Real Gardens Episode 19

Real Gardens Episode 19

In this episode of Real Gardens, Monty Don visits Leicestershire to see Joanne and John for a return visit.

Joanna and John Crane's beautiful garden in Leicestershire has been their home for 13 years.

Their garden was featured in a previous series of Real Gardens.

John Crane's garden in Leicestershire

Monty Don and Joanna made a lot of big changes to her garden and Monty returns to see how these have developed and to give her a hand in her large garden.

In the last series they planted an asparagus bed, created a turf maze, made a round window through a hedge and lastly pruned the huge Rose that covered the front of the house. 

turf maze

The Rose had a very drastic Monty prune, leaving only a few bare stems that Joanna was not sure that it would be a positive outcome. 

A year later they are still talking about the pruning. 

They are very pleased with  the Rosa 'Mme. Alfred Carrière' and it is thankfully doing very well.

Rosa 'Mme. Alfred Carrière

Joanna takes Monty on a tour of her garden. The garden is laid out into different rooms. 

An Italian inspired parterre behind the house, a scented flower garden bordering the main lawn called that because of a smelly septic tank. 

Since Monty was last in the garden the smell of the septic tank has gone as its been recovered.

The border has recovered from its move across the garden. 

avenue of pear trees

Monty admires her Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' next to the Sweet Peas and Lupins.

The turf maze looks settled and the 8 year old avenue of pear trees is a lovely feature. 

In the hedge the round window is starting to be more enclosed as the hedge grows around it.


Joanna puts Monty to work on her Wisteria that needs reshaping and a prune. 

She confesses to only doing it once a year instead of the recommended twice a year in late Summer and January. 

Joanna says she does not have a problem with it not flowering well with the once a year pruning.


Monty is soon up the ladder taming the vigorous growing Wisteria. 

Joanna joins him to cut back the new stems to just 5 leaves, to slow down the growth and to help develop the flower buds for next year. 

Cutting back to 6 inches in late summer along with a second prune in January back to 2 or 3 flower buds means that it will flower well. 

Joanna clears her bedroom window

Joanna clears her bedroom window where she said the Wisteria had grown through into the bedroom and along the wall.

Joanna is cautious with the pruning still and leaves some uncut to increase its spread. 

Monty on the other hand attacks his side, pruning back as far as possible. 

Joanne trains some new stems into a framework by tying them to wires secured to the brickwork.

Tying stems to wire

Joanna is happy with the Wisterias annual trim but she will not commit to doing the recommended January prune.

Monty leaves her to ponder on his advice and will return next episode.

Next, Carol Klein visits Wiltshire to check in with Adam and his Organic self sufficient Garden

Having only been living in his pretty Wiltshire cottage for 8 months Adam Hunt has already made a start taming and rewilding his garden to become his Self Sufficient dream.

Adam and his Organic self sufficient Garden

In Real Gardens Episode 18 the herb garden in the patio was started in order to grow medicinal and culinary herbs for Adam to use.

We also had a look round the cultivated and wild areas of his garden and at his chickens and ducks. 

Adam likes to recycle in his wildlife friendly garden using old wood for raised beds and empty bottles for path edges.

empty bottles for path edges

In this episode Carol Klein returns to find that Adam has been busy.

He has been clearing up the vegetable bed area, clearing the paths and putting down weed suppressant membrane. 

To make the path he plans to use old roofing tiles and Carol wonders what he is doing with the mixer and tiles. 

putting down weed suppressant membrane

After smashing the roof tiles up, Adam plan is by putting them in the mixer as it will round off the edges and make them less sharp to walk on. 

Filling buckets with the tiles they put them in the mixer after put on goggles for protection. Adam has hired the mixer and its very noisy!

Carol is impressed how well it has worked and they carry on filling the barrow until there is enough to cover the paths, they then tamper it down.


The next job is to harvest some vegetables from the now accessible beds. 

It is now time to pull up the shallots, which they use a trowel to get up. 

The bed is full of comfrey, but Adam has a Comfrey bed which he uses to make liquid manure with. He also puts the comfrey on the compost heap as a accelerator. 

The Comfrey in the bed with the shallots has affected the crop as it has overshadowed them. 

Carol starts removing the Comfrey

Carol starts removing the Comfrey with a fork making sure she gets all the roots or it will regrow. The roots can grow as deep as 3 metres.

Adam is digging up his onions, which he then puts to dry out on top of his chicken run which is light and airy spot. 

The onions will either be kept in nets or strung together when dried out.


They prepare the now empty seed bed with a light rake.

Adam has a selection of seeds including early spring cabbage and Mizuna, a Japanese cut and come again salad leaf. 

Carol makes a small farrow and sows the cabbage thinly and it will be transplanted when it has grown. 

Carol sows cabbage seeds

They plant the Mizuna a bit closer together as it won't later be transplanted. 

Next they will give the bed and the newly planted seeds a water and Carol departs.

Next, Ann-Marie Powell is in the Cotswolds to visit Dilys and her Town garden

Dilys Wilson's Cotswold garden

Dilys Wilson's pretty Cotswold back garden has changed radically since we first visited it. 

Dilys has been doing some major transformations to her garden.

In Real Gardens Episode 18, she covered some butler sinks in Hypertufa that the great late Geoff Hamilton was known for. 

Fruit trees

She also planted some Espalier fruit trees.

The series of rooms in this small courtyard, walled garden are really taking shape.

Ann-Marie Powell returns to see how the plants in the new Potager have grown and Dilys is already having produce. 


The fruit trees have perked up and are thriving.

During this episode the focus is to concentrate on the courtyard and the horrible wall. 

The area is just a small, dark corridor you walk through at the moment to access the rest of the garden.


Dilys wants it to be a nice attractive, intimate area to entertain in but first they need to clear out the junk!

Once its cleared, they go shopping for ornaments to hang on the wall to make the most of the small L shaped space. 

They visit a shop that has a lot of Asian objects including a Persian 18th Century wall panel that Dilys has fallen in love with.

Persian 18th Century wall panel

Dilys wants to make it a focal point on the ugly wall and put a mirror behind it. 

Ann-Marie loves the idea of how it will reflect the garden and make it appear bigger but thinks it will be a nightmare of a job to do!

Next stop the reclamation yard to pick up an ancient door that Dilys has previously spotted and they take the door and the panel back to the cottage.

ancient door close up

Now the difficult bit starts. 

Dilys wants to surround the Persian panel with trellis and put lattice on the mirror but Ann-Marie thanks this will distract from their beauty.

Ann-Marie first worry is how to fix it to the wall and she asks what soil is under the courtyard area. 

Dilys tells her no soil just rock!

Dilys and Ann-Marie wear goggles

The pair don googles and set to work on the 200 year old wall. 

They start by digging holes for the 2, 4 x 4inch posts.

They start with a pneumatic drill to make the 2ft holes and set the posts using post mix.

The next job is to fix the antique door.

Luckily there is a concrete base that they can screw the post holders to using a chemical bolting method and then place the posts inside them.  

Next, they fix the door onto the posts.

Doors are fixed

They try out the window behind the Persian Panel and take a look at the climbers they have to grow over it. 

For this area, they have a Virginia Creeper and a Honeysuckle and once the whole area is painted up and softened with plants it will look wonderful.


Dilys thanks Ann-Marie for her help and swears to never try anything like this again. 

I have a feeling Ann-Marie thinks the same.

Monty Don on Watering
In this weeks tip section Monty looked at watering during the dry weather.

A sprinkler needs to be left on for a long time to be effective, so it is pointless if you do not leave it long enough to soak the roots.

An old pipe or lemonade bottle can be used to sink into the ground next to your plant.

Insert the pipe or bottle when you plant it so that the roots gets a good watering and also keeps the roots growing deep.

If you do go away on holiday gather all your pots and put them in a shady place.

By keeping them together they hopefully will not dry out as much after a big pre-holiday soaking.

 I hope to cover these when and if they become available. Pete Free 🌻

All photographs are copyright of Channel 4

Share this post

No comments:

Post a Comment