Real Gardens Episode 20

Real Gardens Episode 20

In Real Gardens Episode 20, Monty Don visits Leicestershire to see Joanne and John for a return visit.

This week is the last in the series and I believe the last ever Real Gardens as Channel 4 dropped all their gardening Programmes in 2001 after losing coverage of the RHS flower shows. Pete Free 🌻

Joanne and John Crane home

Joanne and John Crane moved to their house in Leicestershire, 13 years ago and it was featured in a previous Series. 

The garden is a series of formal rooms, with borders bursting with plants and flowers and Renaissance style clipped hedges.

In Real Gardens Episode 19 we made our first return visit where we had a tour of the garden and a Wisteria was given its late summer pruning.

Joanne and John Crane garden

Returning this week Monty Don really will be making a last visit!

They admire the herbaceous border on their walk through the garden and remember his first wet visit and the tulips.

The garden now is suffering in a drought.

Monty likes the Montbretia Crocosmia 'Emily McKenzie' and the Daylily Hemerocallis 'Stafford' next to the red tipped shrub Photinia 'Red Robin'. 

Joanna states she has gone off mixed shrub borders since planting this! Plans for its replacement are still afoot.

Hedge Doorway

They go through the hedge doorway into another garden room to look at the Parterre that on a previous visit Monty had stuck his hand into and said it was looking a bit mangey!

Joanna has a problem with the hedging that she has had tested and it has box blight caused by the fungus Cylindrocladium buxicola (syn. Calonectria pseudonaviculata).

The fungus attacks the foliage causing grey discolouration and leaf drop, the plant is then left weakened and may eventually die.

Hedge with box blight

The hedge has lost its bounce and there is no fungicide available that will cure the fungus. 

You can cut the hedge down and hope that it will regrow but the hedge is 13 years old. 

Joanna has decided this is the only available option and Monty and Joanna start clipping away at the box with Secateurs. 

Hedge with box blight

Nobody knows where this disease started. 

The hedge is left looking awful but it is the only drastic solutions that may work.

They have to be careful how they clear it up, in case it infects the rest of the garden as it is carried by even the tiniest leaf. 

They use a leaf blower to suck up the small leaves and collect up all the branches to burn.

Sitting down to a glass of wine

Sitting down to enjoy a glass of wine with Joanna and husband John they discuss the days events and the demise of the box hedge as this was the first part of the garden they did.

Monty vows to return next year to see what has happened in the garden, alas i don't believe he did (well not on the programme anyway).

Next, we see Carol Klein go to Wiltshire to speak with Adam and Helen and to see the progress of their organic self sufficient garden

Helen and Adam

Adam Hunt wants to live the good life in his Wiltshire garden and be both a recycler and self sufficient.

We first visited Adam in Real Gardens Episode 18 where we looked round his Organic wildlife friendly garden and made a herb garden for him to use.

In Real Gardens Episode 19 a new path was made from recycling broken roof tiles and his onions and shallots lifted and seeds sown for the winter and spring.

Helen and Adam Garden

Carol Klein returns for the last time and what turns out to be also for the programme. 

Helen joins him for this programme and they talk about how they don't want to clear the whole garden as there are a lot of established trees and plants.

Adam is experimenting with Permaculture style of gardening, where a range of perennial plants are grown together.

New bed by the terrace

He has prepared a new bed by the terrace ready for Carols arrival.

There is a bank of soil and old wall at the back that would be a lot of work to remove so Adam has decided to work with it and create a food and wildlife hedge.

Starting with the climbing plants there is a Golden Hop and a Blackberry, which is thorn less. 

Golden Hop

First they dig holes and fill with Adam's home made compost to improve the poor, stoney soil. 

The Hop will love the stony soil and Adam plans to use it medically to put in pillows to help you have sweet dreams. 

Next they plant the Blackberry Rubus 'Oregon Thornless' which is great for wildlife and Adam needs to get to the berries before the birds do.

Carol and Adam

A Grape Vine Vitis Vinifera is planted to climb the fence with strawberries in front of it. 

Adam is happy for it to grow alongside the ivy and even bindweed. 

Another climber he adds is a bit more unusual a Yam Dioscorea Batatas, which is added to the bank as it is the root you harvest not the fruit but it is still trained up the fence on strings.


They then finish the rest of the bed and plant Daylily Hemerocallis 'Cartwheels' that as well as looking good are also edible. 

Apparently they taste just like sweet lettuce.

The transformed terrace area is complete and they can sit and eat from the borders next year.

Adam, Carol and Helen

Carol cracks open a daylily flower and talks about it being the last visit and how good the flower actually is!

Next, Ann-Marie Powell visits the Cotswolds for an update on Dilys and her town garden.

Dilys Wilson has put in a lot of hard work to transform her Cotswold walled garden in her cottage.

She has worked hard creating a journey through the rooms she now has in her small Cotswold stone filled garden.

In our last ever visit we can see the hard work come to fruition from when we first visited in Real Gardens Episode 15,  where an Arbour and trellis were put up. 

In Real Gardens Episode 16, they rebuilt a dry stone wall and in Real Gardens Episode 17 the Potager and fruit trees were added.

In Real Gardens Episode 18 they added Hypertufa to the outside of some butler sinks. 

Persian screen

Real Gardens Episode 19 saw them putting up a Persian screen and old door to disguise an old wall in the courtyard area. 

The garden also includes a lawn area and a circular pond.

Ann-Marie Powell returns for her last visit and Dilys is really pleased how the garden is looking. 

It is raining and Dilys has planned a party and now needs some lights to show off the garden at night.

The courtyard area

The courtyard area and the steps need some lights, and Ann-Marie suggests pond lights and to light the tree and the back walls.

Ken the electrician arrives and they need a transformer in the building to bring down the current in the garden. 

Ken and his assistant lay the 12v cable whilst Ann-Marie and Dilys place the lights where they want them.

The courtyard pond

They start with the pond lights they place them in the  water but have to keep the plug end dry. 

Next job the courtyard gardens and Ann-Marie is not impressed with he plastic looking lights. 

Dilys says the idea is to hide them in the plants as much as possible to disguise the awful lights.

The tree light is added and angled upwards to shine into the branches.

With just an hour until party time candles and holders are added to the steps.

It is Party time!

The courtyard party

The rain has stopped as Dilys friends and neighbours gather round the pond and admire the lights and garden. 

The guests all speak at how well Dilys has done with the garden.

Ann-Marie and Dilys look back in admiration about how well they have done and the series and Programme ends!

Monty Don on Box Hedge Cuttings
To make a whole new box hedge it can work out expensive but you can grow your own from cuttings.

Monty Don Box Hedge Cuttings

Always carry a polythene bag for cuttings as it keeps them fresh.

For planting you need a mix of compost and grit that's free draining. 

Fill a pot and strip down the leaves from the hedge cuttings and cut off at a leaf node. 

Put them round the edges of the pot as many as you can fit in. 

Hedge cuttings
Copyright Channel 4

Keep them somewhere shady and keep moist and next year there should be some mini box plants.

All photographs are copyright of Channel 4

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  1. Episode 20 is missing on channel 4

  2. Good afternoon
    I have had a look and this episode is numbered as Episode 21 on Channel 4.
    I must admit I am confused to whether this is Series 3 or 2 when I contacted Channel 4 to ask I was told it was Series 3 and only had 20 episodes.
    I also asked if they planned to show any more Series but unfortunately not at the moment.
    Monty then went on to do Big Dreams Small Spaces that was recently shown on BBC2 which is similar to Real Gardens, which is on my list to cover.
    Hope you are enjoying the blog
    Pete Free 🌻