Two Good Gardeners


Chelsea Calling!

Season 1, Ep. 5

Episode 5 has a Chelsea Flower Show flavour. Dan & Julia debate the value of a ticket to the world's most prestigious horticultural event and explain how to administer the Chelsea chop to flowering perennials and herbs. Crisp, crunchy radishes are Julia's pick of the crop, and Dan breaks a self-imposed rule by celebrating deciduous azaleas, a plant that doesn't thrive in his chalky soil.

For Dan & Julia's complete guide to surviving Chelsea, click here.

For more advice on administering the Chelsea chop, click here, and you'll find the perfect pair of shears to do it with here.

Plants that respond well to the Chelsea Chop

  1. Yarrow - Achillea 
  2. Dyer's chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria 
  3. Aster
  4. Bell flower - Campanula
  5. Coneflower - Echinacea 
  6. Joe Pye weed - Eupatorium
  7. Blanket flower - Gaillardia
  8. Sneezeweed - Helenium 
  9. Perennial sunflowers - Helianthus
  10. Candytuft - Iberis
  11. Shasta daisy - Leucanthemum × superbum
  12. Purple loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria
  13. Bergamot - Monarda didyma
  14. Catmint - Nepeta
  15. Penstemon
  16. Garden phlox - Phlox paniculata
  17. Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia
  18. Stonecrop - Sedum telephium (now Hylotelephium telephium)
  19. Golden rod - Solidago
  20. Culver's root - Veronicastrum
  21. Chives - Allium schoenoprasum

Dan's favourite deciduous azaleas:


Where you'll find us over the next fortnight:

Julia will be at Nomad Books in Fulham on Saturday, 13th May, running a workshop and signing copies of her book. You'll also find her on the Alitex stand (MA 336) on the Chelsea Flower Show's Main Avenue on and off between the 23rd and 28th of May.

Dan will be at Salthrop House, Wroughton, near Swindon, this Sunday, 14th May, 11 am - 4 pm and at the American Museum & Gardens in Bath on Sunday, 21st May, with Rare Plant Fairs. He takes his tea strong with milk, and no sugar, if you want to treat him to a cuppa!

Alitex will be at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival from 11th -14th May, showcasing the Mottisfont greenhouse from the National Trust range. Then, they will be at RHS Chelsea Flower Show with their 'Good Life' inspired exhibit, styled by our very own Julia!

More Episodes

Friday, April 28, 2023

That's the way the compost crumbles!

Season 1, Ep. 4
In this fortnight's episode, Dan & Julia talk tomatoes, chat about compost and wax lyrical about wallflowers. Dan introduces his new Dutch planting trowel, similar to the traditional tool cherished by Monty Don, and Julia explains how to grow ginger from supermarket-bought roots. Your hosts look forward to an action-packed coronation weekend and the crowning of King Charles III, one of the nation's most celebrated garden makers.Julia's jobs to do in the next two weeks:Earth up potatoes as shoots emerge to protect them from frost and boost the crop.Harden off and plant out sweet peas and other hardy annuals.Sow pumpkins, sweet corn, courgettes, French beans and runner beans indoors.Sow sunflowers inside or out.Prune Forsythia and Ribes after flowering.Remember not to clear away daffodil foliage. Let it die down naturally to boost the bulbs.Repot houseplants now they're starting to grow again.Feed lawns with a nitrogen-rich feed to replace nutrients that have leached away over winter.Continue sowing tender herbs such as basil, coriander and dill. Sow salads and radishes at regular intervals.Check lilies and fritillaries for lily beetles - clumps of black gunge where leaves should be are a telltale sign they've been at work.Start using slug and snail protection as soon as vulnerable plants emerge from the ground.Protect fruit blossoms from late frosts using specially designed fruit sleeves.Plant ListJulia's tomatoes:San Marzano PlumBlack CherryGreen Zebra Yellow SubmarineBarry's Crazy CherryBlack RussianFeo De Riogordo Gardeners' DelightDan's wallflowers:Fire KingVulcanCloth of GoldCottage Fragrance' (mixture)'Persian Carpet' (mixture)Useful LinksDan's Signature Dutch trowelSaltwood Castle open garden and plant fair on April 29thHatfield House plant fair on April 30thOne Garden Brighton - Julia's book signing on May 1stBorde Hill plant fair on May 7thWebsites
Friday, April 14, 2023

All things bright and edible

Season 1, Ep. 3
In episode 3, Dan and Julia discuss how to grow awesome asparagus, go crazy for Japanese kenzan, celebrate a much-overlooked foliage plant and bemoan the fate of the suburban front garden. Julia explains how to get more bang for your buck when buying pot-grown herbs from the supermarket, and Dan reveals the top jobs to do in your garden over the next fortnight. You'll find these listed below, along with details of the plants, products and events mentioned in the podcast.Dan and Julia's jobs for the next fortnight:Plant potatoes - dig a trench or use a bulb planter to get them in, and remember to earth them up when the shoots emerge to protect them from frost.Sow sweetcorn, courgettes and pumpkins, butternut squash, basil, coriander, and other tender herbs and sunflowers under cover. Beetroot, carrot, chard kale, lettuces, radishes, pak choi, leeks, spinach and broccoli can now be sown directly outdoors.Sow annual flower meadow mixes into prepared soil, which should be weed-free and raked to a fine tilth, like a crumble mixture.Deadhead daffodils, unless you want them to seed.Water pots and containers, even when it's been raining.Cleaning patio furniture and terraces on a dry, sunny day.Tie in clematis, which will be growing vigorously now.Stake perennials, including peonies, lupins, phlox and delphiniums.Check for bugs and encourage predators such as ladybirds by leaving material in your garden that they can find shelter in.Remove rhubarb forcers, and don't put any further strain on forced crowns by continuing to pick the leaves.Start hardening off plants if you live in milder areas.Remember to wear sunscreen! The April sun is fiercer than you think.Plant ListDichroa' Long March' (Chinese quinine)Delphinium' Blue Tit'Lathyrus vernus' Rainbow' (spring pea)Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican flea bane)Baptista australis (false blue indigo)Ocimum basilicum 'Sweet Genovese' (sweet basil - as you will find in supermarkets and atop pizzas)Ocimum basilicum 'Crispum' (lettuce-leaf basil)Ocimum basilicum var. minimum (Greek basil)Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora (Thai basil)Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens x kilimandscharicum (African blue basil)Asparagus officinalis 'Gijnlim''Pacific 2000'Solenostemon's Burgundy Wedding Train', 'Lord Falmouth', 'Pink Chaos', 'Wisley Tapestry', Henna', 'Campfire'Useful LinksSongbird Survival charityArtisan nestersGreat Comp Spring Fling Plant FairGreen Rooms MarketArundel Castle Plant FairAlitex open morning