Dig It - Discussions on Gardening Topics

Informal and lively discussions on gardening.

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  • 19. December '23 in the Garden

    Dig It hosts Peter Brown and Chris Day look at the latest news, views, and gardening tasks to keep you busy, plus the Dig it top 5, and some ideas for getting out and about this month.What’s on7 – 11 December Winter Flower Week at the Garden Museum, London. Five floral designers transform the Garden Museum into an environmentally friendly floral winter wonderland.Friday 8th December, 12 noon – 4pm at the Garden Centre we have a wine tasting event with our good friend Tim Chafor from Chafor Vineyard Estate, Gawcott.The RHS are running Glow Events at their gardens at Wisley, 4pm - 9pm, Hyde Hall (5-9pm) in Essex and at RHS Rosemoor (4.40- 8.30pm). Visit the RHS website for details.Dig It top 5 - spring flowering bulbsNo 1 Narcissi 'Tête-à-tête, No 2 Amaryllis ‘Dancing Queen’, No 3 Narcissi Mixed 1.5kg bag, No 4 Hyacinth ‘Early Forcing’ and at No 5 Tulip ‘Purple Rain’.A ‘lunar halo’ was spotted in the night skies in late November and Peter managed to capture the phenomenon which is caused by the refraction of moonlight from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. // LINK TO PETERS PHOTO //NewsAdam Frost will be at the Gardeners World Live Show in June 2024 with his Chef’s Table Garden.Greenpeace freedom of information request highlights the huge waiting lists for allotments.Nearly half of species are threatened according to new Kew research findings.Peat not mentioned in the King’s Speech.The RHS publish a list of peat-free nurseries.A new chilli Pepper X is now a new Guinness world record breaker.A new chapter at Hillier Nurseries.Treadstone wins the GIMA Award in the Category Sustainability Champion for their Treadstone Rope TrellisCandide, a dedicated social networking app for plant and garden-lovers, closes on the 7th December.A taster of the 2024 Chelsea Flower Show Gardens.The RHS open their first standalone shop, The Plant Space at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent.Gardeners’ World presenter Sue Kent highlights specific Garden Heritage Seed varieties from Garden Organic. Sue visited Garden Organics earlier this year.Horticulture sector needs urgent safeguards, reports House of Lords committeeSir David Attenborough donates Easter Island seeds to Kew‘Darwin’s oak’ to be felled to make way for Shrewsbury bypassEast Anglian Fens were covered in yew trees 4,000 years ago, study findsThe entire population of Kenya has been given the day off to plant trees Mentions: Sir Harold Hillier Garden, famed winter garden, in Romsey in Hampshire is well worth visiting. The Garden Centre will be donating 50p per Christmas tree sold this year to the charity Ripple Africa who actively promote sustainable tree planting in Malawi.Product mentions: Winter wash fruit trees and bushes with Growing Success Winter Wash, tree ties, tree shelters, check your stakes, insulate outdoor taps against frost, Secateurs Eversharp, Wolf Secateurs or Felco. WD40, Blade sharpening tool/stone. Christmas tree stand with a water reservoir.Plant mentions: Abies nordmanniana, English Oak, Bluebell, Dandelion, fruit trees and soft fruit.Our thanks for Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.

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  • 18. Creating a Terrific Terrarium with Dr Manos Kanellos

    The trend for terrarium gardening grows each year, with more people than ever creating miniature enclosed indoor growing spaces to enjoy at home. Terrariums are simple to make, easy to care for and rewarding to have. In this episode Peter Brown and Chris Day chat with Dr Manos Kanellos who takes us through the history, the selection of plants and planting to create your own display.Main pointers: Location, terrariums (open or closed), types of plants best suited to light levels and careful consideration to the way you place your plants. Plant in layers starting with height and then choose plants to bulk out the display as well as covering the soil. Try and theme your display – all green, variegated or add splashes of colour in the way of plants or props.Plant mentions: Open terrariums Cacti and slow growing succulents, where possible try and use the same group of plants, plus air and carnivorous plants. Flowering plants such as Saintpaulia and Kalanchoe are better in open terrariums.Closed terrariums: Adiantum, Pteris and Nephrolepsis ferns, Fittonia, Helxine soleirolii, Begonia rex and Peperomias. The only orchid Manos would suggest for growing in a terrarium is the Jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor).Product mentions Any glass containers are suitable as long as they are large, grit, gravel or clay granules provide the drainage, an escape for water, activated carbon charcoal helps with the filtration and absorption qualities of the compost, peat-free potting mix, BBQ tongs for handling cacti, special tools come into play if using the old fashioned thin necked carboys or green bottles, a small watering can with a rose or large spoonful of water to help settle in new plants. Houseplant Focus plant feed. Decorative stones, slate, or moss to provide a terrain to your plants. You can add characters likes decorative animals, Buddhas, fairies, dinosaurs or even LEGO characters to help create a story. Fungus gnats (sciarid flies) control - use small yellow sticky traps or carefully spray with SB Plant Invigorator and Bug Killer.Desert Island plant and tool: A palm maybe Beaucarnea recurvata, the elephant's foot or ponytail palm and a mobile phone!The book, Terrariums: A Beginners Guide is an authoritative and detailed guide to terraria by Manos Kanellos and is available from all good Garden Centres.Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.
  • 17. November '23 in the Garden

    After an incredibly wet, windy and mild autumn in many parts of the UK, November beckons with a hope of more settled conditions. Dig It’s Peter Brown and Chris Day bring us up to date with the latest gardening news, a couple of events celebrating apples, and the joy of garden visiting, as well as plenty of gardening tasks to be getting on with, plus the return of a very special guest to Dig It, houseplant aficionado Jane Perrone and her latest gardening project – Houseplant Gardener in a Box.Plants mentions: Apple Granny Smith, Comfrey, Sweet Chestnut, Sycamore, Loofah, Tulips, Winter pansies, Wallflower ‘Sugar Rush’, Broad beans, Onions, Shallots and Garlic. Narcissus ‘Paper White’ and bare-root raspberry canes.Product mentions: Empathy RootGrow, Melcourt SylvaGrow Multi-Purpose Compost, Levington Organic Blend Topsoil, wheatgerm fish food, greenhouse bubble insulation, horticultural fleece, garden furniture covers, grease bands for fruit trees, Gro-Sure Repair Kits, Autumn lawn food and pot feet.What’s on27th October – 28th January 2024 The Museum of Cider in Hereford is hosting an exhibition called A Variety of Cultures. The event explores how cultures across the globe have taken the apple and made it their own. Thursday 23rd November, Annual Lecture – What Garden Visiting Does for Us with Robin Lane Fox. Venue the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR, or watch it live-streamed online at 7pm.This month’s Dig It top 5Soft fruits 1. Strawberry ‘Red Gauntlet’ 2. Strawberry ‘Cambridge Favourite’ 3. Blueberry ‘Sunshine Blue’ 4. Strawberry ‘Hapil’ 5. Blackcurrant ‘Big Ben.’NewsThe Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland felling incident. Wrexham’s 484-year-old Sweet Chestnut Tree has been voted Tree of the Year 2023.The UK’s largest collection of comfreys has been made a National Collection by the conservation charity Plant Heritage. Eight Guinness World Records achieved at Great Autumn Malvern Show.A 10,000 collection of pumpkins and squashes set a new Guiness World Record at Sunnyfields Farm in Southampton. Amateur Gardening magazine saved from cancellation.The results of this year’s Big Butterfly Count are in, and more than 1.5 million butterflies and daytime months were recorded. Losses of specimen yew trees at King Charles’s Sandringham residence as staff remove 14 dead trees in a new Topiary Garden.Gardeners’ World has paid tribute to Monty Don's golden retriever, Nellie, following her sad passing. Therapy garden at King’s Heath, Birmingham is awarded thousands of Lottery money for major revamp.Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.
  • 16. Foggy Bottom, creating an iconic garden with Adrian Bloom

    In this month’s Dig It, Peter Brown and Chris Day chat with Adrian Bloom about his iconic Garden – Foggy Bottom in Diss, Norfolk. Adrian tells the story behind the garden and how he’s captured it for his new book, Foggy Bottom - A Garden to Share. In the podcast we discover how the Bloom brand developed over the years and the influences of Adrian’s father, plantsman Alan Bloom. Plant mentions: Heathers (Erica and Calluna), x Cupressocyparis leylandii, Cotinus coggygria (smoke bush), Stipa tenuissima, Miscanthus, Cornus, Viburnum, Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant redwood), Hydrangea ‘Annabelle,’ Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’, Pampas grass and Platycladus orientalis (Thuja). Desert island plant: Buddlejas and hybridising them. People, places, and product mentions: Alan Bloom and his helper Percy Piper were responsible for raising and introducing over 150 perennials, and the tradition has been continued by his son Adrian, son in law Jaime Blake, and grandson Jason. Percy Thrower, Richard Bloom (photographer). The 1960 Winter Olympics held in the Squaw Valley Resort in Squaw Valley, California. Pershore College, Bressingham Hall, Cambridge Fen Tongue End skating. Books: Perennials For Your Garden by Alan Bloom, A Year Round Garden by Adrian Bloom. Origins of the name Foggy Bottom, Washington DC. You can order a signed copy of Foggy Bottom - A Garden to Share book here  To find out more about Adrian Bloom, the Gardens, Books, and Plants, visit the website. Blooms of Bressingham YouTube channel Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music. 
  • 15. October '23 in the Garden

    There’s plenty to be getting on with this month in the garden, despite the clocks going back in the UK. Dig It’s Peter Brown and Chris Day help to put some of the garden to bed, plant spring bulbs and get border prepared. There’s the usual round-up of topical news from the world of gardening as well as a few important diary dates if you’re planning to get out and about this month.What’s onSunday 1st October, 10am-4pm, The second day of our Apple Weekend event at the Garden Centre and we will be joined by top apple fruit identification expert Gerry Edwards, apple pressing featuring The Mid-Shire Orchard Group, Garden Organics with Chris Collins, and the local wildlife trust.Sunday 8th October Orchard Open Day at Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, 10am - 4pm.Thursday, 12th October Ryton Demonstration Garden Tour 10:00am - 11.15am at Garden Organic, Ryton Gardens, Coventry. 17 October Horatio's Garden Stoke Mandeville (National Spinal Injuries Centre), designed by Joe Swift. Private Tour in aide of the Horatio's Garden Charity, 10.00-11.30am. Booking is essential. All October Looking for local gardens to you for autumn colour then check out the Great British Gardens websiteDig it Top 5 Hedging Plants As next month we officially start the hedging season, here’s a reminder of our top sellers last season Top seller at No 1. Quickthorn 2. Hornbeam 3. Green Beech 4. Photinia Red Robin 5. Green Privet.NewsThe world’s oldest gardening magazine Amateur Gardening magazine closes after 139 years.Interflora and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust join forces to introduce a bee-friendly Beequet!Top chef Raymond Blanc continues his passion for growing and preserving many of the Heirloom veggies from Garden Organics at his Oxfordshire restaurant.The new RHS Urban Plant Show is set to open at the Depot Mayfield in Manchester on the 18th-21st April 2024.Reduced peat growing of UK houseplants.Nursery growing peat-free houseplants from seed.Be more sustainable by taking cuttings from your own plants says Tony Le Britton.Sculpture garden scoops top accolade.First sensory garden for pets opens in Devon.New study on growing homegrown food is looking for volunteers to help with research. To take part, contact finds seed from world’s largest bean pod on beach.Plants mentioned: Holly (Ilex), Potatoes, Tomato, Catnip, Plant garlic (available instore), Stocks, Winter hardy Pansies and Violas, 6-pack Wallflowers, Fuchsias, Pelargonium (geraniums), Alliums, Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips. Indoor Hyacinths and Amaryllis planting time. Nature Love’ colour themed bulb packs. Primrose and mini cyclamen for centre bowl planting.Products mentioned: Compost bins, Vitax Greenhouse Fumigator (Insecticide smoke for greenhouses) and greenhouse disinfectant. Horticultural fleece for winter protection. Larger plant labels.Our special thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.
  • 14. A Fine British Vintage

    In this edition of Dig It, Peter Brown, and Chris Day chat with winemaker / vintner Tim Chafor, who runs the 8-acre Chafor Wine Estate featuring over 10,000 grape vines, set in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside and just a stone’s throw from the Garden Centre.Grapes grown at Chafor Wine Estate are Champagne varieties of ‘Chardonnay’ (white), ‘Pinot Noir’ (red) and ‘Pinot Meunier’, (red) alongside ‘Bacchus’ (white), a variety which is widely becoming recognised as England’s signature grape. This variety is a true dual-purpose variety.Other grapes mentioned: ‘Merlot’ (red), ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ (red) and ‘Sauvignon Blanc’ (white).Grape rootstocks, including the stock Tim recommends SO4.Bernwood Forest and Buckinghamshire’s County Council Coat of Arms inspired the stag logo used by Chafor Wine Estate.If you fancy grape stomping (feet pressing) then you might have to look further afield in the UK, as Tim said these would be experiences and we did spot one on Airbnb Tip: Google search ‘grape stomping’.Accolades Tim’s wines have collected major awards from such esteemed bodies as the International Wine Challenge, Decanter, and the UK Wine awards. Tim’s 2014 Chafor Wine Estate Vintage Rosé received 91 points from leading wine advocate Robert Parker.Desert island luxuries: A grape vine, either ‘Bacchus’ or if that’s unavailable the variety ‘Pinot Noir’ and a wine press!Useful linksChafor Wine Estate websiteOur thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.
  • 13. September '23 in the Garden

    After a soggy July and mixed fortunes weather wise in August, Peter Brown and Chris Day look forward to the prospect of an Indian summer in this month’s Dig It. A pick of the best events, news, and garden trade stories, plus those essential gardening tasks for the month ahead.What’s on1st- 30th September Garden Organic are promoting 30 thrifty biodiversity projects, one for each day of the month through Organic September and across their social medial channels #ThriftyThirty1st - 3rd September BBC Gardeners' World Autumn Fair, Audley End House and Garden, Saffron Walden.5th - 10th September RHS Wisley Flower Show, Surrey.16th - 17th September Cactus at the Castle event at Lullingstone Castle & The World Garden in Kent. 17th September Rare Autumn Plant Fair at Borde Hill Garden, Haywards Heath.22 - 24th September Malvern Plant and Garden Fair, Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire.30th September / 1st October Apple Weekend at Buckingham Garden Centre, 10am-4pm.It’s time to celebrate the Apple at Buckingham Garden Centre's popular Apple Weekend event featuring RHS apple expert Gerry Edwards, The Mid Shires Orchard group, plus Chris Collins, Garden Organic's Head of Organic Horticulture, and former BBC Blue Peter Gardener. Dig It Top Five Sellers - Perennials (in 1-litre pots) 1. Lavender ‘Hidcote,’ 2. Lupinus ‘Gallery Mixed’, 3. Delphinium ‘Black Knight’, 4. Penstemon ‘Pensham Wedding Day’ and 5. Leucanthemum ‘Snow Lady’.NewsSweetpea species offers future food potential.Blenheim Palace gardens to get major revamp.The National Garden Scheme launches five new community-based projects.Growers told to be vigilant as Colorado beetles are spotted in the south of England.Squire’s Garden Centre electrifies its fleet.Blue Diamond buys four nursery sites.Pitcher plants can go peat-free says RHS.London’s Garden Museum to expand gardens into public realm.Home and garden chain Wilko files for administration putting 12,000 jobs at risk.CEO Dave Carey leaves Mr Fothergill’s.Calls to use native grasses rather than ryegrass in our lawns.Quarter of Brits think artificial grass should be banned. Plants and products mentioned Amaryllis, autumn flowering bulbs Colchicums, Crocus and Cyclamen hederifolium. Prepared hyacinths. Cerinthes, Ammi, Scabiosa and Cornflowers. Dahlias, Heuchera, ornamental grasses, hardy Pansies, and Violas. Propagate Fuchsia, Salvias, Rosemary Prune cropped Raspberry canes. Houseplant Tradescantia. Maxicrop Original Seaweed Extract, Aftercut Autumn Lawn Food, lawn seed, pea netting to cover ponds before leaf fall and garden vax for leaf shedding for composting.Our special thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music.