Beechgrove 2021 Episode 5 29 April 2021

Beechgrove 2021 Episode 5 29 April 2021

Carole Baxter welcomes us to Episode 5 of Beechgrove 2021 by saying its a bit nippy there as she introduces Mairi Rattray Head Gardener and Kirsty Wilson who is back in the garden for the first time this series.

They are in Carole favourite garden, the Woodland Garden and Kirsty says it is looking beautiful and Carole points out a couple of gems, the Yellow Erythronium and the Hepaticas.

Kirsty really likes the Cardamine Pentaphylla and Mairi like the Trillium Rivale that are starting to come up.

Mairi takes them to show them an issue with a lawn that last year was a no mow lawn and they only got to cut it when they returned to the garden.

It has not been fed or aerated and it has always struggled so this year Mairi wants to get it looking good.

Kirsty says that going to be high maintenance!

Mairi Rattray

Carole Baxter

Carole is in an area of Beechgrove called the Orchard Lawn and it was an area that they used to grow fruit trees in but there was a drainage problem so they were removed.

The hollows where the trees were are still evident even though they were filled in they have sunk over time.

Carole Baxter

Carole is going to show us how to repair dips in the lawn that will make it easier to cut although there quite a bit of work to do this.

Firstly you need to lift all the effected turf and using a stick as a level measure you then need to backfill the hole with soil.


The soil then needs to be firmed using your feet and level it with a rake before putting the turves back on.

For a very shallow hollow it can be rectified by gradually top dressing the area.

Back to Carole who has a mini Citrus collection and lots of people would have already seen the Kumquat with its little fruit.

She has some new plants she not seen a Caviar Lime AKA Finger Lime and a Yuzu AKA Japanese Citrus which is being trained as a standard.


Carole says this needs a tidy up to encourage the side branches and then they need potting on in traditional clay pots.

The clay pots have a nice big drainage hole in the middle which she puts a crock over to keep it draining.

She is using Proprietary Compost but you don't have to buy that but you can make your own from soil based compost and add a fifth of Ericaceous compost and the same of grit.

Specialist Fertiliser

Once they are potted on they need feeding with a Specialist Fertiliser and there are 2 sorts.

March to April you start to use the Citrus Summer Fertiliser which is high in Nitrogen and then in October you switch to the Winter Citrus Fertiliser which is equal parts of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.

Brian Cunningham

Brian is at home at Old Scone and he has got himself a push mower!

To be more sustainable in the way he gardens, Brian is using a push mower in his garden this year for cutting the lawn.

In the past he has used electric and petrol mowers which is good for a hilly lawn but as he has a nice flat lawn he decided to try the push mower instead.

Brian Cunningham

He has a 'wee' cylinder mower thats very light and simple to use and to cut the lawn is a 1.5 km walk, so that will also keep him fit.

Now the problem is what to do with grass cuttings? Brian says you can leave the box off and leave them on the lawn, or if you have Comfrey its a really good mulch for them. 

He has a hot bin composter and the grass will give off heat as it decomposes.

Brian Cunningham

Next we are off to his no-dig plot and on our last visit it was too cold for planting but he has added some Cloches out of blue pipes and heavy duty polythene so he could make a start.

The hoops are 1.2 metres apart and are kept in the ground by some half canes under the pipes.

The polythene cover is dug into the ground on 1 side and is held down with bricks on the other side.


If people are questioning if using the plastic is sustainable Brian says he planning on using it for a very long time.

The Winter there has been pretty hard with lots of frost as well as snows o thanks to the polytunnel he been growing his Garlic and now he growing them on.

Brian also trying to make the most of his limited space and has planted lettuces between the Garlic.

Garlic and lettuce

Today he is planting Onion Sets which are ready at least 4 weeks earlier than planting seeds.

When buying a bag of sets they need to be firm and throw away any soft ones, its best to plant them by making a hole rather than forcing them in ground and you leave the point sticking out of the ground.

After all his hard work Brian is off for a cuppa.

George Anderson

George is at his Allotment in Joppa and he is planting out some Duncan Cabbages which he had sown in February.

They have been hardened off and are now ready for planting out in the ground he has fertilised, dug over, raked and tramped on.

This year they are trying to plant enough just for the 2 of them and a few for the neighbours.

He is going to put them closer together than usual in a row so he gets a smaller cabbage and can get more in.


George taps them out of the pot and they have a good root system and firmly plants them in the ground.

To check it is in firmly he tries to pull it out by the leaf and the leaf should tear not pull the plant out.

The ground at his allotment has Clubroot but he going to give them lots of water and is covering them with fleece or enviromesh and they will be ready to harvest before the Clubroot sets in.

He has only sowed about 10 seeds to get his 6 plants and will plant some more if you want to get a succession of plants if not he will save them for another season.

Once they have been planted they all get a good watering in and the hoops of netting put over them.

George Anderson

George is at the top of his allotment and has a triangle of land he not sure what to do with and it already has daffodils so he going to sow some wild flower seed or Annual seed mix in it.

This will then attract the bees and insects and the pollinators will then help the crops.

He is giving it a rake first and he has some seed bombs a mix of clay and seed he got for a Christmas present so he will sow them separately as a trial along the edge.

wild flower seed

He also has a seed mix you can get from anywhere which is a mixture of seed and some vermiculite to act as a carrier when you sow it.

He scatters the seed from the box which is very light so do not try this on a windy day and then he rakes it over.

seed bombs

The seed bombs, the mix of clay and seeds he scatters then pushes them into the ground to get some moisture as he worried they will dry out on the surface.

George then gives them all a good watering.

Mairi Rattray
Mairi is admiring the job Carole did earlier in raising the sunken grass in the old Orchard area.

Today Mairi will be cutting some paths and doing the edges in the no-mow area which was first started by Brian in 2019 and there is a lot of lawn that is just left.

cutting some paths

She has already started cutting some paths and defining edges and without these the area would just look neglected.

These will then be maintained throughout the growing season and the rest left to grow and the native flowers come up that are great for pollinators as well as looking good.

Kirsty Wilson

Kirsty is sowing a living lawn which is like a normal lawn but is full of wild flowers but at a low height.

The lawn will only be kept at 10cm high and it is also low maintenance and will only need cutting every 2-3 weeks and should be full of native flowers to your area.

oval areas

They have 2 oval areas the first one with just wild flowers and the second is wildflowers and grasses.

They have stripped back the turf added some top soil to make it level and the ideal time for sowing them is Spring or Autumn.

Kirsty scatters the the seeds evenly on the surface and then she gives it a gentle rake.

Chris Beardshaw

Chris is in his Cotswold garden where he is helped by his wife Frances who is doing the filming.

We are visiting him for the first time this season on a sunny but very cold day and they have regularly still be having frosts for the last few weeks at night as well as 2 lots of snow.

However gardening does not stop and today he going to review some of the projects they did last year in the garden.

Chris Beardshaw

He is on one of the central paths in the garden and the Box hedge that had been there for many years had been suffering badly from Box Blight.

They even considered last year taking it all out but instead they cut it back hard to give it one last chance and this left the hedge looking awful and bare.

They then cleaned out underneath the hedge and packed this with Mulch, they gave it a slow release fertiliser as well as spraying it with a Box Blight Treatment plus Seaweed treatment every fortnight when it started to regrow.

Box hedgeBox hedge

The hedge is looking a lot better and has thickened up and is much improved from last year,

For this season you need to keep it compact and encourage the side shoots to fill any gaps by doing an early cut to encourage secondary growth.

If you do have Box Blight you need to be brave and give it dramatic treatment if you want to keep the hedge.

Grand Buxus

Chris is now showing us 2 Grand Buxus Specimens that were once spheres to frame the door but the Box Blight transferred to this part of the garden and they became badly affected.

They considered taking them out or giving them a dramatic cut but decided on a different approach and have raised the canopy to stop the spores getting to the leaves to re-infect it.

Any growth below the canopy he will just rub off with his thumb to keep the legs of the plant clean.

Chris is now showing us an Acer Ginnala where they raised the canopy last year cutting off all the side shoots as it is multi stemmed and was casting too much shade on the border below.

Acer Ginnala

By pushing up the canopy it also exposes the attractive looking multi stems.

They replanted with dapple shade loving plants which are a mix of Herbaceous and shrubs to give them good ground cover.

Acer Ginnala

The plants are still young so this year they will fill the gaps with some shade loving Annuals until the other plants get bigger and cover the area.

Handy Hints of the Week

Mairi gives us a quick way of giving small containerised plants a good water and that by dunking the whole container in a bucket of water.


When it stops bubbling it means the plant has been re-hydrated and soaked through.

Carole reminds us of hoeing weed seedlings and to keep doing it especially as the Beechgrove gardens became full of weeds during lockdown.

Kirsty is helping a poor pot bound Hosta that has been in the same pot for 7 years and it is stuck in the pot.

container knife

She shows us a container knife that allows you to cut around the plant and then you can lever it out.

George is telling us about keeping hydrated not just you but the recently planted plants and he is watering his fruit trees and bushes.

Mairi ends the show in the Bog Garden with Kirsty and Carole looking at the new shoots coming , the Irises and the bright yellow of the Marsh Marigolds.

The Pulmonaria is running wild and coming up through the Gunnera and Mairi thinks it will need controlling but the other 2 like it and the programme ends for this week.

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