppliers and partners. The move by garden centres follows a report by Sussex University this year that found 70% of plants tested from selected stores contained neonicotinoid pesticides. These included three pesticides restricted across Europe thought to put honeybees at ‘high acute risk’. B&Q will outlaw the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in its flowering plant range from February 2018. See p16 for more on bees from GW readers

1 in 7 Brits have not visited the countryside for two or more years*

The simplest family activity, whether it be strolling through woodland, making daisy chains, or exploring a riverbank, can become an adventure. In these settings children transform, from tantrum-prone toddler to budding entomologist, and from stroppy, disengaged teenager to rosy-cheeked collector of conkers. “Nature provides the best classroom and offers experiences that stay with us for life – helping to instil a love of nature, and in turn encouraging children to become future custodians of the natural world. “For us to connect with

Rachel values the vocabulary of the natural world

nature, we need the words that describe its diversity. It’s my view that removing many of these words from the OJD does a disservice to all our children. But most worryingly, it distances those that have few opportunities to spend time in natural surroundings from the wonders of the real world, while the virtual universe becomes increasingly accessible. Those from deprived inner city areas deserve access to an equally rich vocabulary via their dictionary.” Do you agree with Rachel? Write in and tell us your views...

Tag a cuckoo You don’t have to wait until spring to spot the first cuckoo. You can now track them all year, thanks to the British Trust for Ornithology, which is offering the chance to sponsor a cuckoo for just £2 a month. As a sponsor, you’ll receive email updates on the bird’s progress. The Trust is tagging cuckoos to better understand why numbers in the UK have declined in the past 20 years. To get involved go to

Poorly poppies

Garden healing celebration

Oriental poppies succumbed to a new mystery disease this summer, with nurseries and the National Collection suffering severe losses. It seems to be a new species of downy mildew that is making leaves suddenly turn yellow, before the whole plant collapses.

Room to Heal, which offers gardening sessions as therapy for traumatised refugees and asylum seekers, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The charity started in 2007 with five men, survivors of torture and human rights abuses. It is now a community of more than 80 men and women, who work together to grow crops, including some that remind them of ‘back home’, such as leafy greens – callaloo and sukuma wiki. The charity’s Isabella Mighetto said: “Central to our holistic approach is that gardening and immersion in nature is deeply healing.” Visit

Did your poppies suffer from wilt this year?

Still puzzling over the 50th anniversary quiz in June? Answers: 1. No 2. Berryfields and Longmeadow 3. Magnolia 4. Geoff Hamilton 5. Golden retriever 6. Toby Buckland 7. 64 8. 2 September 2016 9. “Nothing much wrong with that, is there Arthur?” 10. Blue 11. Alys Fowler 12. Sheila McQueen 13. Sara Cox 14. 30 15. John Brookes, Bonita Bulaitis, Dan Pearson 16. It was the 100th programme from Clack’s Farm 17. Percy Thrower 18. Pippa Greenwood 19. The Herb Society 20. Glyphosate


October 2017



Pesticide pledge

GW’s Rachel de Thame has issued a rallying cry to connect children with nature after familiar names like buttercup and cowslip were cut from the newest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Rachel, vicepresident of Plantlife, spoke in support of the charity’s Forget-me-not campaign: “I believe that connecting with nature is vital to the wellbeing of all children.” In an exclusive interview with the magazine she told us: “Studies bear this out, but my feelings stem largely from observing how my own children, and now grandchildren, respond to the natural environment.

We love October

News in brief

Sensitive planting combinations created a feeling of calm in Ula Maria’s Tatton garden

 UK high line on track Plans to transform a disused railway line between Camden and King’s Cross into an elevated garden walk, have won the backing of Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Visit

Reveal all about the spiky friends in your life

Going the whole hog

Young designer best in show A star was born at RHS Tatton Flower Show this summer when Ula Maria, aged 24, won the Best RHS Young Designer prize. Judges were impressed by her show garden, which combined a coniferous landscape with a stylish working area and her understanding of how wild plants can enhance a living

space while retaining a natural atmosphere. Previous winners have gone on to further success. Sam Ovens, who was the 2014 winner, went on to create an award-winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. Tony Woods, who won in 2013 and specialises in urban garden design, created London’s first floating park on pontoons, this summer.

Got a hedgehog in your garden? Hedgehog Street, the nationwide campaign working to combat the decline in numbers, wants readers to take part in its Hedgehog Housing Census to discover how best to help the animals. Gardeners have until 31 October to take part. More than 46,000 volunteers have signed up to be ‘hedgehog champions’ since the initiative launched in 2011. See

MAKE A SPLASH Petunia ‘Night Sky’, one of the biggest plant launches in 2017, is set to gain a sibling in 2018. ‘Baby Doll’ has vivid pink petals splashed with white blotches and launches in garden centres in spring.

Our pick of apple pickers

Adjustable fruit picker This adjustable fruit picker has a sturdy collection bag and built-in knife for stubborn stalks. Use with lightweight handles (sold separately). £19.99, October 2017

Apple wizard This clever device allows you to collect windfalls quickly and easily without the need to bend down. Very satisfying to use – also good for tennis balls! £69.99,

Long-handled apple picker The long handle makes collecting hard-to-reach apples without a ladder easy. The foam-cushioned liner will help prevent bruising. £12.95,

 Rare caterpillar A caterpillar not seen in Essex for 150 years, has been found at RHS Hyde Hall. The 10cm insect feeds on spurge and belongs to the spurge hawk-moth, native to southern Europe. The rare sighting is said to be the result of warm weather earlier this year.  Beautiful boosts We could be in for record numbers of butterflies this autumn, as a result of a warm spring and an early summer. Have you spotted more in your garden recently?  Woodland walks If you enjoy autumn walks, then The Woodand Trust has a handy feature on its website just for you. Type in your location and it will find woods within 10-20 miles. visiting-woods  Action stations! GW reader Geraldine Auerbach and her seven-year-old grandson Lenz have set up a group to transform weed-filled raised beds at Northwick Park station in London this summer. If you’ve been involved in similar projects, contact us at the addresses on p16.


YOUR SPRING IN BLOOM Plant now for gorgeous spring colour with our handpicked bulb ranges. We’ve carefully selected colours and varieties for stunning displays in your garden. Every bulb in our inspiring range is the very best quality, so you can be sure they’ll bring you months of colour come spring.


10 £20

Spring bulb collections

3 for

3 for

Mix & match

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Jumbo bulb packs, £8 each

In centre | online | mobile While stocks last. Availability and offers may differ online and in centres. Wyevale Garden Centres has the right to suspend, cancel or modify offers at any time without notice.

calendar 2018 vote

Pick your calendar cover We’re inviting you to choose the cover of the 2018 BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine calendar, which comes FREE with your December issue.

Don’t miss your FREE 2018 calendar only with the December issue

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Aquilegia vulgaris stellata ‘Nora Barlow’; Anemone obtusiloba; Ilex verticillata and rosehips; Rosa ‘Gold Spice’

We’ve scoured through hundreds of our favourite photos that have been taken throughout the year. Having captured the best of garden shows and special events around the country, we’ve created a shortlist of our top choices, including a plant portrait taken by one of our own readers. Now it’s up to you to vote for the one you’d like to see on the cover – after all, it will be hanging on your wall in 2018.

How to vote

 Visit calendar-vote to vote. The photo with the most votes will be our Calendar 2018 cover. Voting closes at midday on 13 October 2017.  Sign up for our weekly email

newsletter and be among the first to know the winner on 16 November 2017.  Don’t miss December’s Gardeners’ World Magazine, on sale 23 November, for your FREE calendar.

Love garden photography? See the very best in amateur gardening photography at an exhibition run by the National Garden Scheme at The Garden Museum in London. The exhibition will showcase the best of the NGS visitors’ photographs entered into the Charity’s 90th anniversary

competition, supported by Gardeners’ World Magazine. Among the categories on display is ‘Fantastic Flowers’, the best of which will appear in your 2018 calendar. The exhibition launches on 19 October and runs to 3 December. Visit for more details and tickets.

To vote visit October 2017


Subscribe today for your chance to win! To celebrate 50 years of the nation’s favourite gardening TV show, we are treating magazine subscribers to a series of exclusive competitions. For a chance to win one of the fabulous prizes below from John Deere, subscribe to Gardeners’ World Magazine by 25 October 2017


TWO great prizes from John Deere


1ST PRIZE WORTH £2,100 TANGO E5 Series II Robotic Mower Designed to make life easier by maintaining your lawn automatically.  Navigation sensors detect obstacles and pre-set boundaries  Negotiates slopes and inclines, covering grass areas up to 2200m²  Turns clippings into mulch to fertilise the lawn

Robotic mowers have come a long way since they were launched in the mid-nineties and some of today’s models offer you a real opportunity to take the effort out of mowing the lawn. We’ve teamed up with John Deere to give you a chance to win a new TANGO E5 Series II Robotic Mower. Its lithium-ion battery makes it environmentally friendly and virtually silent so you can run it at any time of the day. It also does a tidy-up lap around the lawn to ensure the edges are neat. For our second prize we are giving away one of John Deere’s new cordless walk-behind mowers, the R40B. The lithium-ion battery technology means there’s no petrol or pollution to worry about, and without the restrictions of a cable this model copes with slopes, banks and areas that are awkward to reach.


2ND PRIZE WORTH £670 R40B cordless mower This walk-behind mower is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.  Operates for around 20 minutes, covering a grass area of approx. 400m2  44L clippings collection bag, foldable for easy storage  Ideal for smaller gardens or for gardeners who like to mow a little and often

October 2017

The Tango E5 Series II heads automatically to the docking station

The mower is extremely quiet and works smoothly in all weathers


The Tango’s smart technology routinely maintains your lawn, so you don’t have to

Programming is easy to set with the large PIN-protected display screen

If you’re not a subscriber, but love these prizes there’s still time to enter 1 For a chance to win a prize in our series of subscriber-only competitions, all you have to do is subscribe.

2 To enter the October competition in partnership with John Deere ensure you SUBSCRIBE BY 25 OCTOBER 2017. 3 Once you’ve subscribed, we will send you your unique subscriber code. This code can be found within your welcome pack and letter, on your welcome email or alternatively will be quoted after your telephone order. 4 Visit and register using your subscriber code. Answer the multiple choice question, then ‘Enter now’. Good luck!

Next month win... A deluxe Forno Oven outdoor package


The prize includes a cast-iron oven and steel-coated table that offers stylish, practical outdoor entertaining

CLOSING DATE 2 NOVEMBER 2017 For details of how to subscribe go to page 20. Terms and conditions: Closing date for entries is midday, Thursday 2 November 2017. All correct entries will be entered into a draw and the winner selected at random. Winners will be notified by email within 14 days of the competition closing date. No cash alternative, non-transferable and no alternate prize will be offered. Not for resale. Only one entry per person for delivery to a UK address. The winner and runner-up will be obliged to provide an image and testimonial about winning their prize to be used in promotional material attached to the competition and John Deere. Full terms and conditions apply, see

October 2017


Quinces such as ‘Leskovac’, planted by Monty’s pond, do best in damp soil


October 2017

monty’s garden

n e d E project Monty shares the results from his new fruit garden and recommends varieties we should all know and enjoy


arlier this year I made a new,

October 2017

(great for improv ing t he ripening of dedicated soft fruit garden. The pears). You can also grow them as stepidea was to give a home to the overs along the edge of a bed with just various currants and berries that a single horizontal branch a couple of were scattered around Longmeadow after feet off the ground, or as cordons, which they were dispersed to make room for the can be upright but are usually trained at a wooden greenhouse four years ago. 45 degree angle against a permanent wire Like everything in life, what started out support or against a fence. w ith simple, clear intentions quick ly This training is decorative, making became more complicated. We used the g row ing t ree f r uit doubly att ract ive supports erected for the loganberries, to anyone with limited space – and that tayberries and blackberries to grow sweet mea ns just about ever yone. It a lso peas for my son’s wedding in July, and maximises productivity by exposing every I surrounded the area like a stockade fruit and bud to as much light as possible, with cordon apples and pears. The soft and means that the tree puts most of fruit garden quickly became our sweet its energ y into producing fruit rather pea and apple t ha n new wood The very notion of an or foliage. garden, while a lso c ont a i n i ng a fe w orchard is a rural luxury, w eAt hLongmeadow, pitif ully immature a v e c or don but one I’m delighted currant bushes.But apples a nd pea rs their time will come. a rou nd t he sof tto indulge in Me a nw h i le, t he fruit area, step-over cordon apples have done everything asked apples in the veg garden, and espalier of them. The first is to produce fruit – pears on the Mound and in the Cottage mission accomplished. The second, and Garden. But I also love the full-blown almost equally important, is to not grow standard trees in the orchard. The very too big. Apples and pears lend themselves notion of an orchard is a rural luxury, but very readily to being pruned and trained one I am delighted to indulge in. Even in to grow productively in limited spaces. an average garden, one full-sized apple or You can shape them into an arch, as pea r w i l l ma ke a t ree t hat w i l l be espaliers to line a path or against a wall smothered in blossom in spring, give


shade and structure in summer, and provide hundreds of fruit in autumn. It is garden-worthy in every sense. I have a mix of standards (a clean trunk at least 6ft tall before the first branch) and half-standards (a 4ft-tall trunk), and regularly prune away the lower branches to keep the sightline clear beneath them. They were all planted 20 years ago and are now going from youth to early maturity, although they should all have another 100 years ahead of them and, in the case of the perry pear, another 300-400 years. This has not been a good apple year. We had the smallest crop I can recall for a very long time, almost entirely due to the combination of a -4°C frost on 26 April and last year’s huge harvest. The frost did for the blossom, and a big crop one year is often followed by a more modest result the next. As a result, only the ver y early


blossom or t he ver y late rema i ned unscathed. But we have far too many apples, so we won’t suffer. Our excess mostly remains on the ground, and feeds the birds, hedgehogs and foxes (not to mention Nigel and Nellie). Although we store a lot of cookers and eaters, we must get our act together and start juicing on a scale that would use these hundreds of windfalls. In all, we have over 50 different varieties of apple, and I relish t heir diversity, distinction and locality.

Beyond the apple While I think any garden has room for a couple of apples, be they trained ever so small, I also love the other tree fruit we grow here at Longmeadow. As well as our espalier pears, we have an unnamed perry tree in the orchard (bought and planted as a ‘Black Worcester’ cooking pear but quickly

established as no such thing, although I am happy to have this foundling as it is a beautiful, large tree) and a large ‘Concorde’ in the wildlife garden. Pears need more sun than apples, but they are tough trees, and in many ways easier to grow because they tolerate more damp as long as they have good drainage and ventilation. The fruit won’t store nearly so long, so it makes sense to grow a range of varieties that span as long a fruiting season as possible, with very early varieties such as ‘Beth’ or ‘Williams’ Bon Chrétien’, followed by later types such as ‘Beurré Ha rdy’ or ‘Conference’ a nd, finally, varieties such as ‘Doyenné du Comice’ or ‘Concorde’. I grow all these and find ‘Williams’ Bon Chrétien’ reliably the best, given our conditions. I have three mature quinces (‘Leskovac’, ‘Portugal’ and ‘Vranja’) growing around October 2017

monty’s garden

Start fan-training cherries in spring to minimise diseases

Monty has trained this apple as a step-over, a space-saving method


A supported cordon apple is ideal for small gardens

the pond. They started life in what are now the grass borders, but I moved them some 15 years ago and the positioning of the pond was determined by them as I didn’t want to move them again, let alone lose them. The frost got them this year – I counted just half a dozen fruit this month – but quinces are magisterial fruits with a gloriously intense floral aroma. Training them in any way is hopeless. They like to grow as a squiggle of branches, but they can be pruned to give them air and to make the most of the artistic expression of their inevitable contortions. They will cope with extreme heat and a surprising degree of damp, tolerating much wetter roots than apples or pears would. They are one of the last blossoms to appear in spring (but were early this year, so still got caught at the end of April) and one of the last fruits to harvest, often into November. October 2017

Last autumn, I added a mulberry to the orchard, as well as a couple of medlars to the cottage garden, where I already have four dessert apple trees and four crab apples in the borders. This is my second go at growing medlars. I had a pair of trees in the walled garden, but they suffered badly from

Medlars have lovely blossom, an excellent autumn colour and they never get too big fireblight (they are, like all these fruit trees save mulberries and figs, members of the Rosaceae family, so prone to fireblight) and I removed them. Hopefully these two will have better ventilation and they seem to be happy if yet to produce any of their brown, unattractive-looking yet rather delicious

Mulberry ‘Charlotte Russe’ is quick to crop

fruit. The truth is that they are an acquired taste, very tart when picked, but like an apple butter if bletted (when they are left until they are almost rotten). However, medlars make a good ornamental tree in a small garden and the fruit can be ignored. They have lovely blossom, an excellent autumn colour and they never get too big. The mulberry has been very slow to get growing and can take up to 10 years before producing a single fruit. Once established, it will make a lovely, gnarled tree full of character w ithin 20 years. The fruit, delicious but rarely available in shops and whose juice stains like no other, are easiest harvested from mown grass, which is why I planted it in the orchard rather than in a border. But they are thirsty, hungry trees, so don’t grow grass right up to the trunk, give it a generous mulch every autumn and don’t allow it to dry out. At this year’s Chelsea


monty’s garden

Monty’s favourite apple varieties I regard all the different apple varieties like different wines, each with their own virtue and character, and each good at certain times or associations. But if I had to choose, my favourites are:



Crimson Queening  Herefordshire Pippin and Russet  Jupiter Ribston Pippin Rosemary Russet Strawberry Pippin

Flower Show, a dwarf mulberry, ‘Charlotte Russe’, was awarded Plant of the Year. It forms a compact shrub, only 1.5m by 1.5m, making it suitable for container growing or t he sma l lest ga rden. Un li ke nor ma l mulberry trees, it also fruits when very young. I planted one in a pot, too late for this year’s harvest, but I expect to be staining my fingers with next year’s crop. Figs are a member of the mulberry family and we have eight growing here, of which only three regularly crop well. I don’t know why that is because one of those three is on a n e a s t-f a c i n g w a l l , w h i c h i s n’t recommended. They are all ‘Brown Turkey’, they all look great and the fruit, which starts to ripen at the beginning of August and carries on into October, is uniformly delicious. Figs can happily be hard pruned to grow in a pot or against a wall or fence. The best time to do this is in March and you need to bear in mind that they produce their


following year. Then in June cut out the tips Take out a subscription today for of the new growth. yourself or as a gift for a friend, If I had more south-facing walls I would and pay just £42.75 for be tempted to cast my fig net wider and grow 12 issues. PLUS receive a ‘W hite Marseilles’ or even ‘Rouge de signed edition of Monty’s Bordeaux’, although I fear our weather new book, Down to Earth. would be too harsh for them, even with a Go to buysubscriptions. south-facing wall. Everyone knows about com/GWNP1017 restricting the roots of figs to make them Offer ends 26 October fruit more, but most people underestimate their need for water. If your figs are dropping off prematurely, it is usually because they Monty on TV are too dry, so give them a good soak once a week and a generous mulch each spring. Gardeners’ World Join Monty and the team Prune off overhanging leaves shading fruit, until 27 October. A new and with a decent wind and some sunshine, series retuns next spring. you should have a lovely figgy harvest.  Fridays, 9pm Turn the page for more on choosing apples.

NEXT MONTH Read an exclusive extract from Monty’s new book, Down to Earth 32

October 2017


Monty reaps the rewards of his orchard, which is bordered by apple and pear trees

Arthur Turner Orange  Hambledon Deux Ans  Newton Wonder  Reverend W. Wilks  Tillington Court Blenheim

UK’s largest online garden specialist





Grow your own apples to enjoy flavour like you’ve never tasted before. From discovering the best variety for your region to growing know-how and more, it’s all here as we celebrate the nation’s favourite fruit

October 2017

An apple a day can still help to keep the doctor away – but it’s likely to do you far more good if it’s a heritage variety. A new study by Cranfield University and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew discovered that older varieties of apples have considerably more of the nutrients that have gradually been bred out from modern apples, which are cultivated to be sweet, crisp and shiny. Professor Leon Terry, the scientist who led the research, told us: “I’m concerned that there has been a gradual commoditisation of fruit, including apples. We’re not using or appreciating the genetic diversity with the crops. It’s ironic that there’s probably more choice in supermarkets than there’s ever been, but within the category, even for something as diverse as apples, there seems to be a narrowing of the available genetic pool.”

Some of the apples studied were very old: one dated back to Roman times and others had been around since 1200. The majority were sourced from the National Fruit Collection,

of apples sold in the UK are imported

the biochemical diversity of this amazing collection. Professor Terry, who has 25-30 different apple trees in his own garden, said: “I hope Gardeners’ World readers feel encouraged to grow these older varieties for flavour and health. Many of the varieties bred in the UK are unique to particular counties and I think we should celebrate that. “This is where gardeners can really have an impact. If we don’t have gardeners looking after these old varieties, they will inevitably be lost.” See p39 for more on the report


What’s your local apple? For the freshest, natural flavour and the lowest food miles from tree to plate, follow our regional guide for choosing the apple varieties that are local to your area

SOUTH-WEST  BRISTOL ‘Cheddar Cross’ A pink flush over creamy skin. It has a yellow flesh and an unusual aniseed flavour. D  CORNWALL ‘Cornish Aromatic’ A reliable mid/late-season apple with attractive red-flushed skin and crisp, juicy and spicy flesh. D  DEVON ‘Devonshire Quarrenden’ Mahogany-red and green fruits that are sweet, juicy and crisp. This variety softens quickly and doesn’t keep long. D  DORSET ‘Tom Putt’ Slightly conical fruit with bright-red

WALES patches and stripes. Firm, not crisp, and often used for cider. DC  GLOUCESTERSHIRE ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ Russeted skin with white, firm, juicy flesh. A good blend of sweet and sharp. D  HAMPSHIRE ‘Bramshott Rectory’ Lightly aromatic, crisp and juicy. D  SOMERSET ‘Hoary Morning’ Yellow-tinged green skin, with red stripes. Sweet, rich flesh. DC  WILTSHIRE ‘Dredge’s Fame’ Large fruits with a bright-red flush and a rich, fruity, aromatic flavour. D

 MONMOUTHSHIRE ‘Baker’s Delicious’ Attractive skin with orange flush over gold. Creamy flesh that has a rich and sweet flavour, and balanced acidity. DC  MONMOUTHSHIRE ‘Saint Cecilia’ A red-striped, late-season apple, with crisp and juicy flesh and a good sweet flavour. D

KEY D Dessert C Culinary

SOUTH-EAST  BEDFORDSHIRE ‘Lord Lambourne’ Red-flushed skin, with firm, creamy white, juicy and aromatic flesh. D  BERKSHIRE ‘John Standish’ A mid-season apple, with scarlet stripes on pale-yellow skin. Firm, crisp flesh, with intense flavour. D


 BERKSHIRE ‘Reverend W. Wilks’ Yellowy-green skin (sometimes with raspberry stripes). Sweet and sharp flavour, good for purées and baking. C



 BUCKINGHAMSHIRE ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ Red-tinted fruit with firm, juicy flesh. Excellent aromatic and complex flavour. D

 CAMBRIDGESHIRE ‘Chivers Delight’ Resembles a Cox’s Orange Pippin. Dense, crisp flesh with a sharp and honeyed flavour. D

 KENT ‘Falstaff’ A modern apple (late 20th century) with red-flushed green skin and crisp, juicy flesh. DC

 ESSEX ‘Discovery’ A red apple with a creamy, pale-yellow flesh. It has quite a sharp finish that stays crisper for longer than most other early apples. D

 SUFFOLK ‘Saint Edmund’s Pippin’ A mid-season, goldenbrown apple with sweet and rich flesh. Good cropper. D

 NORFOLK ‘Adams’s Pearmain’ A conical fruit with red patches

 SURREY ‘Harry Pring’ Red-flushed skin with an almost savoury taste. D

 SUSSEX ‘Forge’ A mid-season prolific fruiter with attractive stripes and a rich flavour. Stores well. DC

and stripes over yellow skin. When first ripe, it tastes rich, lemony and sweet, then develops a dry, nutty flavour. D

October 2017




 LANARKSHIRE ‘Tower Of Glamis’ Good cropper with large, palegreen apples that keep until March. Crisp and juicy fruits are great for sweet purées. C

 CHESHIRE ’Arthur W Barnes’ A mid-season apple introduced in 1902. The large, red fruits make strong-flavoured, juicy purées. C

 GREATER MANCHESTER ‘Lord Suffield’ Crisp, juicy flesh with an acid flavour. Cooks well, breaking up completely. C

 CUMBRIA ‘Duke of Devonshire’ With partial russet markings on its dull-green to pale-yellow skin, it has crisp, white flesh with a hint of green. Has a strong fruit-drop flavour with a rich, nutty finish. D

 LANCASHIRE ‘Keswick Codlin’ Early-season cooking apple. Paleyellow flesh and very juicy, with a refreshing sharp taste. C

 LOTHIAN ‘James Grieve’ Introduced in 1893 this is a mid-season apple with green, crisp and juicy flesh. Stores for a month or two. DC  PERTHSHIRE ‘Bloody Ploughman’ Introduced in 1883, this is a deep-red, juicy apple with sweet, light flavour. D

 NORTHUMBERLAND Mrs Lakeman’s Seedling Large, yellow-green apple with red stripes. Crisp, firm flesh with acidy and slightly sweet flavour. DC  YORKSHIRE ’Ribston Pippin’ Brown/red flushed stripes over olivegreen skin. It is firm and juicy when fresh, with a flavour similar to Cox’s but sharper. DC

 STIRLINGSHIRE ‘Stirling Castle’ Hardy apple with orange-flushed yellow skin. Cooks to a sharp, white purée with a fruity flavour. C

MIDLANDS  DERBYSHIRE ‘Newton Wonder’ Red-green skin. Cooks to a creamy puree. Later in the season make a tangy eating apple – good in savoury salads. DC  HEREFORDSHIRE ‘Tillington Court’ Yellow skin with a scarlet flush and streaks. Juicy, with a yellow, sharp-flavoured flesh. DC  LEICESTERSHIRE ‘Marriagemaker’ This is a great name, hinting at our pagan past. It has red-flushed skin and sweet, firm and juicy flesh. D  NORTHAMPTONSHIRE ‘Lord Burghley’ Dark-red, flushed skin and aromatic flesh. D

different apple varieties are grown at the National Fruit Collection, Brogdale

October 2017

 SHROPSHIRE ‘Downton Pippin’ Small lemon-yellow skin. Crisp and juicy with an intense almost cidery tang. DC  WORCESTERSHIRE ‘Worcester Pearmain’ Bright red skin. Firm, densely sweet flesh that has a strawberry flavour. D


Choosing the tree for you Rootstocks and training methods are the key to growing an apple tree that suits your taste and garden – here are the facts Whatever your size or style of garden, there’s an apple tree for you. To make the right choice, you need to get to grips with the different rootstocks on offer (see below) – these determine the vigour and eventual size of the tree, so if you choose the right one you won’t end up with a specimen that is too large or small for your plot. The rootstocks listed below are all suitable for apples, giving you a range of options for different sizes and shapes of trees. A rootstock also determine trees’ suitability for training or growing in a pot, so keep this in mind if you want to grow yours in a particular way. There’s nothing wrong with planting in the ground orchard-style or in a mixed border, but how about making a decorative feature of your tree? Fans, espaliers and step-overs all look beautiful, with the added bonus of saving space – plus, they crop abundantly for their size, too. And don’t be put off if you’ve only got a balcony or a tiny courtyard – the right apple variety grafted to the right rootstock will do well in a container, so you can enjoy the delights of homegrown apples, even if you don’t have much of a garden. If you’re feeling confused, seek the advice of a specialist nursery (see p42) – they’ll be more than happy to share their knowledge.

CONTAINER – M26 Give trees in pots lots of water, but allow the soil surface to dry out before the next watering




When buying an apple tree, don’t just look at which variety will suit you best. It’s also important to be selective about the type of rootstock the variety is grafted on, as this will affect the size and vigour of the tree. These are the most common options: O M27 Very dwarfing Ideal for step-overs, but it needs a rich soil and lots of support. The tree must be staked throughout its life. O M9 Dwarfing This makes a small tree, about 2.5m tall, that crops from the second or third year. It’s great for cordons and pyramids in small gardens. Fruits tend to be large and ripen earlier than those of the same variety on a more vigorous rootstock. It needs rich soil and a permanent stake. O M26 Semi-dwarfing Used a lot in commercial orchards, as it keeps trees small but with early, large fruits. It can tolerate

poorer soil than M9, but is a slow starter and needs staking. Recommended for trees planted in containers. O MM106 Semi-vigorous This gives a medium-sized tree, 3-4m tall, that grows well on most soils. Suitable for a semi-standard (with a clear trunk of 1m) or large bush-shaped tree, or espaliers or cordon trees in poorish soil.




O MM111 Vigorous Ideal for standard or semi-standard trees, up to 4.5m (smaller on light soils). It can also resist potash deficiency in the soil and is notably resistant to drought. O M25 Very vigorous The best choice for a large standard tree, approximately 4-5m tall, which can produce up to 180kg of fruit.



M25 October 2017


ESPALIER – MM106 The horizontal branches of espalier-grown trees flower and fruit prolifically

‘Gala’ and ‘Royal Gala’ apples were bought in the UK last year – the top sellers

STEP-OVER – M27 Apples are trained to make a low fence – practical and ornamental

FAN – MM106 Fan-training is a space-saving method giving productivity from many branches

October 2017

Many older varieties of apples are markedly healthier than modern supermarket equivalents, the Cranfield University-Kew study has revealed. While testing 66 apple cultivars from the National Fruit Collection at Brodgdale, researchers discovered that many of the heritage British varieties had far higher levels of nutrients than newer, cultivated apples. The apples on test included mainstream commercial varieties such as ‘Braeburn’, ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Jazz’, as well as more ancient apples, including ‘Decio’, which is believed to date back to Roman times. The results show that key healthpromoting phytochemicals have gradually been bred out from modern cultivars with the focus instead on producing sweet, crisp, good-looking apples that store well. Older varieties contain considerably more phloridzin than modern fruits. This chemical helps to regulate blood sugar and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Professor Leon Terry, who led the three-year project, told us: “There are good reasons why a lot of the older varieties have been phased out: many don’t store well and tend to suffer from disease. But what’s evident from our research is that many of the modern varieties have lower levels of micronutrients and tend to have a higher sugar content. “I believe that where we’ve got a diverse genetic pool, we should be celebrating that, trying to identify some of those quality traits in older varieties and then perhaps introducing them back into newer varieties. We also found that crab apple varieties, and cider apples in particular, were very high in phloridzin. So there may be scope to use some of the underused heritage cultivars to develop food products with enhanced health-promoting properties.” During the research, the apples were dissected and each part tested. “We found the majority of the health-giving compounds are in the skin,” said Prof. Terry, ”so the worst thing you can do is peel an apple. Eat the whole thing!”




Get the planting right Apples are easy to grow, you can even plant them in a container, but they need the right conditions if you want to have years of bountiful harvests Apples are happiest planted in the ground where they can really stretch out their roots. The best time to plant them is November to March, when they’re dormant. Find a sunny, sheltered spot and improve the soil by forking in plenty of compost or well-rotted farmyard manure over a wide area around the planting hole – this will encourage the roots to explore outwards into the surrounding soil. If space is limited, you can still enjoy the crisp, juicy freshness of just-picked apples by growing trees in pots. Because the roots determine the size of the tree, choose a tree that has been grafted onto a container rootstock. Apples on dwarfing M26 rootstocks stay about 2m tall if grown in a large pot (about 50cm diameter). Water the tree carefully and feed regularly with liquid seaweed throughout the growing season.

calories are in an average-sized apple (100g), plus, it’s almost sodium and fat free


 Dig a hole no deeper than the roots and just larger than their spread. Break up the soil at the bottom of the hole with a fork.

 Back-fill with soil, holding the tree at the right height and gently jiggling it to work the soil in among the roots. Firm gently as you go.


 Bare-root trees should be soaked in water before planting. Just before placing in the hole, dip the roots in mycorrhizal fungi.

 Drive in a tree stake at a 45° angle, pointing into the prevailing wind. Secure the stem to the stake one third of the way up the trunk.

 Lay a cane across the hole at ground level, then lower the tree into the hole so the darker ‘soil line’ on the trunk is alongside the cane.

 New trees need early pruning to encourage the right branching for the form you’re training them into. Start straight after planting.

October 2017

apples Sink a sturdy cane or stake into the container alongside the apple tree, and secure the trunk with a tree tie

PLANTING TIPS FOR BEST RESULTS O STAND bare-root trees in a bucket of water for an hour before planting to rehydrate roots O TEASE out the roots of container-grown trees from the root balls before planting O KEEP a 1m-diameter area clear of weeds around young trees to reduce competition O WATER new trees weekly throughout their first two summers and subsequent dry ones O PROTECT saplings against rabbits and deer with a spiral tree guard O WINTER PRUNE (Nov-Feb) and then in summer (Jul-Sep). The aim is to encourage fruiting spurs.



In general, one apple tree can only be pollinated by another, so it is best to grow two or more together. The pollination basics are explained below. Ask your supplier for specific advice.


 Half-fill the pot with a loam-based compost such as John Innes No.3, mixing in a little blood, fish and bone meal for good root establishment.

 Add a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure on top of the compost to lock in moisture and keep out weed seeds.

October 2017

 Add the tree and back-fill with more compost up to the trunk’s ‘soil line’ (the level of the soil in its nursery pot) firming in gently as you go.

 Raise the container up on pot feet to help excess moisture drain away, then give the tree a good drink of water to settle it in.

O APPLES FLOWER from April until the end of May, with each flower lasting a fortnight. For pollination to occur, the two trees need to be flowering at the same time and for as long as possible. O FLOWERING TIMES are measured and categorised in groups numbered 1-7. Find out which group your apple is in and buy another, either from the same group or one adjacent to it, remembering cooking apples will pollinate dessert apples and vice versa. O TRIPLOID APPLES, such as ‘Bramley Seedling’, need two other varieties to pollinate them. O SELF-POLLINATING VARIETIES will all crop better with a pollinating partner nearby. Selfpollinators include: ‘Braeburn’, ‘Christmas Pearmain’, ‘Cox’s Self-Fertile’, ‘Egremont Russet’, ‘Falstaff’, ‘James Grieve’, ‘Red Falstaff’, ‘Scrumptious’, ‘Sunset’ and ‘Worcester Pearmain’.



Save our apples!


Community orchards and Apple Days running across Britain in October, are fun ways to help save our native varieties

apple varieties are grown worldwide

that can offer advice, practical help and ongoing support: O THE ORCHARD NETWORK is a partnership of organisations, including the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the National Trust, that offers lots of resources as well as a useful map, so you can find your nearest community orchard (see Chorleywood Community Orchard case study below). Visit O THE ORCHARD PROJECT works to create and restore community orchards across the UK. The website also has lots of practical guides. Visit: O HELPING BRITAIN BLOSSOM helps local groups to restore neglected orchards. Visit:

Chorleywood Orchard ‘Faerie Queen’, ‘Hitchin Pippin’ and ‘Brownlee’s Russet‘ are some of the Hertfordshire varieties that have been planted in the Chorleywood Community Orchard. Volunteers, led by Alison Rubens, began planting trees in 2009 in the grounds of a nature reserve on the Chorleywood House Estate. Old maps show that Chorleywood was once home to many apple and

cherry orchards, including one on the site of the community orchard. “We’ve now planted 140 apple trees – every tree has been sponsored,” Alison says. “Over half are local Hertfordshire varieties and the rest are other heritage ones.” The group, which also runs a cider club, will be hosting an Apple Day on 7 October. For more details, visit

IDENTIFY YOUR APPLES People often inherit old fruit trees when they move into a new property and have no idea what varieties they are. The following organisations can help identify them. O THE RHS runs sessions where fruit experts identify apples. Bring along three or more fruits of each cultivar, mature specimens complete with stalks. O BROGDALE COLLECTIONS offers fruit identification by post, at £20 per sample. O PTES has a searchable database of apples by county.


Join in the fun this month at Chorleywood’s Apple Day

SHARE YOUR HARVEST! Growing your own apples or working in a community orchard? We’d love to hear from you and see your photos. Contact us at the address on p16. 42

O NATIONAL TRUST APPLE DAYS Many properties will hold events this month, including: Beningbrough Hall, N Yorks, 1, 3-8 Oct; Erddig, Wrex, 2-29 Oct; Killerton, Devon, 14-15 Oct; Dudmaston Estate, Shrops, 15 Oct. O APPLE WEEKEND 6-8 Oct, Waterperry Gardens, Oxon. O APPLEFEST 7 Oct, Tenbury Wells, Worcs. Includes apple juicing and identification. O NATIONAL APPLE FESTIVAL 14-15 Oct, Brogdale, Faversham, Kent. Try and buy some of the National Fruit Collection’s 2,200 varieties. O APPLE DISPLAY 25-29 Oct, RHS Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, N Yorks.

Many of these stockists will be staging apple events – check their websites.  Bernwode Fruit Trees 01844 237415,  Blackmoor 01420 477978,  Deacon’s Nursery 01983 840750,  Frank P Matthews 01584 812800,  Grow at Brogdale 01795 531888,  Heritage Fruit Tree Co 01295 810516,  Keepers Nursery 01622 326465, October 2017


The area of Britain covered by orchards has declined drastically since the 1950s. To halt this trend, communities are uniting to save ancient orchards or plant new ones. Community orchards can be set up almost anywhere, urban and rural, on derelict sites, in schools and hospital grounds, on the edge of forests, as well as on allotments and open ground. Some orchards are open only to members who pay a small subscription in return for a share of the harvest, while others provide a welcome focal point and green space accessible to all. Orchards also offer havens for wildlife. There are now more than 700 community orchards across the UK, and many will be organising Apple Day events during October. If you’re interested in setting up a community

Celebrate our nation’s orchards by joining in an event near you.

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small-space composting

Composting in small spaces


Joe Swift shares how you can turn waste into a vital, nutrient-rich soil booster – in even a tiny plot Whatever the size of your garden it will create biodegradable waste – grass clippings, fallen leaves, prunings and the like. If you combine this with the household waste, such as vegetable peelings, tea bags and old newspapers, it can all be transformed into a rich, crumbly compost for your plot. Composting connects you intimately with your garden, and it’s satisfying to know that you are enriching your plot and putting waste to good use – all for free, too. When added to your plot year on year, compost builds up to make it more fertile, moistureretentive and nutrient-rich – the very basis of a healthy soil. Using compost also helps to capture carbon and put it back into your garden. Making your own reduces the number of transport miles needed for the council to pick up your waste.

October 2017


Rich, crumbly compost makes a great soil improver

What can you realistically achieve with a small compost bin? Composting in a small space isn’t as fast, efficient or productive as composting on a larger scale – the high temperatures in big compost heaps speed up the breakdown process considerably. But in my experience it’s well worth doing. It takes a little longer but it’s possible to generate good quantities of highquality compost, even in a small space. The ideal is to have two compost bins or bays, but if you don’t have space, one will do. You will just need to be organised, practical and diligent about what you put inside your bin. Also ensure that you situate it where it can be turned and emptied easily without making too much mess.

What is the best type of compost bin for a small space? There are many off-the-peg compost products that work really well in a small space. You can


buy compost bins and bays online Use a mix of that are very ‘green’ and easy to set up ‘brown’ in your garden. materials They tend to be made of either wood or plastic, and some plastic bins have been designed to be able to feed in waste at the top, with an opening at the bottom. This means they don’t need regular emptying or turning, which is handy in tight spots, but it can mean the compost is slower to produce. I like the tumbler/rotary bins that you can spin, as they take up little space, break down the waste pretty quickly and evenly and are easy to use. Many local councils are keen to encourage home composting and subsidise the cost to residents by providing reduced

Put your compost bin in a partially shaded spot

price bins, so keep an eye out for them. It is also possible to make your own, but ensure the sides are closed to help keep in the heat.

Where should I position my compost bin? You will probably be limited with places to put it in a small garden, but any compost bin is better than none at all. Full sun can make a heap too hot during the summer, especially so with the dark plastic bins, while permanent shade may be too cool. A spot in partial shade is ideal for keeping the temperature even. If you opt for a bin that is bottomless and position it on soil it can then drain away freely, which will stop the compost liquid that is produced from staining paving or hard surfacing. Compost liquid will also quickly attract worms, which can then October 2017

small-space composting Our pick of mini bins There are plenty of compost bins to suit your needs if you don’t have much room.

Two bins is ideal, if you’ve only space for one, you need to be organised

Beehive Compost Bin With handy prop-and-hold lid. Height x Width x Depth 85.5cm x 75cm x 99cm £89.99,

Disguise bins behind a screen but make sure you have access

Urban Composter City Can be kept in the kitchen to ferment scraps.H 26cm £34.95,

RollMix Composter Add water and roll to make compost! L x D 68cm x 54cm £21.99,


Wherever you put your bin, ensure there is air circulation around it as oxygen is needed for decomposition be able to access your compost and get to work breaking down the heap. Rotary models can be placed on any hard or soft surface as long as it’s stable. Wherever you put your bin, make sure there is decent air circulation around it as oxygen is needed for decomposition, so don’t position it too close to corners or where two walls meet.

Is there a way you can disguise an ugly compost bin? Compost heaps are rarely things of beauty, and in a small space they can or dominate a plot. Fortunately they are easy to hide from view with simple structures such as a piece of trellis placed at a right angle to the boundary or a frame strung with willow or heather screening (available to buy on a roll) and October 2017

planted with climbers. It’s best if any material you choose is already used in another element of the garden so that it blends in nicely. It doesn’t have to be too high either. A strategically placed shrub or two or a small section of hedge can work just as well.

HotBin Composter Can reach 60°C for speedy composting. H x W x D 98cm x 45cm x 45cm £184.99,

What’s the best thing to do with excess compostable waste? There will most likely be certain times of the year, or after a garden blitz, when your compost set-up won’t be able to cope with the volume of waste created. Or perhaps you have dug up pernicious weeds or cut twigs and branches that you can’t compost yourself. This is the time to use your local council green waste service, which will either pick it up or you can take it to the local recycling centre.

Tumbling composter 70-litre capacity, easy to assemble composter. H x W x L 84cm x 60cm x 46cm £64,


small-space composting

What is the best mix of ingredients for a compost bin? A 50/50 mix of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials is best, but some ingredients are trickier to find in urban homes and gardens. Do not add disease- or virus-affected plants or pernicious perennial weed roots, weed seeds or seedheads. Council compost heaps reach very high temperatures, which kill these off, but a domestic heap will never get hot enough.



O Vegetable peelings O Leafy materials from plants O Grass clippings (in layers and not too much at once) O Nettles O Annual weeds O Comfrey (without roots) O Tea bags O Coffee grounds

O Cardboard and cardboard tubes O Shredded paper O Hay and straw O Sawdust and woodshavings O Hedge clippings O Autumn leaves (again in layers) O Eggshells

Kitchen waste being composted in a wormery

Wormery worms are typically ‘brandling’ types not earthworms

Compost should not have a foul smell when it is breaking down; it should just smell a little earthy

Will the smell be overpowering in a small space? Lots of people are concerned about the smell of compost, especially in a small space. But good-quality compost made of the right blend of materials that are breaking down evenly should not have a foul smell; it should just smell a little earthy. If your compost smells, it’s an indication that something is wrong with the ingredients, aeration or moisture level. Too much green material may give it the smell of ammonia or sewage, so add some brown material (see above). If it’s compacted it may


smell sulphurous, like rotting eggs, so you may need to empty it out and turn it and then add some lighter, brown materials.

Is a wormery as good? Some city gardeners have a wormery instead of a compost heap while others have both, although the former is no substitute for a compost heap. A wormery takes up much less space but it will only turn a small amount of waste into compost through the year. It does however produce a concentrated liquid fertiliser that is great for feeding plants. A wormery has two compartments: one for the composting and one that is a sump for the liquid. Composting worms are different from earthworms and usually come with the kit.

How do I deal with any vermin or pests that are attracted to the heap ? The key to deterring vermin is to avoid putting any cooked food, especially meat and fish, on the heap – unless you opt for a closed-bin system designed to cope

with all kitchen waste, which uses heat or additives to break down meat, fat and bones or even pet poo. Pests and vermin will still turn up and some enjoy the warmth in winter (rats are partial to potato peelings). They don’t like being disturbed, or damp, so turn the heap, and water it, if there’s a problem and give it an occasional hard bang on the sides to disturb them. Make sure lids and side panels fit well and check regularly for signs of infestation.

Joe on TV Get more tips and advice from Joe. Fridays, 9pm, until 27 October. It will return next spring with a new series.

October 2017


Whatever you do, don’t see it as a failure. This is the reality of city and small-space living. Councils do composting on a huge scale, and whatever they produce is often sold or delivered free to allotments and community gardens – you may even be able to get it back in bags to use yourself. This green waste is great as mulch, a general soil conditioner or as part of a mix in potting and container compost.

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. . h t i w s s e c Su c soil

There’s more to garden soil than meets the eye. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to get yours into shape for borders that are bursting with healthy plants allowed to build up without interference. you do on the plant.’ It’s an Good soil is a living thing, teeming adage we would all do well to with microorganisms, from bacteria to remember from time to time – fungi. The advent of antiseptic wipes has a reminder that every plant is only as led to many people imagining that all good as the soil it is planted in. But soil is bacter ia a re bad, but w it hout t he boring – it’s brown or grey and it just sits ex istence of ‘good’ bacter ia we as there. All of which may be true, but humans would fail to survive and soil without it we gardeners would be, in would be a poorer substance in which to common parlance, stuffed. grow plants. The interaction of bacteria But what exact ly is soi l? Soi l is, and fungi, including mycorrhizal fungi – basically, ground up rock mixed with which have a symbiotic relationship rotting organic matter. The nature of with plant roots and are beneficial to t he rock, t he si ze of t he pa r t icles, grow th – is vitally important. Many t he nu mber of fungi are naturally minerals that are present in soil, but Good soil is a living present a nd t he you can help new thing, teeming with composition and pla nts develop microorganisms, from amount of organic t he se benef ic ia l matter it contains relat ion sh ips by bacteria to fungi is what makes soil dusting bot h t he so variable. As far as the gardener is roots and planting hole with mycorrhizal concerned we are looking for something fungi. It is widely available to gardeners that will provide our plants with firm now at garden centres and nurseries anchorage, nutrition, sufficient water where it is sold in sachets and packets. retention and efficient drainage. The easiest to find is the brand Rootgrow Achieving that in our gardens and (which trips off the tongue a little more allotments is down to us as much as easily than mycorrhizal fungi). nature. A patch of earth that is disturbed by cultivation and in which we grow The importance of nutrients pla nts on a n intensive sca le needs Plants need three main nutrients to rather more in the way of care and thrive – nitrogen, which encourages leaf attention than a patch of undisturbed and shoot growth, phosphates, which countryside, where the cycle of nature promote root development, and potash, can achieve a balance and where humus which is necessary for flower and fruit (the natural organic content of soil) is development. They are designated as



pend as much on the hole as

October 2017

healthier soil

Mulch beds with compost to suppress weeds and improve soil structure

October 2017


Organic fertilisers feed vital bacteria as much as the plants, and keep the soil healthier than inorganic fertilisers

Collect fallen leaves to make leafmould to boost your soil’s structure

N, P and K on packets of fertiliser, which show the ratio in which they are present. Aside from these, there are some vital trace elements t hat a re needed in sma l ler and variable quantities for plants to be healthy: elements such as magnesium, calcium, iron, boron, zinc and the strangesounding molybdenum. The simplest way to ensure your soil has sufficient quantities of these trace elements is to regularly enrich it with ‘general’ fertiliser and wellrotted organic matter.

Acid or alkaline Soil acidity – measured on the pH scale – will also affect plant growth. Acid soil has a pH below 7.0, alkaline soils – those containing chalk and limestone – have a pH of 7.5 or above. T he leaves of rhododendrons, azaleas, pieris, camellias and other lime-haters turn yellow when t he plants are grow n in a lka line soil because they, as a group, naturally grow in acid soils and are unable to extract iron from those of an alkaline nature. We avoid grow ing them on cha lk y soil for that reason. If you’re growing on soil that is only slightly acid, it is a good idea to water on sequestered iron to help keep them healthy and green (sequestered simply means the iron is in a form they find easier to absorb). Reg u la r cropping, heav y ra ins a nd consta nt cu lt ivat ion w i l l, over t ime, deplete the soil of nutrients, which is why it is important to feed cultivated soil regularly – applying a general fertiliser each spring, just at the time when plants will be calling for nutrition. Soil that is depleted of nutrients will produce feeble plants that are starved of nutrition and whose grow th and general health are poorer as a result.

Adding mycorrhizal fungi to roots boosts plant establishment and growth


Feeding the soil


Organic fertilisers, such as blood, fish and bone, must be broken dow n into a n absorbable form by soil bacteria before they can be utilised by plants, and as such have the advantage of feeding the vital bacteria as much as the plants and keeping the soil healthier than inorganic fertilisers, which can be absorbed by the plants as soon as they go into solution w ith t he moist u re i n t he soi l. Inorga n ic fertilisers may feed plants but they do not feed the soil. But if plant nutrients are the ‘vitamins’ necessa r y for g row t h, t hen t he meat a nd t wo veg – t he protei n a nd t he

October 2017

healthier soil

Simple ways to improve your soil Look upon soil improvement as something ongoing rather than an emergency measure.

Soil dos  Pick up a handful of soil and feel it from time to time, to work out whether it would beneďŹ t from the addition of more organic matter or grit, depending on its nature.  Add bulky organic matter to the vegetable plot each winter if you’re digging.  Mulch beds and borders with organic matter in spring, where digging the soil over is undesirable and unnecessary. Mulching will help conserve moisture and keep down weeds.  Use organic fertilisers that are more beneďŹ cial to soil bacteria than inorganic compounds, and be sure to water them in.  Consider growing green manures on the veg patch – these are seedling crops that are dug back in to add enrichment. Using an organic fertiliser will help keep your soil healthy

Use sharp grit or coarse sand to improve drainage on a clay soil

Wait for dry weather before digging heavy clay soil

October 2017

Soil don’ts  Don’t underestimate the value of sharp grit and coarse sand in improving the drainage of heavy clay.  Never apply fresh manure to soil since it can reduce the amount of nitrogen available to your plants, because bacteria use nitrogen in the process of breaking down the manure.  Don’t dig heavy clay when it is too wet (sticky) or too dry (rock hard). Wait for that quarter of an hour in spring when it is somewhere between the two!  Don’t dig just for the sake of it. Once planted, the ground can be enriched by mulching and allowing worms to help incorporate it.  Don’t apply products whose value you are unsure about. Soil is a precious commodity and should be cherished.

Sow green manures in autumn, which are then dug back into the soil to enrich it


healthier soil Worms are to be encouraged for their ability to mix in organic matter and improve soil structure ca rbohyd rates – come f rom orga n ic matter, which improves soil structure in a way that powdered, granular or liquid fertiliser cannot. Well-rotted bulky organic matter, in the form of manure or garden compost, will bind together a thin, sandy soil, helping it to hold on to both moisture and nutrients. It will also open up a clay soil that is plastic a nd intractable t ha nks to t he particles being so small that they bind toget her t ig ht ly, i mped i ng d ra i nage a nd ma k i ng cu lt ivat ion d i f f icu lt. Leafmould, which is made from slowly decay ing leaves, w ill have a similarly beneficial effect on soil structure, but adds little in terms of nutrients.

Keeping it healthy

Use a pH test kit to find out if your soil is acid or alkaline

Identify your soil type A simple pH test with a shop-bought kit will tell you whether your soil is acid or alkaline. Both are capable of producing healthy plants – the trick is to grow the plants that like your conditions, and if you are on chalk and must have rhododendrons and camellias, grow them in pots of lime-free ericaceous compost and water with rainwater.

damp it will hold together when squeezed into a ball, but the ball can be easily crumbled and broken apart. Peaty soils from the fens tend to be dark, almost black, and will be springy when squeezed. Adding sharp sand and grit improves their drainage.

What’s the texture? Sandy or gravelly soil will feel gritty when it is run through your fingers and dries out rapidly after rainfall, making cultivation easy. But it quickly loses nutrients, so adding bulky organic matter regularly is vital to hold on to both water and nutrients. Clay soil binds together in clods when dry, and when it is wet it will reveal a polished surface when rubbed. Squeeze it into a ball and it will remain tight. It is fertile and retains water. Clay with flints is particularly hard to cultivate. Loam – every gardener’s ideal – has a moderate clay content so that when it is


WATCH ALAN share his gardening know-how in exclusive videos at

Coming up: Alan offers more success with...  November Houseplants

Clay soil sticks together and makes it difficult for air to get to plant roots

 December Winter pruning

October 2017


Acid or alkaline?

Organic matter rots down over time and so needs to be regularly applied (ideally annually) to keep soil healthy – bacteria and fungi thrive on its presence – but on clay soils it is also worth adding sharp gritsand, which is longer-lasting in terms of improving drainage. Worms do their bit here, too, and are to be encouraged for their ability to mix in organic matter and improve soil structure and drainage. Yes, they are a pain on the lawn where their casts cause problems, but elsewhere they do much good, so learn to live with them! There is also a host of other soil additives available to the gardener, such as volcanic rock dust, which can be used to add minerals and trace elements, and biochar – specially produced charcoal that is said to stabilise the earth’s carbon resources and improve soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients. W hat is i nd isputable is t hat good drainage, essential nutrients and plenty of organic matter are the ‘big three’ that will make all the difference when it comes to growing strong, healthy plants, with plenty of fruit and flowers. 

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5 steps to


Adam Frost shares his fail-safe guide to help you rejuvenate tired borders


Now is the perfect time to deal with borders that you’ve been disappointed with this year – after all, every garden benefits from a good old sortout from time to time. I realise that it can be a bit daunting, but with a little planning, it’s easy to breathe life back into your borders to give your garden year-round interest. We’ve now been in our new home for about 18 months and I’m just starting to get my head around the different areas of the garden. And while there are parts that I am creating from scratch, there are other areas that have existing planting which I don’t want to lose because it provides structure. But these zones have become a little unruly: the borders look tired and unbalanced; there are shrubs that aren’t flowering at their best; and some perennials have become really congested, with stronger plants dominating others. Now is the ideal time to sort out what you’ve got in your borders, along with adding a few new gems to liven things up along the way. Don’t know where to start? It’s easy – just follow my five simple steps.

October 2017

border revamp Keep deadheading – it’s the quickest way to maintain goodlooking borders

Don’t miss Adam

Gardeners’ World Catch Adam and the team as they provide more ways to give your garden a boost. Fridays, 9pm, until 27 Oct

October 2017


1 Make a plan

When planning a border, the first thing to do is get your idea down on paper. Measure the area, noting down all existing plants and marking the ones you want to leave in their present position. If you plan to alter the border’s shape or size, now is a good time to draw up any changes. Check where the sun rises and sets as this will help you ensure sun-loving plants get the sun they need and shady spots are filled with plants that will thrive there. Designing a border is all about layers. The tallest layer is for any tall trees that you have space for – in a small garden you may need to skip this. The second layer is for smaller trees. Next comes shrubs, followed by perennials, and low-growing plants such as ground cover and small bulbs. Ensuring you have interest across all these layers will give you a great checklist when planning your space. When I go to the garden centre, I always try to have a clear idea beforehand of what I’m trying to add to the border. It may sound boring, but it saves me money!

Drawing a simple plan of your garden will save time and money in the long run

Adam’s tip Come up with a word to describe how you want your border to feel – ‘hot’, ‘bold’, ‘romantic’ – it’s to keep you focused on the final look.


Shape up your shrubs

Use loppers to get rid of thick stems in shrubs that need rejuvenation


It’s easy to bring an overgrown shrubby border back to its former glory. Firstly, remove any dead, damaged and diseased stems, as well as crossing stems rubbing against each other. Next, stand back and look at the shrub to work out how you can make it more balanced. Look for a healthy side shoot that you can cut back to an outward-facing bud. You want to encourage new stems to grow outwards, rather than into the middle to create a tangled mess. Most deciduous shrubs, such as dogwood, smokebush and spiraea, respond well to hard pruning in winter. For a total rejuvenation, cut back all stems to 20-30cm from the ground, then give the plant a feed and mulch in spring. If you want to move a shrub, bear in mind that it may not survive the move. Relocate evergreens in October or late Marchearly April, and deciduous shrubs from November to March and keep well watered. Adam’s tip Remove the lower branches of large shrubs and trees to reveal the main stems. This will transform a bulky shrub into a real feature, and let in more light and air.


October 2017

border revamp


Perk up your perennials

Perennials can become congested over time, with all the vibrant, flowering growth on the outside of the clump and little going on in the middle. Other perennials can become thug-like and take over borders, killing less-vigorous plants. The best way to solve these problems is to dig them up and divide them. Done every few years, this will rejuvenate tired perennials and stop others spreading too much. Divide summer-flowering plants in autumn or spring, while spring-flowering plants should be divided in summer to give them time to establish before the following year. Dig them up with a spade, taking care to keep as much of the roots attached as possible. Then push two garden forks, back to back, into the centre of the plant and use them as levers to tease the rootball apart – you could also cut through the middle with a knife or spade. When you replant your new bits of plant, make sure you keep them well watered. Adam’s tip Try replanting thuggish plants in a pot or an area where you have space for them to spread.

Japanese anemones can dominate small gardens. Keep them in check by dividing every few years

October 2017

Divide rootballs by hand, or use two forks back to back if they are very congested


border revamp


Get rid of weeds

Remove every piece of root of perennial weeds such as bindweed to get rid of them

In mature borders, weeds can hide among perennials and take hold before you have realised. Annual weeds, like chickweed or hairy bittercress, are easy to remove by hand or by lightly hoeing, so get them before they set seed. Perennial weeds take more time and effort. The key is to remove all of the roots, which is sometimes easier said than done! Hoeing or digging up when they first appear will keep on top of them, and many perennial weeds can be gradually weakened and removed over time. In my new border, I dug up all of the plants and grew them on in pots, while I covered the border with a weedsuppressing fabric. Keep the fabric on the ground for at least a year before replanting. Another option is glyphosate-based weedkillers, which are applied to the leaves and then absorbed into the plant down to its roots. Make sure the weedkiller doesn’t touch anything else, as spray can drift onto neighbouring plants. Adam’s tip Train twining weeds, like bindweed, up a cane to stop them strangling other plants and make them easier to target with weedkiller.


Prepare the soil by adding compost and water well to help new plants like this astrantia to establish

Treat yourself to new plants

Adam’s tip Early October is a great time to sow hardy annuals, such as poppies, cornflowers and pot marigolds for flowers next summer.



Now for one of the most exciting parts of gardening – buying and planting new plants! That said, before you head to the nursery, sort out the plants you already have first, then assess your border. See how much space there is to fill and what your border is missing – perhaps it needs more colour, late-season interest or height? Don’t just splurge on lots of plants that will all flower at the same time, leaving you with nothing the rest of the year. When adding new plants, the best thing you can do to help them get growing is keep them well watered and clear of weeds. Stake back the foliage of some of the larger surrounding plants to allow in light to your new plant until it is established. If you have lots of space to fill and a tight budget, try growing perennials from seed, or buy plants that you can divide immediately into two or three pieces, or that you can take cuttings from. Also sow annuals to fill in gaps while you build up your stocks.

DISCOVER MORE advice and tips for better borders at

gardenersworld. com/planting October 2017

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Terms & Conditions: Supplied as 12/14cm bulbs and dispatched from January 2018 onwards. Payment will be taken at time of ordering. Offer closes 14 November 2017. Please note your contract for supply of goods is with Thompson & Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk IP8 3BU. Terms and conditions available on request. All offers subject to availability. Full growing instructions included. All height and spread sizes indicate full grown sizes and not size supplied. *Calls cost 7p/minute plus your network access charge.

October 2017


months of colour display through autumn and winter – plus, each has hidden bulbs for a fresh burst of life next year Blue fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’)

Grape hyacinth (Muscari ‘Peppermint’)

Hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius)

Blue winter pansy Grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)


Blue is the colour Taking a lead from the pansies, the steely blue blades of the fescue harmonises with the icy hellebore leaves to create the core of the display from October to February. In March and early April, the delicate spikes of grape hyacinth make their appearance, just as the hellebore comes into bloom to keep the pansies company well into May. The whole display is lifted and contrasted by the lemon-glazed terracotta pot, which picks out the centre of the pansies. This pot is ideal in full sun or part shade.


Once the show is over Pinch back the pansies and plant them in a partly shaded border, where they’ll produce a summer flush of flowers.  Use the grass with summer bedding plants to provide foliage contrast.  Plant out the hellebores in a partly shaded position, where they can grow into large plants to bloom in the future.  Move the grape hyacinths into a sunny or part-shaded border – but take care as they can become invasive. 

Yellow-glazed frost-proof clay pot, 39cm wide, £29.99,

A brightly coloured pot is a simple way to add interest to a winter display



bulbs in pots

Spurge Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’) Tulip ‘Flair’

Coprosma repens ‘Tequila Sunrise’

Checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens)


Bright delights The rich-red foliage of the evergreen coprosma will bring cheer for months. The red and gold variegated euphorbia adds another dimension with its lime-yellow flowers from early March. By early May, the brilliant bicoloured blooms of the tulip pick up the key colours from the other plants to make a spectacular crescendo. Pop this frost-proof, ribbed terracotta pot in a sunny spot, where its colours will glow in every available bit of sunlight to help brighten your garden.

October 2017

Once the show is over Plant the coprosma at the front of a sunny border.  Move the euphorbia into a partly shaded position, perhaps as underplanting to trees or shrubs.  Pot up the gaultheria in ericaceous compost and grow on in a partly shaded place for reuse in containers next autumn.  Plant out the tulips in a sunny spot, where the foliage can die down and stock up energy to fuel next year’s blooms. 

Ribbed, unglazed, frost-proof terracotta pot, 37cm wide, £29.99, see for stockists

The bright-red berries of the gaultheria will last until spring


Daffodil (Narcissus ‘Thalia’)

Japanese lace fern (Polystichum polyblepharum)

Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide’


Cool elegance The grey needles of the dwarf pine pick up the silvery tones of the pot. The white flowers and variegated leaves of the mini cyclamen continue the colour theme throughout winter and the fern’s evergreen fronds help relieve the coolness. Sited in a sheltered corner or porch, this simple container is perfect for brightening a shady spot. In March, it will reveal an underplanting of creamy-white narcissus, followed by a colour-punch of cerise anemones that will go on blooming into May.

Once the show is over Plant the ferns in a shady part of the garden or use as a foliage filler in shady summer containers.  Retain the pine as a feature plant in a pot or plant among mat-forming alpines and herbaceous plants.  Let the daffodil leaves turn yellow and die down naturally (approx. eight weeks), before replanting in beds or in grass.  Plant the anemones to the front of a border that gets sun for part of the day. 

Set against the Scots pine


Stone-effect planter, H 41cm x W 41cm, £39.99,

(Pinus silvestris ‘Chantry Blue’), cyclamen ‘Mini Winter’ sings out

bulbs in pots

Daffodils (Narcissus ‘Jetfire’)

Sedge (Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’)

White cedar (Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’)


Go for gold Sunshine can be in short supply over winter, but the gold conifer, variegated carex and cheerful polyanthus will lift a shady spot, while an underplanting of bright-yellow dwarf daffodils will produce a big splash of colour in March. The basket-weave pattern on the outside of this frost-proof terracotta container provides extra interest. This display will go on for months, right through until May when the polyanthus will still be flowering their socks off.

October 2017

Once the show is over Divide the carex into pieces, potting them up singly and growing on for use in future displays.  Transplant the conifer into a sunny border, where it will continue to add some much-needed winter colour.  Lift, split and plant out the polyanthus at the front of a border to bloom in future seasons, or they can be replanted in pots.  Plant the daffodils in borders or in lawns to flower again. 

Mekong lattice, frost-proof terracotta planter, 40cm wide, £19.99, see for stockists

Cheap and cheerful primulas (Polyanthus gold) flower for months


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bulbs in pots

Tulip ‘Ancilla’

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa ‘Pink Giant’)

Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’

Prickly heath (Gaultheria mucronata ‘Crimsonia’)


Pretty in pink Vibrant colours are welcome throughout winter and spring, and the variegation on the heucherella’s leaves are the inspiration for this pretty scheme. Give it a position in full sun, and the winter daisies’ cheerful blooms and the gaultheria’s glistening berries will provide interest from October to March. Then the pink chionodoxa and tulips erupt to provide the display’s climax in late March and April. The faux-lead, fibre-clay container is frost proof and long lasting, it’s dark colour complementing the bright tapestry above.

October 2017

Once the show is over Plant the heucherella at the front of a partly shaded border.  Pot up the gaultheria in some ericaceous compost. You can also plant it out in the garden, but first test your soil to check that it is neutral-to-acid.  Compost the daisies as the flower colour and size will deteriorate in their second season.  Lift and replant the bulbs in a sunny part of the garden. 

Gothic cylinder, faux-lead planter, 38cm wide, £37,

Bellis daisy (Bellis perennis double red) adds a splash of colour in autumn


bulbs in pots

Make it now

How to plant your pots Choose a pot around 40cm high and 40cm wide, and make sure it has drainage holes at the base. If none, make some by piercing the bottom. Half-fill the pot with a multi-purpose or soil-based compost.


Place your large bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, on top of the compost, ensuring they don’t touch each other – the pointy end should be pointing up and the hairy roots down. Cover the bulbs with another layer of compost.


Remove the largest plant from its plastic pot and place it at the rear of the container. Position the other plants around the largest one, working down to the smallest, which are best around the edge. Keep checking that you are happy with the overall arrangement.



Fill in any gaps around the plants with more compost, making sure all of the roots are covered. Firm the compost down with your fingers to get rid of any air pockets.


Plant small bulbs, such as chionodoxa and grape hyacinth, around the edges of the pot. Plant with the flattest side down – you may also be able to see small hairy roots on this side and a tiny growing tip on the top. As they’re small, they don’t need to be very deep and can just be poked in with your finger to a depth of about 7cm.


Water the pot thoroughly, using a watering can with a rose, ensuring all of the compost is soaked. This will help to settle the compost. Fill in any gaps that appear, after the first watering, with more compost. Place the pot in a sunny spot, sheltered from strong winds.

Where to buy bulbs  Avon Bulbs 01460 242177,  Bloms Bulbs 01234 709099,  Broadleigh Gardens 01823 286231,  De Jager 01622 840229,  HW Hyde 0118 934 0011,  Jacques Amand 0208 420 7110,  Peter Nyssen 0161 747 4000,


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October 2017

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October 2017

hardwood cuttings

PLANTS FOR FREE Trees & shrubs

Taking cuttings now is the easiest way to raise new plants

October 2017

e take so many cuttings capable of going it alone. With hardwood here at Glebe Cottage, that cuttings, taken in late autumn or in somet i mes pla nt s a re winter, this is never a concern because q u e u i n g u p t o b e they are taken at or just after leaf fall when propagated. Once the leaves begin to fall they have no leaves to lose moisture from trees and shrubs, it’s time to through – therefore they dry out much concentrate on one of the easiest, most less quickly than cuttings taken earlier in laidback methods of making new plants the year. Also, the stems are already so for free – hardwood mature they can fend for cuttings. Don’t let the themselves and are less The stems are name persuade you susceptible to rotting. already so mature that this is something You do have to be compl icated a nd patient though, because they can fend for technical – it simply they take months, not themselves means cuttings that w e e k s , t o r o ot a nd you ta ke when t he produce new pla nt s. stems have become hard and woody. While they may take longer than other One of the challenges when taking types of cuttings, they are among the other types of cuttings is making sure most successful cuttings. What’s more, that they don’t lose so much moisture that they get on with it on their own. they shrivel before they have had time to root, while ensuring they’re not so sodden Which plants work? that they rot. They need to be kept in a Ideally, the shrub or tree that you have moist atmosphere, so that they will root planned to take cuttings from would rapidly and become strong young plants have been pr uned wel l dur ing t he


Make more of your favourite shrubs and trees for free, by taking hardwood cuttings. Carol shows which plants to choose and how to guarantee results


How to take hardwood cuttings 1

Stems should be mature (not be bendy or soft) and have finished growing for the season. On deciduous shrubs and trees, their leaves should have fallen or be ready to. Choose a stem at least 50cm long and cut it just below a bud.


Cut stems into lengths about 15-18cm long. Traditionally, hardwood cuttings would have been up to 45cm long, but recent experiments have shown that shorter cuttings work best. You should be able to make several cuttings from one long stem. Make a sloping cut above a bud and then make the bottom cut 15-18cm below that, straight across the stem and just below another bud.


Choose a sheltered corner with free-draining soil where you know the cuttings can remain undisturbed until it’s time to transplant them. Fork over the soil to a fork’s depth, firm gently then make a trench or a series of little trenches to fit in with the space you have by pushing a spade into the soil vertically and pulling it forward slightly.

4 5

Line the bottom of the trench with coarse grit or sand to facilitate drainage.

Line up the cuttings along the back of the trench, ensuring two or three buds on each cutting protrude above the level of the soil, and fill in, firming the soil gently. Water well if the soil is dry, label your cuttings, then leave them alone.

Next steps Check the cuttings occasionally to see if they need watering, or refirming if frost has lifted them. New shoots will appear in spring, then, next autumn, when your cuttings lose their leaves, they can be lifted and either transplanted into their new homes or potted up if they are intended as gifts.

previous winter or early spring, to help it make vigorous new growth, but this is not essential. Almost any shrub, including fruit bushes, can be propagated in this way – those that make good strong straight stems will p r o d u c e t h e b e s t s h a p e d p l a nt s . Blackcurrants, dogwoods, shrub roses, v iburnum and physocarpus are good examples, but there is little to lose by experimenting w ith almost any thing.


Spireas, forsythia, hydrangeas, deutzias and weigela are certainly worth trying as are a few large shrub and tree varieties: elders, poplars and willows are the most likely to succeed. However, take care with willows (Salix varieties) – if you leave your cuttings in the ground too long, the willow in question might make itself completely at home. We recently needed a digger to take out a gargantuan willow that grew from a branch

that we had initially used as a stake for some long-lost shrub. Although we’d coppiced the willow several times, or perhaps because we had, it had developed huge roots and was growing in the wrong place. Having said t hat, you ca n ex ploit t h is ebu l l ient behaviour should you want to create a willow arch or tunnel. If you’re taking willow cuttings, make sure, unlike me, that you think it through first – once it’s there, it’s likely to stay. October 2017

hardwood cuttings


I believe we should grow more native hedges, not just in rural gardens, but in towns and cities too. They are fantastic for all manner of wildlife, even if they are just a short run. And taking hardwood cuttings is a great way to make one virtually for free, enabling you to include a wide assortment of shrubs and climbers. Ra id you r ow n pla nts for su itable cuttings materials, but you could also ask friends and neighbours. Take long stems October 2017

Raid your own plants for suitable cuttings materials, but you could also ask friends and neighbours from plants such as willow, viburnum and cornus, then, as soon as you get them home, cut them into shorter lengths (see above for details) and plunge them into the ground, spaced 45cm apart, in a zigzag

pattern. Most of these could be left in situ to grow into your hedge. Once they are well rooted, you can lift some of the plants to make way for others that can’t be grown from cuttings but which would enrich the mix. You often come across selfsown seedlings of hawthorn, hazel, beech a nd e ven oa k , w h ich c ou ld a l l be incorporated, or you can try growing them from berries, nuts and acorns. While you’re at it, why not try taking


hardwood cuttings

Carol’s pick for hardwood cuttings


Physocarpus opulifolius

Mock orange


Currants, whether red, white or black, produce straight, thick stems that are ideal for this method. Fruits Jun-Aug H x S 1.5m x 1.5m

You can make more of this with softwood cuttings, but hardwood cuttings will root easily given time. Flowers Jun H x S 2.5m x 2m

If well-pruned after flowering, philadelphus should make nice strong canes too. F Jun-Jul H x S 2m x 2m

Orange winter stems and yellow spring catkins make Salix alba ‘Britzensis’ a stand-out display. F Feb-Mar H x S 12m x 8m

Shrub roses



Viburnum opulus

Shrub roses are slightly easier to propagate from cuttings than climbers or ramblers. F Jun-Aug H x S 1.5m x 1.5m

Although buddleia self-seeds, if you want more of a specific variety, you have to increase it vegetatively. F Jul-Sep H x S 3m x 5m

Any strong new growth resulting from early pruning is ideal to make more of this spring-flowering shrub. F Feb-Apr H x S 3m x 3m

Fat flower heads, then autumn colour. Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ is also good on heavy soils. F May-Jun H x S 4 x 4m

them plenty of room or even a pot to themselves, there should be few problems when it’s time to transfer them. Ta k ing ha rdwood cutt ings is easy, straightforward and rewarding. The only skill you need to master is that of patience, but the excitement of seeing your cuttings come into leaf in the spring and knowing that new, strong roots are forming, makes the wait completely worthwhile. 

Don’t miss Carol

On Gardeners’ World Catch Carol in the last few episodes of Gardeners’ World, where she will be providing more tips on getting the most out of your plants. Fridays, 9pm, until 27 October. A new series returns next spring.

NEXT MONTH Carol continues her guide to making plants for free with perennials from root cuttings 78

October 2017


Put cuttings in pots to give to friends, or take with you if you’re moving house

hardwood cuttings of a few climbers? Honeysuckle roots well and, to decorate fences and walls, ornamental climbers such as vines, jasmine and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) and roses make successful candidates. The downside to hardwood cuttings, of course, is that they take a long time to root, and so they occupy space in the ground for a long time. It may be that you don’t have enough room to grow all the cuttings you want. Or perhaps you’re planning on moving house and want to take some of your favourite plants with you? In such cases, hardwood cuttings can easily be reared in pots. Always use deep pots and loam-based (John Innes) compost with plenty of grit added that will both provide nutrients and ensure sharp drainage. They may need separating and potting on sooner than their fellow cuttings in the ground, but if you give


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autumn pruning guide


e p a h s n i g n Getti Now is the time to get your trees and plants in shape, but don’t go overboard. Judicious pruning is the order of the day, as David Hurrion explains with his autumn action plan October 2017

s leaves start to fall from deciduous trees and shrubs, there are plenty of plants that will benefit from being cut back to keep them in shape, healthy and productive for next year. For many gardeners the temptation to tidy up in autumn is a strong one, but avoid being heavy handed as this is the time to be selective in your cuts. Only wield the secateurs and loppers on hardy, deciduous plants – cutting off the protective top growth from tender and evergreen species can leave them vulnerable to penetrating frost over winter,

and even encourage a late flush of easily damaged growth. Bear in mind, too, that sap is being drawn down away from the stems and buds in plants so that large pruning wounds can be slow to callus over and heal. In the case of some trees, particularly plums and cherries, these cuts can also be open to infection by spores of a range of fungal diseases, such as silver leaf, over late autumn and winter. Only use clean, sharp tools so that any diseases won’t be transferred between plants. Read on for our seasonal action plan to help you with your autumn pruning needs.


Leaving snags like this can result in coral spot infection, indicated by these orange dots.


autumn pruning Pros & cons

Some autumn conditions will help your pruning regime while others will be a hindrance

Pros O Soil moisture levels are high, so plants that are cut will be less stressed than in summer, meaning they will recover well O Temperatures and light levels are low, so regrowth will be slow. Pruning can be done once, then left until next year O Leaf coverage is reduced, which means you’ll be able to see the structure of trees and shrubs more easily, to work out what to cut and what to leave behind on the plant

Cons O Frost risk is high in cold areas. Avoid pruning that results in lush growth that will be blackened by autumn or winter frosts O Fungal diseases can thrive in damp autumn weather. These include the coral spot shown on page 81 and silver leaf in the cherry family O Wind is strong, so consider the effect of a gale on anything you choose to prune now, as you may expose shoots that haven’t toughened up


October 2017

autumn pruning guide

Geraniums tolerate being cut right to their base

Tidy border perennials Many herbaceous plants provide visual interest in the autumn and on into winter with their ornamental seedheads and foliage even when they have died back. In addition, their old stems may also provide a few degrees of frost protection to the crowns of less hardy species – agapanthus, salvias and zantedeschia – as well as to countless insects and other forms of garden wildlife. For

the most part, therefore, it pays to ignore your ‘tidiness gene’. What to cut Delphiniums, lupins and anything with stems that are already in a state of collapse. Where to cut Take stems down to a node – the place where you can tell leaves will sprout from next year. Most herbaceous plants can be safely cut to the ground. When to cut When you can see that flopping herbaceous plants are smothering other plants.

Delphiniums won’t stay statuesque in the winter border Cut flush to a live branch so wounds heal quickly


Cut out dead wood Pruning this material not only improves the look of the plant, but also makes space for new shoots to grow from the base, and provides fewer places for pests and diseases to overwinter. What to cut Remove old and weak branches at the centre of shrubs and fruit bushes to prevent overcrowding and, in some cases, dead stems. Lower branches may also die on trees where they are shaded by the crown. Look for buds

October 2017

that failed to grow at the ends of previously pruned stems. Where to cut Remove all dead wood by cutting back flush to a main branch or healthy, strong bud. Watch for short, dead stubs or ‘snags’. When to cut Before the majority of leaves fall from deciduous specimens, so you can easily tell which parts of the plant are alive. Take care not to cut live material that looks dead but has simply lost its leaves.


autumn pruning guide

Vigorous Clematis armandii must only be lightly trimmed in autumn

Control climbers Plants grown to cover fences, walls, trellis and pergolas tend to be vigorous and will have often made a mass of growth by this time of year. Autumn is time to untangle wayward stems and cut out the oldest stems to reduce weight on the plant’s support. Most climbers are trained into a framework of main stems to cover the support, with the side shoots going on to produce flowers. Excess growth needs to be kept in check to stop it outgrowing its welcome. Also cut out any weedy growth so that all the plant’s energy in the following season is directed into the strongest shoots. Training the main stems

horizontally will result in more even side growth from buds along its length. Do remember that when you prune, there is a risk of cutting out wood that will flower next year, so avoid trimming climbers that flower before July. What to cut Hardy, deciduous climbers and tough evergreens. Where to cut Remove the tips of very vigorous growth to keep climbers in bounds and cut one or two main stems if there are plenty of others to take their place. When to cut When climbers have outgrown their space or could be blown down. Otherwise, leave them until the recommended times for individual varieties.

Prune honeysuckles straight after flowering


Pruning climbers – know the facts Clematis

Mid to late-summer-flowering clematis can be cut hard as soon as the foliage dies back and drops. Prune to just above the lowest pair of buds, but leave pruning spring and early summer-flowering clematis varieties until after they flower next year.


Deciduous, climbing honeysuckles should be trimmed in summer after flowering. If they flower late, you can prune in early autumn, shortening stems that flowered by a third. The main shoots can also be thinned, retaining the youngest ones.


Grapevines are vigorous and need to be kept in check throughout the year. In late winter/early spring they’ll bleed sap when cut, so prune in autumn when it’s safe. Leave a framework of old branches covered with well-spaced stumps of shoots.

Actinidia kolomikta

If it’s growing out of its bounds, one or two of the oldest stems can now be cut out from this very vigorous climber.


Jasmine flowers into early autumn, so pruning, to make sure there will be more flowers next year is best done in autumn, as soon as flowering finishes. Shorten flowered shoots and cut back others to relieve congestion.

October 2017

Keep your exterior woodwork and timber furniture looking its best. Raspberries produce plenty of robust growth, which can be thinned


Cut cane fruits Maximise next year’s cane fruit crop (blackberries, hybrid berries and summer raspberries) by ensuring all the plants’ energy goes into vigorous canes. These are the


new canes produced during the current growing season (this year), which will go on to fruit next year. Autumn-fruiting raspberries and primocane fruits (which produce fruit on strong new shoots made in a single season) should be left, then the whole plant cut to the ground in February.

What to cut For summer raspberries, select six to eight strong young canes per plant. Tie them onto wires for support and to keep them tidy over the winter. Then remove all of the remaining canes, including the old, fruited ones. For blackberries and hybrids, tie in all new young canes and cut out all old, fruited canes. Where to cut Take old canes down to ground level. When to cut As soon as you can after harvesting.

Older canes look browner and duller

October 2017

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autumn pruning guide

Tie in climbers now, for a good display next year

Shape up roses

Prevent windrock damage top-heavy crowns. Ramblers are often left unpruned, but late summer is the best time to trim them. If it hasn’t already been done, shorten the flowered sideshoots and cut unproductive framework branches at the base. However, the later they are pruned, the more likely you are to lose next year’s flowers. Thoroughly deadhead and tidy up lateflowering climbers, and ensure they are tied into their supports. What to cut Old flowers and any growth that is likely to break in strong winds. Where to cut Prune to just above a healthy, outward-facing bud, which will shoot next year. When to cut Before autumn gales start, but after flowering has ended.

Autumn sees an increased chance of strong winds that can cause plants to rock back and forth. As a rule, well-established trees and shrubs are usually able to cope with this movement as they have a proportion of thick, anchoring roots. Newly planted shrubs, trees and fruit bushes – those that have been in the ground for a year or less – won’t have such supportive roots and can be easily

Sheltered plants like this are safe from wind

blown over or loosened by the wind. Their roots may be severed and a hollow can form in the soil, in which water collects, leading to the trunk or roots rotting. In exposed coastal and hilltop locations, it is also worth carrying out such pruning on established trees and shrubs with dense crowns to reduce the risk of them blowing over in severe gales. What to cut Shoots on new shrubs and those in exposed areas. Where to cut Pruning up to a third of the oldest branches of these plants will reduce the ‘sail’ effect of top growth, allowing wind to filter through the canopy and reducing the amount of rocking in the wind. Cutting back the remaining growth by up to a quarter of its height will also help to reduce swaying and the stress on roots. When to cut Before high winds are likely to strike in your area.

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Your essential guide to pruning Our 132-page pruning special, packed with expert advice, is available in print again. Content includes seasonal guides, pruning techniques, choosing the right tools, your pruning questions answered, and much more … Damaged stems like this can be removed at any time


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Roses often continue flowering over a long period, some into autumn and it can be hard to work out whether they’ve finally stopped. All roses benefit from deadheading but leave untouched those grown for their decorative hips. These should be making a good display now and should only have broken shoots removed. The main rose-pruning season is in late winter, but you can make useful cuts in autumn. Some roses are particularly susceptible to windrock (see right). Tall or newly planted ones will need around a third of their overall height cut back now if they are growing in a vulnerable position. Standard roses are particularly likely to be damaged by wind, so lightly trim all the growth on their

Reduce the tops of plants in windy places



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Immediate Media Company Ltd. (Publishers of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine) would love to send you newsletters, together with special offers and other promotions. Please tick here if you’d like to receive these by Email  Regular Post . Branded BBC titles are licensed from or published jointly with BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC). Please tick here  if you’d like to receive regular newsletters, special offers and promotions from BBC Worldwide by email. Your information will be handled in accordance with the BBC Worldwide privacy policy: Terms and Conditions Bulbs delivered from early October 2017. Items may be sent out separately. Delivery to UK addresses only. Offer subject to availability and closes 16 November 2017. Your contract for supply of goods is with D.T. Brown. D.T. Brown reserves the right to substitute any varieties for others of equal or greater value. Please note that this offer is not available in conjunction with any other. *Calls cost 3p/minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

October 2017


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blower vacs on test




Autumn is prime time for garden tidying. Rosie yeomans tests and rates 11 leaf blower vacs so you can find one to suit your needs

WATCH our video buyers’ guide at for more tips and to view these machines in action

October 2017

If you’re looking for ways to make light work of the autumn clear-up, you might be tempted by a blower vac. With leaf-fall season upon us, we’ve tested combination garden blowers, with vacuum and shredding facilities, to help you make the best choice. These machines blow leaves, grass and light hedge clippings into a heap, which they then vacuum up and shred into a holding bag. The products we tested are powered either by petrol engine or electric cable and our comparison test showed that weight and noise levels varied between individual machines, the loudest ones rating at a similar level to a motorbike for noise. If your garden is large, then the cable-free flexibility of petrol-driven models, with powerful motors that clear leaves quickly, make them a sensible choice. Cabled, electric machines are lighter, a bit quieter, less expensive and less powerful, making them the practical choice for smaller gardens and lower budgets. You can buy a cordless blower but cordless combination machines for the garden are not currently available at a domestic pricepoint. All machines needed some assembly when taken out of the box and, once in use, most needed a change of attachments when moving from blower to vacuum mode – which adds time to the task. We’ve grouped the electric machines into ‘single-use assembly’ for those that need changing, while the ones that switch functions without the attachments being changed are labelled ‘combined assembly’. Testers found it easier and therefore enjoyed using the machines that had both modes available without a need to switch attachments, however, these did not always achieve the best results for performance.


Electric combined assembly

Petrol engines (all single use)


SCORE: 17/20

SCORE: 15/20

SCORE: 16/20

Cobra BV26C Blower Vac

Hyundai HYBV26 Blower Vac

Flymo GardenVac 2700

Price ÂŁ139.99 Two-stroke 26cc engine Shredding ratio 10:1 Bag size 45l Weight 5kg

Price ÂŁ139.99 Two-stroke 25.4cc engine Shredding ratio 12:1 Bag size 40l Weight 7.4kg

Price ÂŁ79.99 2,700 watts Shredding ratio 3:1 Bag size 40l Weight 5.1kg

Fast to set up, but the twist-ďŹ t tube ďŹ ttings were quite stiff and attachments needed tools to change. Comfortable to hold and well balanced in both operation modes. Good performance overall. Great value.

Attachments needed tools for ďŹ tting. Powerful machine collected heavy materials and shredded with ease. Noisy and vibrated in the hand on full throttle. The bag could have been bigger.

The pictorial instructions were useful, but this unit didn’t have much to assemble. It felt heavy but robust and was easy to operate with a slide switch to change between blower and vacuum. The bag needed some dexterity to clip on.

Pros & cons

Good shredding Strong vacuum power Comfortable shoulder strap Noisy and heavy Tools needed to change attachments Small collection bag

Fast assembly Good shredding Strong vacuum power Stiff ďŹ ttings Tools needed to change attachments Preparation



Value for Money

Pros & cons



Performance Value for Money

Pros & cons Fast assembly Easy to operate Powerful and fast Thin strap Shreddings variable Preparation



Value for Money

Electric single-use assembly


SCORE: 14/20

Stiga SBL 327V Blower Vacuum Bosch ALS 2500 Blower Vac

Price ÂŁ153 Two-stroke 25cc engine Shredding ratio 16:1 Bag size 45l Weight 4.4kg

Price ÂŁ199 Two-stroke 27.6cc engine Shredding ratio 15:1 Bag size 55l Weight 4.8kg

Price ÂŁ79.99 2,500 watts Shredding ratio 10:1 Bag size 45l Weight 4.4kg

Easy to follow instructions, and engine always started ďŹ rst time. Handling the blower was ďŹ ne but once vacuum attachments were on, it was awkward to hold. Although it is the lightest petrol model, it needed the shoulder strap for good balance.

The instructions took some time to interpret but once it was set up this machine worked well. The bag was awkward to hold, even with the strap provided as it slipped on the shoulder but the larger capacity is useful.

Assembly was really easy, due to well-designed click-ďŹ t tubes with press buttons to dismantle. This was smooth to operate; good variable speed blower and it collected most debris when vacuuming. Well designed and robust.

Pros & cons

Pros & cons

Pros & cons

Easy to operate Good performance Large collection bag No shoulder strap for just blowing Bag awkward to hold

Easy assembly Robust Well balanced Slow to change vacuum attachment Short cable

Easy assembly Lightweight and good vacuum Bag removal ďŹ ddly Shredding blade clogged occasionally Preparation



SCORE: 18/20

SCORE: 16/20

McCulloch GBV 345 Blower Vac


Value for Money



Performance Value for Money

Preparation Handling


Value for Money

October 2017

blower vacs on test


SCORE: 17/20

SCORE: 16/20

Qualcast 2800W Garden Blower and Vacuum Price ÂŁ44.99 2,800 watts Shredding ratio 10:1 Bag size 40l Weight 6.4kg

SCORE: 15/20

Ryobi RBV 3000W Blower Vac Price ÂŁ89.99 3,000 watts Shredding ratio 16:1 Bag size 45l Weight 7kg

Easy to follow instructions but some force was needed to ďŹ t together the plastic ďŹ ttings and tubes. Heavy, but helped by shoulder strap and wheels on the blower tube. Variable speeds.

Assembly took some time but the machine felt robust and the ďŹ ttings were well designed. This model works with just the blower or vacuum, or both assembled together. Easy to change between powers, noisy when on full power.

Pros & cons

Pros & cons

Low cost Easy to operate Good shredding Heavy Tools needed for assembly

Robust Flexible use Good shredding Slow assembly Noisy on full power




Value for Money



The Handy THEV2600 Garden Blow Vac Price ÂŁ44.99 2,600 watts Shredding ratio 10:1 Bag size 35l Weight 4.2kg Fast assembly but needed tools. Allen keys were provided. Not powerful so good for light materials, but struggled with heavier materials tested. The shredder was noisy but worked well. Good for a small garden.

Pros & cons Light and low cost Easy to operate Not very robust and noisy Small collection bag Performance Value for Money




Value for Money



SCORE: 17/20

SCORE: 17/20

Draper Garden Vacuum & Blower 81567 Price ÂŁ92.81 2,600 watts Shredding ratio 16:1 Bag size 45l Weight 4.7kg Easy assembly, though the tubes were stiff when locating them. Strap ďŹ tting balanced the machine well. Powerful but noisy; even on the lowest speed. Light leaves were hard to control but heavier, damp ones were easier. Robust Good shredding Powerful Stiff ďŹ ttings and noisy

October 2017

Stihl SHE 71 Blower & Vacuum Price ÂŁ130 plus ÂŁ8.50 for at nozzle 1,100 watts Shredding ratio 12:1 Bag size 45l Weight 4.1kg Easy to assemble with well-designed ďŹ ttings. Light but no shoulder strap, though the two handles are positioned comfortably. Very fast single speed controlled by standing back or with the changeable aperture on blower tube.

Pros & cons Easy assembly Good vacuum power Robust One power speed No shoulder strap

Pros & cons





Value for Money

Preparation Handling

Performance Value for Money

We have awarded five Best Buys for the machines that rated very well: Bosch ALS 2500 Easy to use and set up, value for money and performed well, too. Cobra BV26C Our best petrol machine – good value for petrol powered (these generally cost more than electric ones) and good performance. Draper 81567 Easy to use and set up, a wellbalanced machine, good value for money and performed well. Ryobi 3000W A top score for performance, a good price and very easy to use. The testers enjoyed using this one best. Stihl SHE 71 A machine that gave a no-fuss performance. Easy to set up, comfortable to use, and good, strong power from the vacuum.

Where to buy  Bosch,  Cobra,  Draper,  Flymo,   Hyundai, hyundaipower  Qualcast,  McCulloch,  Ryobi,  Stiga,  Stihl,  The Handy,


blower vacs on test

Getting the most from your blower vac Choose a model with features that suit your needs, and follow our tips to ensure you stay safe while using the kit

Our test process We start all of our equipment tests by researching the category to find the best models designed for home gardeners rather than professionals. We ask manufacturers to put forward models for testing within key parameters such as price, which for this test was under £200 for petrol and under £140 for electric. Suppliers send their models to our test centre, in this case Sparsholt College, where horticultural lecturer Rosie Yeomans led the product trials. Rosie recruited a group of students and staff at the college to put the machines through the same series of rigorous tests to replicate typical home use, including collecting leaves from damp grass, lawn clippings on paths and some larger debris from soft and hard surfaces. The testers being a broad mix of ages and builds ensured that all the products under review were given a thorough workout in real-world conditions. All of our testers wore appropriate safety gear, including eye protection and ear defenders. Every machine was rated in four key areas: ease of preparation, handling,

Blow leaves into piles to make removing them from lawns easy


OPERATING YOUR MACHINE  Wear safety goggles and ear defenders. Work a few metres away from anyone else in the garden to protect them from flying debris  Check all attachments are clipped securely in place before turning on, as some models won’t start if any are loose  Close all zips and clips before beginning to vacuum up leaves and debris  Disconnect the power or stop the engine when changing attachments to vac mode  Blow leaves or debris into a single pile first, before using the vacuum, for an efficient tidy-up. Use variable speed, blower aperture size and distance to control the leaves  Use the shredded material straight away as a mulch, or add to your compost heap to rot down. Don’t dig shredded leaves into beds as they need to rot before mixing into soil  Turn off the machine or unplug it before brushing off any debris on the casing and disconnecting attachments ahead of storage  Regular maintenance through the year will help prolong the engine life of petrol models

Our testing put the machines through their paces in different garden situations

Our thanks to the team at Sparsholt College, near Winchester, Hants, for hosting the trials. Find out more about the college and their courses in horticulture and garden design, at

October 2017


KEY FEATURES  Combined assembly model For an easy adjustment between blow and vac modes, which is ideal if you find using tools fiddly  Shredding ratio Choose a higher number (e.g. 16:1) for finer shreds. A ratio of 10:1 reduces leaves to 1/10th of their volume. A high ratio is best for small gardens  Shoulder strap Look for a wide, adjustable strap to ease the strain on your back  Variable blowing speeds Makes it easier to adapt to conditions, giving more power if leaves are damp or less if used over gravel. Where machines do not have this facility you can move closer to or further from the leaves  Switch operated start A feature of electric models, giving a reliable start, while petrol machines have a more complicated start-up procedure to follow  Petrol engine type Domestic garden blower-vacs usually have 2-stroke engines. These tend to be more compact and lighter than 4-stroke engines so the machine is easier to carry and manoeuvre

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WHAT TO DO NOW This practical section is packed with advice from the Gardeners’ World team on… Q Dividing snowdrops Q Making new aloes QTop-dressing lawns Q Collecting seed Q Preparing the greenhouse for winter

109 Harvest cabbages

98 Pot up spring bulbs

107 Naturalise spring bulbs

101 Make leafmould


104 Create a lavender hedge



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Clematis ‘Winter Beauty’ This superb, sought after evergreen with dense rich green foliage and waxy, snow white blooms bears its delicately fragrant flowers in the depths of winter. The foliage, which keeps its vibrant leaves throughout the seasons, is so lush, that you’ll think it’s summertime all year round! The thick luscious nodding bells emerge as soft pale green buds, turning white as they mature. Plant this energetic Clematis ‘Winter Beauty’ against a warm house wall so that you can appreciate its winter flowers and fragrance from your window. This popular variety will appreciate a sheltered site. Height: 4m (13ft). Spread: 1.2m (4’). Pruning Group: 1 Dispatched as 7cm potted plants in October/November.

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MONTYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MONTH


Collected leaves can be used to make compost or leafmould (see page 101)


Montyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s month When looked at from afar, October is a month of ruddy colours, falling leaves and a drawing in of the days as the garden sheds itself of summer, the better to cope with winter. In fact October here at Longmeadow has two increasingly common faces, both noticeable from the absence of real cold. The first is wet, windy and mild, the borders buffeted and bashed and the grass growing slick with mud and worm casts but all the late-flowering tender plants such as October 2017

dahlias, cannas and tithonias hanging grimly on like seafarers clutching the rail on a turbulent sea. This is when the leaves come streaming off the trees and the round of collecting every last one begins. The other October mode is sunny, with shirtsleeve days and cool nights, the leaves holding to trees and shrubs in an increasingly radiant display. Either way, October is a month when the garden has its last hurrah, going down disgracefully yet with great panache.

WATCH Video tips from Monty at monty


MONTYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S MONTH


Plant spring bulbs in pots Bulb planting begins in earnest in September but continues busily into October with the one exception of tulips, which wait until November and even December for their planting. Increasingly I grow bulbs in containers, which means that we are accumulating more and more pots, and the one rule of a good pot is that it must be filled with something most of the time.

So scillas, muscari, narcissi, hyacinths, irises and fritillaries are planted in gritty compost, along with pans of winterflowering pansies and violas. The larger pots see double or even triple service throughout the year so bulbs are planted shallowly, often in big pans, and then removed after flowering and planted out to die back slowly so the pots can be

replanted with a summer display. But as autumn progresses it is the prospect of these displays of intense bulbs next February and March that sits quietly in each of these seemingly empty grit-covered pots.

VISIT seeds-bulbs for more tips on bulb planting


For a dazzling display of muscari and narcissi next spring, plant bulbs now in pots of gritty compost


October 2017


Cut back dahlia tubers to store in compost in newspaper-lined trays

Bring tender plants indoors Although October is becoming increasingly mild as our climate changes, I watch the weather with a wary eye so that our tender plants do not get caught unprotected from the first frost which is almost bound to come at some point in the month. Dahlias are better if left until the leaves have blackened because the tubers go on growing right up to the last moment – and the bigger the tubers in autumn the better the flowering the following summer. But bananas must be protected from all frost, especially the beautiful burgundy-coloured Ensete ventricosum (Abyssinian banana) and

that is brought in at the very beginning of this month. The pelargoniums, citrus and agapanthus are all brought indoors early in the month because they hate the lashing rain as much as the cold. They all spend winter in the dry but cool greenhouse. Cannas can take some frost but I bring them indoors in the middle of October and store them in damp potting compost so they do not dry out completely. Gladioli corms are dug up and stored, and finally the dahlias are cut back, left to dry for a day or two then stored in compost in plant trays lined with newspaper to see the winter out.

Protect cannas from frost by bringing them indoors


We sow peppers in the greenhouse in mid-April. They need heat to germinate and then thrive and produce a harvest. Although peppers are perennials, they become unhappy in cool weather, and prone to fungal problems. So autumn is the time to harvest the last fruits and then take out the plants to make room for winter salads. We will sow more next year. October 2017

DON’T FORGET  Pick apples frequently, before they become damaged, so they won’t deteriorate in storage  Chop up collected leaves using a mower to help them compost faster  Plant lettuces in a cool greenhouse, for daily salads this winter  Continue greenhouse ventilation if it’s warm

Grow peppers as annuals to get the most out of the plants each year

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Make leafmould compost Pure leafmould is the finest garden compost. It takes up to two years to make the perfect batch but it is the best and longest-lasting when used as a mulch and can also make good-quality potting compost. Leaves are rotted by a combination of fungal moulds and microbes that need air and moisture to do their work, so make the heap open at the sides and moist before covering with landscape fabric to weight it down and keep the heat in. Put leaves through a shredder for faster results and, if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have much space, black polythene bags work well if pierced to allow air in. If you are very short of room for extra compost heaps, the leaves can be swept up and added to the general compost, but the results will not be fine enough for anything other than mulch. VISIT Rake up fallen leaves and leave to rot down to make leafmould compost for more advice on making leafmould


STEP BY STEP How to make a leafmould bin

Drive pressure-treated posts into the ground to make a circle or square, 1m high. Keep posts vertical or slightly angled out to make filling with leaves easy.


October 2017

Wrap wire mesh, with holes no bigger than 50mm, around the posts. Pull it taut and secure to the posts with galvanised staples or cable ties.


Fill with leaves (shred any larger leaves) and moisten them as they go in if necessary. Tamp down as you fill and cover the top with a porous fabric.


Leafmould shrinks to about a quarter of its original mass once composted. Lift out a sample; it should be a brown, friable and sweet-smelling compost.



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phlomis. Ornamental grasses will also germinate well. Collect seeds on a dry day by removing a few flower heads and leaving them to dry either on paper or upside down in paper bags where the seed will drop into the bags. Separate the seed from the husks, place in an envelope, then in a tin. Store somewhere cool and dry until next spring.

If you marked where the bulbs were in spring, it will save exploratory digs before you locate them!


Remove leaves from crowns



 Revamp your bedding. Remove tired summer flowers, improve the soil, then plant new frost-tolerant flowers  Bring indoors tender perennials and tender summer bulbs  Continue planting out spring bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses in holes three times their depth

October 2017

Snowdrops are usually lifted and transplanted after flowering in spring, when they are still in the green. But they can also be lifted and divided now while bulbs are dormant, as long as they are planted immediately before the bulbs dry out.


Make sure plants are not covered in autumn leaves

Autumn leaves are usually swept up along paths and raked off the lawn, but they can be left where they fall on borders so they can decompose gently to make good, rich, natural mulch. However, some plants will be ruined with rotting crowns and buds deprived of light if leaves are left on top of them. Remove leaves by hand from plants such as agapanthus, salvias and lavender. Alpines and succulents depend on light and need to be free draining around the crown, so keep those clear, too.

Lift and divide snowdrop bulbs



Many flowers in the garden will have gone to seed at this time of year and while you can’t always depend on the exact parentage of cross-pollinated seed, many come true and will germinate well when sown next spring. Pot plants such as pelargoniums are surprisingly easy, but the herbaceous border is the best source for free seeds from achilleas, echinacea and



Collect and store seeds

Use a trowel to lift out the bulbs with surrounding soil and replant them into 10cm holes in moisture-retentive soil.


Check the seed is still in the flowerhead before picking

Prepare soil before planting If you are lucky and have a thick layer of dark, fertile garden soil with good drainage, you will need to do very little except use some pre-planting fertiliser and mulch with organic matter regularly – both heavy and light soils improve with plenty of organic matter. Mix in grit to heavy soils to help improve drainage. You can dig it all in, but adding compost to planting holes, followed up with regular annual surface mulching, is fine.

Enhance soil with organic matter before autumn planting


AROUND FLOWERS Soak plants before removing them from their pots. Loosen the roots at the base and trim away the softest growth from the top of the shoots, so that the new growth thickens in the spring.



STEP BY STEP Make a lavender hedge Lavender makes a wonderfully scented flowering hedge. In summer, the flowers are alive with bee activity and in the winter the evergreen structure makes a neat low edging to a border or a dividing line between areas of the garden. Planting now gives the roots a chance to establish in the warm soil before winter. Choose a site where the soil is well drained and there is plenty of light. There are many choices of cultivar. Compact forms such as traditional blue ‘Hidcote’ and ‘Munstead’ are the easiest to keep neat. Lavender flower colours range from purple, blue and pinks to pure-white forms. Once established, lavender is fairly droughttolerant and will do well in coastal plots or gravel gardens.

Space plants along the hedge line. Leave 40cm between plants if they are to make a neat line, but space them further apart for a softer, undulating effect.


Plant into soil that has had grit added to improve drainage, and use bone meal fertiliser to encourage root development. Water, then mulch with grit or bark. Lavender doesn’t do well with rich composts.


STEP BY STEP Sow sweet peas Sow sweet peas now for an early crop of flowers next year. Deeproot trainer pots will support the root development of plants that need to be overwintered before they’re planted into their final growing position. 1 PRESS together the Rootrainers and place upright in the holding tray so they are supported while being filled. 2 FILL the pots with multi-purpose compost, firming lightly to knock out any air pockets. 3 SOW one seed per cell and cover with 1cm of compost. Soak with tepid water and place in a cold frame or cool greenhouse.





October 2017


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October 2017



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Naturalise spring bulbs There is something wonderfully heartening about seeing the flowers of spring bulbs erupting through grass. After a long winter it gives us the ultimate expression of optimism. Planting bulbs in grass or permanently in beds is called ‘naturalising’. Unlike some bulbs that are dug up every year for replanting the following autumn, naturalised bulbs are left in, though many benefit from being added to each year, especially if competition with surrounding grass weakens them. That’s why not all bulbs are suited to naturalisation in grass, however many daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops are happy in such situations. Ensure the bulbs do not go short of water when flowering, and apply general fertiliser in spring to will keep them in good health in subsequent years. Experiment to find out which varieties suit your soil.


Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are a good choice to grow in dappled shade

Camassia leichtlinii – pale blue starry tall spires Crocus tommasinianus – small, purple blooms Galanthus nivalis – wonderful planted en masse Narcissus ‘Lemon Silk’ – a mini beauty, just 30cm high Tulipa ‘Spring Green’ – white streaked, green petals


STEP BY STEP Planting bulbs in grass

Work out where to plant your bulbs. I plant daffodils in scattered clumps, with a couple of dozen of each. Plant tulips singly in a well-spaced cluster.


October 2017

A long-handled bulb planter makes holes quickly, but they’re hard to use on stony soil, so a spade may be better. Make each hole the right depth for the bulb.


Push each bulb to the bottom of the hole, making sure there is no air pocket beneath it. A good rule of thumb is to plant at least three times the bulb’s depth.


When the bulb is settled in the hole, replace the divot. If planting large groups of bulbs, you can lift a bigger patch of turf with a spade then replace it after planting.





STEP BY STEP Start sowing green manure Take advantage of warm autumn ground temperatures and sow green manure. The young plants take nutrients from the soil, and store them in their leaves and stems. When the plants are chopped back into the surface of the soil, the nutrients are released again and the decomposing plants improve the soil structure.

Plant now for a garlic harvest in May or June next year

Plant garlic Garlic benefits from cool winter temperatures so planting in autumn or winter will usually give a better crop than spring planting. A sunny site with free-draining soil is best, so if you have heavier soil, incorporate some grit first to improve drainage. Split up the bulbs into individual cloves and plant so that the basal plate (flat area at the end of the clove) is at the bottom. Plant 10cm deep in light soil and 3cm deep in heavier soil, with cloves 25cm apart. Keep weed-free at all times.

Measure the area you are sowing and multiply the sowing rate per m2 by the total area before weighing out the seed.



 Harvest and store fruit somewhere cool, dry and frost free  Keep orchard trees safe from moths by tying on grease bands (see p113)  Sow broad beans and peas, using cloches to protect them during harsh weather  Cut down asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes  Sow hardy annual herbs  Clear summer crops and dig or manure the beds

WATCH Videos and get tips at planting


Harvest pumpkins to protect them from weather and pests

Harvest and store pumpkins Pumpkins make a wonderful autumn sight in the vegetable garden but they are vulnerable to frost damage and will rot if left too long. Whether you have grown large show pumpkins or smaller culinary varieties, when the skin is firm and

has a strong colour they can be harvested. Pick pumpkins on a bright, dry day. Cut them from the plant, leaving as long a stem as possible, and if you plan to store them, leave in the sun for the skin to dry and harden. Store in a cool, airy place.

Rake the area level then sow half the seed evenly. Go over again with the remaining seed to get it really even.


Save runner bean seed If you’ve been impressed by the quality of this year’s runner beans, save the seed now for a repeat performance next year. Leave some pods to mature and dry out on the bean poles, or cut them once the seeds have formed and dry them indoors on paper. Take the seeds from the dry, papery pods and store in a paper bag until next spring.

Gently rake the seed into the surface to get it in contact with the moist soil. Cover with netting to keep birds at bay.


Saving runner bean seeds will perpetuate a good variety

October 2017


 Remove dead leaves from strawberry plants

It is possible to have cabbages cropping all year. Those that are ready to harvest in the autumn are the conical-shaped summer cabbages or the first of the

drumhead or ball-shaped winter varieties, which are sown in the spring and take the growing season to mature. Cut cleanly from the base with a knife and


Harvest autumn cabbages trim away the damaged outer leaves. Don’t be in a hurry to harvest them all, as they are very hardy and frost makes them taste even sweeter.

Use a sharp knife or secateurs to harvest cabbages, cutting cleanly at the base of the plants Sow microgreens now for a nutritious autumn salad

Sow indoor microgreens Enjoy more tasty pickings by sowing microgreens, such as lettuce, beets, radishes, coriander, rocket or other leafy greens, on a windowsill. When the first set of true leaves develops, they are ready – snip with scissors and add to salads. For a continuous supply, sow every two weeks in shallow trays of moist compost or absorbent paper. Pre-soak large seed to speed up germination. You can use old seed from your seed tin or buy specific varieties of sprouting seed.

LOOK OUT FOR ROSEMARY BEETLE These pretty, irridescent beetles are active all winter, heavily feeding on rosemary, lavender, sage and thyme. By spring the plants can look unpalatable. Keep an eye out for them all season and pick them off when you spot them.

Remove all figs from trees Our climate doesn’t allow all the figs on a tree to ripen, as a much longer summer is needed for that. Remaining ones must be discarded now to avoid fungal problems in the crop next year. Pick them off and discard, but keep the tiny immature fruits that have set on the outermost tips, as they will supply you with figs next year. Wear gloves when you are doing this as the sap of fig trees can cause a skin rash.

VISIT fruit-veg for advice on what to sow, grow and harvest this month October 2017

Snip off the larger fruits from fig trees to avoid rots next year




Divide perennials A great way to expand or rejuvenate your herbaceous plants is to lift and divide them now. It may be that an old clump needs renovating â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in which case it should be lifted, the youngest outermost pieces replanted and the rest put on the compost heap. Herbaceous perennial plants clump up by expanding their roots, making the plants wider rather than taller every year. If pieces are split away from a main plant they instantly support themselves with roots and shoots. These can be planted in the border or potted and grown on. Fleshy rooted perennials, such as delphinium, will rot if split now, so lift in spring just as the shoots emerge. Large clumps can be heavy to lift. Get someone to help you with spade duty and lay out a tarpaulin to lift the clump onto, as splitting can be a messy job on lawns. Weed roots are inevitable among established clumps, so pick these out before replanting. VISIT Lift and divide large clumps of perennials, like this pulmonaria, to rejuvenate them for more advice on propagating your plants

Select a clump, or a patch away from the main growth of groundcover plants. Use a spade to dig around a piece and lift out, keeping the roots intact.



Place two forks into the clump back to back, then pull both handles away from each other and the clump will split with little damage to the roots.


Select the best pieces if you lift a whole plant, discarding the oldest middle bit. Trim away any damaged leaves, remove old stems and trim the roots.


Put the new plants into a weed-free border, prepared with added compost and bonemeal fertiliser. Firm them in, water and mulch with garden compost.


October 2017


STEP BY STEP Make more border plants


Aloe vera can be propagated by leaf cuttings or seed sown in a heated propagator, but the most reliable way is by separating the young offsets – also known as ‘pups’. These are essentially baby plants that share part of the parent plant’s root system and occur naturally at its base. Wait until the offsets are roughly one fifth of the size of the parent plant, then separate and pot them on. The old plant can be repotted or left to get bigger to produce more pups.

Either knock the whole plant out or use a knife to gently cut away the offsets from around the edge of the pot.


Separate each offset. Use a knife to trim the base leaving the roots if they are intact, or the hardened stub if there are none.



STEP BY STEP Make new aloes by separating offsets

The cut ends need to dry and callus for a couple of days before you pot them into a gritty, well-drained compost.


DON’T FORGET  Set up heaters if you’re overwintering tender plants. 7°C is usually safe to keep frost away  Sow seeds – hardy annuals for an earlier display next year and salads leaves for healthy winter meals  Reduce watering as plants are growing slowly now

Cleaning off shade paint gives the glass its annual wash, too


Remove shading Shading keeps the greenhouse cool and prevents plants from becoming scorched in summer, but as the days shorten, the plants will need as much winter light as possible, especially if you will be raising plants early in the spring. If you have used netting, take it down and wash it to remove any fungal spores or insect pests that had planned to hibernate there. Blinds should be washed thoroughly, too. If you have used shade paint, use a bucket of soapy water and a brush or a low-powered pressure washer to thoroughly remove it.

WATCH Videos and get tips at greenhouse October 2017

Find a dark, cool spot to force spring bulbs

Force spring bulbs It’s a challenge, but you can get spring bulbs flowering at Christmas if you buy specially prepared bulbs now. Hyacinths and hippeastrum (commonly called amaryllis) are the best, but some narcissus are prepared, too. They are temperature treated to advance the flower bud to give an extra display this year.

Pot them with their noses on the surface. Water and put in a cool, dark place, such the corner of a shed or garage. The cold and dark are needed for roots to grow. Check regularly and when shoots are 5cm high they can be moved inside into the light. Acclimatise gradually to higher temperatures over about three weeks, otherwise the flowers can become distorted.

LOOK OUT FOR RED SPIDER MITE The damage from this tiny pest includes leaf mottling and discolouration. Spray or throw away infested plants then clean well to protect your greenhouse.




Plant new beds Now’s a great time to do the groundwork and initial planting for new beds, leaving the final planting until spring. Mark out the shape of the bed with a string line and remove any grass, plants or weeds. You can edge the bed with boards or bricks, but this isn’t essential. Weed thoroughly then dig in plenty of compost; add grit if it is poorly drained. Tread the soil down and rake level before planting. Plant hardy trees, shrubs and hedges first. Herbaceous plants and bulbs can also go in but wait until spring for anything late-shooting or tender.

Rake the soil of the new bed level before putting in new hardy shrubs, trees, bulbs and perennials



Care for your soil by adding organic mulch to the top now. It’s a multipurpose treatment that gradually feeds the soil flora and fauna. It improves soil structure, suppresses weeds and keeps in moisture. Surface mulch doesn’t have to be fully decomposed, so if the compost isn’t quite ‘cooked’ it can still be used. Fresh manure is too strong but shop-bought bags of compost are good. Weed the border first and cover up to 5cm in depth, keeping the mulch away from woody stems that could rot.

WATCH Videos and get tips at planting

 Ensure there’s an air gap between glass and bubble-wrap by using spacer clips when insulating greenhouses  Leave cuttings that could be potted on and do it in spring instead  Relocate and replant young deciduous trees or shrubs when stems are bare

Many insects will find shelter in the stems of this bug hotel

 Check tree stakes and ties will do their job over the winter months. Loosen any that are tied too tightly

October 2017


BEECHGROVE GARDEN Watch the final shows for this year on Thursday 12 October, BBC2 Scotland, and Sunday 15 October, BBC2 nationwide.

It’s a busy spell as winter approaches. This far north, there are increased time pressures to get tasks completed before the threats of an early freeze or snowfall make them impossible. Insect care may not be top priority, but they should at least be considered during the big autumn tidy-ups. Not cutting back perennials until spring is one of the easiest ways to benefit overwintering insects, using a less-is-more approach. If cutting back, leave the trimmings on the bed to become a straw-like mulch, protecting everything beneath over winter. Position insect hotels in sheltered areas suited to the targeted species’ needs.

Mulch borders


Pollinator care Beechgrove 

Apply a top mulch to borders to improve soil structure


STEP BY STEP Trap winter moths There are several species of winter moth whose caterpillars feed on the leaves, blossom and fruit of trees. Wingless females crawl up the trees in autumn to lay eggs that hatch the following spring. Grease bands or sticky traps are very effective controls. 1 PLACE the sticky grease band all around the tree trunk, 60cm high off the ground. 2 UNFOLD the edges to reveal the sticky surface. 3 USE string to tie the band tightly around the tree so insects can’t crawl underneath it.




DON’T FORGET  Empty spent growing bags and containers into a barrow to use as a mulch  Prepare woody material for the compost heap by chopping it up small. A shredder does this well  Make a new lawn by sowing or laying turf while the soil is warm  Continue with your autumn lawn care regime. Turn to page 134 for advice Use a besom broom to mix the top dressing into the lawn

Top-dress lawns Once the season’s debris has been raked from the lawn and the leaves are cleared away, you can improve the soil underneath by top-dressing with soil, grit or compost. Make a mix to suit your soil – add more grit for drainage in clay soils, while loam and compost retain moisture in sandy soils. Make plenty of holes with a hollow tined aerator or a fork before spreading the top-dress mix across the surface. Rake it in with the back of a rake or a besom broom.

WATCH Videos and get tips at pruning-training October 2017

Scoop out leaves from ponds to prevent the water stagnating

Remove fallen leaves from ponds Inevitably, autumn leaves will end up falling into a garden pond unless you net the whole surface. If leaves are left to drop to the bottom, the bacteria that rot them down will use up all the oxygen in the water – and once it turns stagnant it will kill much of the other pond life.

Protect the balance in the pond by removing surface leaves regularly, using either a hand net or a lawn rake. Leave the resultant debris at the edge of the pond for a couple of hours so that any creatures can crawl back into the pond if they’ve been caught by mistake.


 Monty starts his winter orchard pruning

 Alan prepares dahlia tubers for dormancy

 Overwinter herbs  Start sowing next year’s broad beans




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Laithwaite’s Wine and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine have teamed up to bring you a special offer of six bottles of mouthwatering prosecco for just £42.90, saving you £22, plus free delivery. The collection is perfect for adding sparkle to celebrations, parties or as a pre-dinner treat. The case includes: Ca’ Bolani, a multi-medal winning, frizzante-style wine that is fresh, fruity and gently fizzy. Ideal on its own or served with canapés.

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October 2017


Fang club Unlike most spiders, the woodlouse spider only has six eyes instead of eight and powerful fangs FACTFILE

Woodlouse spider Dysdera crocata DID YOU KNOW? Hunting at night without the use of a web, the woodlouse spider has some of the largest fangs of all British spiders, which are clearly visible as they project directly from the head. Despite its terrifying appearance it eats only woodlice, using its fangs to pierce their tough, protective exoskeleton. The woodlouse spider has been known to bite humans, causing pain and itching similar to a bee sting. It has a dark red thorax and orange-brown abdomen, although the colouration can vary in individuals. Unlike most spiders, which have eight eyes, it has only six. The female is larger than the male, reaching up to 10mm-15mm in length. The woodlouse spider is also known by the names sowbug killer, pillbug hunter and slater spider, which are all related to its penchant for eating woodlice.


DIET Woodlice, woodlice and more woodlice, which it hunts mainly at night.


LIFECYCLE Mature females mate and lay eggs during spring and summer. The egg sac may contain around 70 eggs and is guarded by the female inside her silken retreat. Individuals take 18 months to mature before they are ready to breed. The average lifespan of a woodlouse spider is just three years. HABITAT The woodlouse spider is found wherever there are woodlice, including gardens, particularly those with a lot of wood, such as decking. It is distributed widely throughout the UK but is more common in the south. Active at night, by day it rests under logs, stones and holes in walls, occasionally venturing into damp buildings. AT RISK No.

October 2017

wildlife this month

The woodlouse spider uses its fearsome fangs to kill its prey, woodlice

October 2017


wildlife this month

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Bird feeders neednâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be expensive. In this simple project we have used three old terracotta pots and some garden twine to create a quirky feeder that will attract a wide range of bird species. Easy to clean and refill, the birds will happily perch on the lip of each pot to feed from within it, giving you the perfect view of your garden visitors.

Fat balls are a particularly good source of calories in winter when birds use huge amounts of energy just to stay warm at night.

YOU WILL NEED  Three terracotta pots, cleaned and dried  Garden twine  Bird food, such as peanuts, seed and fat balls

Cut a long piece of garden twine and tie around all three pots to join them together. Make sure there is a long central piece to hang the trio from a tree.

2 118

Fill each pot to just below the lip with your choice of bird food. Use the central piece of twine to attach the pots to a branch from which to hang them.

October 2017



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GROW & EAT Autumn is the season of mellow fruitfulness, with trees decked in apples and summer crops giving up their last harvests

Chillies With their quirky shapes and brilliant colours, chillies are perfect for a pot on a sunny windowsill



with plain chocolate for a sweet and spicy surprise


with garlic, butter and lime, then serve with a sweetcorn cob


with sesame oil, broccoli, spring greens, ginger and oyster sauce

October 2017

DISCOVER MORE ways to use your chilli harvest at


grow & eat


Did you know? In Europe, chillies were first grown in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. By experimenting with them in the kitchen, monks found that they could be used as a much cheaper alternative to black peppercorns, which were so expensive they were used as legal currency.

Nutrition Fresh, these are a rich source of vitamin C. The alkaloid compound, capsaicin, which makes them spicy, has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and may be beneficial for weight loss and heart disease.

How to grow Sow indoors at 18-25°C. Seedlings grow best at temperatures around 16-18°C. Grow on in a greenhouse or gradually harden off before moving outside. Chillies grow well in pots or in fertile, well-drained soil, but need as much sun and warmth as you can give them. Tall plants benefit from staking.

Harvest Pick the first fruits when they are green, smooth and glossy to encourage further cropping. The next fruits can be allowed to ripen. Fruits should remain in good condition on the plant until the first frosts.

How to store Eat fresh after harvesting or store in the fridge for a week or two. Preserve them for longer by freezing, pickling or air-drying.

Our choices ‘Cherry Bomb’ An easy variety to grow. Early cropper. ‘Apache’ Prolific crops on compact plants. ‘Early Green Jalapeño’ Plump green fruits that ripen early. ‘Dorset Naga’ is one of the hottest chillies in the world.

Show us your harvests PHOTO: GETTY/TORRESIGNER

Share photos of the fruit and veg you’re picking this month at GWmagazine
















thinly with a light covering of soil Final spacing

35-45cm apart

60-75cm between rows

October 2017






Unique 40mm ÀUHFOD\FRUH



One Fair Tariff


Hugh’s no-waste guide to homegrown veg e’re addicted to waste. We throw away 5.8 million potatoes and 1.5 million tomatoes every day in the UK. Households are binning £13bn of food, every year, that could have been eaten. And, despite the huge financial and environmental costs of this waste, it’s a problem that shows no sign of going away.

Which is why chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched his campaign for change, with his TV programme War on Waste, and now he’s calling on gardeners to play their part in tackling the food waste mountain. “I think people are highly motivated to not waste veg when they’ve grown it themselves,” says Hugh. But it can be a challenge,

when harvests all come at once, to use everything up. “We need to stretch the ways in which we use familiar veg,” he says. Hugh insists that the more we enjoy veg and understand how to cook it, the less we’ll waste, whether it’s homegrown or bought. We need to change the way we shop for vegetables, as well. The supermarkets’

you’re more likely to notice when other crops are reaching their peak or need a bit of attention.

Start picking carrots young to spread out your harvests

Make several harvests I harvest some things early, particularly if I’ve put in a lot. I’ll start eating baby carrots when they’re not much bigger than my little finger even if from the same row – three or four months later – I’m pulling up huge donkey carrots. Eat your thinnings too.

Hugh’s tips

for no-waste growing

Sow little and often That way you get small harvests, which are spread out. I like to keep peas and broad beans going all summer. I’ll sow some in pots in the polytunnel and because they’re fairly frost hardy, I’ll get them outside in March if I can and then do a direct sowing around May. Early-sown peas will be ready in June and later ones in August. From the first peas off a row, you’ve still got a month of


cropping, so you can have lovely fresh peas all summer.

Sow quick crops in gaps I’m not one of those people who plans meticulously in an exercise book. I plan spacing and a bit of rotation but I keep an eye out for what might be ready, where the gaps are and what could go in those gaps – quick crops like radishes are ideal. You’ll get more harvests out of your veg plot, and when you’re picking regularly

Grow food that you can get excited about I like to grow half-grown onions and eat them when they’re fresh and green – they look like giant spring onions, and are great on the barbecue.

Grow food guaranteed to taste better home-grown I grow peas and broad beans because they are never as good in the supermarket, where they have been sitting around in their pods and can go quite starchy. There’s only one way to enjoy popping the pods and having a fresh pea – you cannot buy that freshness, you’ve got to grow it.

strict visual criteria means farmers leave fields of full of veg to rot. “The supermarkets’ excuse is that their customers won’t buy blemished roots,” says Hugh. “We have to prove to them that we will.” As any gardener knows, it’s not unusual to get a forked carrot or bent parsnip, but the priority for homegrowers is flavour, not looks. So when we buy veg, Hugh urges us to keep flavour rather than looks in mind. “Class II veg is from the same field as Class I – it’s not sub-standard – it’s just a slightly different shape or size,” he says. You’ll find the class marked on bagged fruit and veg – Class II veg are often sold through the low-price ranges, meaning they’re cheaper too! The more that supermarkets relax their criteria, the less waste farmers will create. “The worst ones for waste are carrots and parsnips, where the ideal of the straight and perfect is applied in an extreme way,” Hugh says. As consumers, we can show supermarkets we are happy with wonky veg. Homegrowers can help by letting nothing go to waste, especially as a staggering 71 per cent of food waste comes from households.* This food waste goes into landfill and creates methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2. Composting waste helps, but doesn’t solve the problem. The resources that went into growing it – seeds, compost, water and the energy used to transport these – are wasted when that veg ends up in the bin or the compost heap. And that’s as true for homegrown veg as it is for shop-bought. October 2017


In our exclusive interview, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall shares new ways with veg on the plot and the plate, to help you enjoy more of what you grow

no-waste veg

Hugh aims to let nothing go to waste from his vegetable garden at River Cottage HQ in Devon

October 2017

I think people are highly motivated to not waste veg that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve grown


The first step towards minimising waste on the veg plot is picking the right veg to grow. “The important thing is to grow stuff you really enjoy eating and that doesn’t take up too much space,” Hugh says. The more we enjoy the vegetables we grow and eat, the less we’ll throw away, he reasons. “There are conventions that we eat certain veg raw, others we boil and then a few things like parsnips and potatoes, we roast. Why aren’t we roasting cauliflower florets or whole Brussels sprouts? And if we’re roasting those, what can we mix them with that would be delicious? What veg are we cooking that’s also great raw – such as parsnips – especially young ones. Or how about fresh kale, marinated in salt and vinegar? “We know that caramelisation makes meat and fish delicious so let’s try with veg.” Hugh suggests cutting a cabbage into wedges and putting the cut side in a hot frying pan to blacken. “You’ll have caramelised edges and raw in the middle. Serve with spicy houmous and you’ve got something with so much flavour.” And while we might add salt or butter to veg, Hugh champions

using a range of flavours, such as lemon, ginger, honey and spices. “I like using one or two spices rather than a blend that steers you towards curry – whole cumin seeds or fennel seeds give you a pop of aroma. Cumin goes brilliantly with root veg and starchy veg, such as squashes.” Armed with fresh homegrown veg and inspiring recipes, there is little excuse to waste anything. “None of these things are hard to do,” Hugh says. “You can use these techniques on lots of veg that we don’t think of cooking in those ways. Put flavours together you don’t expect, like squash, sweetcorn and plums. You get the pop of the sweetcorn and richness of the squash with the tartness of plums.” It’s easy to help prevent waste, insists Hugh, simply change the way you look at veg, in your garden, in the supermarket and in your pan. As he writes in his latest book, Much More Veg, “If I were to choose just one thing we could all do to be healthier and feel more energised, to have a better relationship with food and with our environment, it would be this: eat more veg.”

Why aren’t we roasting cauliflower florets or whole Brussels sprouts?

One cause of waste is harvests all coming at once – avoid this by spreading out your crops into small sowings to harvest in succession

Hugh’s tips for no-waste eating Eat the bits you normally throw away You can eat the

Cook something for now and a ready meal for later

carrot stalks – chop them up and add to salads like parsley. Try a salad of raw baby carrots with a little dressing, into which you stir some raw carrot stalk – the same way that you can eat the leaves of your beetroot.

I use the freezer a lot. If I’ve got too much of a veg, I’ll cook too much of whatever I’m cooking. I‘ve got at least eight half-litre pots of nettle soup in the fridge! And there’s no such thing as too many tomatoes – when I’ve got a massive glut, I fill whole roasting trays with tomatoes, a bit of garlic, oil, salt, pepper and a few herbs, sieve them to make passata and freeze it.


Make soup Think to yourself –


why are you throwing that away? Sling it into a vegetable soup. Radish leaves make a great soup – add to a soup of other greens, or to pea and lettuce soup. Don’t stick to the recipe – if you haven’t got kale you can try spinach. If you’ve got something in your fridge fling it in to the recipe and see how it goes, rather than letting it go to waste.

Try fermenting and pickling I do quite a bit of fermenting root veg like celeriac or cabbage, usually with a twist. I like

classic sauerkraut, but tweaked with caraway seeds or grated celeriac, with a bit of orange zest and a bit of spice. Within 10 days, in salted water, you’ve got a nice ferment. It’s a great way of extending the life of root veg and wasting much less.

Get creative with veg to avoid waste

no-waste veg


Quick-pickled celery, chard and carrots Makes a 500ml jar O 400g mixed, prepared celery,

chard stalks and carrot O 1 tbsp fine salt O 250ml cider vinegar (5% acidity) O 2 tbsp sugar O 1 bay leaf O A couple of sprigs of thyme

or rosemary O 1 tsp coriander seeds O A few black peppercorns

This is a tasty way to use up the more fibrous stems from celery and chard. The carrot adds sweetness and colour – but you can use just one or two of these veg, as long as it makes up 400g raw weight.

A great way to use chard stalks, you could also add rhubarb into the mix


Find clips from Hugh’s War on Waste at October 2017

 Trim off any green leaves and dirty or damaged bits from the celery and chard stems, then cut into roughly 1cm pieces. Peel and trim the carrots, then cut into thin half-moons or quarter-moons, depending on the girth of the carrot. Check that you have 400g prepared weight of raw veg.  Put the prepared veg into a bowl, add the salt and mix well, then transfer to a sieve or fine colander placed over a bowl. Leave for about half an hour. You’ll see that the salt draws quite a lot of liquid out of the veg.  Meanwhile, thoroughly wash and dry a 500ml capacity Kilner or Le Parfait-type jar, or a robust jam jar with a vinegar-proof lid.  Pack the salted veg into the jar (don’t rinse the veg first, but do discard the salty liquid in the bowl).  Put the cider vinegar, sugar, herbs, coriander seeds and peppercorns into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for 2 minutes.  Immediately pour the pickling liquor over the veg in the jar, keeping the herbs out, but making sure the peppercorns and coriander seeds go into the jar. The veg must be completely submerged in the vinegar. Seal the jar straight away and leave to cool.  Store in the fridge for at least a week before opening, then use within 10 weeks (keeping the jar in the fridge).

More from Hugh Discover more ways to use your veg harvest. Recipe taken from River Cottage: Much More Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury, £26), out now. Photography © Simon Wheeler



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growing guide

October growing guide Use our at-a-glance guide to find the best fruit and vegetables to sow and plant now

















OUR CHOICE ‘Egremont Russet’. A heavy


cropper with a nutty flavour. Pick early autumn and store for up to three months.

Tip Most apples are self-infertile and need another tree from the same pollination group planted nearby. Plant level with soil stem mark Final spacing 1.9m apart 5m between rows Avg. yield: 6-55kg per tree PLANT

Asparagus OUR CHOICE ‘Ariane’. Produces an early


crop of vigorous, tasty shoots, with purple tips and fleshy stems.

Tip Asparagus likes free-draining soil, so if yours has poor drainage, dig in plenty of grit before planting. 15cm apart 30cm between rows Avg. yield: 9-12 spears per crown Plant on soil ridges Final spacing




OUR CHOICE ‘Black Butte’. These fruits


are almost twice the size of most other varieties. Full flavoured and hardy.

Tip Blackberries require support during their first summer, so put this in place before planting the canes. 2.5-4m apart 2.5-4m between rows Avg. yield: 6-9kg per 3m row Plant 8cm deep Final spacing




OUR CHOICE ‘Patriot’. This hardy variety


tolerates colder and wetter locations. Its abundant fruits are sweet and firm.

Tip Blueberries need acidic soil, so it’s usually best to plant in a container filled with ericaceous compost. 1.5m apart 1.5m between rows Avg. yield: 2.5-5kg per bush Plant at soil stem mark Final spacing SOW

Broad beans OUR CHOICE ‘Express’. A quick-maturing


and heavy-cropping variety that can be sown in autumn and spring.

Tip Broad beans have a long tap root, so cultivate the soil deeply before sowing to help the plants establish. 20cm apart 45cm between rows Avg. yield: 3kg per 3m row Sow 5cm deep Final spacing



OUR CHOICE ‘Chesnok Red’. Beneath the


pinkish outer skin, the pink cloves have a smooth texture and strong flavour.

Tip To stop birds pulling up the newly planted cloves, cover them with a layer of horticultural fleece. 20cm apart 30cm between rows Avg. yield: 17 bulbs per 3m row Plant 5cm deep Final spacing



OUR CHOICE ‘Hinnonmaki Red’. This hardy variety crops well, with sweet fruits that ripen to ruby red. Delicious in desserts.



Tip They like well-drained soil, so dig in well-rotted manure before planting to improve the soil’s structure. 1.5m apart 1.5m between rows Avg. yield: 3.5kg per bush Plant level with soil stem mark Final spacing SOW/PLANT

OUR CHOICE ‘Autumn Champion’. This


robust, golden-skinned, mild-flavoured variety is easy to grow and stores well.

Tip Avoid sites where onions have been grown in the past two years. Plant sets with tip showing Sow 2cm deep Final spacing 10cm apart 30cm between rows Avg. yield: 60 small/30 large per 3m row SOW

Peas OUR CHOICE ‘Feltham First’. A traditional


favourite – sow in autumn for an earlysummer crop of large, sweet-tasting peas.

Tip Smooth-seeded peas are hardier than wrinkled. Keep peas safe from birds by covering with netting. 10cm apart 60cm between rows Avg. yield: 3kg per 3m row Sow 4cm deep Final spacing



OUR CHOICE ‘Stanley’. The large, dark fruits have a juicy, orange-yellow flesh. This variety offers good resistance to disease.


Tip Plum trees fare best in a warm, sunny position – against a south-facing wall would be the ideal spot. 3-4m apart 5m between rows Avg. yield: 15-25kg per tree Plant at soil stem mark Final spacing


An excellent dessert type with a unique, nutty flavour and an attractive russet to the skin. Good for juicing. Harvest late September/October. Pollination group 2. 1 bare-root tree on M26 rootstock £19.95 (code 42826) P&P £2.95 (SAVE £2 ON POSTAGE – NORMALLY £4.95)

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October 2017


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 Four shelf utility cabinet Made from weatherproof polypropylene, this durable garden cabinet is the ideal outdoor storage solution for those who don’t have room for a traditional shed. With a 540-litre capacity, it has plenty of room for tools, toys, garden equipment and other items, while easy access is provided by the two opening doors. It can be secured with a padlock to keep your items safe, secure and dry. The self-assembly unit is easy to construct with no tools required – simply slot the panels together. Unit measures H 187cm (with feet) 180cm (without feet) x W 52.5cm x D 75cm Weight 22.1kg Available in two colours: Cream/Green (D9671) Chocolate/Mocha (G0436) One cabinet £119.99† (was £134.99; originally £199.99) SAVE £80  Garden Gear two-wheeled wheelbarrow Constructed from hard-wearing powder-coated steel and highly durable polypropylene. The innovative two-wheeled design improves stability and allows for easier manoeuvrability, while the puncture-proof pneumatic tyres can cope with the most rigorous tasks. The 70-litre capacity can handle loads up to 150kg and the rubberised handle ensures a comfortable grip while working. Self-assembly is quick and easy. Wheelbarrow measures H 71cm x W 63cm x L 137cm Weight 12kg One wheelbarrow £49.99† (was £59.99; originally £99.99) SAVE £50 (D5963)

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October 2017


Your questions answered

Q&A Edited by Emma Crawforth

Crop rotation


The most impressive crop rotation regime I’ve ever seen is at Hampton Court, which involves 12 areas of the garden, each containing a different group of vegetables. My own regime is simpler, using only three areas! So why rotate crops? There are two main reasons, the first being to reduce pest and disease problems. These tend to target one group of veg. For example, clubroot in brassicas can contaminate soil for many years. It needs brassicas to live, so if they aren’t grown in the contaminated soil, the clubroot will die and the soil becomes clean. The more groups of veg in your rotation, the longer it takes before each group is exposed to disease again. The second reason is to improve the soil’s fertility, maintaining a balance of nutrients for specific types of crops. I plant legumes first, which enrich the soil with nitrogen. Brassicas then use that nitrogen and root veg follows, aerating the soil as the roots grow into it and are then dug out. After that, it’s back to legumes.

Emma Crawforth, Gardening Editor

This month 134 Garden Doctor

Nick Bailey on rejuvenating patchy lawns

136 Gardeners’ Question Time The BBC Radio 4 experts answer this month’s pick of readers’ queries


Keep your plot healthy by clearing up this year’s veg debris thoroughly before starting next year’s crops.

Contact us: email your questions to Q& or write in to Q&A, Gardeners’ World Magazine, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT

We regret that we cannot offer a personal garden advisory service.

GARDEN DOCTOR Patchy lawns


Nick Bailey shows how to revive tired turf for a perfect lawn next year


The trouble with turf is that it never tops the list of gardening tasks. Sure, we manage a weekly cut, but the TLC lavished on our ornamental plants is rarely replicated on the lawn, which is why many are in slow decline with bare patches, weeds, yellowing blades and pests. But it is possible to revive a lacklustre lawn in time for next year. First you must eradicate the weeds competing with the grass for light, water and nutrients. Rosette-forming species, such as dandelions and plantains, can be removed with a garden knife, but those that are more enmeshed, such as buttercups and speedwell, call for chemical treatment. Selective herbicides can be applied that will solely target the broad-leaved weeds, leaving the grass untouched. Moss can also be tackled at this stage. Remove it with a spring-tined rake and compost it, or go for an outright kill with a ‘lawn sand’ or a moss eradication chemical. Several products, available at the garden centre, can deal with both weeds and moss and feed the lawn too. A scarifier is another option for removing moss. These machines can be hired for the day and have several benefits. Firstly, they drag moss and thatch (dead grass and debris) out of the lawn. Secondly, they cut into the grass rhizomes at soil level, causing them to tiller, which means they are triggered into producing further side shoots, thus thickening the sward. Insects can do a surprising amount of damage to turf. Chafer grubs and leatherjackets can infest a patch, gradually chomping through the grass roots. It’s often not clear that they’re present until dying patches appear, or carrion birds start pecking at the lawn.

Pests can be addressed in summer and early autumn by watering in nematodes (microscopic parasites, available from, which will stop soil-borne grubs eating the roots. If you discover the problem later in the year, lay a black plastic sheet across the affected area overnight. Lift it in the morning and you’ll find the grubs have come to the surface and can be raked off. With the grubs removed, it’s time to address compaction, yellow grass and bare patches. Compaction often shows up as a poorly growing, yellowing sward, but this can be remedied by spiking the turf to allow oxygen, water and nutrients into the root zone. Use a garden fork, inserted 10-15cm into the soil in rows across the lawn at 20cm intervals. To speed up the process, it is possible to hire a mechanical spiker.

Give the lawn a good feed By following all these treatments your lawn will be on course for revival. Rake over any bare patches to open the soil ready for seeding. Sow the patches, ensuring some seed spills out onto the surrounding turf, rake in and water. Wider areas of thinning turf can be ‘oversown’ by scattering seed into the existing sward. Keep well watered and it will germinate in 2-3 weeks, thickening up to be winter-ready by November. The final process to prepare the lawn for autumn and winter is feeding. This is usually applied as a granule and best done by walking behind a hopper to avoid over/ under dosing. Use a low-nitrogen, autumn-specific fertiliser to encourage rooting and sward toughening, and next spring your lawn will look as loved as the rest of the plot.

In this regular column, Nick shares his expert knowledge for a thriving garden. NEXT MONTH: Nick shows how to care for tender plants as temperatures drop.

? Did you know? A square metre of turf contains up to 200,000 blades of grass.

October 2017

garden doctor

Now here’s the science  Like any other plant, grass needs feeding with specific fertilisers at different times of the year. Spring is all about high nitrogen, to boost leaf growth and colour, whereas the focus in autumn is potassium and phosphates, which both toughen the grass and increase its root growth prior to winter.  After trees and algae, managed turf and grasslands are the third most significant contributor to world oxygen.  The carbon emissions produced when using a powered are more than mitigated by the grass’s capacity to both absorb carbon pollutants and produce oxygen.  Ryegrass is the hardest-wearing turf for lawns, so use in well-worn areas (high traffic etc). Other grasses, including fescues and bents, are more delicate, fine-bladed and best for lowwear, ornamental lawns.  Grass can be regenerated from weekly cuts because, unlike broad-leaved plants that have their meristems (areas of dividing and multiplying cells) at the growing tips, grass has its meristems at the base of the blades. So cutting grass removes only the top part of the blade, leaving the meristems untouched. Many weeds, like this elder (right), cannot survive frequent mowing.

More from Nick

On Gardeners’ World Spike the lawn to allow oxygen, water and nutrients into the root zone

October 2017

An RHS Chelsea medal-winning designer, professional gardener and writer, Nick is a regular presenter on Gardeners’ World, Fridays at 9pm.



Gardeners’ Question Time

Our experts tackle your gardening problems, including two mystery plants, cherry leaf damage and how to tackle box tree caterpillars

Q What is the best way to overwinter a canna plant?

Protect apples with wire

Neil Ellis, Hampshire

A BOB SAYS You could leave it

Q How can I stop

in situ, but that depends on your location. In Winchester, where you live, it’s not often cold for long, so with a free-draining soil, preferably light sand, I’d leave it in place. However, if very cold or wet weather is predicted, pile over dry, shredded bark, with a plastic flysheet tied on top to exclude excess water but let in air. Alternatively, once the canna has died down but before the frosts, dig it up with the rootball, dry it off, wrap in newspaper and store in a dry, frost-free place until spring. I would actually do both, leaving it outside for three years and then taking it inside the following winter in order to split and replant the healthiest bits.

squirrels eating my apples? Dennis Scott, by email

A PIPPA SAYS This is a tricky problem and it is becoming more and more widespread! Unfortunately, squirrels are very clever, agile and determined creatures. The only real solution is to erect netting or a cage over the trees, making sure it lets in pollinating insects early in the year but is a deterrent to the squirrels once fruit is forming. Wire netting is best as squirrels can bite through plastic.

Ove rwinte ri n g p la nts

Move a canna plant indoors if you live in a cold region

Can you tell me how to overwinter dahlias? I haven’t space in the border Edna Weston, by email

A PIPPA SAYS If you garden

Overwinter dahlia tubers in trays of moist peat-free compost


on free-draining soil, in a not-toowet and mild area, it is often fine to leave dahlia tubers in the soil from year to year, with few casualties. But in wetter, cooler regions, especially those with heavy soil, lifting is best. Wait until a few weeks after the foliage shows blackening due to the first frost, then cut the stems to 15cm above soil level. Next, use a spade to cut a circle around each plant, cutting to a depth of 20-25cm and 30cm

out from the base of the clump in all directions to allow you to gently lift it. Check the tubers and discard any that are dead, damaged or diseased, then stand them upside down for six days before laying them on their sides in shallow boxes or deep trays of slightly moist peat-free compost. A scattering of compost over the tubers, but not covering the crown, will allow them to ‘rest’ and give them some protection. Keep in a well-ventilated place just above 5°C. Check from time to time and remove any showing the slightest deterioration.

The red berries turn black later in autumn

Q What is this pretty plant? Natasha and Avril Davy, Norfolk

A BOB SAYS It is called Hypericum androsaemum, a small, shrubby perennial found native or naturalised, with many relatives grown for the garden. The plant’s berries are used in floristry but ingestion or contact with the foliage may cause an allergic reaction.

October 2017



gardeners’question time

Bob Flowerdew

Pippa Greenwood

Matt Biggs

Bob is an organic gardener and a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.

Pippa is one of the foremost experts on pests and diseases. She gardens using organic methods.

Matt trained at Kew and has been gardening professionally for

a seven-year-old blackcurrant?

Q Can I use organic ways to treat rose diseases/pests?

Tom Rainey, by email

David Watson, by email

Q How do I prune

A MATT SAYS Blackcurrants are most productive on one- to three-year-old stems, so cut out anything that is older, then in subsequent years remove a quarter to a third of the oldest wood at the base in winter just before growth starts. Then feed with a general fertiliser, water and mulch, and new highly productive light brown shoots will soon sprout from the base.


Sow seed from the developing fruits of camellias in November

Q What are these ‘apples’ growing on my camellia?

MATT SAYS Fungal diseases such as rust, blackspot and powdery mildew can be controlled by good gardening practice. Keep roses well pruned, don’t plant where the air is damp and stagnant, and avoid wetting the foliage when watering Problems can also be reduced by winter pruning to remove infected stems and keeping the garden clear of infected material. You can also try planting garlic among roses or spraying plants

with garlic spray. Mulching in winter prevents the overwintering spores of blackspot splashing onto stems. Check plants regularly and act at the first sign of problems. Aphids have several natural insect predators such as ladybirds and their larvae, lacewing larvae, hoverfly larvae and naturally parasitic wasps, so provide nectar sources, habitats and bug hotels to encourage them into the garden. Contact sprays based on fatty acids and plant oils are environmentally-friendly but need several applications.

John Payne, Southampton

A MATT SAYS They are

Eschscholzia thrives in freedraining poor soil

The larvae of ladybirds will eat aphids on roses

developing fruits and are usually found on single-flowered species. You can sow the seeds but they take up to eight years to bloom and the flowers are variable in quality. If you want to experiment, remove the seeds when the pods split in November, sow in pots of ericaceous compost, top with horticultural grit, place in a cold frame or against a protected wall and water with rainwater. Pot on the seedlings in spring.

Q What is this

Q We’ve lost the leader branch on our

plant that sets seeds every year?

‘Fiesta’ apple tree. Will it grow again?

Maureen Lawrence, by email

Patricia Heaps, Buckinghamshire

A PIPPA SAYS It is a beautiful eschscholzia, so I’m rather jealous that it is setting seed and producing more so readily. They love free-draining poor soil, and I’m assuming that you have this sort of soil and a reasonably sheltered garden, otherwise the plant’s ability to produce floods of offspring wouldn’t be so good!

October 2017


You don‘t need to give up on weather-damaged apple trees

BOB SAYS Judging by your photo, it looks like a young bushtrained tree and, traditionally, the old boys would have cut all the branches back hard in late autumn then selected the best new shoots the following year to make a new head. The stump of the old shoot may regrow but not very strongly, unless the other

branches are well trimmed back. However, you have a good potential leader, the bending upward branch with one apple in the front of the photo. Fix a stout, vertical cane bound at the bottom to the tree trunk. Train the new leader gently over several months to the cane, tying it in a little closer each time and it will take over. Then feed, mulch and water to stimulate strong growth.




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gardeners’question time

Q We’ve moved into a new house. How do we go about pruning the shrubs? P Yeates, East Sussex


Prune mophead hydrangeas back to a strong pair of buds

MATT SAYS With a few exceptions, the basic rule of pruning is that shrubs flowering before mid-summer are pruned immediately after flowering; anything flowering from midsummer onwards is pruned the following spring. Evergreen plants such as camellias are trimmed after flowering to keep them in shape and within their allotted space.

Cut the previous year’s stems of Buddleja davidii back to one or two pairs of buds and remove one or two of the thickest old stems at the base. Leave the flower heads on mophead hydrangeas until late spring, then prune back to a strong pair of buds further down the stem. Tidy up magnolias, philadelphus and rhododendrons after flowering to help retain their shape and cut back clematis depending on when they flower.

Q Can I mix perennials and spring bulbs in my border? A MATT SAYS


Most spring bulbs have finished flowering by the time herbaceous plants begin to emerge and the key to the bulbs’ continued success is they can die back naturally without being smothered by surrounding plants or having too much competition for nutrients. Your choice of plantings depends on the bulbs you have planted. Low-growing heucheras and geraniums will complement medium-sized bulbs like narcissus. Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ is good ground cover among spring crocuses, dwarf irises and muscari. In drier areas, add salvias like


Pe rfe ct pa rt n e rs

Salvias such as S. microphylla ‘Cerro Potosi’ is a perfect perennial for the border

October 2017

A PIPPA SAYS I’m a great fan of combining herbaceous perennials and bulbs, and have had few problems with bulbs failing to find their way through all but the most congested growth. As your bulbs are already in the ground it may be difficult to plant lots of new perennials without the risk of damage to the bulbs beneath, so buy the perennials in the smallest pot size. Try these: scabious, love-lies-bleeding, echinaceas, aquilegias, verbascums, monardas and helianthemums.

Feed peach trees regularly

Q What made the stones in my peaches split? James Forth, Yorkshire


BOB SAYS The damage occurs just weeks after the fruits have set, when changes in nutrition, water or temperature affect the new fruitlets’ growth. In very early varieties the fruits can become near seedless as a result of this. I suspect your plant would do better if it is moved to a more generous container, which is filled with rich, freedraining compost. Then be careful to avoid stress to the plant with regular watering and feeding, right from when the fruits set until the resulting peaches are nearly mature.

Q Do garden A leaf-cutting bee did this but it is unlikely to cause major stress

Q What is taking bites out of my cherry tree? Gordon Watt, by email

A PIPPA SAYS Lucky you, this is classic ‘damage’ caused by one of the wonderful leaf-cutting bees, Megachile species. They are solitary bees and each female builds her own nest in summer, often using hundreds of these fascinatingly neat circles of leaf material, in the process. The leaf sections are cut out and carried back individually, so the bees really put in an immense amount of effort. This, coupled with the fact they are useful pollinators and their activity is unlikely to cause significant stress, especially to a tree, means that they need to be loved, not swatted, please!

centres recycle flowerpots? David and Wendy Clark, by email


BOB SAYS There have been schemes, but generally garden centres do not want the task as there’s no money in it and they see unwashed containers as a potential source of pests and diseases. However, you might find a local allotment or horticultural society would be pleased to make use of your old pots for next year’s propagation.

Ask local allotment groups if they would like unwanted flowerpots


gardeners’question time

Q How can I control box tree caterpillars? Anne McFarlane, by email

A PIPPA SAYS This pest has

Q Why does my apple tree only bear tiny apples? Ivan R Beacom, by email

A PIPPA SAYS From what I can see in your photo there is a lot of apple scab infection on the leaves and fruit. Collect the leaves as they fall and prune to open out the canopy slightly to allow better air circulation, as the fungus thrives in damp conditions. However, I am sure this is only a tiny part of the problem – your 1.2m tree would do better with more root space than its present 61cm pot and it would be easier to look after. Try repotting it in autumn, either into something a little bigger like a half-barrel with fresh compost, or if this is not possible you could top-dress it. This means carefully scraping a few centimetres of compost off the surface and replacing it with fresh John Innes No.3. In addition you need to do everything you can to ensure it is never dry at the roots and has adequate food, so give liquid feed from spring through to early summer.

Q Any ideas for growing fruit in an unheated greenhouse? Barrie Painter, Nottingham

A MATT SAYS Try growing

If you have a gardening problem, email the details (and your location) to Q& or write to Emma Crawforth at Gardeners’ World Magazine, Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT. We regret that we cannot offer a personal advisory service or guarantee a reply. You’ll also find lots of pest and disease advice, along with creative and problem-solving projects, at

tender fruit in pots – if you keep the compost dry in winter, they will survive in surprisingly low temperatures. Try Apricot ‘Aprigold’ or ‘Apricompact’, Peach ‘Garden Lady’, ‘Pix Zee’ or ‘Bonanza’ or dwarf Nectarine ‘Snow Baby’. Citrus fruits such as Lemon ‘Four Seasons’ benefit from the protection of a glasshouse or a sunny patio in summer. Winter protection can be provided by a simple glasshouse heater or wrapping plants with horticultural fleece.

Citrus plants need glasshouse protection from cold weather

Ways to find more help


Box tree caterpillars eat the plant’s leaves and create unsightly webs

Gardening on the radio

Gardeners’ Question Time Enjoy a fascinating crop of listeners’ Missed it? questions and answers Listen online from the experts every within seven days week, on BBC Radio 4, at Fridays at 3pm, repeated radio4 Sundays at 2pm.

October 2017


Allow better air circulation to avoid scabby skin on apples

become a serious issue on box plants, but there are still options for control. The caterpillar of the Cydalima perspectalis moth is most active from April until October, munching the foliage and covering plants in webbing; you may also find cocoons among the webbing and perhaps dieback. You can achieve good results by treating infested plants with a nematode mix that attacks caterpillars. It would be worth monitoring the population using a pheromone trap that catches adults and so makes the timing of treatments easier. The nematodes need to be applied three times, at weekly intervals. As there may be a lot of webbing, especially if it is a heavy infestation, it may be worth breaking up the webbing before treating with a nematode spray.














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gardeners’ puzzle


Put down your trowel, pick up a pen and exercise those brain muscles instead…

Issue number 320

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Editorial Advisors

ACROSS 1 __ coggygria, or smoke tree, is prized for its autumn colour (7)

DOWN 1 Keep harvesting these orange root vegetables (7)

7 Another name for ericas (6)

2 A name for trifolium (7)

8 Tall, slender-leaved grasses found in water or marshes (5)

3 Genus of trees and shrubs also known as tupelo (5)

9 __ laevis has large, blue, cornflower-like blooms (8)

4 Check standard roses and shorten long __ (6)

12 ‘Aureomarginata’ is a popular variety of Daphne __ (5)

5 Constructing a fruit __ will keep large pests away from crops (4)

13 This genus of perennials, with fluffy, plume-like panicles, likes moist, shady conditions (7) 15 Plant winter __ in guttering or growing bags (6) 18 This creamy-coloured root veg should be ready to lift (7) 20 Pachysandra terminalis is also called Japanese __ (6) 21 Stems that grow along the ground, producing new roots and shoots at nodes (7) 22 The mint genus (6) 23 Children should be enjoying the fruits of __ chestnut (5)

6 Pak __ or Chinese cabbage are great for salads and stir-fries (4) 10 Salvia __ is grown for its brilliant-scarlet blooms (9) 11 Handy tool for chopping wood (3) 13 Latin name meaning rough, as in Hydrangea __ (6) 14 ‘Villa __ ’, a Japanese maple, is named after a famous Italian botanical garden (7) 16 Pick these fruit favourites now before they blow down (6) 17 It’s a good time to __ a compacted lawn (6) 19 A small bunch of flowers (4)

Executive Producer, Gardeners’ World, Bristol NHU Paolo Proto Executive Editor, Features BBC Bristol Robi Dutta Rosie Atkins, Fergus Garrett

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October 2017



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Wire Anchors on Concrete Posts & Easy Trellising Quick & Easy Solution to fix wires to concrete posts No drilling – simply clamp 2 halves together Three sizes to fit most posts Internal/External Corners, End Brackets, Pot Holders Wire Anchor

Main stockist of Gripple Trellising System FREE UK DELIVERY

Rivelin Glen Products Tel: 01246 851777

Wire Anchor fitted with Gripple system

Gardening Courses Home-study

COMPOST SYSTEMS Tel: 01600 890 125

Metal Plant Supports 10% discount code: GWOCT Free Delivery on orders over £40 Maximum carriage £6 on stock items to mainland UK

Two Wests & Elliott Quality Equipment

Ferryman Polytunnels Ltd


for Greenhouse and Garden

Quality Polytunnels from £399 Replacement Covers

Our internally fitted, insulated system is a great alternative to having a new solid roof fitted

We stock a massive range of products with many exclusive to us including Cold Frames



call 01246 451077 for a free catalogue The Horticultural Correspondence College


Two Wests & Elliott (GW) Unit 4 Carrwood Rd, Sheepbridge Ind.Estate, Chesterfield S41 9RH

UP TO 70% CHEAPER THAN A NEW TILED ROOF Free Brochure and Advice 01363 84948 Ferryman Polytunnels, Morchard Road, EX17 5LS

10 YEAR GUARANTEE* *Insurance backed


0800 7 72 32 72

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MARKETPLACE GARDEN MARKET Living indoors…outdoors

Aquaplancton Voted Home and Garden “Product of the Year” Pond before


Aquaplancton has been clearing ponds of blanket weed, duckweed, algae, ŐƌĞĞŶǁĂƚĞƌ ƐůƵĚŐĞ ƐůŝŵĞ ŽĚŽƵƌĂŶĚĐůŽŐŐĞĚĮůƚĞƌƐ ĨŽƌŽǀĞƌϮϬLJĞĂƌƐWĞŽƉůĞ ƌĞŽƌĚĞƌƟŵĞĂŶĚƟŵĞĂŐĂŝŶǁŚŝĐŚƐĂLJƐĂůŽƚĨŽƌƚŚŝƐƐĂĨĞ ŶĂƚƵƌĂůƌĞŵĞĚLJ Tel: 01298 214003 Timeless designs and handmade in the finest timbers; a Chelsea Summerhouse is the idyllic hideaway to escape from the interruptions of everyday life.

Call 0800 3317742 or visit

Buy with 12 Months Interest Free Credit 0% APR Example Cash Price £5995. Deposit £1499. Pay balance of £4496 0% APR

Greenhouses designed... ...and built to suit you and your garden Call: 0121 311 2900


over 12 monthly payments of £374.67. Total amount payable £5995. representative Credit subject to status.

dovetail greenhouses

Quality outdoor living with Nationwide CELEBRATING OVER 29 YEARS AS THE NATION’S NO.1 HOME IMPROVER

Sun & Rain Awnings


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*Credit is subject to application and status. Written details on request. 0% APR for 12 months then 19.9% APR representative. Fees may apply.

0800 825 0532

For a FREE brochure Call us today on or no obligation design consultation or visit us online at

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Digging made easy . . . with the Backsaver Autospade


Dig from a standing position: no need to bend to lift and turn the soil. Dig up to twice as fast and without the strain on your back.

â&#x20AC;¢ Twice the speed â&#x20AC;¢ No back strain â&#x20AC;¢ Less effort


     !" ! # $ 

Backsaver Garden Tools Ltd, Leeds

Tel: 01943 870486 Buy online at

call 0800 9804732 for expert advice Plaisters Green North Somerset BS40 8BH

KNOWLE NETS Fruit & Vegetable Cages - Polytunnels - Cloches - Pond Nets Poultry Nets - Garden Netting


 % "  &     '  (  ' Sales: 01404 890093


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Create a ‘Splash’ with

our Summer Sale Autumn Pond Project Preparation - NEW OFFERS EXCLUSIVE

FREE Next Day Delivery Just Quote Code ‘B17K‘ UK Pond Liner Expert

Pond ‘Pyramid’Cover Net

Flexi Liner

Award winning ’Pop-Up’ pond cover net with telescopic legs. - Cover pond from autumn leaves. - Protect fish from herons and predators. - Doesn’t disturb plants. - Covers ponds sized up to 6m x 3.5m (20’ x 12’)

Easy to install Lowest UK Price From £1.49sqm Fully Guaranteed

1/2 Price Underlay

RRP £199.99 £99.99 £79.99

Hozelock Pond Vac - FREE Discharge Basket Lightweight pond vacumm suitable for small ponds. Ideal for cleaning up leaves & debris £109.99

HALF PRICE Pond Nets Catching or Skimmer Net £19.99 £9.99

‘EasyPond’ Pump & Filter Sets

“All-in-One” Pump Sale

*Deal includes Basic Underlay

with all 40yr Flexiliner Pond Liners Guarantee DEAL Price* 15yr 40yr

Liner Size Metres (Feet) 3 x 3m 10x10 £13.41 £20.61 £25.56 4 x 3m 13x10 £17.88 £27.48 £34.08 4 x 4m 13x13 £23.84 £36.64 £45.44 5 x 4m 16x13 £29.80 £45.80 £56.80 5 x 5m 16x16 £37.25 £57.25 £71.00 6 x 5m 20x16 £44.70 £68.70 £85.20 6 x 6m 20x20 £53.64 £82.44 £102.24 7 x 5m 23x16 £52.15 £80.15 £99.40 7 x 6m 23x20 £62.58 £96.18 £119.28 8 x 6m 26x20 £71.52 £109.92 £136.32 9 x 7m 30x23 £93.87 £144.27 £178.92 10x 8m 33x26 £119.20 £183.20 £227.20 Firestone £6.88 sqm 24hr Delivery (£0.64 sqft)

Gordon Low

Rubber Liner

Butyl £8.49 sqm (£0.79 sqft)

Greenseal £6.50 sqm (£0.60 sqft)

Floating Pond Protectors 2 for price of 1

Choice of fountain display. Includes ‘T’ piece for waterfall. 12/20/25mm

se & Clips

Sets include Ho

Pond System

Pond Size Price

EasyPond 2000 EasyPond 3000 EasyPond 4500 EasyPond 7000 EasyPond 12000 EasyPond 20000 EasyPond 30000

2000 Ltr 3000 Ltr 4500 Ltr 7000 Ltr 12000 Ltr 20,000 Ltr 30,000 Ltr

£119.99 £124.99 £129.99 £169.99 £229.99 £269.99 £299.99

System + Liner 4x3m 4x4m 5x4m 5x5m 7x6m 7.5m 9x7m

£149.99 £159.99 £174.99 £234.99 £329.99 £399.99 £449.99

SALE ‘17 Catalogue Out Now!


The easy way to power your pond. Pump / UV & Filter in one compact unit. Grab a deal while stocks last!

Model Pond Size

3000* 3000 4000 4500

2000 litres 2000 litres 3000 litres 4500 litres



£49.99 £59.99 £69.99 £99.99

£39.99 £49.99 £59.99 £79.99

* £39.99 model 5m power cable, rest 10m No joining hose

Hidden underwater

Perfect for new hobbyists & patio ponds

‘VariFlow’ Variable Flow Pumps

„ Claim your FREE copy now!

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projects, tips and advice. Extended Retail Showroom Now Open Sundays Too! A3 Bentley Avenue Cowpen Lane, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, TS23 4BU

Summer Sale

Control the flow of your pump. 23 flow settings 10000 £149.99 20000 £199.99 30000 £249.99 eg, ‘30000’ can vary 12000lph to 30000lph. 45 to 385 watts.

Relax - Your Pond is Protected from Herons! PondXpert Pond Protectors are a pack of ‘rings’ that join to form a floating perimeter defence. 30 Ring Pack £24.99 Buy 1 get 1 FREE Each 30 pack protects 15ft of shoreline (4.6m)

NEW ‘Top Up’ Packs 20 Ring Pack £17.99 10 Ring Pack £9.99

01642 917217

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Woodpecker Joinery

(UK) ltd

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Putting the Cedar back into Greenhousesâ&#x20AC;?

100% British made

Manufacturers of High Quality British Hand Made Cedar Greenhouses, Garden Buildings and Coldframes. For more information Call: 01889 562 610 or Visit:

Dog urine killing

your lawn?

Green Peez herbal remedy prevents brown patches on the lawn caused by dog urine. Add to food daily.100% natural, safe

Tel: 0845 127 9903 'ZE,Kh^^Zh^ Massive range of sizes, colours & styles to choose from.

St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pla, Nr Sevenoaks, Kent

The Walnut Tree Company is the leading supplier of quality Walnut timber, Walnut fruit, Sweet Chestnut, Almond, and Kentish Cobnut trees. Alexander Hunt also gives specialist advice for the garden, orchard, forest and amenities/landscape uses.

- Direct from manufacturer. - All major brands supplied. - Ä&#x17E;ĹŻĹ?Ç&#x20AC;Ä&#x17E;Ć&#x152;Ç&#x2021;EÄ&#x201A;Ć&#x;Ĺ˝ĹśÇ Ĺ?Ä&#x161;Ä&#x17E; dÄ&#x17E;ĹŻÄ&#x17E;Ć&#x2030;Ĺ&#x161;ŽŜÄ&#x17E; ϏϭϲώϯĎ°Ď°ĎŻĎŻĎŻĎ­ Ç Ç Ç Ĺ?Ć&#x152;Ä&#x17E;Ä&#x17E;ĹśĹ&#x161;ŽƾĆ?Ä&#x17E;Ć?Ć&#x152;ĆľĆ?Ä?Ĺ˝ƾŏ telephone 01732 882 734 website

facebook /PotashFarm mobile 07979 525 939

twitter @PotashFarm email

PLANT SUPPORTS   Tel: 01773 550495 for a brochure

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Save over

Exclusive Offer £135 £79

£50! Fuchsia

Incredibly soft and warm, our luxurious pure cashmere shirt collar sweater will see you anywhere in effortless elegance and comfort. At an introductory one-off price of £79, free returns and 90 day refund guarantee this is an offer that cannot be missed!

Style 106 Heather Shirt Collar £135 Exclusive Offer £79 Sizes: (underarm measurement):

Baby Pink





Sky Blue



XS (34”), S (37”), M (40”), L (43”), XL (46”), 2XL, (49”), 3XL (52”)

To order, or for a FREE 60 page cashmere knitwear, pashmina & accessories sale catalogue please call quoting GWR65

01908 523153 enter code GWR65 at checkout. Offer expires 31.12.17 Unit 6, Fernfield Farm, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK17 0PR

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Plants ES






T. 1 9 8 3

dont stop growing, so just

Luxury self-catering apartments on the shore of Lake Windermere with stunning views. Short Breaks available

For a brochure tel: 01539 443415


Handmade cushions using our own original artwork

keep you in your garden from season to season Contact us on: Mob: 07788 490065

the walking frame specialist

01268 419 288



CORNWALL COTTAGES Welcoming traditional Cornish Craftsmenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cottages in private Hamlet. Eden Project, Heligan and beaches nearby. Pets Welcome

01503 220333

*Fully fitted from ÂŁ699 *Instant Heat always on demand *100% efficient *Various outputs and sizes available *Wall mounted, castors or on feet *No maintenance or service required *No boiler required *Wireless thermostats *Simple replacement for old storage heaters *Range of models to suit bathrooms, bedrooms, conservatories *Safe, clean and easy to operate *No pushy salesmen *Call for prices

To advertise in the classified section call 020 7150 5055


for our furry friends, and Jess & Milo here are no exception. It’s easy to forget that even though a lot of us love fireworks, for our pets and their superior hearing even a small bang can sound like a thousand trains roaring past. Animed Direct have the solutions you need for a peaceful firework season.


£10.99 Anxitane Product ID: 73075 (Cats & Small dogs) 73077 (Medium/Large Dogs) Anxitane is a highly palatable tablet containing the natural ingredient L-Theanine, which helps calm and reduce the anxiety in dogs and cats.

Place your order at or call 0330 0536100 Free standard delivery* + Guaranteed low prices + 100% secure and safe + Genuine UK sourced medication + Veterinary advice *Orders over £29 receive free delivery. See website for more details

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stairlifts never

looked this



• Quick and easy to install • Advanced safety features • Battery back up Designed to make your life easier when • Flexible positioning options ƐƚĂŝƌƐƐƚĂƌƚƚŽďĞĐŽŵĞƚŽŽŵƵĐŚ Ă^ƚŝůƚnjĚŽŵĞƐƚŝĐ • Wheelchair model available ůŝĨƚǁŝůůĞĂƐŝůLJĨŝƚŝŶƚŽĂŶLJŚŽŵĞKĨƚĞŶĐŚŽƐĞŶĂƐ • Two year ‘no quibble’ guarantee ĂŶĂůƚĞƌŶĂƚŝǀĞƚŽĐƵŵďĞƌƐŽŵĞĂŶĚƵŶĂƚƚƌĂĐƚŝǀĞ • Cost-effective and affordable ƐƚĂŝƌůŝĨƚƐ Ă^ƚŝůƚnj>ŝĨƚǁŝůůƚƌĂŶƐƉŽƌƚϮƉĞŽƉůĞ • Install in a day* ĐŽŵĨŽƌƚĂďůLJƐŽLJŽƵĐĂŶƚƌĂŶƐĨŽƌŵ 1 LJŽƵƌůŝĨĞǁŝƚŚŽƵƚŵŽǀŝŶŐŚŽŵĞ ^ƚŝůƚnj>ŝĨƚŝƐƉĂĐŬĞĚǁŝƚŚƐĞŶƐŽƌƐ ƚŽŬĞĞƉĞǀĞƌLJŽŶĞƐĂĨĞ ŝƚĂůƐŽ ƉůƵŐƐƐƚƌĂŝŐŚƚŝŶƚŽĂĚŽŵĞƐƚŝĐ ƐŽĐŬĞƚ ƌƵŶƐǀĞƌLJƋƵŝĞƚůLJĂŶĚ uses less energy than a toaster!





“ “


BRIGID FOLEY Est’d. 1973


Shop online at 01822 612048 Unfortunately we do not do brochures

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To advertise in the classified section call 020 7150 5055




£50 E V SA


DQGYRXFKHU 01869 337770

FRFRRQRQOLQHFRP To advertise in the classified section call 020 7150 5055




2UGHURQOLQHQRZ volcanicrockdust



Established in 1765

FREE 2017 rose catalogue Available now! CANTS OF COLCHESTER LTD, Dept. GW, Nayland Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 5HA Tel: 01206 844008 Email: Visit

DOES SITTING MAKE YOUR BACK ACHE? ® ional relief s posit Offer

Feel the Difference with Backfriend THE portable back support for use in any seat


at Home




over 100+ superb items for an independent


Gardening Tools  Backrest adjustable for height and angle to suit user  Manufactured by MEDesign right here in the UK from ba  8 colours  Take it everywhere Muscle Wraps ck pa in  More than half a million users in 37 countries Silicon Kitchen Ware  Backed by our 14 day trial and money back guarantee PHENOMENALLY SUCCESSFUL - Mr W, Hants Request your free Backfriend Literature now I have to admit that the seat has been and still is No sales people will call (we don’t have any). We never pass on enquirers details. phenomenally successful and exceeds all expectations I EMAIL PHONE 01704 542373 had for it. To be honest,I harboured a few reservations as POST MEDesign Ltd, FREEPOST, Southport, PR8 1BR 17-GW10 to the literature's claims when I ordered it. But these were Name: put to bed within three days of receiving it. I have absolutely no reservations in recommending it to anyone Address: as a sure fire workable aid to chronic back pain. Post Code:

Light and Portable

To advertise in the classified section call 020 7150 5055


Over 400 other varieties of hedging and young trees, fruit trees, climbers etc. listed in our FREE COLOUR BROCHURE. For more information visit our web site.

Top Quality, Top Size Bulbs Flower Bulb Specialists Since 1868

Alder, Common 60-90cm transplanted .................ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Amelanchier 60-90cm transplanted ......................ÂŁ12.90 ÂŁ59 Beech, Green 30-45cm seedlings ..........................ÂŁ5.30 ÂŁ23 Beech, Green 60-90cm transplanted ...................ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Beech, Purple 30-45cm seedlings .......................ÂŁ13.90 ÂŁ64 Beech, Purple 60-90cm transplanted ...................ÂŁ22.50 ÂŁ99 Berberis darwinii 20-30cm pot grown...................ÂŁ27.90 ÂŁ129 Berberis, Green or Purple 40-60cm transplants....ÂŁ15.50 ÂŁ72 Berberis stenophylla 20-30cm pot grown.............ÂŁ27.90 ÂŁ129 Blackthorn 40-60cm seedlings ...............................ÂŁ5.50 ÂŁ24 Blackthorn 60-90cm transplanted.........................ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Box, Common 15-20cm transplanted ...................ÂŁ15.50 ÂŁ72 Box, Dwarf 10-15cm pot grown ............................ÂŁ29.50 ÂŁ136 Cotoneaster franchetii 40-60cm transplanted ......ÂŁ12.90 ÂŁ59 Cotoneaster lacteus 40-60cm transplanted..........ÂŁ19.90 ÂŁ92 Dogwood 60-90cm transplanted...........................ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Dogwood, Red-stemmed 40-60cm transplanted. . ÂŁ11.90 ÂŁ54 Elaeagnus ebbingei 20-30cm pot grown ..............ÂŁ27.90 ÂŁ129 Field Maple 60-90cm transplanted..........................ÂŁ8.90 ÂŁ39 Griselinia 20-30cm pot grown................................ÂŁ32.50 ÂŁ149 Guelder Rose 60-90cm transplants ....................ÂŁ12.90 ÂŁ59 Hazel 60-90cm transplanted.................................ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Hedge Germander 5-10cm pot grown .....................ÂŁ24.90 ÂŁ115 Holly 30-40cm pot grown .......................................ÂŁ32.50 ÂŁ149 Hornbeam 30-45cm seedlings...............................ÂŁ4.90 ÂŁ21 Horse Friendly Hedging transplants......................ÂŁ12.40 ÂŁ49 Laurel 30-50cm bare root ......................................ÂŁ18.90 ÂŁ87 Leylandii, Golden 30-50cm pot grown.................ÂŁ25.90 ÂŁ120 Leylandii, Green 40-60cm pot grown..................ÂŁ25.90 ÂŁ120 Mixed Native Hedging seedlings ...........................ÂŁ7.80 ÂŁ28 Mixed Native Hedging 60-90cm transplanted.......ÂŁ12.00 ÂŁ47 Photinia Red Robin 20-30cm pot grown...............ÂŁ25.90 ÂŁ120 Privet, Golden 30-45cm transplanted...................ÂŁ16.90 ÂŁ78 Privet, Green 60-90cm bare root...........................ÂŁ13.90 ÂŁ64 Pyracantha Red Column or Orange 30-45cm pots . ÂŁ25.90 ÂŁ120 Quickthorn 40-60cm seedlings................................ÂŁ4.30 ÂŁ18 Quickthorn 60-90cm transplanted..........................ÂŁ9.50 ÂŁ43 Quickthorn 90-120cm transplanted......................ÂŁ11.50 ÂŁ53 Rosa canina (Dog Rose) 60-90cm transplanted..ÂŁ10.90 ÂŁ49 Rosa Hansa 30-45cm transplanted......................ÂŁ14.90 ÂŁ69 Rosa rugosa 60-90cm transplanted......................ÂŁ13.90 ÂŁ64 Rosa rugosa, Red or White 60-90cm trans...........ÂŁ13.90 ÂŁ64 Sea Buckthorn 60-90cm transplanted ..................ÂŁ12.90 ÂŁ59 Silver Birch 125-150cm transplanted...................ÂŁ17.90 ÂŁ84 Yew, English 30-40cm transplanted......................ÂŁ24.90 ÂŁ115 Visit our Garden Centre on A421 west of Buckingham but do check on availability before calling. Open 7 days a week. - most places except Scottish Highlands & Islands -

40 Tingewick Road, Buckingham MK18 4AE. Tel 01280 822133 Fax 01280 815491

Catalogue Request Line 01280 827933

By Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales Supplier of Garden Flower Bulbs P. de Jager & Sons Limited Kent

ALSTROEMERIA & IRIS Mail order specialists

For an illustrated catalogue

Request a free catalogue or visit us online...

Order direct online at to get a 10% discount For a FREE Catalogue

Tel: 01622


01939 291475 Viv Marsh Postal Plants GW 1017, Walford Heath Shrewsbury, SY4 2HT FAMILY NURSERY BUSINESS â&#x20AC;&#x201C; EST 1963

SPRING FLOWERING BULBS Single Snowdrops Double Snowdrops English Bluebells Aconites ÂŁ8.00 per 50 Wild Garlic Wood Anomones

ÂŁ8.00 per 100 ÂŁ12.00 per 100 ÂŁ12.00 per 100 ÂŁ14.00 per 100 ÂŁ15.00 per 100 ÂŁ12.00 per 100

ÂŁ35.00 per 500 Lobularis Lent Lily (Wild Daff) ÂŁ9.00 per 50 ÂŁ55.00 per 500 Large Flowering Crocus ÂŁ55.00 per 500 (Blue, White, Yellow, Purple, Striped, Mixed) ÂŁ5.00 per 50 ÂŁ9.00 per 100 ÂŁ40.00 per 500 ÂŁ70.00 per 500 Fritillaria (Snakehead Lily) ÂŁ8.00 per 50 ÂŁ15.00 per 100 Dwarf Iris (Reticulata) ÂŁ8.00 per 50

All orders over ÂŁ50 will receive 50 free Puschkinia Libanotica (Russian Snowdrop) k&OLYH1LFKROV



Please add ÂŁ2.95 towards P&P. All major debit and credit cards accepted. Cheques made payable to: (IIL`*V\U[Y`.HYKLUZ(IIL`*V\U[Y`.HYKLUZ3P[[SL,HZ[Ă&#x201E;LSK)HYU3`UU9VHK Wisbech, Cambs PE14 7AL

Please visit our website for many more varieties including dwarf daffs and tulips

01945 464167 -

1000+ different bare root hardy trees - shrubs conifers - hedging - fruit - forest trees for garden, farm & estate from nurseries at 850ft above sea-level. Mail order our speciality. Call 015396 23246 for your FREE 130 page catalogue

GW 10/17 Kirkby Stephen Cumbria CA17 4LX



ÂŁ11 PER 100 ÂŁ11 PER 100 ÂŁ11 PER 100 ÂŁ12 PER 100


DAVID AUSTINÂŽ ROSES Tel: 01902 376300

Call: 01255 830181 or visit: to request your



Please quote GW17OC robinsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vegetable seeds and plants top quality naturally grown Tomatoes, Beans, Artichokes, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Chillies and much more. Plus our famous MAMMOTH ONIONS AND LEEKS. Write, phone or email for your free 2018 catalogue W Robinson & Son (Seeds & Plants) Ltd Sunny Bank, Forton, Preston PR3 0BN Tel: 01524 791210 Email Find us on facebook/mammothvegetables Established and family owned since 1860

To advertise in the classified section call 020 7150 5055

MARKETPLACE PLANT DIRECTORY HEDGING, TREES & SHRUBS INDEPENDENT TRIALS CONFIRM US AS THE BEST SUPPLIER. OVER A MILLION TOP QUALITY PLANTS GROWN ON OUR OWN 80 ACRE NURSERY. FURTHER DISCOUNTS FOR LARGER ORDERS. AMELANCHIER LAMARKII 60/80cm transplanted BEECH, GREEN 40/60cm bare root BEECH, GREEN 60/80cm bare root BEECH, GREEN 80/100cm bare root BEECH, GREEN 125/150cm feath. whips BEECH, GREEN 150/175cm feath. whips BEECH, PURPLE 40/60cm bare root BEECH, PURPLE 60/80cm bare root BEECH, PURPLE 80/100cm feath. whips BEECH, PURPLE 125/150cm feath. whips BERBERIS DARWINII 30/40cm in 1.6 litre pots BERBERIS,GREEN/ PURPLE 40/60cm bare root BLACKTHORN 60/80cm bare root BOX, COMMON 15/20cm transplanted BOX, COMMON 20/25cm transplanted BOX, COMMON 30/40cm transplanted BOX, COMMON 40/50cm transplanted BOX, DWARF 10/12cm in 9cm pots BOX, FAULKNER 30/40cm bare root COTONEASTER LACTEUS 60/80cm in 1.6 litre pots DOGWOOD RED STEMMED 60/100cm trans ESCALLONIA, APPLE BLOSSOM 40/60cm potted ESCALLONIA RED 60/80cm in 1.6 litre pots GRISELINIA LITTORALIS 40/60cm 1 litre pots GRISELINIA LITTORALIS 60/80cm 2 litre pots HOLLY, GREEN 40/60cm in 9cm pots HOLLY, GREEN 80/100cm in 2 litre pots HORNBEAM 40/60cm bare root HORNBEAM 60/80cm bare root HORNBEAM 100/125cm bare root HORNBEAM 125/150cm feath. whips HORNBEAM 150/175cm feath. whips LAUREL, COMMON 40/60cm transplanted LAUREL, COMMON 60/80cm transplanted LAUREL, COMMON 120/150cm rootballed* LAUREL, COMMON 150/175cm rootballed* LAUREL, PORTUGAL 60/80cm in 2 litre pots

Per 10 ÂŁ19.00 ÂŁ7.80 ÂŁ10.70 ÂŁ17.30 ÂŁ39.50 ÂŁ69.40 ÂŁ17.30 ÂŁ27.50 ÂŁ43.50 ÂŁ74.90 ÂŁ67.10 ÂŁ17.30 ÂŁ8.20 ÂŁ17.60 ÂŁ19.80 ÂŁ31.80 ÂŁ39.50 ÂŁ27.50 ÂŁ31.80 ÂŁ57.50 ÂŁ14.20 ÂŁ57.50 ÂŁ67.10 ÂŁ52.70 ÂŁ83.90 ÂŁ39.50 ÂŁ92.30 ÂŁ7.80 ÂŁ10.20 ÂŁ25.50 ÂŁ39.00 ÂŁ67.80 ÂŁ26.20 ÂŁ35.90 ÂŁ284.30 ÂŁ416.30 ÂŁ79.10

Per 50 ÂŁ82.20 ÂŁ37.20 ÂŁ50.40 ÂŁ81.60 ÂŁ183.60 ÂŁ337.20 ÂŁ81.60 ÂŁ127.20 ÂŁ208.80 ÂŁ358.80 ÂŁ317.40 ÂŁ75.00 ÂŁ37.20 ÂŁ82.80 ÂŁ93.60 ÂŁ153.60 ÂŁ187.20 ÂŁ131.40 ÂŁ153.60 ÂŁ275.40 ÂŁ61.20 ÂŁ275.40 ÂŁ317.40 ÂŁ251.40 ÂŁ395.40 ÂŁ179.40 ÂŁ443.40 ÂŁ35.40 ÂŁ47.40 ÂŁ116.40 ÂŁ178.80 ÂŁ297.60 ÂŁ124.80 ÂŁ172.80 ÂŁ1355.40 ÂŁ1979.40 ÂŁ377.40

Per 10 LAUREL, PORTUGAL 100/120cm rootballed* ÂŁ284.30 LAUREL, PORTUGAL 175/200cm in 25 litre pots* ÂŁ659.90 LAVENDER, HIDCOTE 5/10cm in 11cm pots ÂŁ33.50 LAVENDER, HIDCOTE 8/12cm in 1.6 litre pots ÂŁ45.50 LAVENDER, MUNSTEAD 8/12cm in 1.6 litre pots ÂŁ45.50 LEYLANDII, GOLD/ GREEN 60/80cm in 1 litre pots ÂŁ45.50 LEYLANDII, GOLD/ GREEN 80/100cm in 2 litre pots ÂŁ67.10 LEYLANDII, GREEN 125/150cm 5 litre pots* ÂŁ131.90 LEYLANDII, GREEN 150/175cm in 5 litre pots* ÂŁ159.50 LEYLANDII, GREEN 175/200cm in 10 litre pots* ÂŁ331.10 MIXED NATIVE HEDGING 40/60cm bare root MIXED NATIVE HEDGING 60/80cm bare root MIXED NATIVE HEDGING SPECIAL MIX 60/90cm b.r. MIXED NATIVE HEDGING SPECIAL MIX 90/120cm b.r. PHOTINIA RED ROBIN 60/80cm in 3 litre pots ÂŁ92.30 PHOTINIA RED ROBIN 100/120cm in 5 litre pots* ÂŁ184.70 PRIVET, GREEN 40/60cm bare root ÂŁ12.50 PRIVET, GREEN 60/90cm bare root ÂŁ15.80 PRIVET, GREEN 90/120cm bare root ÂŁ23.80 PRIVET, GREEN 150/175cm in 10 litre pot* ÂŁ263.90 PRIVET, GREEN 175/200cm rootballed* ÂŁ436.70 PRIVET, GOLDEN 60/90cm bare root ÂŁ44.20 PYRACANTHA IN VARIETY 60/90cm in 1.6 litre pots ÂŁ69.50 QUICKTHORN (HAWTHORN) 40/60cm bare root ÂŁ6.30 QUICKTHORN (HAWTHORN) 60/80cm bare root ÂŁ7.80 QUICKTHORN (HAWTHORN) 60/90cm bare root ÂŁ9.20 QUICKTHORN (HAWTHORN) 90/120cm bare root ÂŁ11.90 QUICKTHORN (HAWTHORN) 125/150cm bare root ÂŁ21.90 ROSE RUGOSA RED OR WHITE 60/90cm transplanted ÂŁ13.00 THUJA PLICATA ATROVIRENS 60/80cm in 2 litre pots ÂŁ52.70 THUJA PLICATA ATROVIRENS 120/150cm 10 litre pots* ÂŁ225.50 THUJA PLICATA ATROVIRENS 175/200cm rootballed* ÂŁ383.90 YEW, ENGLISH 30/40cm transplanted ÂŁ28.60 YEW, ENGLISH 40/60cm transplanted ÂŁ33.00 YEW, ENGLISH 60/80cm transplanted ÂŁ54.80 YEW, ENGLISH 100/125cm rootballed* ÂŁ304.70 YEW, ENGLISH 150/175cm rootballed* ÂŁ737.90

Per 50 ÂŁ1355.40 ÂŁ3149.40 ÂŁ155.40 ÂŁ215.40 ÂŁ215.40 ÂŁ215.40 ÂŁ317.40 ÂŁ629.40 ÂŁ755.40 ÂŁ1577.40 ÂŁ27.60 ÂŁ38.40 ÂŁ54.60 ÂŁ68.40 ÂŁ443.40 ÂŁ881.40 ÂŁ54.60 ÂŁ68.40 ÂŁ110.40 ÂŁ1259.40 ÂŁ2081.40 ÂŁ192.60 ÂŁ335.40 ÂŁ27.00 ÂŁ33.60 ÂŁ40.80 ÂŁ52.80 ÂŁ94.80 ÂŁ57.60 ÂŁ251.40 ÂŁ1073.40 ÂŁ1829.40 ÂŁ135.60 ÂŁ158.40 ÂŁ250.80 ÂŁ1451.40 ÂŁ3527.40

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Next month..

November issue on sale 26 October

Best reader gardens... Garden Yea r of the 2017

Expert advice

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Carol shows how to make new perennial plants – for FREE!

Challenging plots

Wildlife friendly Alan reveals the secrets to healthy houseplants for a long-lasting display

Awards special


Monty shares his three key tasks

A deluxe Forno Oven outdoor package from Morsø.

as Longmeadow enters winter



Shrubs in pots Follow our growing guide to keep your shrubs in shape all year round

Follow Joe’s quick fixes to give your garden the winter wow factor


Small spaces

Need inspiration? Don’t miss our 9 finalists’ gardens – they’re packed with ideas!

PLUS pruning trees Oprotecting tender plants Ogrow your own Christmas gifts O sowing sweet peas & more... October 2017


And finally…

Tales from

Titchmarsh he thinks of nothing

but the Isle of Wight, and she calls it The Island as if there were no other island in the world.’ This rather carping criticism is levelled at Fanny Price in Mansfield Park and I fear that I am falling into the same trap as Jane Austen’s shy heroine. Back then – 200 years ago – its population amounted to ‘2,600 souls’*. That number has grown to around 140,000 as of 2017, and even I can’t pretend that such expansion is due to the fact that the ‘Wight Isle’ has also been known as ‘The Garden Isle’ for the past century. But in my case, that certainly helps. I spend quite a bit of my year on ‘The Island’, loving it for all kinds of reasons, not least my ability to grow plants that fail to thrive in my garden just 35 miles away as the crow flies on the mainland. Give a gardener a patch of ground where he can grow something different from his usual suspects and he will relish the opportunity. I first journeyed across The Solent – the strip of water that


I spend quite a bit of time on The Island, loving it for all kinds of reasons, not least my ability to grow plants that fail just 35 miles away

separates the Isle of Wight from mainland Britain – when I was about ten years old. We were visiting friends who lived in a suburb of Southampton, and so a day trip was organised. We travelled by steamer; I know that because I remember the deckchairs that we occupied on the upper deck were covered in smuts that wreaked havoc with my mum’s pale-blue cardigan and my dad’s cream flannels. I recall nothing of the island itself from that visit, but fast forward to the 1990s and we would travel over on our small live-aboard boat, exploring the creeks and harbours of The Solent by day and tying up in a marina or anchoring in Osborne Bay by night. We loved our visits so much that in the late 1990s we bought a flat on the island, then two flats, as our family grew, and three years ago we bought a house with a garden that I am, bit by bit, turning into a tropical-looking jungle, with allowances made for four small grandchildren (the Wendy house is the latest addition, accompanied by a sandpit made from an ancient Mirror dinghy). In the 15 years or so that we enjoyed our bolt-hole life in the flat, I never felt the need for a garden, but our desires change with time, and thanks to the expansion of the family that necessitated upsizing, I realised that I was ready for the challenge. And a challenge it is. The climate may be milder, but the garden slopes

to the north-west and the soil is intractable slipper clay. However, 50 tonnes of topsoil plus sharp sandy gravel and a drip-irrigation system later, I find that the range of plants I can grow and get through the winter is expanding: aeoniums, echiums (though one or two perish when their roots strike the cold, wet clay), hedychiums (ginger lilies), brahea palms and oleanders in pots plus osteospermums, and agapanthus that grow like weeds. Like Fanny Price, I find myself waxing lyrical about ‘The Island’, but not just because of my own garden. There are others such as those at Mottistone and Carisbrooke Castle, as well as the island’s two jewels – Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the south coast and Osborne House in East Cowes. I feel for those who travel to Devon and Cornwall for the weekend, for although I love both counties and holiday there regularly and happily, the prospect of a journey that on a Friday evening will take at best four hours and at worst nine hours (with small children in the back of the car), is a prospect that is daunting in the extreme for a weekend stopover. It is our good fortune that our journey to the island can be accomplished in less than two hours door to door. I sing the island’s praises regularly to those who love rolling countryside, staggeringly beautiful views, sandy or pebbly beaches (we have a choice), fine restaurants and secret coves, with walking, cycling and sailing in abundance. When they say, ‘I went there once as a child and it rained’, I have some sympathy. But deep down I know that they don’t know what they’re missing.

October 2017


For those who love pottering about the countryside, beaches and glorious gardens, nothing beats the Isle of Wight, says Alan

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