Gardeners' World 2020 - Episode 5 - 17 April 2020

Gardeners' World 2020 - Episode 5 - 17 April 2020

Monty Don returns for this weeks episode and welcomes us to his garden Longmeadow and Gardeners World 2020.

He is doing his own filming during the Corona Virus lockdown and talks about how important it is that if you have a garden to get outside as much as possible.

If you don't have a garden also try to get outside and enjoy the magnificent spring we have been having but obviously within the current restrictions.


Gardeners World Tete a Tete daffodils
Monty first job is to plant out some Tete a Tete daffodil bulbs that were in pots but now have gone over.

This will not only free up a pot but the bulbs can store all the energy they need to put on a good show next year.

Monty digs a hole

He digs a plant pot sized hole and takes them out as a whole and plants the clump of bulbs.

Cherry Tree

Monty points out his Great White Cherry tree that is looking amazing even though the blossom is just starting to go over.

Great White Cherry Tree
The petals are falling on to a pot that was planted by Rachel De Thame last year full of pale daffodils, Narcissus and Tulips.


These Snake's Head Fritillaries have also done really well this year, they have a chequer board patterned flower.

Snake's Head Fritillaries

They flourish in wet ground so this winter has been the ideal conditions.

West Dene

Tom Brown is the new Head Gardener of West Dean in West Sussex and Gardeners' World went along earlier in the year.

Tom Brown

He started in May 2019 as Head Gardener of the 100 acre garden.

West Dean in West Sussex

There are glass houses, Kitchen Garden, Cut Flower Garden and 40 acre Arboretum.

Everything in the garden is starting to spring into life.

They have a Winter lavender river that starts in about November in the Spring garden as it has a high water table.

West Dean in West Sussex

This makes a great spot for exotic damp loving plants.

Jim Buckling and Sarah Wain

Jim Buckling and Sarah Wain were Head Gardeners at West Dene for 28 years and were the original designers and builders of the garden.

Victorian gardening is about having control over the garden. 

The fruit trees were displayed in a certain way and the spacing of the plants and vegetables.

Tom hopes to soften this type of gardening and do something a little different.

Narcissus Avalanche

He changed one of the usual displays of spring flowers to 8 headed daffodils.


In his previous post he trialled plants for the Royal Horticultural Society and he keen to carry on doing that, starting with Foxgloves.

He has 64 varieties, then they will pick their favourites and continuing growing them.

He has restored an area in the spring garden by adding lots of Tree Ferns to add focus.

The spring garden
They have planted them in clumps to give a more natural look to the glade.

After a year in post Tom says he now feeling more confident in how the changes he is making are responding well within the garden.

He is working with the garden and just adding bits of 'glitter' to what is already there.

Monty says its been 18 years since his last visit so pledges to go once life is back to normal!

Sow Tender Annuals

To add colour to the garden now is the time to sow some tender annuals.

Tender annuals

These will be ready to plant out in June and will flower until the frost starts.

If you cant get hold of any seeds it is fine to use old seeds.

Monty is planting some Zinnias left over from last year which come in a fantastic range of vibrant colours.

Zinnia Elegans Orange King
He is planting a variety called Orange King that looks good against purple and blue plants.

He first fills trays with peat free compost or even soil from the garden will do, especially if sieved first.

Monty Sows Orange King seeds

He sows thinly before lightly covering and flattening, then placing the tray in water for 5 minutes then labels them.

He drains off the water and places in a warm place.

They will be ready in 3 - 4 weeks.

Meanwhile, Nigel & Nell relax in the sunshine...

Nigel and Nell Gardeners' World


Susannah Applegate from Hurst Brook Plants in Somerset has grown Peonies for 25 years.

As well as being in love with them is also an avid collector.

Susannah Applegate from Hurst Brook Plants

She describes her first sight of a Peony as being 'awesome'.

There are 5 forms of Peony which flower from the middle of May to the end of June. 

One of her favourite is 'Buckeye Belle' a single.

Peony Bowl of Beauty

A good one to start with is 'Bowl of Beauty' it flowers very well in a short time.

They are happy in pots as well as the ground.

They are maintenance free expect for cutting Herbaceous Peonies back in the Autumn.

Peony Bud with ants

They are often covered in ants on the buds, this is because as it opens it squeezes out nectar.

Susannah says peonies are an essential part of her life and fill her with wonder.

In his garden, Monty's Peonies are just starting to produce buds.

Writing garden

The writing garden is in full flower and makes a big impact.

Summer Snowflakes

It is full of Summer Snowflakes  and a late Daffodil called 'Thalia'.

It has a curved path with the borders full of flower and this takes you on a journey and slows your eye down.

curved path with the borders

Your garden should be designed to create the maximum effect.

Bean sticks

Monty favourite job is to put up his bean sticks!

It is too early to put the beans out but a good idea to get the structure up and make sure it is strong.

Monty Don Bean Sticks

He uses bean sticks rather than bamboo as he likes a bit of a kink!! 

Naughty Monty 😉 Pete Free 🌻

He spaces them a foot apart to form the framework of Hazel rods and adds horizontal supports before the diagonals.

Monty Don Bean Sticks

The bed had carrots in last year so these are following on as per the crop rotation.


Monty finds planting in a double or triple row is the best use of space when sowing peas.

He is using several varieties including 'Alderman', 'Eddy' and 'Blauwschokker'

Peas Blauwschokker

Monty is sowing 'Blauwschokker' to start his pea growing season.

You can grow peas in pots or on the window sill for pea shoots.

Monty Don sows peas

You can put in lettuce or radish between the rows of peas as a temporary filler.

Jobs for the weekend

Take Dahlia Cuttings

Now a good time to take Dahlia cuttings from your favourite plant.

Monty Don Takes Dahlia cuttings
Cut off a nice straight shoot at the base as near as possible to the tuber.

Cut of the excess foliage and put in gritty compost.

Dahlia Cuttings

Put somewhere warm, water and keep moist.

Prune early-flowering shrubs

Spring flowering shrubs like Winter Honeysuckle need pruning now after they have finished flowering.

Spring flowering shrubs
The new growth will provide next years flowers.

Pot up Tomatoes

If you sowed Tomatoes early they will now need potting on.

Gardeners' World Tomato Roots

First check the roots to see if its time to pot on.

Hole for repotting

Monty puts the pot inside another to fill with compost to leave the perfect size hole.


A new addition to Longmeadow to tackle the egg shortage are the arrival of their own chickens.

Monty Don's chickens

They now have 6 Light Sussex Pullets and hopefully they will soon start laying fresh eggs.

Viewers Videos

Amy is a novice garden and has only been doing it for about a year.

Amy's Brighton Garden

She has a small terrace in central Brighton.

Amy's Brighton Garden

Amy tries to be as eco friendly and green as possible and grows in old beer kegs.

Amy's Brighton Garden

She uses the inside of toilet rolls for planters for seeds as the degrade in the soil.

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  1. Some great ideas and interesting read! Given me a much needed nudge to plant my Zinnias and pot on my tomatoes. I particularly liked the novice garden piece and will recycle some empty fat ball tubs I have lying around to use for as planters for various plants that will need to be potted up. Also have two butler sinks which I will plant some flowers in. Now, just need that compost delivery to turn up!

    1. Thank you for your comment. There certainly seems to be so much to do in the garden at the moment. I seem so unprepared this year, like you I am awaiting compost and plants that I haven’t had seeds to grow.
      What are you thinking of putting in your butler sinks?
      Alpines always seems a popular choice or house leeks.
      In my blog Real Gardens Episode 18 Ann-Marie Powell shows you how to hypertufa (make them look like stone) a butler sink. Easily found using the index.
      I had one as a wildlife pond but kept leaking so I am open to ideas too?
      Hope you enjoy my blog
      Pete Free

  2. Do you have any idea which year and which episode was Tom Brown featured on Gardeners’ World when he showed COBAEA trials in West Dean?

    1. Good Evening
      I hope you are enjoying the blog.
      I have done a bit of searching and it was Gardeners' World 2019 Episode 2.
      If you search HDclump Gardeners' World 2019 Episode (a very good site with lots of gardening programmes) it may also play in Dailymotion site which is also their backup site.
      Unfortunately it is no longer available on the BBc iplayer.
      It was an amazing programme and the displays of flowers were breath-taking.
      I hope this is what you are looking for.
      Best Wishes
      Pete Free