Dig It - Discussions on Gardening Topics


Container Gardening with Kathy Brown

Season 2, Ep. 14

For the past 33 years Kathy and her husband Simon have created a simply amazing Manor House Garden in Stevington, just north of Bedford. It’s a garden full of inspiration, buoyed by Kathy’s keen use of colour and structure as well as plenty of great plants. In this episode of Dig it, Peter Brown and Chris Day discover more about how the garden evolved, advice on growing plants in containers using recipe-style plantings, the crocking debate, tales of a donkey, opening a garden to the public and using edible flowers in baking.

Plants mentioned: Beech hedging, Eucalyptus, Pine trees, avenues of Betula jacquemontii, Metasequoia glyptostroboides and Ginkgo biloba. Wisteria, Weeping Cedrus, xeriscape plants such as succulents. Perennials Agapanthus, Alliums, Japanese anemones, Gladiolus callianthus 'Murielae' (Abyssinian gladiolus, RHS AGM), Sedum, Hellebore Gold Collection (outward facing blooms perfect in pots) Helleborus ‘Frosty’ is a good one, Verbena bonariensis, ornamental grasses including Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’, Echinaceas. Hyacinths, Dwarf and species Tulips, Tulip clusiana 'Lady Jane' and Dwarf Narcissi like ‘January Gold’ (early) and ‘Pipit’ (later flowering). Good flavours to use with cake bakes include scented rose petals as these provide the most flavour as well as lavender.

Kathy’s desert island plant: English lavender – wonderfully versatile, you can cook with it and use it in a wide variety of ways as well as producing a wonderful tea to enjoy.

Products mentioned: White Himalayan birch plantings at Anglesey Abbey. National Garden Scheme (NGS). Solardome ® greenhouse. Beth Chatto’s dry garden – a converted car park to a gravel garden. Piet Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer, plant nursery man and author who practices a more naturalistic approach to gardening. Composts: Dalefoot Wool Compost and Jack’s Magic All Purpose Improved Compost (reduced peat) and New Horizon Peat-Free Compost. Broadleaf p4, using John Innes Compost as an additive. Kathy likes to use Evergreen Compost , who offer peat-free, peat-reduced and a traditional compost containing sphagnum moss peat. Water retaining granules such as Broadleaf P4 and Swelgel, which can be added to compost and soil to help retain moisture around the plant’s roots. Garden photographer Clive Nichols and the early morning photo shoot.

Kathy Brown’s Books The Edible Flower Garden, Container Gardening, Kathy Brown's Recipes For Easy Container Gardening and A Bulb for all Seasons

To find out more about Kathy’s Garden, opening details, Kathy’s lectures and how to book a visit click here

Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music.

More Episodes


September '22 in the Garden

Season 2, Ep. 13
After a challenging hot and dry summer in the garden we enter the month of September and a change in season. Dig It’s Peter Brown and Chris Day tackle some essential tasks for the month, plus they look at the latest garden news and events coming up at the Garden Centre.Wednesday 21st September: Orchid Day 11am-3pm at the Garden Centre. We will be joined by Manos Kanellos, top orchid guru and a previous Dig It podcast guest and he will be talking at 11am and 2pm as well as providing MOTs for orchids in need of a re-pot.23rd – 25th September RHS Malvern Autumn Show.Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October, 10am-4pm both days. Our Apple Weekend featuring RHS fruit expert Gerry Edwards, who will be helping to identify apple fruits for our customers and the Mid Shire Orchard Group making delicious apple juice and offering apple growing advice, plus BBOWT and much more. On Sunday we host the North Bucks Beekeepers' Association's Honey Show.Our Dig It top 5 perennials (in 1-litre pots)In joint fifth position Lupinus ‘Gallery Blue’ and Dianthus ‘Tickled Pink’, 4th spot Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’, 3rd position Penstemon ‘Pensham Laura’, in 2nd Verbena bonariensis and at number 1 Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’.Plant mentionsVegetable plug plants and sowing vegetable seeds including winter brassicas, chicory, endive, Chinese cabbage. Crocosmia, spring bulbs, Lavender, Teasle seeds and Caladiums. Bare-root apple varietiesProduct mentions Compost bins, Bokashi kitchen composters. Orchid products from Growth Technology Clip Gloves are available in store.News linksChatsworth historic gardens revealed by heatwave and Chatsworth’s new alpine garden reimagined by top garden designer Tom Stuart Smith.Futuristic ‘flower design’ greenhouse at National Trust Woolbeding GardensThe new RHS Wisley Clear Lake and ways to save water in the garden.Rosebourne Weyhill opened by horticulturalist and TV presenter David Domoney and the young 14-year-old entrepreneur with his dog pampering rangePalladian Bridge reopens after 8 years at Prior Park Landscape Gardens and is very similar to the one at Stowe Landscape Gardens.Historic wall gardens at Blenheim Palace Gardens goes no-dig and organic.Dr Amir Khan is the new patron of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.A retirement home for gnomes at Amelia Trust Care Farm in Glamorgan.Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music.

Growing a Garden Centre an interview with Pauline Brown

Season 2, Ep. 12
In this edition of Dig It, Chris Day chats with Pauline Brown, Partner at Buckingham Garden Centre and Nurseries, to discover more about the history and evolution of the business looking at the changes in the way we garden, the development of the site over five decades and how trends have impacted on the business from sustainability to new plants. We also chat to Pauline about her own passion for plants and gardening for wildlife, growing food for the kitchen, the art of composting and the importance of gardening for the future.To see how Buckingham Garden Centre has developed over 50 years check out this photo galleryCore gardening is key – garden tools, fertilisers, compost bins, water butts, solar lights with timers, and seeds. Over recent years Buckingham Garden Centre has become a destination garden centre together with hugely popular The Gardeners’ Retreat Restaurant.Plant mentions: Apples (including the variety ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’), Amelanchier, Cordylines, Hedging, Helianthemums, Phormium, Potatoes, Ornamental trees, Sedum, Lettuce, Chard, Pea ‘Alderman’. Look for disease resistance in the new varieties if you can.Sustainability on the site water conservation (reservoir), solar panels, recycling (include taupe plant pots and trays), FSC certified timber, peat-free composts and in the restaurant waste coffee grounds are collected, sent for recycling to be turned into coffee logs.Seeds from Garden Organic’s Seed Heritage LibraryThe RHS Plant Finder Book 2022 and onlineThe RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).RHS Plants For Pollinators logo on labels.Helping wildlife: Products such as hedgehog houses, bird feeders and bug hotels.Learning about gardening by talking to family and friends, visit your local library, tap into staff knowledge when visiting the Garden Centre and books such as the RHS Dictionary of Gardening provide invaluable reference information.The Mid Shires Orchard Group Promoting older regional apple varieties and establishing community orchardsFind out more about Medical Detection DogsOur thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for supplying the music.

August '22 in the Garden

Season 2, Ep. 11
Make sure you’re ready for August in the garden with Dig It’s round-up of garden news, events as well as a look at those essential tasks to be getting on with top advice from Buckingham Garden Centre’s Peter Brown and Chris Day.What’s on 3rd-7th August RHS Hyde Hall Flower Show, Chelmsford, Essex 4th August Summer Cycle at the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens, Richmond, 5.30-8.30pm Wednesday 17th at 4pm and repeated Saturday 20th August at 3pm at Buckingham Garden Centre FREE Masterclass talk: Growing Your Favourite Hobby plants12th and 13th August Shrewsbury Flower Show, Quarry Park, Shrewsbury19th - 21st August RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show, Torrington, DevonIn the newsCost and availability of allotmentsBall Colegrave Open day (garden trade only) highlighting the new double flowered impatiens walleriana 'Glimmer Appleblossom', recently recognised as Best in Show at the HTA’s New Plant Award. The latest trend of using perennials to mix with seasonal bedding plants in displays, including containers.Peter Seabrook’s Sweet PeaKew’s giant waterlily news story in fullSpalding Flower parade set to return in 2023Anti-plastic lobby get turfed out. Plastic grass stays!Terry Walton’s story on the safe use, storage and disposal of pesticides from PestSmartThis month’s Dig It Top Five pest controls: At no5 Provanto Ultimate Fruit and Vegetable Killer, no4 Toprose Bug Killer, at no3 Bugclear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer, in 2nd place Provanto Ultimate Bug Killer and in top slot goes to Bugclear Ultra Gun! for edibles. Available at the Garden Centre.Plant mentioned: Maize (Zea mays), Taylors Summer Planting Seed Potatoes for Christmas new potatoes, seeds of Japanese onion ‘Senshyu Semi-Globe Yellow’, spring cabbage, carrots – round varieties such as ‘Paris Market 5’, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, winter lettuce and radish seeds can be sown this month. Summer-fruiting and autumn raspberry plants.Products mentioned: Bio-Bean, who manufacture Coffee logs, a popular product at the Garden Centre has been named a Best for the World ™ B Corp ™ . Miracle-Gro for higher nitrogen feeding and for encouraging improved flowering use Phostrogen or Tomato feed.Liquid lawn weedkillers such as Weedol Lawn WeedkillerComposts Westland New Horizon, Miracle Gro Peat Free,and Dalefoot Wool Compost for Potting. . Homebase Peat free Multi-Purpose Compost has fared well in our trials so far this season.Our thanks to Chiltern Music Therapy for providing the music