Posts Tagged ‘Carol Klein’

Raised beds, borders, and green seed

As the daylight hours are getting longer I have the opportunity of doing a spot of gardening once I arrive home from work.  Today I had the added bonus of leaving work early and so was able to spend a good couple of hours tackling a job that I started at the weekend: building another raised bed. 

We have 6 large beds and 2 small beds and these are used exclusively by my wife, Katherine (some of you may know her as Florist in the Forest) to grow cut flowers.  At the moment it seems like we can’t build enough beds, or build them fast enough, to ensure that we have the necessary space to plant all of the plants that are growing in pots and seed trays but that will soon need planting out.

Building another raised bed; all the turf lifted by sundown.

Now that the turf is lifted, the next job will be to rotavate the soil, add some more topsoil and compost (this will either be mushroom compost that has been sitting around for quite some time or well rotted horse manure) then get the actual boards in place. 

I’ve also lifted some paving from an area next to the house in order to extend the size of the border that we have there.  I think that Katherine is eyeing up this area for more cut flowers but I am determined to retain this patch for purely ornamental purposes.  The earth here is very compact and is going to require plenty of work and added nutrients before it is fit for planting.

Having lifted a number of paving slabs, I'm looking forward to cultivating the soil and getting in some new plants

We have plenty of primula vulgaris in the garden, and I intend to propagate from this by sowing green seed.  As ever, Carol Klein is the lady to turn to for advice on propagation and green seed should be sown as follows: 

1 Fill a seed tray with good seed compost and firm down.

2 Take off a whole seed pod, starting with the fattest at the base of the flower stem.

3 Carefully open the seed pod from the top using fingernails or a sharp knife.

4 Peel back the capsule covering to expose the green seeds and gently scrape off the seeds on to the surface of the compost.

5 Distribute the seed evenly over the surface. This is sometimes tricky because the seed is sticky.

6 Cover the surface of the compost with sharp grit.

7 Place the tray in a container of shallow water until the surface of the grit becomes wet, then remove and put outside in a shady place.

There are accompanying images which can be viewed by accessing the article (printed way back in 2002) via the Telegraph gardening section.

For me this simple Primrose is the best of them all; I’m not a fan of the various gaudy colours available at garden centres. This Primrose, nestled against the base of a tree trunk, is beauty without ostentation; quite wonderful.

The beautiful primula vulgaris


Finally, and this goes out especially to Dave, Alliums. How do they compare?

Just waiting for those umbels!

So this weekend will be one of hard labour I think; but it will all be worth it come the summer.


Gardeners’ World, Monty Don and Carol Klein: a Welcome Return

Monty was at the top of a ladder, pruning saw in one had and a wrinkled apple in the other.  He was gazing at the apple with an excitement and pleasure that was palpable, one of those moments when television reaches out beyond the limits of its medium.  The apple (Jupiter variety) was taken last year from the very tree he was pruning; in his hand he held not simply an apple but something symbolic, a measure of the enjoyment of growing and relishing one’s own fruit.

It is this sense of gentle and embracing wonder, pleasure and enthusiasm that Monty is able to bring to the screen (Carol Klein does exactly the same thing and couldn’t seem to keep still for being so enraptured by the garden at Angelsey Abbey)  that make his return to Gardeners’ World so welcome.

There is something very soothing about Monty Don and as he walked us around his garden, and explained the various parts, I felt an immense sense of satisfaction.  My only criticism: the length of the first episode.  Surely the BBC could have made this a one hour introduction so that we were able to see a little more of Long Meadow, to listen to Monty’s warming tone, and to hear of his plans for the garden for the coming year? Perhaps squeezing in Rachel de Thame and Joe Swift was over-egging the pudding, and we don’t want to end up with a chunk of GW effectively given over to short editions of Ground Force!

That said, however, I am pleased to say that once again Friday night at 8.30pm is Gardeners’ World time.

Monty Don and Carol Klein

I’m looking forward to the return of Gardener’s World in March, especially with Monty Don back in the driving seat and presenting from his own garden.  Some people complain that he is too much of a veg man, but if you’ve read anything he has written you’d know that this isn’t the case.

I’ve also been enjoying Carol Klein’s Life in a Cottage Garden on the BBC; her enthusiasm is infectious and her knowledge, especially of propagation, is boundless. When it’s not yet possible to get into the garden and do much beyong clearing, pruning and sowing the odd seeds, it is enchanting to watch the progress of the seasons through Carol’s garden and revel in it along with her.

I’ve picked up plenty of tips from the programme and have succumbed so far as to buy the accompanying book, a wonderful read and similar to Monty’s Ivington Diaries (an equally enjoyable and thought provoking read).

I hope the BBC realise and value the gem that they have in Carol Klein and give her the scope and freedom to express herself and share her knowledge in future programmes.

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